LinuxQuestions.org
Did you know LQ has a Linux Hardware Compatibility List?
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Desktop
User Name
Password
Linux - Desktop This forum is for the discussion of all Linux Software used in a desktop context.

Notices

Reply
 
LinkBack Search this Thread
Old 01-15-2007, 09:28 PM   #1
gastroman
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Application Launch Failure - several distros


Hi,
I have been trying out several different linux distros, as possible replacements
for windows 98 on a 400 MHz machine.

I've been running live CDs mostly, to try out the different distros.

Something I have found is that after running a distro for a while, it seems to stop launching some applications.
Specifically, I'm usually running from the "start menu" of whatever desktop, and I select something,
and nothing ever seems to appear.
No error message, no lockup, just acted like I didn't click anything.

Oddly, it seems like some programs I can run once or a few times,
but after a period of use (an hour or so) I end up less able to run things.

This has happened in different distros.
I am suspecting some piece of my hardware, possibly, but I'm not sure how to diagnose where.
Any suggestions?

Also - is there a good method to tell what is really happening when I try to launch a program and it
dies quietly like this?

any tips appreciated.

Are live CDs known to be more problematic than hard disk installs?

FYI:
This machine will be used by my kids when ready (they are 5 and 7), so I'm looking for
stable and pretty GUI oriented usage.

Distros I am trying:

edubuntu <-- I like this because of the kid focus and preinstalled packages, but the performance is lackluster on this older machine, and I was even able to completely get it locked up, requiring a hard reset.

xubuntu
PClinuxOS
Damn small linux
Madriva 2006
Fedora Core 6
Vector linux 5.1.1

Gastroman
 
Old 01-15-2007, 09:38 PM   #2
Simon Bridge
Guru
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Waiheke NZ
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,211

Rep: Reputation: 197Reputation: 197
Quote:
I am suspecting some piece of my hardware, possibly, but I'm not sure how to diagnose where.
Any suggestions?
RAM. CD-ROM Drive + CPU

Live distros run from a ramdisk. This is restricted by your RAM. The smaller the ram the longer it takes to launch anything, and some things will not run at all. Further, as you change things around, you'll be storing settings in the ramdisk that would normally go to the HDD. Thus using up your disk-space.

Speed are important too - small RAM size will require much toing and froing between memory and CD-ROM.

You can find out more by running your test applications from the commandline. Many of them will have a verbose option or even a debug option which will likely tell you more than you can decipher or need.

You could also add puppy linux to your list.
 
Old 01-15-2007, 10:18 PM   #3
gastroman
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
I have ~390M of RAM in there, which I was thinking should be plenty.
Several distros are aiming at running on 128, 64, or even less RAM.

But point well taken on the liveCD issue. - that probably is chewing up lots of RAM space,
that could be sitting on a drive instead.

I'll start evaluating off a hard drive now that I've had a taste, and see if things
improve.

I actually had tried Puppy linux, but it just didn't seem as "together" as some of
the other lightweight options. I had declined that one already.
I am still hoping for that "easy to admin" aspect, which is nicely built into some of the bigger
distros.

thanks for the tips!

Gastroman
 
Old 01-15-2007, 11:07 PM   #4
Simon Bridge
Guru
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Waiheke NZ
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,211

Rep: Reputation: 197Reputation: 197
Quote:
I have ~390M of RAM in there, which I was thinking should be plenty.
Several distros are aiming at running on 128, 64, or even less RAM.
Yes, well, the minimum RAM sizes usually involve minimum possible install.

Compare: linux is supposed to run on the 80386 platform computers. Technically it can. But you just try it.

I wouldn't expect to run anything that looks cool with less than 512Mb myself.

Quote:
I am still hoping for that "easy to admin" aspect, which is nicely built into some of the bigger distros.
Then you are looking for one of the debian varients.

DSL, say, and install a cooler WM.
 
Old 01-16-2007, 05:26 AM   #5
ciotog
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: Slackware current
Posts: 727
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 43
Just a quick note about the statement "I'm looking for stable and pretty GUI oriented usage." (is that 'pretty' "nice looking" or "fairly"? I'll assume the latter).

