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Old 04-25-2014, 05:35 PM   #16
Woodsman
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Quote:
You probably already know that many (if not most) XP boxes are pretty limited in the RAM area, maybe 512M, maybe 1G, but, pretty darned rare that they'll have 2G or better (up to 4G).
I have decided that if they have less than 1 GB, end of discussion, and install 32-bit.

The area between 1GB and 2GB remains gray to me. For now I am going to use 2GB RAM as my starting point. If the customer has 2GB or less then that person is not a power user. And I can tell quickly from the first conversation the level of their computer skills. Thus installing a 32-bit OS is fine and they will never notice the difference. Nor will they care or want to learn the difference. In time I hope I can develop a better feel for the decision point about whether to install 32-bit or 64-bit.

Quote:
That really should not be a huge burden on somebody (at least I haven't found it to be when I've done those systems for folks); that's also with the understanding that sometimes it is burden
I will keep that in mind. These folks have already accepted there is a cost to having somebody update their system. They are not tech savvy and the opposite is more true --- that they are tech phobic. Not Luddites, just phobic. Ye their lack of computer skills places them in a position to depend upon somebody else to help them.

I need to temper the final cost with pragmatism. These folks are not geeks. Adding RAM is not something they really understand, even if I tell them the system will be faster. Their perception of speed begins with the desktop.

Right now I have a customer box in my office that is 10+ years old. I suspect the box is a 32-bit CPU and if so then case closed for that specific system. If the system contains an older single core 64-bit CPU, then I have the weekend to run some "gut check" benchmarks. I also have the demo system for the store-front that has a single core 64-bit CPU and 2GB RAM. I have the weekend to run some "gut checks" with that too.

Interestingly, I learned a lot with today's customer. They are retired, do nothing more than surf the web and check email through an online mail account. When I started the browser on the demo machine and the browser did not open the home page to what they are familiar, I could tell they were straining their minds a bit. So I changed the home page to their preference, restarted the browser, and their faces lit up like the proverbial light bulbs. They asked me to copy some photo images from their XP system to a CD, that is the limits of their computer skill set. Today's observations tie into my other thread about Slackware GUI admin tools where I shared that these types of users think differently than us geeks. Watching them use the demo computer opened my eyes to this other end of the user spectrum.

Quote:
You know you're going to have to spend some time teaching, might as well do that with Xfce, eh?
Yes, and the installation fee includes two hours of tech support. I can't do everything from the bench when I install a Linux system and some things will have to wait for when they return home with their box. For example, connecting their printer. For these users I will write a pamphlet for connecting printers. Or deliver the box to their home and perform the connection myself. Fortunately for me, this customer has an HP printer rather than a printer from one of the vendors that don't support Linux.

We geeks take so much for granted. In an odd way, I am going to enjoy this venture in meeting people who are not geeks and learning how they use and think about computers.

We are going to support Cinnamon, Mate, and possibly Xfce. Most of the customers will not choose or even be informed of the multiple desktop choices available with a Linux system. That would be information overload. We will choose the desktop for them based upon hardware specs. That is one reason I started this thread. Xfce will more or less be a desktop environment of last resort for those folks with severely limited hardware where even Mate sputters. I expect mostly to install Cinnamon and Mate.
 
Old 04-26-2014, 08:36 AM   #17
tronayne
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I thing you've got it just about right. Basic good sense tells you that anyone still running XP is... well, not a geek (if there actually is such a thing as a Windows geek). The folks I've worked with have needed some hand-holding and little TLC to get going but, you know what? Half an hour of TLC and you get calls from folks that need some help (read: new customer! That nice young man helped me, why don't you call him? Cripes, I just turned 70 and I may be nice but I sure as hell ain't young).

Gram wants e-mail, pictures of the grandkids, maybe a little (or a lot) of Facebook (and Facebook games, too, be careful there), maybe a little shopping at Macy's, maybe a little shopping for places to stay on a trip. Maybe some YouTube videos of the kids. Not a whole let else.

If you've ever dealt with users, either as an administrator or as a developer, you know what I mean -- they really don't want to know, they just want the damned thing to work.

I'm still of the opinion that you can't be too rich or too thin -- the more RAM the happier the client. It's a little extra that goes a long way toward a happy camper. I also think that if it's a 64-bit box, keep it a 64-bit box (and vice versa). More RAM, less trouble. But that's just me and I've got clients that are happily using using dial-up (for $6 a month) so there you go.

Best of luck!

Last edited by tronayne; 04-26-2014 at 08:37 AM.
 
Old 04-26-2014, 09:11 AM   #18
jtsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsman View Post
Oops, I saw this after I posted. Are you able to share from where you derived this rule of thumb? Your thinking is similar to what I posted above. That is, based on RAM rather than CPU.
Linux memory management becomes slow and inefficient above 896 MB RAM on IA32. So on the kernel side you switch to a 64 bit kernel above 896 MB RAM.

Userland is a different story. A 64 bit userland requires more memory than a 32 bit userland, so you should not install it on systems with less than 2 GB RAM. That of course heavily depends on what you use as your userland.

The often mentioned 4 GB limit has different reasons and nothing to do with x86-64 support: A 32 bit x86 Linux kernel compiled for 64 GB RAM just doesn't boot on old CPU models, so you need a different kernel for these, which is limited to 4 GB, not because of 32 bit, but because it has to support these old CPUs (down to 486), which were constrained to 4 GB physical RAM.

Last edited by jtsn; 04-26-2014 at 06:18 PM.
 
Old 04-26-2014, 07:00 PM   #19
enine
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2G seems to be a good cut over. My 2G laptop going from 64 bit to 32 bit was night and day difference in performance.
 
  


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