Tuning for very little RAM

Gary Kline kline at thought.org
Wed Jan 6 21:02:30 UTC 2010

On Wed, Jan 06, 2010 at 09:21:06AM -0800, Charlie Kester wrote:
> On Wed 06 Jan 2010 at 04:25:31 PST Bill Moran wrote:
> >In response to Da Rock <freebsd-questions at herveybayaustralia.com.au>:
> >
> >>Its been a while- work's has been keeping me very busy for months now.
> >>
> >>I have revived an old laptop which has very little RAM, and it is
> >>absolutely hammering the swap.
> >>
> >>I'm trying to set it up as a demo for some skeptics with no money, so I
> >>need email, internet (with plugins), openoffice, acrobat, and wine.
> >>
> >>Aside from all that though, for the academics of it how can I help this
> >>situation? The laptop has around 100MB RAM, with 16k free, and has a new
> >>install of FreeBSD 8.0.
> >
> >The most obvious thing to do is reduce the number of running programs.
> >Go through /etc/ttys, for example, and disable all but one or two consoles,
> >and edit /etc/rc.conf to disable anything that you don't need on the
> >system (possible sendmail, syslog?, etc)
> The other most obvious thing to do is to look at the apps you're running
> and see if there are more lightweight alternatives.
> If I had to run a machine like that, I'd probably want to avoid X
> Windows altogther and go console-only.  But it sounds like your
> "skeptics" won't let you do that.
> Assuming you have to use X, you'll want to avoid heavyweight desktop
> environments like KDE or Gnome.  I like tiled window managers like musca
> or dwm myself, but your skeptics will probably want a more traditional
> window manager (aka MS-Windows clone) like xfce or openbox.

	Or even lighter weight, CTWM, which is just a step up from twm....

> When you say "internet (with plugins)" I think you mean Firefox.  If
> this isn't a hard and fast requirement, take a look at some of the more
> lightweight browsers like Midori, Kazehakase or Arora.  (I'd recommend
> even more lightweight alternatives like surf or elinks, but I don't
> think your skeptics will approve.)
> Same for OpenOffice.  There are alternatives to each of the apps in the
> OpenOffice suite that might not have all the same bells and whistles,
> but will run in much less RAM.   

	AbiWord is a great word-processor if that would serve Da Rock's
	needs.  For very kwik browsing I use links -G [[the graphical
	incarnation of the otherwise text]] links.  

	Every bell and whistle is 'just a tad more'; but then so many tads
	add up to tons; so it takes some forethought before piling on the
	apps.   Da Rock, did you mis-type that you only have 16k free? ....

> For some ideas on which apps to try, look at the apps bundled in some of
> the Linux distros that target small machines.
> http://bengross.com/smallunix.html has a good list of these distros.

	Good one!


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 Gary Kline  kline at thought.org  http://www.thought.org  Public Service Unix

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