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Old 11-14-2018, 04:41 PM   #1
the_waiter
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ASUS A6M


Hello

I do this from time to time to encourage people trying our distro for old computers which are supposed to go to the trash.
2 days ago my colleague asked me to install Bodhi on his 11 years old ASUS A6M with this speccy: AMD Sempron 64 3400+, 15.4", 2GB DDR2, 80GB. He was not happy with Windows XP so I took a challenge . I knew I had some troubles with old HW and BL 5, so I decided to put BL 3.2.1 legacy 32 bit with kernel 3.2. Installation went fine. I had only some troubles with BCM 4318 wifi driver but I have managed to install it after some minutes on google. His main target was using it for common work (WEB, Music, Movies, Office) but also for watching videos on YT and I knew this could be the biggest challenge and of course problem. His CPU is just one core 1,8 GHz and it was not very good base. I tried several web browsers available on old repository and the best was old Vivaldi-beta in version 1.0. But colleague claimed he needs an adblocker. Hmm, very bad. I was not able to install a proper adblocker because it was either too new or simply did not work. The Youtube performance poor but in quality 360 it was not so bad. BTW Midori was crashing as hell and YT did not work at all.

The day later he came with laptop to work and was very confused. Bodhi freezed many times and the performance was poor. After some suggestions I decided to install it again but I changed the installation little bit. His CPU was 64bit capable thus I installed BL 3.2.1 64 bit iso with kernel 4.2. After installation I instantly felt something is different. The laptop performance was surprisingly fine. I did not expect a big diffs between 32 v 64. I read there could be a performance increase around 5-10 % which is not much. But here it was significant. Of course I wondered how the web player will manage the YT videos. In this case (I tried Firefox and SlimJet) it was little bit better but not ideal. I decided to install him Smtube app for watching YT videos and he was OK with it.

Anyway, my question to you is: what is your experience with old HW and 32 or 64 bit systems? What could make the difference? 64 bit OS or newer kernel? Both?

Stefan

Last edited by the_waiter; 11-14-2018 at 04:43 PM.
 
Old 11-14-2018, 05:20 PM   #2
hemlocktree
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interesting stefan. you know more about all this than me so no comment as to why.

:-)))
 
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:55 AM   #3
bobl01
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I joined this party when I told a friend I'd installed Linux (Manjaro) on my wife's 2008 MacBook, and it was like a new computer. He asked whether I could do anything with an old JVC laptop and like an idiot I accepted the challenge. Although I immediately regretted my rash acceptance when I saw the device, a 2005 JVC MP-XV841, with a bare 512 MB of RAM, and a fairly small HD (less than 40GB). The device itself is tiny: JVC called it a Mini Note PC. Before going ahead, my friend reassured me that I could reformat the HD and if I bricked it there'd be no hard feelings.

I immediately realised that Manjaro wouldn't work, so I looked around for another distro. My first attempt was 32 bit Mint. I had to fudge the boot settings to turn off PAE, but once that was done, Mint was up and running. In fairness, it ran reasonably well, but the 512 MB RAM proved too much of a limitation. I tried playing with the paging, but there were occasions when it would just stall for 10-20 seconds while it thrashed the HD. After a week, I decided to look around for another distro - after all, I could always go back to Mint if I could find nothing better.

And this is where I discovered Bodhi. I installed the 32 bit "Legacy" version and it's pretty amazing how well it runs. Amusingly, the fan speed increases as the processor works harder which gives immediate audible feedback on the amount of work it's doing. There are no annoying pauses for paging, and most of the issues I've had revolve around making all the usual apps work nicely given the limited amount of screen real-estate available. If this device was to be more than just a toy, I saw LibreOffice as a key application, but the default size of the windows exceeded available screen space. I spent a lot of time coming up with a set of keyboard shortcuts to resize and reposition windows, and change window borders on the fly to make optimal use of the available space.

Two months ago, this device was fit for nothing but the junk heap. Today it's a viable piece of portable kit, due to the power of Bodhi Linux.

We throw away too much electronic equipment. Companies like Apple encourage us to buy new and discard any computer that's more than a couple of years old, whilst actively putting obstacles in the way of third party repairers. This is unsustainable and bad for the planet. It must stop, and if systems like Bodhi can help to resurrect old "dead" computers then it deserves credit and support.
 
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:11 PM   #4
ondoho
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^ sweet.
hard to believe this hardware can run enlightenment.
but i have seen it before, it's amazing. they must have coded it from scratch in assembly or something.
 
