[SOLVED] Reconfigure for low RAM

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gabe
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[SOLVED] Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#1 by gabe » 08 Oct 2013, 22:20

I would like to install Porteus on an old Compaq Presario 1200 notebook. This notebook has a 500 MHz AMD CPU, a 40 GB HD and a maximum of 192 MB RAM. It does not have a wired ethernet port and I'm using an Edimax EW-7811Un USB wireless adapter. I've tried numerous small Linux distros and Porteus is the only one I could get the wireless adapter to work. I can get Porteus to run and connect to the internet but when I launch Firefox it takes minutes before I see a web page if I get one at all. I'm sure it's due to the limited amount of RAM. I was hoping someone could suggest a configuration that may work for me. I'd like to have a GUI desktop, browser, remote desktop (i.e. VNC) and a basic word processor.

This notebook also has a PCMCIA slot in which I've installed a 256 MB Compact Flash card. Only one of the distros I've tried even recognized this card and it assumed it was another hard drive. If I could get Porteus to use it as additional memory it might solve all of my problems but I don't know to do this. I should've mentioned that I'm pretty new to Linux.
Last edited by brokenman on 18 Oct 2013, 00:27, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added solved

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#2 by brokenman » 09 Oct 2013, 01:26

You should look at using a legacy version of firefox. Perhaps the one from the Kiosk version is suitable.

http://dl3.porteus.org/i486/packages/kiosk/

You may need to mount the file porteus-kiosk-v2.1-i486.iso to get at the 02-firefox.xzm module.

wget http://dl3.porteus.org/i486/packages/ki ... 1-i486.iso -P /tmp
mloop /tmp/porteus-kiosk-v2.1-i486.iso
ls /mnt/loop/porteus/base
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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#3 by donald » 09 Oct 2013, 05:03

@gabe
I see you are using "Distribution: 2.1 MATE"
you could try porteus-LXDE. It uses less memory than MATE.
(Info in /boot/docs/requirements.txt)
and you could make a swap-partition on your hdd. :)

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#4 by fanthom » 09 Oct 2013, 08:03

@gabe
follow donald's advice (LXDE+swap) and then replace firefox entirely with midori browser (download through PPM) and you should be good to go.
you could also experiment with 'zram' cheatcode - pleas refer to /boot/docs/cheatcodes.txt for details.

btw: please generate full system report through 'Porteus System Info' and i'll check what's needed to get your pcmcia card to work.
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#5 by gabe » 09 Oct 2013, 16:06

@fanthom

I reran the wizard with the LXDE desktop, installed it to the hard disk and created a 500 MB swap file (big enough?). I connected to the net and downloaded and installed Midori. I wasn't sure how to properly remove Firefox. I tried deactivating it in PPM but after reboot it still showed up but was no longer working. I then removed Firefox from the /mnt/sda1/porteus/base directory and after reboot it was gone.

Midori shows up in the Internet menu but when I click on it nothing happens. I tried booting with and without the zram=33% cheatcode but there was no difference. When I try to get into PPM I now get an error message that it's already running and I should remove /tmp/.ppmlock and restart but when I go to the /tmp directory I don't see a .ppmlock file. The other change I noticed was the addition of a new desktop icon for Lynx even though I didn't knowingly install it.

I uploaded a full system report to http://pastebin.ca/2464613.

Thanks for all of you help.

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#6 by brokenman » 09 Oct 2013, 22:34

Definitely go with LXDE (didn't notice you were using MATE) but I would still recommend a legacy version of firefox. Midori will drag in webkit and probably another dependency (vala?).
Removing the firefox module from the base folder is the correct method of removing it.
The files that begin with a . are invisible so you will need to open a terminal and elevate to root:
su
toor
rm -f /tmp/.ppm*


Also your swap partition is OK for the specs you have, it can't hurt. More RAM would be nice but probably hard to come by these days.
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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#7 by gabe » 09 Oct 2013, 23:25

Thanks for enlightening me on the hidden files. That took care of my PPM problem. I had previously burned a CD with Kiosk so I was able to copy the legacy version of Firefox from that and put it in the base folder. I then deleted the Midori file from the modules folder and rebooted. Midori was gone from the Internet menu but Firefox wasn't added. I went into PPM thinking I might have to activate Firefox but when I tried that it said Firefox was already activated. I found a Firefox folder at /mnt/sda1/opt but I don't know how to launch it or add it to the menu or add the icon to the desktop. Can you point me in the right direction?

