A quick apology of course, for a lack of entries in the past days. My moving date is creeping up on me fast, and looking around I still see I have mounds of junk to sort. The horror, the horror. …
When I have enough time I still take the hour or so it requires to playtest a new distro on that very old Mebius which has been so accommodating over the past six months. I don’t know the total, but I am certain it has been home to something in the double-digits, for number of installs.
And I should be clear that my goal in this is not to beat down modern distros for failing to keep in step with 14-year-old equipment, and nor is it my hope that someone will invent a distro that will target them specifically.
But I do find it interesting, and educational, and somewhat revealing, to see how a current operating system holds up with out-of-date hardware. Extreme as this one may be. …
This time I have three short ones to mention, with varying degrees of success.
On the other hand, it’s quite an attractive desktop, and the choice of software is very promising. I found two or three new programs here that I hadn’t known about before. (Of course, there’s a lot I don’t know.)
I want to use this on my fastest machine just for a proper chance to investigate, and because I find it amusing. That might have to wait a few weeks though.
For a lightweight desktop, this is clean and quick and attractive. At extremely low specifications though, it might not hold up so well. Your machine will be the judge.
I liked GRML a lot, and so long as I stuck to the “small” version, I had a system that didn’t demand nearly 3Gb in disk space — keeping in mind that that includes a lot of window managers, X components, etc.
The sad part of the story is that GRML — even the small version — couldn’t boot on only 32Mb of memory. I got the same error messages I saw with Ubuntu and Linux Mint Fluxbox and some other systems built on newer Debian cores.
Thirty-two megabytes just isn’t enough, and that’s the fact (if I am interpreting the error messages correctly, of course ). The newest Debian systems might install in text mode with that much, but I have yet to see one boot.
I hold no grudge of course. These little experiments are wacky, and I don’t always expect grand results. GRML is something I might investigate further, just because it’s unique. (P.S.: I loved the installer. Every distro should use that.)
I’m still fighting with Tiny Core, although I mean “fighting” in a good way. I want very much for this one to work, but the most recent ISOs, when properly burnt to CD, wouldn’t boot.
And using an early 2.x-ish version was a little less than successful, being left at a boot prompt with not much more than a blinking cursor. (Yes, the same as if I used Microcore.)
Video is really where I fall flat though. That CLI fallback is happening (I suspect) because the default boot sequence sends everything to a VESA-based graphics system, and this machine is more or less incapable in that department.
On top of that, I have my doubts about network connections, since I rely mostly on PCMCIA wireless with this laptop, and that might require a little more effort (or acrobatics) on my part, to install without Tiny Core’s handy dandy application browser.
All that aside I’ve tried a couple of boots and update attempts, and I’ve also installed a few systems directly, but with more or less all the same results. Just blink, blink, blink. …
My next plan of attack (and probably what should have been my first plan of attack) is to put together a system in an emulator that has all the necessary pieces (wireless-tools, Xorg and drivers, etc.) and write it across USB.
Not elegant, but nothing about these old machines is very elegant. Usually.