older computers

Aviss,Tyler tjaviss-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at public.gmane.org
Wed Sep 16 19:00:21 UTC 2009

On 15-Sep-09, at 3:24 PM, Eric Battersby <gyre-Ja3L+HSX0kI at public.gmane.org> wrote:

> On Mon, 14 Sep 2009, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
>> | From: Eric Battersby <gyre-Ja3L+HSX0kI at public.gmane.org>
>> | Can someone clarify for me: what is an "older computer"?
>> Probably not.  It is a generalization.  The actual attributes that
>> matter are not determined by a clock.
> That's the thing: they are not determined by age, but perhaps
> by "era" because older parts are not the same.
>> | Which new distributions should not be installed on which hardware?
>> | No need to mention extremes, but what are the cut-off specification
>> | ranges in terms of non-obvious attributes?
>> What non-obvious attributes do you think matter?
>> The x86 architecture underwent modest changes at each step from 386  
>> to
>> 486 to Pentium to Pentium Pro to Pentium II to Pentium 3 to Pentium  
>> 4.
>> Some distros (and I had thought F11 was one) may require PII
>> instructions (aka 686).
> PII is one of the explicit requirements, so that is OK.
> Non-obvious attributes include those from video cards, monitors,
> PCMCIA cards, PCI cards, interactions with external peripherals.
> I don't know what else, because they are not obvious.
>> I have a machine that boots Fedora Core 2 (I think) and in the  
>> process
>> the kernel whines that the BIOS is old enough that it doesn't trust
>> the ACPI.
>> Old machines have ISA and all that means (no sharing of IRQs,
>> autodiscovery of devices is hard).
> ISA might be an example of a non-obvious attribute.
> I don't remember seeing bus type (ISA, VLB, PCI)
> mentioned in the list of hardware requirements.
>> | That threshold goes back to computers before 2000, but there
>> | is *no* mention of *age*.
>> | I don't think adequate testing has been done on
>> | "older computers", especially for Fedora.
>> Why would age itself matter?
> It wouldn't, hence the quotes.
> Hooking up older computers with newer hardware (eg: USB 2.0 cards,
> DVD writers), that were not available when the older computers
> were produced seems to be part of the problem.
> However, the real problem is *inadequate testing*
> with these new "bleeding edge" Linux distros.
> I could literally find 10 bugs in F11 within one hour.
> Some of those bugs are not even machine dependent.
> How is that acceptable?
> I have two normal standard machines,
> a Dell C640 Laptop (P4, 2GHz, 2GiB), and an older Dell Optiplex GX1.
> I installed F11 on both of them.
> Sound did not work on either; I got hundreds of 'pulseaudio'
> messages in '/var/log/messages'.  When I did get sound working
> on the Dell C640 (by using 'alsamixer -c0'), it took up about
> 20% of CPU and died within a few minutes many more log messages.
> How difficult is it for developers to do an install and
> try the most basic of features?
> (Since then, I have removed pulseaudio, and sound works
> great.)
> It would be good to have everything tested up front, right
> after installation, so the user will know if he can use this
> distro, rather than find out 2 months later that something is
> fundamentally flawed.
> Is there such a suite of regression tests that Linux can run
> that will test "everything" (like video tests, sound tests, USB
> tests), etc?
> The latest disaster is the I cannot create a DVD in F11
> with an external Plextor DVDR PX-716A writer.
> It hangs after writing about 7 MBs.
> I installed the same model writer in the Dell GX1 directly
> on the EIDE cable.  A similar problem happens.
> It hangs after writing about 7 MBs, plus a kernel process
> 'scsi_eh_1' is running at 23% CPU and I cannot kill it.
> The external Plextor drive worked fine in F7 on the Dell C640.
> I'd like to switch distros, but now F11 has me locked in :-(.
> --
> Eric B.
> --
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Sounds like the plextor issue may be kernel/driver related rather than  
the OS itself. Have you tried rolling an older/newer kernel similar to  
what worked previously (or testing a newer kernel on a box where it  
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings: http://gtalug.org/
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