My kids are 2 and 4, and we use Window Maker (with dock and clip removed). They have much less problems getting around with it than most adults. For example, my daughter (the eldest) isn't the least bit fazed that there isn't a taskbar, knows how to zoom in and out using Ctrl-Alt-'+' and -'-', launches applications without a "Start" menu button, etc.

Actually I'm afraid that if I switch to a GUI with a task bar she won't want to go back to Window Maker. Maybe I should try it out for a while...

Personally I think kids are ready to use computers when they're around 2 years old.
 
Old 01-16-2007, 06:27 AM   #6
Edsdesk
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
RE: system falling off

First, try swapping out or simply reducing memory, 1 stick at a time. That is a very likely cause. Also, be sure your cooler is tight on the processor, it can overheat to cause this and ultimate total system freeze. While you're in there, be sure all your cards and cables are in real tight.

After that, you'r motherboard is most likely culprit.
 
Old 01-16-2007, 07:13 AM   #7
leeley211
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jun 2006
Location: Angus, Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04
Posts: 18

Rep: Reputation: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by gastroman
I have ~390M of RAM in there, which I was thinking should be plenty.
Several distros are aiming at running on 128, 64, or even less RAM.

But point well taken on the liveCD issue. - that probably is chewing up lots of RAM space,
that could be sitting on a drive instead.

I'll start evaluating off a hard drive now that I've had a taste, and see if things
improve.

I actually had tried Puppy linux, but it just didn't seem as "together" as some of
the other lightweight options. I had declined that one already.
I am still hoping for that "easy to admin" aspect, which is nicely built into some of the bigger
distros.

thanks for the tips!

Gastroman
It really doesn't matter what distro you run if you do not have enough memory then you are going to run out of memory even if you put it on a hard drive with a swap, because if you swap file is not big enough then it get full and you have the same problem the least that you should have to get those fancy GUI'S is .5 gig. and a swap file of 1.5 gig. Which all distros will not read.
 
Old 01-17-2007, 05:57 PM   #8
handydan
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: palmdale, california
Distribution: MEPIS 8; Debian (stable/testing)
Posts: 83

Rep: Reputation: 23
Live cd variants

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Bridge

Then you are looking for one of the debian varients.
I would agree. After starting off w/ RPM based systems, I have become very impressed with the ease of administering a Debian system.
And I also agree that you may have just marginally enough RAM, but I think the situation would improve greatly with a harddrive install. I'm running MEPIS on a box w/ 256 megs RAM and it works pretty well. 512 is always better, tho.
 
Old 01-17-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
gastroman
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Hey all -
thanks for the inputs.

I have now installed Edubuntu on HDD, and indeed it is running MUCH better.
Maybe not optimal with the 390M, but definitely usable.
I was trying out 7 or 8 apps at one time, playing audio and video clips off web sites, and it was tolerable.
So far, no missing apps.
That's about all that I had hoped for from this older machine.

I wonder though, if I might be better off with a different windows manager/desktop.
This uses GNOME.
I think that's the next thing I need to understand better.

Thanks again for the tips - I'll have to look closer at Debian, too...

Pete
 
Old 01-18-2007, 01:48 AM   #10
Simon Bridge
Guru
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Waiheke NZ
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,211

Rep: Reputation: 197Reputation: 197
If it's going and not too sluggish, you are probably fine. Have a look at the system monitor for how well it uses system resources.

The Desktop is GNOME, the WM is Metacity, the File Manager is Nautilus. These can all be fiddled. Variations are in the repositories.

Synaptic is great for browsing the possibilities.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
kde - launch an application with a custom title, window icon grooveharder Linux - Software 2 12-11-2006 03:54 AM
Application launch times Johng Mandriva 1 08-09-2005 11:31 AM
Gnome Panel Launch Failure ducod Linux - Software 2 03-04-2005 12:50 AM
Launch an application in firefox - How? TSynergy Linux - Newbie 5 02-27-2005 11:02 AM
gnome: launch application associated to a document type from command line cweiske Linux - Software 1 09-28-2004 06:47 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:35 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration