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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Installing Puppy with only 32 MB RAM
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr 2007, 03:40    Post subject:  Installing Puppy with only 32 MB RAM
Subject description: how I done it
 

Please don't accept this post as a HOW-TO, because it is a HOW-I-DONE-IT. If I done it again, it would be easier.

This new topic is sort of a follow-up to posts from Sage, who believes that the smaller the paging device the better, within certain limits of course.

The idea here is to setup a full installation of Puppy 2.14 on a 32 MB RAM machine, 650 MB hard disk, with a 60 MB swap partition.

I'll document the steps involved and report results.

(1) pre-prepare the drive

I booted with SystemRescue CD and selected DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke)
Wiped the drive 1x with zeros

(2) booted Puppy 2.14 CD

used 'puppy acpi=off' boot option (no particular reason for doing this)

choose Xvesa 800x600x16 (the idea is that Xvesa uses less resources Xorg, a presumption on my part. opinions?)

After rebooting X with the settings, it locked-up tight after displaying the Dillo welcome. I figure - out of resources.

Therefore, I'd like to have a swap partition available before booting Puppy. Previous tests have indicated that SystemRescue CD won't boot with only 32 MB RAM, although the DBAN portion works.

Remembering that Vector Linux 4.3 will let you drop out of the installation process to manage partitions and whatever, I inserted that disc.

Cool! It worked and VL uses only 8 MB to work on the CLI

Due to the fact that the hard disk had been zeroed, I used the -z switch with cfdisk as follows:

cfdisk -z /dev/hda (then made two partitons, an 83 and 82)

VL 4.3 has mkswap for /dev/hda2, but needed mke2fs for /dev/hda1

(3) booted Puppy 2.14 CD with swap partition on hard disk

Puppy refused to the use the swap partition because of the wrong version

so I rebooted VL 4.3 and used this command:

mkswap -v1 /dev/hda2


(4) booted Puppy 2.14 CD with proper swap partition version on hard disk

booted just fine

free says using 27 mb ram, 4 mb swap

so where's the rest of the file system?

mount says the cdrom is mounted on /initrd/mnt/dev_ro1 (makes sense, its gotta be somewhere)

my next step will be to kill unnecessary apps with kp before running the install

blinky
freememmaplet
ROX-Filer
xload

now I've got 8 - 9 mb free ram for installing Puppy

(5) The installation

Edit update #1: Normal install AKA Full linstall, GRUB on the MBR - (end update)

The installation went just fine. The grub configuration took a while to come up. Other than that, everything good.

(6) Taking Puppy for a walk (the test drive)

It boots and works fine. It has 3 to 4 mb free RAM to run apps, maybe a little more before you start using the swap partition extensively.

-----------------

Conclusions:

You can save yourself work on a 32 mb ram machine, if you properly prepare the hard disk prior to installing Puppy.

If you have more ram, like 64 mb ram, you should be able to use full featured web browsers and Puppy's other larger programs without much speed lose due to RAM paging. Just keep multi-tasking down, in other words, be conservative.

With only 32 mb ram, you need light weight web browsers, if you want speed.

Last edited by Bruce B on Mon 30 Apr 2007, 09:44; edited 1 time in total
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bostonvaulter


Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 05:10    Post subject:  

nice write-up,

Is this a full-install? It's worth mentioning that full installs (rather than frugal) perform better on low-ram machines (<128MB).

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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 09:47    Post subject:  

bostonvaulter wrote:
nice write-up,

Is this a full-install? It's worth mentioning that full installs (rather than frugal) perform better on low-ram machines (<128MB).


Thanks.

Yes full install but I called it Normal install, updated to read:

Normal install AKA Full install

Affirmed: Low RAM machines to perform better with a Full Install!
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: GB

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 12:00    Post subject:  

Easier and quicker to swap the HD into and out of a bigger machine. Fortunately, the detection Barry has devised will tolerate significant HW changes and re-detection. And, there's no charges or phone calls + 3rd degree inquisitions for 37 alphanumeric activation codes....
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 13:31    Post subject:  

Sage wrote:
Easier and quicker to swap the HD into and out of a bigger machine. Fortunately, the detection Barry has devised will tolerate significant HW changes and re-detection. And, there's no charges or phone calls + 3rd degree inquisitions for 37 alphanumeric activation codes....


