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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 9, 2013
(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10
What on earth are you running GNOME on? I haven't seen any of these issues on my ancient
desktop PC, an Athlon XP 2500+ from donkeys years ago with a mere 1 GB of RAM.
Nautilus on Desktop is a Bad Idea
Posted Apr 24, 2008 2:40 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190)
So much for the whole "bring your ancient hardware back to life with Linux" argument. Oh
well... guess it's time to throw out my perfectly function P2/333 then - oh hang on, I can't
because I live in Europe; it costs less to keep it running than it would to dispose of it.
Posted Apr 24, 2008 6:00 UTC (Thu) by Los__D (guest, #15263)
No, so much for "Run new shiny Linux Desktop on old junk". Noone prevents you from installing
a light-weight desktop, it's what they are there for. (I have old junk too, but I install
things that are suitable for old junk)
Posted Apr 24, 2008 14:25 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190)
What increased functionality am I getting for the shiny? I keep asking that question, and the
"bugger all" I keep answering is why I don't regard said P2 as junk yet - it runs fluxbox just
fine, and the only reason it isn't my usual desktop is the great big inefficient heap of shit
that is firefox (which even on larger, faster machines behaves as though it's the only program
I'd ever need in memory - it's a *web browser*, for crying out loud! a desktop accessory!) and
the even bigger one that is openoffice. Trust me, if there were usable lightweight
alternatives to those I'd be using them; unfortunately, more and more programs that would be
(or worse, used to be) quite useful to me if they only depended on gtk or qt cleave ever
closer to GNOME or KDE (abiword is a good example).
Once upon a time, one of the more compelling arguments for using Linux was that it allowed you
to step off the upgrade treadmill and use the kit you had for longer. Increasingly I'm getting
the sense that this is no longer feasible. You might not care about that, but those who cannot
look after their own minorities have no business pleading for minority recognition themselves.
Posted Apr 24, 2008 16:05 UTC (Thu) by Los__D (guest, #15263)
Fluxbox is definately a fine WM, by all means use it, if you don't think you get anything out
of running a heavier WM/desktop.
Abiword is probably the most lightweight word processor there is... Heck, it doesn't even
require X, if you don't need a UI (Which admittedly, most people do for wordprocessing). I
don't know if your distribution chose to build it against GNOME libraries, which is an option,
but that is hardly neither Abiword nor GNOME's fault. In Ubuntu (and probably Debian), you can
choose a GTK or GNOME-bound version.
There is plenty of browser alternatives. If you don't find them usable enough, then maybe that
could be what you are getting for the shiny?
While I fully respect the need to running programs on older computers, there's no reason to
keep everyone on the minimum resources, especially when there IS lightweight alternatives.
That those alternatives doesn't suit you, has nothing to do with not looking after minorities.
Posted Apr 25, 2008 3:13 UTC (Fri) by lysse (guest, #3190)
> While I fully respect the need to running programs on older computers, there's no reason to
keep everyone on the minimum resources
Yes there is. If you optimise for low resource usage, *everyone* benefits. If you optimise for
current hardware, you just screwed everyone who can't upgrade yet.
> There is plenty of browser alternatives
...which are...? Just the actively-developed FOSS ones, please - let's at least try to
maintain a level playing field.
But anyway, I just experimented; I went and grabbed an old copy of Mozilla 1.5 (you know, the
browser that Firefox replaced because it was "too heavyweight") - and it runs like a dream on
my current hardware. I'm using it right now. Moreover, it doesn't unduly compromise my web
experience... *yet*; I'm at the mercy of a million script kiddies deciding that "nobody uses
not bothering to ensure that they don't lock out anyone whose hardware doesn't match their own
in specification. (I used to use links -g from the framebuffer, until too many sites decided
the content and its authors, and I got a couple of computers with no good framebuffer
Once FF3 is my only choice, I'm screwed. And complacency like yours is responsible for that,
unless you're going to buy me a brand new computer every 3 years. (Nah, didn't think so.)
> Abiword is probably the most lightweight word processor there is...
Actually, the combination of vi, troff and gv probably fulfils that description. Notable is
the absence of bloat with each new release of that software - vim isn't putting on the pounds
in anywhere near the same way that firefox, soffice, KDE or GNOME are. Hell, the whole set is
probably fast enough that you can preview your changes in more or less realtime now - which is
as it should be; more capacitous hardware should let you do more, not get soaked up by an
infrastructure that expands even more rapidly, and feature addition should not cause
supra-exponential resource usage growth.
As for Abiword, well... it's lightweight compared with OpenOffice, but overall? Er, no - and
last time I tried to compile it without GNOME support, it insisted in having a goodly chunk of
GNOME architecture around anyway (and my patience got exhausted before I retrieved all of it).
It's also sufficiently unpredictable that I can't trust it not to mangle my work (I'm glad I'm
not at university any more).
Rather than turning on the condescension, perhaps you might consider that I've been at this
long enough to look for solutions, and not find them where I might have done a few years ago,
and *that*'s why I'm disgusted? That from my perspective, the new world order with which you
seem to be so infatuated is actually a *regression*?
Posted Apr 25, 2008 8:10 UTC (Fri) by Los__D (guest, #15263)
You keep mentioning alternatives that are more lightweight yourself, but you seem to refuse to use them.
...which are...? Just the actively-developed FOSS ones, please - let's at least try to maintain a level playing field.
Why? I'm not here to remove your hills. If all lightweight alternatives isn't maintained anymore, I guess you know the reason... And not maintained is not the same as not usable.
But don't expect people like me to stop using the extra power of recent hardware to add features we like, we are not here to help your agendas, but to help ourselves and our agendas.
Posted Apr 25, 2008 15:31 UTC (Fri) by lysse (guest, #3190)
> You keep mentioning alternatives that are more lightweight yourself, but you seem to refuse
to use them.
...except that I *do* use them, day in day out, and find myself screwed as a result.
Since you weren't even able to grasp that point, I don't think there is any point in
continuing this conversation. You just go right along coding for the top 1% of computers and
hope that Moore will solve all your problems. But he won't - you *are* the problem.
Posted Apr 26, 2008 0:51 UTC (Sat) by lysse (guest, #3190)
> If it's so important for you to use the latest and greatest with the oldest and puniest, you
are going to have to help making the monsters more light.
The monsters I can't even *compile*?
Posted Apr 24, 2008 10:12 UTC (Thu) by droundy (subscriber, #4559)
Some of us (including our editor) measure time in human years, and in human years, quite a
reasonable computer comes with just a few hundred megabytes of ram and processors considerably
slower than yours. And amazingly enough, these computers that worked a few years ago,
actually still work. And if we avoid running windows or gnome, they continue to work well.
Actually, to be honest, my wife runs gnome on her X22 (PIII 800MHz) which is only a little
faster than my computer. But she's pretty patient, and her computer runs pretty slowly. I
always just blamed it on firefox, but if disabling nautilus were to speed things up, that
would be worth trying.
Posted Apr 24, 2008 17:10 UTC (Thu) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285)
The hardware is an 2.2 GHz Athlon64 laptop with 1 GB RAM. Hardly ancient, although it is 3.5
years old now.
High memory pressure is caused by running Open Office, Evolution (on really big IMAP folders),
Beagle and many web browser tabs. It isn't hard at all to get things swapping and laptop disk
is the worst ever for swapping.
CPU speed isn't 2.2GHz most of the time. Most of the time it's idling at 800 MHz and it takes
a small amount of time to clock up when there's demand.
X window speed would actually be good -- if I were running the Nvidia binary drivers. Instead
I'm running the "nv" open source driver which is nearly an unaccelerated frame buffer.
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