Crux and Awesome at 120Mhz, 16Mb

Finally, after several false starts and a couple of botched attempts, a fully 800×600 graphical desktop in 16-bit color depth, with Awesome 2.3.4 as the window manager using Crux 2.4 with Xorg 7.3 on a 120Mhz Pentium with only 16Mb of memory.

No tricks, no smoke or mirrors, no fancy footwork, unless you call building the entire thing from scratch “fancy.” The biggest stumbling blocks were getting X to run at all, and getting a network card to play nice with the hardware. For some reason, all the network cards I have — with the exception of my trusty WPC11 and maybe the ASIX-based wired card — trigger messages from the kernel claiming “cardbus cards are not supported.”

Right now the plan is to use the WPC11 until I can get the system into a condition I like. Performance is about the same level as the 100Mhz machine was … in other words, a 20Mhz difference does not offer a magical improvement in usability.

But hey, usability is all a matter of perspective. :twisted:

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8 Responses to “Crux and Awesome at 120Mhz, 16Mb”

  1. 1 The_englishman 2009/08/20 at 5:33 AM

    Do my eyes deceive me? htop says you are working with 11 meg? That’s amazing! What practical use will you put it to, though?

  2. 3 road 2009/08/20 at 8:20 AM

    this is unrelated to this post, but I just read on slashdot about MenuetOS which is an entire OS built from scratch in Assembly that is not UNIX based and the whole thing is 700Kb to download (yup, that’s Kb). sounds way smaller than even the teensiest linux distros, and apparently it’s quite fast. have you seen or tried this? it sounds like the sort of thing you’d be into and I’d love to hear your thoughts…

    • 4 ArmorNick 2009/08/20 at 6:06 PM

      Is it, by any chance, compatible with linux programs? If not, I and probably most others, have no use for it. Very cool though ;) .

    • 5 K.Mandla 2009/08/20 at 8:06 PM

      I have looked into it in the past; the problem that I had was that, after installation, there was little to be done about hardware compatibility.

      If I had a standalone machine that didn’t need, for example, Internet access I might be able to use it with one or two of the machines I have. But as it is I would have to put together a machine with specific components to use that (or Kolibri, if I remember right) to its fullest.

      I’ll take another look at it though. Things like that are always fun. :)

  3. 6 tigrmesh 2009/08/20 at 1:26 PM

    You might find the emptyswap script useful. The original script is here:

    The colorized version is here:

  4. 7 damaged justice 2009/08/20 at 10:14 PM

    My favorite interesting OS’s that aren’t trying to do things like everyone else:

    Loper OS:

    OIU (OIU Isn’t Unix):



  1. 1 Musca and e3, with space left over « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/08/21 at 1:35 PM

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Visit the Wiki!

Some recent desktops

May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF

May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games

Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

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