X Terminal w. 4MB RAM?

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Allin Cottrell

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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Hello,

I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
question has 4MB RAM? TIA.

--
Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University, NC

Dave Cinege

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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In <34C399C6...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu>, Allin Cottrell <cott...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu> writes:
>Hello,
>
>I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
>an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
>installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
>and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
>on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
>question has 4MB RAM? TIA.

Are you high?

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The Oklahoma City Federal building bombing -
Americas first response to government abuse

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legacy

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
to Allin Cottrell

Allin Cottrell wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
> an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
> installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
> and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
> on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
> question has 4MB RAM? TIA.

Now you can run X on 4 mb ram.. I myself have run it on a 386/25 with
4mb, so it can be done. But, just because something can be done, don't
do it. Running X on less than 12mb is painful to say the least.

Andrew Leahy

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
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Dave Cinege wrote:
>
> In <34C399C6...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu>, Allin Cottrell <cott...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu> writes:
> >Hello,
> >
> >I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
> >an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
> >installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
> >and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
> >on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
> >question has 4MB RAM? TIA.
>
> Are you high?
>

I actually did something like this with a 386DX/40 a couple of years
back. I ran an X server and a couple of rxvt's in that much RAM. There
are a couple of places to find information about running Linux with a
minimal amount of memory.

http://rsphy1.anu.edu.au:80/~gpg109/mem.html

has some stuff but it is probably out of date and appears quite
involved. I followed the advice in the tinyX package (located under X11
on sunsite) to cut out some memory wastage. Check out
NOTES_ON_SAVING_MEMORY in the readmes directory of the tinyX archive.

Andrew Leahy

Geoff Short

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
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Allin Cottrell (cott...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu) wrote:
: Hello,

:
: I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
: an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
: installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
: and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
: on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
: question has 4MB RAM? TIA.

You don't mention network: you need one. If you have an ethernet card,
then it is worth doing - run xdm and a font server (rendering fonts
takes forever on an SX machine) on your server machine, and just run
X -query or -indirect on your X terminal. (I've also done this with
a plip connection.) Run as little as possible on it - compile the
smallest kernel you can get away with, don't start up any daemons,
etc etc. It might be worth looking for old releases of software, or
recompiling the Xserver with only support for your card.

If you only have a serial connection, then forget it - running X _and_
programs (even xterms) will be far too painful.

Geoff
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ever sit and watch ants? They're always busy with Geoff Short
something, never stop for a moment. I just ge...@kipper.york.ac.uk
can't identify with that kind of work ethic. http://kipper.york.ac.uk/~geoff

Dan Newcombe

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
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On 19 Jan 1998 23:51:37 GMT, Dave Cinege <dci...@fuckthejunkmailers.org> wrote:
>In <34C399C6...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu>, Allin Cottrell <cott...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu> writes:
>>I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
>>an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
>>installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
>>and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
>>on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
>>question has 4MB RAM? TIA.
>Are you high?

Dave, maybe you should give it a try :)

It can be done - I ran it on a 386/DX-33 w/4M for a long time. Given that
the price of memory now is so cheap, you should move up to at least 8M.

But it can be done...just do it carefully:
1) no sendmail, ftpd, etc... running on the machine, after all
it's just a dumb terminal
2) run all the stuff on the other machine (with the exception
of maybe an rxvt), that includes fonts.
3) Roll your own kernel - just put in the bare minimum to get
things working...do you really need sound? or other
nice things like that. If so - use modules.
4) Find the FAQ on improving X performance and read it.
5) If you don't need more than 256 colors, use 8-bit mode.
6) Don't use a nice big bitmap for a background :)

-Dan


--
Dan Newcombe newc...@mordor.clayton.edu
"Maybe you were always beyond my reach and my heart was playing safe, But was
that love in your eye I saw or the reflection of mine?" --Marillion

Matthew J. Francis

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
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Dan Newcombe wrote:

[]

> Dave, maybe you should give it a try :)
>
> It can be done - I ran it on a 386/DX-33 w/4M for a long time. Given that
> the price of memory now is so cheap, you should move up to at least 8M.

Large denomination, modern ram (72-pin EDO and DIMMs) is getting
cheaper,
yes. However, I very rarely even see 30-pin 1 and 2 meg SIMMs at all,
and
it's usually expensive (rarity value?).

Anyway, I've also been meaning to try setting up an old system as an
X-terminal
for some time now; in my case, a 4M 486DX-25 ("There's no such thing", I
hear
you say. It's actually a DX2-66 on a prehistoric, statically-clocked
25MHz
motherboard...). I have no wish to spend any money on the beast, as it
only
exists because of otherwise useless old parts swapped out of my other
machines, but it would be nice if I could make it do some useful work.

If I make it work, I'll be happy to share my experiences...

-Matt.

George Brewster

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
to

"Matthew J. Francis" <as...@SPAMMERS-DIE-DIE-DIE.dial.pipex.com> writes:

>
> Dan Newcombe wrote:
>
>> [...]


> for some time now; in my case, a 4M 486DX-25 ("There's no such thing", I
> hear
> you say. It's actually a DX2-66 on a prehistoric, statically-clocked
> 25MHz
> motherboard...). I have no wish to spend any money on the beast, as it
> only
> exists because of otherwise useless old parts swapped out of my other
> machines, but it would be nice if I could make it do some useful work.
>
> If I make it work, I'll be happy to share my experiences...
>
> -Matt.

Do I hear somebody poking fun at 486-25's? My, umm, 'workstation' ;-)
here is a 486-25 SX (no math coprocessor), and for being 5 years old,
works great. I run X, sendmail, apache, gpm ... on it just fine. Now
it was a useless lump of junk under Win95, but with Linux, its
downright nice ;-). I do have 12M RAM.

-George

Dave Cinege

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Jan 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/21/98
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In <slrn6c9koi....@mordor.clayton.edu>, newc...@mordor.clayton.edu (Dan Newcombe) writes:
>On 19 Jan 1998 23:51:37 GMT, Dave Cinege <dci...@fuckthejunkmailers.org> wrote:
>>In <34C399C6...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu>, Allin Cottrell <cott...@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu> writes:
>>>I'm thinking of trying to set up an old 486-SX33 machine as
>>>an X terminal. The idea would be to load a minimal Linux
>>>installation (kernel, basic bin utilities) and an X server,
>>>and then to run all programs off another machine. Any ideas
>>>on whether I'd be wasting my time, given that the PC in
>>>question has 4MB RAM? TIA.
>>Are you high?
>
>Dave, maybe you should give it a try :)

Why? I already have enough pain in my life. With the linux router project
(single 1.44MB disk linux distribution) I set the minimum at 8mb. Could I
squeeze it down more? Yeah....would it be dumb it do that? Hell yeah.

You know you can run big bloated OS/2 out fo 4mb if you have too. Doesn't
mean it's reasonable to do it. Now...if he wants to buy another 8-12MB, he
could look to put the needed files on a linux router and have the
whole thing on a single floppy. But doing anything out of just 4mb is crazy.

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