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Gentoo Linux on PII-300 Laptop

 
 
steve
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      11-10-2003

I've got an old IBM ThinkPad with a PII-300, 4GB disk and 96MB of RAM.

I wanted something minimal and free to install on it....and thought I would
give Gentoo Linux a try. Gentoo lets you create a small system - and it
compiles most of it right there on the PC as it is installed.

Yes....the install takes a wee while as the RAM ain't much and the laptop
isn't fast.

But the result is outstanding.

It took a couple of days - kicking off the next major unit (xfree took 14
hours to compile) every now and again....and then I installed the 'fluxbox'
UI......a *very* cool and very light window manager.

Then I installed Opera 7.2. Now working on Mozilla (for mail and some
browsing if Opera can't cope).

If you have the time, Gentoo Linux is awesome stuff for old hardware.

Or new hardware. I have 2 Athlon 2200+ systems and the Gentoo 1.4 system is
noticeably faster than my Red Hat Linux 9 system.

--
defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
your PC with some other operating system.
 
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Evil Bastard
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      11-10-2003
On Mon, 10 Nov 2003 20:37:52 +1300, steve wrote:

> But the result is outstanding.


I went through a phase a year ago of trying various source-based distros -
sourcemage, gentoo, lunar etc.

Strangest thing was that for my hardware, Debian with the same software
(window manager etc) turned out to be about 40% faster on boot-up, and
mostly similar speed (sometimes faster) with app startup. Not that much
extra size either.

Gentoo is an extreme, beaten only by the 'Linux From Scratch' crew.
Powerful appeal for the 'get under the bonnet, get ya hands dirty'
mind-set.

But I find that with Debian, you can scale the system as you please. Just
a matter of avoiding the 'tasksel' smorgasboard and doing manual apt-gets,
and letting apt's dependency handler take care of the rest.

Gotta watch some apps (eg kde apps) - their dependencies can require
hundreds of megs of bloat.

Happy these days with just fvwm and the Gnome libs.

 
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steve
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      11-11-2003
Evil Bastard allegedly said:

> On Mon, 10 Nov 2003 20:37:52 +1300, steve wrote:
>
>> But the result is outstanding.

>
> I went through a phase a year ago of trying various source-based distros -
> sourcemage, gentoo, lunar etc.
>
> Strangest thing was that for my hardware, Debian with the same software
> (window manager etc) turned out to be about 40% faster on boot-up, and
> mostly similar speed (sometimes faster) with app startup. Not that much
> extra size either.
>
> Gentoo is an extreme, beaten only by the 'Linux From Scratch' crew.
> Powerful appeal for the 'get under the bonnet, get ya hands dirty'
> mind-set.


That would be me....yeah....

> But I find that with Debian, you can scale the system as you please. Just
> a matter of avoiding the 'tasksel' smorgasboard and doing manual apt-gets,
> and letting apt's dependency handler take care of the rest.


Debian always seems to have trouble with my hardware...and "woody" is a bot
long in the tooth...being roughly 18 months old.

They need a new "stable" version urgently. In all seriouslness, I've fouind
gentoo easier to install and get running than Debian. Sure, Debian would be
on the disk in 20 minutes....then I'd spend the next 2 days getting all the
other bits working....maybe. Yes...more a relection on my skills than
Debian, perhaps.....but thats my story.

By comparison, Red Hat is a FAR easier proposition and gave me fewer hassles
on install than WinXP did.

But Red Hat, compared to Gentoo, is bloatware. With Gentoo, I've found
something that may be low-level, but it works and the results are
outstanding.

I also have linux from Scratch.

I've not been brave enough to try it yet. LFS is to Red Hat as the Southern
traverse is to crossing the street.


> Gotta watch some apps (eg kde apps) - their dependencies can require
> hundreds of megs of bloat.


I've so far avoided installing an K-apps for that very reason. My wee
lappy-top would be compiling KDE for 2-3 days......

> Happy these days with just fvwm and the Gnome libs.


Fluxbox isn't much different to fvwm in appearance....very stripped down and
lean to the point of being almost not there at all. Yet crisp and good
looking.

I like that. Many of the Linux window managers make WinXP look like the fat
lady eating 5 Big Macs at McDonalds.

--
defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
your PC with some other operating system.
 
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steve
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      11-11-2003
Evil Bastard allegedly said:

> Gentoo is an extreme, beaten only by the 'Linux From Scratch' crew.
> Powerful appeal for the 'get under the bonnet, get ya hands dirty'
> mind-set.


BTW.....my wee laptop has been compiling Mozilla 1.4 (and pre-reqs) for
roughly 11 hours now.....and I have no idea when it will be finished.

