Re: Advice needed to speed up very slow machine
On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 21:45:10 -0500
Don Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I am seeking the advice of some of you who may have been down this
> path before. Situation: I am working on an older 166 MHz Pentium-S
> machine with 96 MB RAM, two 2.5GB hard drives, for a neighbor (rather
> poor) here in the Arkansas Ozarks. She will be using it mainly for
> Email, web surfing, and possibly a few games. She is somewhat used to
> Win98 and Outlook Express, but since I keep getting phone calls from
> her every time W hiccups, I decided to rebuild this older computer for
> her and put Debian GNU/Linux Sarge on it, figuring it might be less
> work for me in "service calls" ;-)
> I have installed sarge with kernel 2.4.26 on it -- no problem.
> Actually, everything works fine on it, with KDE and Kmail and
> Mozilla-Firefox as my choices (since that's what I'm using myself).
> The problem is that with only a 166 MHz processor speed and the
> limited 96MB of RAM, the machine is agonizingly sloooooow! (I'm
> spoiled by my own new 2.8GHz P4 with 1GB RAM) For example, it takes
> about 4-1/2 minutes for cold boot up to the KDE desktop. I almost
> fall asleep every time I wait for Kmail to come up, and the same for
> the address book. Once Kmail is up and running, it's response is
> I feel she needs to have a GUI interface for her email, etc. since
> that is what she is used to. She is not very computer literate and I
> need to make it as easy as possible for her to operate (she's had some
> brain damage from an accident some years ago).
> Anyone have any suggestions of what I could do to improve speed within
> the constraints I have mentioned? (Yes, I know that command line
> email program would do wonders, but she needs the GUI.) I don't
> really need all the fancy stuff that the KDE desktop provides. I
> might mention that Win98se with Outlook Express is quite fast
> (relative to sarge/kde/kmail) on this same machine.
> Thanks for any suggestion you might make...
That's not quite as bad as a 133Mhz laptop w/16MB of ram. :-)
For serious suggestions, I would start by using IceWM instead of KDE.
The interface looks a lot like Win95 or 98 (assuming you use the right
theme) and it's much lighter on the bloatware scale than KDE.
You might find Thunderbird to be a better e-mail match, since you
already have Firefox on her machine. Even better would be Sylpheed (or
Sylpheed-claws), which is a very fast, lightweight alternative that has
a similar look and feel to Outlook. (Not the close relative to Firefox
any more, but still a great mailer.)
For games, well there's always stuff like circuslinux, 'apt-cache search
tetris', etc. Plenty of card games and such, too.
And, of course, even though you use a different window manager it
doesn't mean you can't run kde or gnome programs. They'll still work
fine, provided you have the necessary libraries and dependencies
installed (apt-get will take care of that, no sweat).