Also, if you have any ideas how I can use the 256 MB flash card in the PCMCIA slot as extra RAM I would appreciate it. (See previous post).

Thanks.

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#8 by brokenman » 10 Oct 2013, 01:00

Your method is correct so I am not sure why firefox did not show up in the menu after a reboot. Are you saving changes when you boot into Porteus? If you open a console and type: cat /proc/cmdline I will be able to see.
There is a way to add an item to the menu using xdg tools but I wouldn't think this is necessary. The mozilla folder in /opt also sounds a little strange since in Porteus we compile everything to go into /usr.

All menu files reside in /usr/share/applications so if you have a firefox.desktop file there it should show up in the menu at boot.

You could try pasting the following into a console (as root) to see if your caches are updated and the item appears in the menu: ctrl + shift + v
for x in `find /usr/share/icons -name icon-theme.cache`; do
/usr/bin/gtk-update-icon-cache -t -f `dirname $x`
done
/usr/bin/update-mime-database /usr/share/mime
/usr/bin/update-desktop-database
killall lxpanel


Regarding the PCMCIA slot with the flash memory, there is no way to use it as RAM as such (since the two things are like apples and oranges ... and the apples are slower). You could use the flash memory as swap but I also wouldn't recommend this as the disk probably reads faster, has better throughput and has a better capacity for read/write limits. In the end RAM is probably your friend. I had a stack of older RAM before I moved house so I now wish I didn't throw it out. First job is to give fanthom the info he requested so you can get the PCMCIA card recognized and working.
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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#9 by donald » 10 Oct 2013, 02:29

@gabe
If you still can't find firefox anywhere in the menu, create a desktop-icon
For a desktop-icon rightclick on desktop > create shortcut > give it a name > click the browse-button > navigate to /usr/lib/firefox-21.0/ (this is where I found Firefox),and select the "firefox" file.
For the Icon select this: /usr/lib/firefox-21.0/icons/default16.png

hint:To make invisible files visible start PCmanfm > view > click "show hidden" or press ctrl+H

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#10 by gabe » 10 Oct 2013, 03:42

In response to suggestions to @brokenman and @donald

When I execute cat /proc/cmdline there is a "changes=/proteus" entry so I assume that means I am saving changes.
There is no firefox.desktop file in /usr/share/applications.
When I execute the script there is no result given in the console but I lost all of the desktop icons on the bottom of the screen and can no longer bring up the menu to access the applications. How do I get that back?

I was able to create a desktop icon by using donald's suggestion but I had to go to the /opt folder to find firefox since that's where it is on my system. There is a firefox-21.0 residing in /usr/lib but as you can see from prior posts I'm trying to use legacy firefox that I got from the Kiosk edition since firefox-21 doesn't seem to run in my limited amount of RAM. (This notebook only supports a maximum or 192 MB of RAM and I can't add any more). After clicking on the newly created icon the legacy Firefox comes up and seems to run okay. I get the warning about Firefox being out of date but it ran fine on the Porteus site.

If I can get my original desktop icons and menu back I'll have everything I was trying to get on this system. However, I'm wondering if I should try to get everything where it belongs for future maintenance purposes. Can I just move the entire firefox directory from /opt to /lib? Is there a command to move complete directories?