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Old 11-17-2018, 05:57 AM   #5
the_waiter
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Enlightenment is very lightweight. That is the fact it is suitable for older HW. We have also the knowledge it works great for new PCs. Some users on the old forum noticed the better performance than with heaviest KDE or Mate.

PS: E is written in C language.

Last edited by the_waiter; 11-17-2018 at 05:59 AM.
 
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:01 PM   #6
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_waiter View Post
PS: E is written in C language.
yes, i wasn't so serious.
coded in C, and well coded.
 
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:35 PM   #7
bobl01
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There's nothing silly about writing systems in assembler. Back in the 1980s I earned a good living developing real-time systems, often written in assembler for "naked" computers (that's computers with no operating system). In those days there wasn't the Intel monoculture, so often the first week of any new job was spent learning yet another assembly language. It was great fun - and very well paid.
 
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Old 11-18-2018, 03:46 AM   #8
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobl01 View Post
There's nothing silly about writing systems in assembler. Back in the 1980s I earned a good living developing real-time systems, often written in assembler for "naked" computers (that's computers with no operating system).
i'm not saying it's silly in general.
but writing a whole desktop env in assembler on a system that is not written in assembler - seems improbable at best, if not impossible.

but hey, even gui OSs can be written in assembler from scratch: https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=kolibri
 
Old 11-18-2018, 04:42 AM   #9
bobl01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
i'm not saying it's silly in general.
but writing a whole desktop env in assembler on a system that is not written in assembler - seems improbable at best, if not impossible.
Improbable, definitely! Whether it's impossible is a different question.

Computers can only execute machine code. It might seem a little long-winded to write in assembly language, where (in general) one line of code produces just one machine code instruction, but for most programmers actually writing the code (in any language) is the easy bit. The tricky part is the time it takes to understand what's required before you write the first line, and the time it takes to test/debug the code after you've written it.

The big advantage of C is that it's close enough to the metal to produce fast code, but it also allows code to be ported more easily between machine architectures "simply" by changing the back-end of the compiler. But in the end, a C compiler just converts source code into machine code, and in that respect it's similar to an assembler.

So, if you can do it in C, you can do it in assembler. But like you, I really don't think anyone would want to do that today!
 
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:33 PM   #10
the_waiter
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Yes, hard to believe someone would code desktop in assembler. C is nevertheless more human but enough low and close to HW to be fast as hell. Anyway I know some guys which still love pushing the limits of HW in assembler. These guys are commodore 64 coders. Consider HW with 1 Mhz CPU 64 kB RAM. During the wonderful code skills and interesting graphics there is also playing music. Still on 1 Mhz machine. I am proud I was a part of this world some years ago. A good news is, this scene never died and is in significant progress. Old guys are coming back and new ones also appear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r65k9CqixxM&t=668s

Enjoy
 
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:50 PM   #11
cordx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobl01 View Post
But in the end, a C compiler just converts source code into machine code, and in that respect it's similar to
magic! truly amazing to the (mostly) uninitiated how such things work. i'm glad there are folks like you all out there who understand them and can share discussions on open forums like this so i can get a glimpse at the inner workings from time to time. thank you for taking the time. @the_waiter especially included for all of the help you give here in the bodhi world
 
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Old 11-18-2018, 04:50 PM   #12
bobl01
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Originally Posted by the_waiter View Post
Anyway I know some guys which still love pushing the limits of HW in assembler. These guys are commodore 64 coders. Consider HW with 1 Mhz CPU 64 kB RAM. [/url]
64k? Luxury!!

Back in 1980 I wrote a space invaders game in 6502 assembler that used less than 2K bytes!

Happy days!
 
Old 11-19-2018, 02:50 PM   #13
rrashkin
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OK, while we're comparing greybeards, in the early 80's I used to code in HEX on the front panel of the Raytheon RDS500. It didn't even have an assembler.
 
Old 11-19-2018, 03:16 PM   #14
hemlocktree
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and what about graywizardlinux....


he is an old fart too!

heh heh heh
 
Old 11-20-2018, 11:55 AM   #15
bobl01
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrashkin View Post
OK, while we're comparing greybeards, in the early 80's I used to code in HEX on the front panel of the Raytheon RDS500. It didn't even have an assembler.
Did you also have to key in the bootstrap loader for PDP-11 in octal from the front panel? I did that more times than I care to remember.

Who else agrees with me that the PDP-11 was the finest 16 bit computer ever made? Its machine code was so well-designed that once people understood it they would faint at its sheer beauty and elegance.
 
  


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