On my Athlon 2200+ with 512MB of RAM it took 2-3 hours.

--
defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
your PC with some other operating system.
 
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AD.
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      11-11-2003
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 12:17:31 +1300, Evil Bastard wrote:

> Gentoo is an extreme, beaten only by the 'Linux From Scratch' crew.
> Powerful appeal for the 'get under the bonnet, get ya hands dirty'
> mind-set.
>
> But I find that with Debian, you can scale the system as you please. Just
> a matter of avoiding the 'tasksel' smorgasboard and doing manual apt-gets,
> and letting apt's dependency handler take care of the rest.


I'm a die hard Debian fan myself, but one thing I really like about Gentoo
is the USE flags.

For instance (just as one example of many), if I want to use kerberos
authentication I can add a kerberos USE flag, and all apps I install or
update will get compiled with kerberos support if they have that
functionality available.

This is one area that source based distros have an advantage over binary
ones.

A pretty cool idea (I bet someone has already done it hehe), would be to
combine Gentoo source type tuning and updating to create an up to date
locally customised software repository. All your machines can then get
installed and updated from it in Debian binary apt-get style.

apt-cache and src-debs probably already give you most of that, but it
would be a lot of work to set up and run I imagine.

Cheers
Anton
 
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Evil Bastard
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      11-11-2003
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 13:59:40 +1300, steve wrote:

> Debian always seems to have trouble with my hardware...and "woody" is a bot
> long in the tooth...being roughly 18 months old.


There's one good place for woody - in your server farm, collecting dust,
clocking up 3 and 4-figure uptimes.

In all other situations, most everyone runs 'unstable' (which is actually
far more stable than most linux distros).

Cheers
EB

 
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Evil Bastard
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      11-11-2003
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 13:59:40 +1300, steve wrote:

> I like that. Many of the Linux window managers make WinXP look like the fat
> lady eating 5 Big Macs at McDonalds.


I just SOOO needed that image in my mind... NOT! (reminds me of that bit
in the Slim Shady music vid where an obese woman eats the Burger King
onion rings previously spat on by Eminem).

But, you are totally right.

KDE and the full Gnome - both of those have inconceivable amounts of bloat
under the hood that just seem to grow with every new release. Countless
complex subsystems all talking to each other - like driving from Auckland
to Coromandel via Bluff. (I can imagine the developers thinking 'f*** the
end user, I just wanna get my rocks off writing another 7000 lines of
code!')

IMO, Linux app writers need to follow a simple rule - use the lightest,
simplest graphical toolkit which fulfils their requirements. There are way
too many apps written for GTK++ or QT which could just as comfortably run
(and much faster/smaller too) under FLTK, Fox or Tk.

EB

 
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Enkidu
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      11-11-2003
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 12:17:31 +1300, Evil Bastard
<postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote:
>
>Gentoo is an extreme, beaten only by the 'Linux From Scratch' crew.
>Powerful appeal for the 'get under the bonnet, get ya hands dirty'
>mind-set.
>

No. Debian is the mot flexible. You can start from a couple of
floppies and grow it from there. It avoids the 2 - 4 days compile that
LFS and gentoo require.

If I wanted to compile everything I'd go the BSD route.

Cheers,

Cliff
--

The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign
that the conspiracy is working.
 
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harry
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      11-11-2003

"Evil Bastard" <postmaster@127.0.0.1> wrote in message
newsan.2003.11.11.04.37.44.989950@127.0.0.1...
> On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 13:59:40 +1300, steve wrote:
>
> > Debian always seems to have trouble with my hardware...and "woody" is a

bot
> > long in the tooth...being roughly 18 months old.

>
> There's one good place for woody - in your server farm, collecting dust,
> clocking up 3 and 4-figure uptimes.
>
> In all other situations, most everyone runs 'unstable' (which is actually
> far more stable than most linux distros).
>


I don't, I run mostly testing with Default-Release set in apt.conf, and just
get the packages I want from unstable.
Otherwise apt-get update takes too long.
The packages that don't matter to me can keep changing in unstable till they
qualify for testing.


 
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AD.
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      11-11-2003
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 20:09:28 +1300, harry wrote:

> I don't, I run mostly testing with Default-Release set in apt.conf, and
> just get the packages I want from unstable. Otherwise apt-get update takes
> too long.


Hehe that's my favourite thing about having a Citylink/WIX connection at
work

Free transfers at 500-900kB/s (yes that's kBytes) to the local Debian
mirror depending on how busy their server is. There's a Gentoo mirror
there too.

The installing of debs usually takes far far longer than the downloading
of them. It makes tracking Sid bearable, and reduces the need to set up a
local cache.

Cheers
Anton
 
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