An ecstatic slowness

One hundred megahertz should be more accurately called 100 mega-hurts, for as slow as it seems now. And how slow is slow? Here’s how slow it is:

real 567m9.602s
user 291m4.803s
sys 83m13.888s

That’s the time it took to compile a kernel at 100Mhz — and a kernel with almost everything pulled out, too. It’s not as horrid as it seems since I’m not sitting and staring at it while it continuously grinds away at its swap space. I just start it before I leave for work in the morning, and come back home to a new kernel, complete with that new-car smell.

Of course, the margin for mistakes means a 10-hour delay to find and troubleshoot them, and that’s where this little experiment with Crux is falling down. I find myself backtracking and hunting down corrections ten hours after I made the corresponding mistake, and it’s yielding very little in the way of progress.

I’d like to see a system that will autoconfigure itself — I need to see what modules are being found and inserted so I can build my own kernel once, and get it right instead of this strange hunt-and-peck method.

So in the interest of expediting the learning process, I tried installing DeliLinux on the host drive, but that proved abortive — my unfamiliarity with LILO means not only did I fail to make a bootable system on my spare drive, but I also managed to overwrite a partition on my Xubuntu system — oops. šŸ˜³

I installed Deli on the whole system after that, but for some reason I was unable to configure the graphical environment — the setup sequence had a lot of strange menus spattered one on the other when I tried to configure X. I see that the ISO is labeled beta, so it might be workable in the future. But I was making no progress, and spending more time on my regular system when what I really wanted was to tinker with my ancient one.

So now I’m installing a sparse Ubuntu system, which is really only a host to allow me to download Slitaz-loram and burn it to a CD, then try to install it to the spare drive again.

And yet, after jumping through all these hoops and backtracking repeatedly, it’s quite exciting to watch the newcomer start up and throw kernel configuration messages on the screen. It’s slow and hasn’t yielded much progress yet, but it’s fun to watch. Maybe you can sympathise with that.


4 thoughts on “An ecstatic slowness

  1. James

    Compiling Kdrive/TinyX might not be as painful as full X11. I’m still not sure I’d want to try it on a 100MHz machine, though.

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    Mostly because short of a network interface, there’s no common way to move the results easily between machines. I have a floppy module for my Inspiron, but I generally don’t bother with it, or even include floppy support in the systems I build. And the 100Mhz machine has no USB ports. So unless I already have a working system installed, I have to transplant the drive anyway, so I might as well just mount the system, chroot and build it directly in place. šŸ˜


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