Re: Newbe question...
>Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 12:05:00 -0400
>From: "Swanson, Glenn, KB1GW" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Newbe question...
>I'm trying to install Debian (latest release) from floppies onto a '386
>system that has only 4 Meg of RAM. (I'm going to try using lmemroot.bin on
>1) Is this "too little" RAM for such a system?
Well.. I'll give you my personal history: other people might disagree.
It depends on a lot of factors: your RAM speed, disk speed, daemons you
want to have running, etc.
I have used Debian on a 4M '486 at work, a very slow machine (had to set
all BIOS settings to slowest). It is really not commendable;
Your programs will work OK but dselect becomes painfully slow; also,
first thing you MUST do when installing is creating and activating the
swap partition otherwise things might crash during installation, because
fsck needs lots of memory. If it is not done for you, you can do this by
escaping to a shell ("ash" shell IIRC) during installation,
and manually creating *and activating* the swappartition.
After the long and painful process of installation, recompile your kernel!
>2) Will I have a "usable" system if I can pull this off?
I use Linux on a '386dx40 at home since 1993 :-) But I noticed a big
performance increase after buying memory to 8M. I now have 8M at work and
at home and it works fine. Also X-windows and compilations. You just need
to plan compilations: if you want to compile large programs or the kernel,
go do something else and make it beep when ready :-)
In 4M memory, you will notice:
- big compilations bring the computer to its knees if you have anything
running; you need to kill almost all processes, and compile from your one
left console screen; on largish modules (>40k or so) the machine already
starts swapping, making things very slow. Kernel compilation takes HOURS.
Still, after you successfully installed Debian, first thing you should do
is install all necessary development tools and make your own custom kernel.
A couple of hundred K of kernel size make a big difference for a 4M system.
Compile as much as possible as modules; MSDOS fs, serial driver,
network drivers, and use kerneld to automatically load them (edit
/etc/modules and put "auto" there)
- X-windows programs and large executables take a long time (seconds) to
start up; once running it's OK (once non-used portions of the program are
>Apologies to the grizzled veterans on this reflector. :-)
Not necessary, it's a good question. Why spend all your money on a big computer
instead of saving it until your current one breaks down? (I'm dutch).
>Glenn in Connecticut
Frits in Leiden.
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