old imac: low memory software, framebuffer configuration
A friend just gave me her old iMac. It's a 233mhz G3 with 32mb of RAM.
MacOS9 was terribly slow on it, so I installed Debian. The network
install worked perfectly, and I was especially impressed by the Japanese
on the language selection screen. Nice work, developers. :)
Two major questions:
- I'd like to use the web on this thing. What are my options? Running
Mozilla is a joke-- just after startup top reports Mozilla alone using
70% of my RAM. I looked at Skipstone, but is there anything else you
can recommend? (Opera? Though it is non-free...)
Even X itself is pretty resource-intensive. I can use ion as a window
manager and xvt for terminals, but I'm still using a ton of memory for
functionality not much better than the console.
- Because X consumes a bunch of memory, I looked into using the
framebuffer instead. (I've read about a project called "Zen", and I
read GTK2 was ported to the framebuffer, so...) I played with the
directfb project and fbset to try setting some different video modes on
my console, but I couldn't figure out where anyone would actually find
the mode settings (refresh rates, dot clock... all of the settings that
would go in /etc/fb.modes) for the screen on these machines.
(I used fbset -x after booting to get the initial settings I used in
Finally, I noticed after the sun went down that the screen is rather
bright-- there's a distinct edge where the pinkish gray that's in the
background of my console meets actual black surrounding the screen. Is
there a way to adjust the brightness on these beasts?
I'll be getting some more memory for the computer soon, but until then
it's fun to try to squeeze some performance out of it. I'm most
concerned about the brightness issue; I fear I may have damaged the
monitor while experimenting with fbset. (Is this possible?)