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#11 by donald » 10 Oct 2013, 07:13

@gabe
just out of curiosity
I made a fresh LXDE-Install (32bit,ext2)> boot > deactivate 04-firefox.xzm > delete it
put in 002.firefox.xzm from kiosk, rename to 04.., activate >reboot
firefox is in /usr/lib/firefox-21.0 (nothing in /opt).If you extract the kiosk-ff-module
you can see the folder-tree.
now what is missing:
/usr/bin/firefox (symlink)
the two firefox-files in /usr/share/applications
/usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png
extract them from the original 04-ff.xzm and put them in place > reboot
now I got the Icons back, and working

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#12 by fanthom » 10 Oct 2013, 07:28

clarification:
a) kiosk edition has exactly the same version of firefox as desktop edition
b) kiosk version of firefox does not have /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop as is not needed (and i hate not needed things in kiosk)
c) i still think midori is the best choice so pls wait till brokenman fixes 32bit repo and download it again (this time with full set of deps)

lynx is included by default so if no other browser is present then it takes the job :)
from the linked raport i see that your pcmcia card is initialized:

Code: Select all

Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.771469] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: CardBus bridge found [0e11:b103]
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.771528] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: Enabling burst memory read transactions
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.771548] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: Using CSCINT to route CSC interrupts to PCI
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.771563] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: Routing CardBus interrupts to PCI
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.771584] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: TI: mfunc 0x01001002, devctl 0x64
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.994564] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: ISA IRQ mask 0x0008, PCI irq 9
Oct  9 09:00:29 porteus kernel: [   34.994597] yenta_cardbus 0000:00:0a.0: Socket status: 30000010
Oct  9 09:00:30 porteus kernel: [   35.876212] pcmcia_socket pcmcia_socket0: pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
so please check if you can access it (maybe it needs formatting prior to accessing? or even partitioning?)
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#13 by gabe » 10 Oct 2013, 12:52

While waiting for your responses I reinstalled from the CD. My icons, except for Firefox, reappeared at the bottom of the screen. I also have the pop up Application menu but Firefox is not present under Internet. However, I also still have the desktop Firefox icon I created earlier to launch firefox-legacy. I didn't expect to see this icon since I expected the reinstall to wipe everything out and start fresh. Bottom line is I now have a working system that does what I wanted. The only thing is the missing firefox menu item. I tried to follow donald's directions and extracted the files from the original 04-ff.xzm file. The extraction completed successfully but I don't know where they extracted to and can't find them.

By the way, my firefox-legacy files are located in /mnt/sda1/usr/lib. The firefox-21 files are in /usr/lib. Since I'm installed on the hard disk I thought any path starting with '/' was from the highest level. Since my disk is named sda1 to my way of thinking these two paths should point to the same directory but they obviously don't. The two versions of Firefox don't seem to be the same to me. The biggest difference to me is that the legacy version actually runs on my notebook and the 21 version doesn't. I would like to try Midori. When is it expected to be ready for downloading?

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#14 by gabe » 10 Oct 2013, 13:03

As for the PCMCIA card, I tried File Manager and GParted and neither one sees the card. Suggesting formatting or partitioning implies using the card as a disk drive but I was wanting to use it as extra RAM. Now that I have a working system it might not be worth messing with it.

Since I do have a working system, I would like to save what I have before I lose it. I noticed an ISO Master application - can I use it to create an ISO of the system as it is and save it to a USB drive? This notebook doesn't have a CD burner. Will the saved ISO include my swap file or will have to recreate it if I reinstall from the ISO.

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Re: Reconfigure for low RAM

Post#15 by fanthom » 10 Oct 2013, 13:48

However, I also still have the desktop Firefox icon I created earlier to launch firefox-legacy. I didn't expect to see this icon since I expected the reinstall to wipe everything out and start fresh
you probably never deleted /porteus/changes directory and all your changes persisted there. when doing reinstalation or upgrade you should totally remove /boot and /porteus and then copy new folders in place of the old ones.
Suggesting formatting or partitioning implies using the card as a disk drive but I was wanting to use it as extra RAM.
the only way of using it as extra RAM is to format it as swap - but you have it already so no point.
I noticed an ISO Master application - can I use it to create an ISO of the system as it is and save it to a USB drive?
no need to use this application. you have to boot into 'always fresh' and then you could create a tar archive from /boot and /porteus or create new ISO with /porteus/make_iso.sh script (this iso will include added modules and changes saved in /porteus/changes folder).
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

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