HW changes and re-detection necessarily don't apply, I don't think, until the first boot. Meaning, if you swapped drives to another machine, installed Puppy, but never booted it on that machine. Saying in effect that /etc is installed as a default configured /etc.

In the 1.xx days, I'd agree that swapping the hard disk to a higher RAM machine would be easier. The reason being, it was really difficult to install with only 32 MB RAM.

But we (some of us) are living in the version 2.xx days. Things have changed.

After my tests, I wouldn't bother swapping the hard drive even if it were fairly easy, for example, I have two machines right in the room with cases off.

My how-i-done-it also included the things I ran into problems with and would avoid a second time around.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: GB

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 13:39    Post subject:  

What you say may be correct for Puppy, but many (most?) distros go panic if the HD s are swapped- Mandriva/Mandrake being the biggest culprit.
I'm rarely in a room without three functioning PCs and I've always got a breadboard available on the bench in the office. Apart from which, the message about caddies still doesn't seem to be getting through. Why???!!
Laptops are different, of course, and the effort to remove and refit a 2.5" drive from these, using a converter to install the distro in a decent machine, handsomely repays the effort involved.
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2007, 15:21    Post subject:  

Sage wrote:
What you say may be correct for Puppy, but many (most?) distros go panic if the HD s are swapped- Mandriva/Mandrake being the biggest culprit.
I'm rarely in a room without three functioning PCs and I've always got a breadboard available on the bench in the office. Apart from which, the message about caddies still doesn't seem to be getting through. Why???!!
Laptops are different, of course, and the effort to remove and refit a 2.5" drive from these, using a converter to install the distro in a decent machine, handsomely repays the effort involved.


No kidding you actually got Mandriva/Mandrake installed?

About the caddies: What's the chances of any given machine having a caddie? About none, unless you installed it.

On the source machine, you'd still have to remove the hd and put it in a caddie.

In this case, what's more important in the argument, is that it isn't hard to install Puppy on the RAM limited machine.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: GB

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 01:08    Post subject:  

Probably we are both right. Installing to a RAM-limited machine is relatively easy for anyone moderately conversant - most are not [NB since the advent of series2, it is necessary to partition AND format one's own disc. This was automatic in series1]. HD swapping and caddy use are a doddle, but many people buy proprietary cr*p, which helps to fuel Fora like this one! It is very difficult to persuade joe public that they're a lot smarter than the industry would have them believe and that it really is possible to build-your-own just using the little ol' electrical screwdriver in the kitchen drawer. In extremis, there's always the proverbial six-year old lurking in the neighbourhood, who'd be happy to assemble a kit of parts in exchange for a coke......
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Gn2


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 936
Location: virtual - Veni vidi, nihil est adpulerit

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 02:03    Post subject:  

An
Quote:
"electrical screwdriver"
?

Battery powered or ...... ( OTOH there are drinks that may qualify -so I am told).

Sage - for shame:
What are you doing w/coke -not the sniffing variety we hope -
The liquid version is a U.S.A tradition - the sniffin' kind only slighty more body damaging.
> Best windshield wash solution ever

Be kind to your body - smoke only Razz "light" brand filter cigarettes.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: GB

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 02:35    Post subject:  

Unpowered and non-liquid, G.
As for coke - wonderful stuff. I always keep a bottle handy for sink, drain and toilet cleaning. Where else can one buy phosphoric acid legally, these days? And wholly bio-compatible - where would DNA be without all those phosphate ester groupings?
Speaking of Mandriva, swapped a NIC this morning, [trying (unsuccessfully) to connect with jinx mini yesterday - another thread], and it couldn't even manage to re-detect an industry standard 3COM. Mandrake has never understood detection and much less re-detection. Not sure what Susan is rabbiting on about (DWW); no-one ever accused me of being sexist, but she did seem preoccupied with the pretty Spring 2007.1 background....
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 07:16    Post subject:  

I though you were talking about Coke, now it surfaces that you meant CocaCola.

The 32 MB RAM was just a test, for any sincere computing I'd require at least 128 MB. It amazes me how many people are installing Puppy with 64MB and thereabouts.

As near as I can tell most people are using Puppy - perhaps as a learning or experimenting tool. Something they can install in a variety of ways without disturbing Windows.

At this point I don't think Windows will ever be able to catch up with Linux as an OS, its too late.

Remember the white box I told you about? It had XP Pro installed, a fresh install with no extras but Symantec. I looked over the system and determined there is nothing worthwhile that could be done with it as an OS. To make it worthwhile would require installing third party applications, but I'm not going to bother.

There are a few Windows based applications I'd like to have on Puppy. Namely, Nero, Photoshop and NoteTab Pro.

I've figured out ways to run each of them, but Nero has a Linux based product. I think would be better to buy, over using the Windows version.

The most fun I have is giving Linux to old people who have no computer experience. They take right to it, figuring out the card games, email and browsing. I don't think at that level, Linux is any harder to learn than Windows. I suspect it might be easier.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4776
Location: GB

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 07:43    Post subject:  

I'm old enough to remember when Coke contained the 'real thing' ! ~<1961.

Otherwise, agree on all points. I've always said that the most likely scenario is that folks interested in giving Linux a spin will drag some old box out from under the bed - only the likes of Forum types would 'risk' a trial on their overpriced, overspecced proprietary junk heap with the aforesaid stripes.

Furthermore, I've always advocated keeping multiple boxes in commission. One, but only one, of those should be a W98, for eg Nero, PSP, etc. No need at all for XP, or, whisper it, a-vast-crock.

I've been relaying my experiences with jinx in another thread. If you want fast, basic and Net - this is the boy-o. If you want even a hint of 'extras', stick with Puppy. Try the 48Mb version of jinx - don't expect fireworks - or Firefox! TextMaker is great.
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 08:32    Post subject:  

Bruce B wrote:

The most fun I have is giving Linux to old people who have no computer experience. They take right to it, figuring out the card games, email and browsing. I don't think at that level, Linux is any harder to learn than Windows. I suspect it might be easier.


Does Windows still use double click?
that makes no sense to most beginners (or me)

Sounds a lot of fun Bruce.

We are moving into the age of what Microsoft are trying to monopolise, what is known as web2 or softgrid. Old people will not fall for it. They have neither the finances or the inclination to be fleeced.

They are quite capable of carrying their OS on the end of a key.

You learn a lot from new users, for example that coloured water aka printer ink is a scam . . .

Bravo for wrinkly power

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BlubbFallo

Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2007, 09:35    Post subject:  

Nero, photoshop and the like have quite valid counterparts under linux, but (for what it's worth) the single windows based utility I miss by far the most is StrokeIt (http://www.tcbmi.com/strokeit). No mouse gesture app I could test under linux has proven anywhere near as smart, responsive or powerful. If I didn't know StrokeIt, I'd still consider mouse gestures a toy, but StrokeIt, properly configured, is a true workflow booster. Alas, I've been waiting for the author to port it to linux for four years now ... it's probably not going to happen.
The sysinternals toolset (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilitiesindex.mspx) comes next.
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twodees

Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2007, 07:33    Post subject:  

Bruce B wrote:

The most fun I have is giving Linux to old people who have no computer experience. They take right to it, figuring out the card games, email and browsing. I don't think at that level, Linux is any harder to learn than Windows. I suspect it might be easier.


I'm not really old, just middle-aged, but was late to the ball using computers. The 10 years I spent using Windows for internet surfing taught me nothing about really using computers . On the other hand, the past six weeks since I bought my first Linux distro on CD has been a real schooling on computer usage.

I had long suspected that Windows OS was massively overcomplicated and that something was definitely wrong with the way XP was operating my computer. After finding a distro (PUPPY 2.14) that worked on my machines right out of the box, I realized just how much of my online time had been wasted waiting for Windows to blunder about hiding files from me and trying to attract hackers to my connection before doing what I was asking it to do online.

I'm really glad that I bought the Puppy distro along with the other Linux distros I tried. My online search time is much more efficiently organized. What used to take an hour using XP & IE takes me 15 minutes using Puppy and Seamonkey.
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