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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Suggestions
An official real retro puppy?
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legendofthor

Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 219
Location: Queensland Australia

PostPosted: Tue 05 May 2009, 20:03    Post_subject:  An official real retro puppy?
Sub_title: Tech gap creating a divergence quandry for puppy dev
 

G'day,
Is there a need for a divergence in Puppy development? please treat this as a discussion piece, it is not presenting a critical review
This question arises from using Puppy 4.2 (retro) on my old computer. PII 400mhz 64mbs (actually conky only registers 59mbs). I have usually installed the latest version of puppy on this computer but have reverted back to 3.01 retro due to increasingly sluggish behaviour. This actually got me thinking.

I first stumbled across Puppy Linux as I was looking for an alternative to the ridiculously out-of-date Windows 98 for my old computers. Do a google search for "linux for old hardware" Puppy Linux is invariably recommended or referred to in the article or thread. I tried Puppy 2.14 and it worked way better than Windows 98, so I was stoked.

I first attempted Ubuntu for the loptop and there wasn't much difference between it and XP.
Then I put Puppy on my laptop and it quickly replaced Windows XP. (Currently 3.01 KDE and Newyearspup) - my laptop is around 3 years old and it has amazing performance. So I was hooked that not only could I use my 10+ year old computer that it would also work on my newer laptop bringing much greater performance.

So it was always my belief that Puppy Linux was focussed on restoring usability to older hardware. To me there lies a fundamental philosophical intent.
* It recycles old computers into usability instead of landfill.
* It allows you to extend the life of your current computer so you do not have get a new one - this is in direct opposition to the Microsoft philosophy and some of the bigger Linux distributions
* People and families who are struggling financially are able to own an inexpensive computer (volunteering in a charity I see the harsh reality of people struggling - and it's getting worse)

An added bonus was that it could be used on newer tech, but that is not the case anymore.Now it seems the technology gap has created an issue for the Puppy Linux development. As MU has already stated (and rightly I believe) that people want the latest technology to work with Puppy; (this may be an assumption but) this new technology will only work with later kernels resulting in a more sophisticated Operating System. This may mean in the near future older computers may not be able to install Puppy Linux.

An additional issue is that development of older kernel versions of Puppy, that work well on older computers, (that don't need the sophistication of the latest technology) halts. No new packages are made even though programmes are still being developed that will work on older versions of Puppy.

Could it be possible to create two distinct official versions of Puppy Linux?
The cutting edge version which 4.2 has begun and looks set to continue with the 5 series and a real retro version. I was hoping that the 5 series would be more usable on older hardware but I have realised that this may be an unrealistic expectation.
Retro Puppy (aka Dobson) - to create the most outstanding, functional, and aesthetic Operating System with a complete and expanding Package Library that is designed to work (fully operational) on computers that can only handle Windows 98. To become the first port of call for people looking for an Operating System to use on their old computer.

Comments please....
Cheers
Martin
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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Tue 05 May 2009, 20:45    Post_subject:  

Barry Kauler, when he wrote the mission statement for puppy linux, said it must be able to load into ram with 128mb, more famously Bill Gates said that 640k would always be enough. Embarassed

BarryK did (AFAIK) say that circa 2004 though, when 128mb RAM was a lot, even for a scrap computer.

Because puppy is so easy to install alongside windows, I believe many people are using it now on not-quite-so-old hardware

To my mind now there is a case for a more retro "official" puppy and a 256mb RAM version, with features such as JAVA and Firefox. The retro version would have as many features as the new one, but would have smaller programs, which are generally less known and less popular, and perhaps have pmusic/pwidgets and other applications "backported".

It would also allow developers more space on 256mb versions.

For the moment, the only official version of retro puppy under active development is Puppy 2.14CE "Pheonix" which is very usable even in its current early form. Wink

Remember what happened to DSL when it tried to stick within a 50mb limit....

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hillside


Joined: 02 Sep 2007
Posts: 642
Location: Minnesota, USA. The frozen north.

PostPosted: Tue 05 May 2009, 21:59    Post_subject:  

I understand your line of thought, and as a matter of fact I wondered out loud, right here on this forum, if a new Puppy was even needed. Why not just improve on the versions that exist?

I've rethought that and have come to the conclusion that to remain an interesting project for developers, they need to be working on something that is constantly evolving and moving forward. It also makes sense that Puppy moves ahead with the specs of old equipment. Old equipment is getting more powerful.

I hope that the older versions of Puppy continue to be maintained by those who have an interest in really old equipment. Once you have a Puppy running on your machine, it really ought to be usable for several more years without having to do much upgrading of the operating system. There are a number of people on the forum who say they are still using the 2.x series Puppies and feeling good about it. I still routinely use 3.01 and my main system is running on 4.0. I got it tweaked up the way I want it. I've tested the latest and my machine runs it just fine, but I haven't actually adopted it yet.

