Software and the environment
Posted Feb 5, 2009 11:12 UTC (Thu) by eru
In reply to: Software and the environment
Parent article: Aleutia E2: low power to the people
Yes, the light-weight distribution variants alleviate the problem somewhat,
but they really can only change some of the system layers (like the desktop)
less resource-intensive. They cannot make OpenOffice.org or Firefox less bloated. Another problem is that these are oddbal variants which are a bit
different to use from mainstream distributions, so less sophisticated users
will find it harder to get help with them from books or magazines. The use case I have in mind here is a non-geek relative or friend running a virus-infested Windows98 on an old machine... how to linuxify him/her without purchasing new hardware?
Quote [...] Crunchbang, which runs fine in just 200 MB RAM [...]
See the problem here? 200Mb is *huge* if that is needed just to run the OS
and basic desktop utilities without undue delays (as opposed to running
some application that really puts lots of memory to good use). Circa 1995
I used to run OS/2 Warp on a 75Mhz Pentium with 32MB. It was about as
user-friendly as the today's Linux desktops, and did not feel any slower.
So just *where* does all that computing power go? I can think of two
visible differences between my 1995 desktop and current: 8-bit vs 24-bit
colour, and antialiased fonts, but I don't think that comes even close
explaining the difference.
The challenge for these older machines is video - many people expect to be able to see Youtube these days. [...]
I have found a 600Mhz P3 to be quite sufficient for decoding standard
definition and below, when you use a well-optimized player (Mplayer seems
to be the gold standard here), and your display supports the Xvideo
extension properly. But HD content clearly goes out of reach. Does
piping video around the house with VNC really work? AFAIK its encoding
is not optimized for photorealistic video (as opposed to desktop
graphics that have large smooth regions), so you will be transmitting and
forcing receiver to decode vastly more bytes than with a real video codec.
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