Two of the systems I planned on trying out with the Mebius were Ubuntu versions, one four years older than the other. Results were what I anticipated, although there was a small surprise attached.
The console version of Ubuntu 10.04, as I expected, wouldn’t even start. My experiences earlier this year foretold that a machine with a meager 32Mb of memory wouldn’t get past the grub menu.
And that was the case this time too. Ten-point-oh-four left me with a few nifty error messages (“error: cannot allocate real mode pages,” and “error: you need to load the kernel first” were common) and a feeling of inferiority.
Dropping back four years, just out of curiosity, worked fine. The installed system booted to a console prompt and needed something less than 11Mb to run. The wireless network was up with a little prodding, and all was well with the world.
Adding a graphical environment was a fruitless exercise though: The Trident driver that far back gave nothing but scrambled eggs for video output. TinyFlux had its artifacts, but a minimal X in Ubuntu Dapper was pointless.
Oddly enough though, a full-blown Ubuntu 6.06.1 desktop could handle a graphical environment neatly, with no obvious defects or artifacts, showing the deep brown background from ages gone by.
Unfortunately that’s all it showed. Anybody can tell you that a full Gnome desktop on 32Mb is nothing but a pipe dream. The machine was swapping before it ever snapped out of the console.
Eventually it just spun to a crawl, freezing with the drive light fully on. As expected.
Not much was gained here in this little experiment, and I acknowledge that. It does however reinforce a few experiments from a long time ago, when I started out with minimal systems and built them up.
Next up, a few systems that might actually have a chance of working.