Hey, I'm a little long in the tooth, why shouldn't my operating system be the same!
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legendofthor

Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 219
Location: Queensland Australia

PostPosted: Wed 06 May 2009, 09:49    Post_subject:  

G'day,
Attempting to load LXDE-411- that has the kernel 2.6.29.1 and I got this message:
'This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: cmov
Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.'
This was on my 400mhz oldie. It makes me kinda sad as Puppy will eventually move beyond this computer.
As for continued support for older kernels.... "Phoenix" hasn't had an entry in nearly 15 months - maybe I'm wrong and looking in the wrong place but to me that's not an active development.
And 3.02 - reading the development thread shows that it may have gone by the wayside.

I'm curious if anyone knows the last time a package was made for kernel 2.6.18? Yes I understand that some current packages (and a great deal of 3 series packages) are backward compatible. I will finally assume something - that there is little or no support and development for this kernel. (this kernel works nicely on PII computers, even PI)

There are multple forward development threads for Puppy. This is not being critical - I adore the direction that Puppy is going in. LXDE 411 2.6.29.1 is a stunning production of what is possible in 90mbs. I did install it onto another computer. However, I am aware that a fundamental distinction (according to google searches) of the Puppy distribution, a distinction that has attracted many users, is slowly being eroded. That being, the ability to restore old hardware to usability. And the logical conclusion to this development is to take its usability beyond older hardware.

It is one of this years goals to become proficient enough to compile programmes for the 2 series. I'm a disability support worker and business owner not a programmer so its a big learning curve.

Hillside I understand when you said that old equipment is getting more powerful. However, there are still many PIIs getting dusty under people desks ready to dunp in landfill. Usable computers for people with lesser computing needs.

I guess the best I can hope for is for people to renew interest in packaging new programmes (where possible) for the 2 series.

Cheers
Martin
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droope


Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 814
Location: Uruguay, Mercedes

PostPosted: Wed 06 May 2009, 10:09    Post_subject: Re: An official real retro puppy?
Sub_title: Tech gap creating a divergence quandry for puppy dev
 

legendofthor wrote:
...


Hi, i have read your post earlier today, and am ready to give an answer.

See, the issue is not that puppy is getting too big for older hardware, it's that the "older hardware" we knew, is now "ancient hardware", and should use older software.

I think Puppy's developement is going right behind of new technologies, just that it has a gap. If a "regular" machine nowadays has, let's say 2GB ram, puppy aims for a 256 mb machine. It's like we are lagged behind, but not meant to stay forever in Pentium II...

But there are two advantages in open source. Number one is that noone is forced to developed anything that isn't usefull to him/her. And number two, is that if you have a need, you can get enough support for doing it yourself, and without feeling stupid. In fact, it may seem crazy, but you will receive thanks in exchange for your learning.

There are many people with your needs. Maybe you should be the one to step forward and give the first step. Many will follow, don't worry about that.

Hope you get my point Smile I don't think many will develop if they don't see a personal need for it. (some do, though.)

Cheers!
Droope
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ttuuxxx


Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 10821
Location: Ontario Canada,Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Wed 06 May 2009, 12:58    Post_subject:  

Hi Guys,

When I read this I feel for you, I done tons of compiling and releases based on the latest puppy, most of it wouldn't run on your system either, I tried to boot up with puppy 2.0.2, puppy and it wouldn't boot, my pc's are too new. If I put together maybe one of my older machines I might be able to boot. I feel like dropping 5 series and trying to upgrade one of the older ones.
I'll have to think about it Smile
ttuuxxx

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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Wed 06 May 2009, 17:10    Post_subject: 4.1.2  

I've found the 4 series quick enough in my Pentium II machines. However, I usually replace Seamonkey with Firefox. To do this I usually download a barebone edition and add stuff that I want.

Firefox is a tarball simply decompressed, and OpenOffice is an sfs file simply copied to /mnt/home and renamed to someOO_xxx.sfs (reboot and it's ready). xxx= the version number of your Puppy.

Forum member Amigo has packages that work for really old systems. Try googling "amigolinux".

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ecomoney


Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 2183
Location: Lincolnshire, England

PostPosted: Wed 06 May 2009, 22:33    Post_subject:  

legendofthor, I will contact you regarding compiling some packages for 2.14ce Phoenix (we are in a similar area of work), and I would be interested to hear your views also (we are in a similar line of work).

2.14CE was put on hold for a while due to my own personal financial circumstances, but Im determined to finish it off....its not going to be the only official version CE of puppy thats failed...not on my watch!!! (Im not a quitter Laughing )

Besides which, as well as being more suitable for older machines, its also going to be an opportunity to showcase some useability functions that in my experience puppy has been needing DESPERATELY for years to make it more usable by its intended audience (Linux Newbies). With a bit of luck (and arm twisting) this will I hope make it into the mainstream distro if they already exist and have been tested.

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linuxsansdisquedur


Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 250
Location: South of France

PostPosted: Sat 16 May 2009, 18:30    Post_subject:  

Is it time to go back to source of puppy ?
why a new release ? http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42284
"Yesterday, Once more" We don't have to hurry. http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42445
An official real retro puppy? http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42037
Important ideas for the future of Puppy Linux http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=41951

Users point of view if having long term support distro running on old hardware too !
More usefull more stability more attractivity !

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