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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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-where is this value reported?
In Configure your desktop utility (Star menu > System > Configuration > Configure your desktop). It has "Information" section with nice colored graphical memory consumption charts. It reports "Total physical memory = 882,61MB".
-Is this consistent?
It is, if you mean from boot to boot. In the two places where there are reports on the RAM size the figures are consistent too (albeit slightly different).
-Does this cause any problems?
Not. However, losing more than half of hard-earned RAM is not the way it should be, is it?
-How much RAM does 'top' report?
There's another place that reports RAM: Mandrakelinux Control Center (Star menu > System > Configuration > Configure your computer). In Boot Loader section, it has an option/text field "Specify precise RAM size if needed". "Found 896MB" it says here. Specifying the correct, real amount of physical RAM installed does NOT change the amount of RAM reported.
The BIOS and WinXP (it's a dual-boot machine) report the correct amount.
I've parsed dmesg output for any indications that kernel isn't compiled to use 2 GB of RAM (or any other amount) or in fact anything regarding RAM specifically. I may have missed such indications if they are indirect: I'm not yet an expert. In all other respects, dmesg outputs rather faithfully on all other pieces of hardware that I have.
Do you know of any surefire way to remedy the situation? I mean like downloading the latest kernel, re-compiling it with any parameters pertaining to the specific machine. I've never done this before, but I don't think it's beyond human powers anyway, and I'll be sure to google for HOWTOs.
Anyway, do you have any specific advice on the kernel recompilation procedures? Do you think the recompilation has a high probability of correcting the issue?
This article does a nice job of explaining how Linux manages memory and I think it would be of interest. If you will recompiling your kernel, then Yes, if you've got a P4 (or whatever) then you can specify the exact CPU architecture during that process as well. Good luck with it -- J.W.
Memory fails me. Is Xeon older than P3? If so then potentially there would be a problem since the optimization will be for P3.
Really, I can't tell you, but trying won't hurt. If there is a problem booting all you need to do is go into the /boot/ directory and change the symlinks back to the old kernel.
In the alternative, as has been suggested, you can just compile your own kernel. This isn't difficult, and you could set every option that you wanted. You would need to get the complete kernel source, and not the stripped Mandrake version. You would get the source from kernel.org.
I'm now booted with "2.6.3-7mdk-p3-smp-64GB" version. The RAM size is REPORTED CORRECTLY. I've also found a link to an rpm of a newer 2.6.8 series kernel from Mandrake: it has "enterprise" in it's name and is supposedly more of a server-oriented thing. At the same time, there are what can be called "poweruser desktop" variants.
The thing with me is that my workstation is a mixture of hardware found in servers AND desktops: memory, smp, scsi, tape drive and at the same time color calibration device, monitor with large resolution / refresh rate/ color depth (with which there's a problem too now, but that's going to be another thread). I'm doing a good deal of heavy lifting related to publishing; I'm looking at Scribus, LittleCMS, Gimp, GhostScript, etc. and some other apps that could fit in the workflow at some point or maybe even constitute a closed set of tools comparable in completeness to the Adobe Creative Suite offering.
Xeon is newer than P3, so it seems, in the spirit of Linux, I'd really better recompile my own kernal version. Will broaden my horizons too, I guess.