Man pages take forever on slow machine?

Scott I. Remick scott at
Wed Dec 29 06:15:45 PST 2004

--- Ramiro Aceves <ea1abz at> wrote:

> My pentium 100 MHz with 16 MB RAM runs smoothly with FreeBSD 4.10 , it 
> even runs fvwm under X. I am not able to run 5.3 install, as I only have 
> 16MB, I was suspecting that I need more memory for the install proccess. 

The reason I wanted 5.3 was so that, if my dad gets hooked and wants to
progress, he doesn't have to unlearn the 4.x way of things after just
learning it. Unfortunately this old system is the only spare one we had
lying around.

Now, I can understand needing more than 16MB to install. I can understand
that there'd be a lot of swapping. I can understand it's going to be a lot
slower than what I'm used to. But what I don't understand is how I could
wake up this morning and it's STILL working on that man page. That seems to
suggest not just proportional slowness, but that there's something horribly

Truth is, even when it was churning, there wasn't a ton of hard drive
access, which lead me to believe that it wasn't a RAM/VM/swapping issue. And
now I don't even notice the hard drive light flashing. And even if it WAS
swapping... I'd expect FreeBSD to multitask enough so that I could log in
under another VTTY and run top and vmstat and such to figure out what was
going on. Or at least being able to use CTRL-C to abort (which won't work).

Maybe people think I'm masochistic here... but I struggle through these
things to learn. Yeah I could just say "Sorry, dad... you need to spend $100
and pick up a faster used system" but that'd just turn him off the whole
idea and keep it from happening anytime soon, and I wouldn't have learned
anything more about FreeBSD. My nose tells me there's something wrong here
above and beyond my system just being 1/4th the speed of a 450MHz Pentium or
the hard drive being twice as slow... and I'd like to either figured it out
so I can fix it, or learn precisely what it is for the future.

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