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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Debian Lenny rocks on 32 MB RAM.

Recently I downloaded the 150 MB netinst CD image of Debian Lenny Beta2 from this page.

Initially I installed it on my COMPAQ Presario 2500 series Laptop. After installing the base system I added xorg, IceWM and slim since I wanted very lightweight system. I found really a very light Debian.

Inspired by the lightness I decided to try it on my old desktop Pentium MMX 200 Mhz 32 MB RAM.

The installer went into Low Memory mode and loaded minimum installer components and asked to add additional components I wanted. I did not add anything. This resulted into failure of Network Card Detection. I bypassed the Network Configuration. The installer contacts NTP server after Network configuration. When it could not contact NTP server it simply asked whether hardware clock was set to UTC or not and proceeded to install the base system. The installer automatically selected the 486 Kernel image. At select and install software stage (after Base Install) I unchecked every thing and the base installation was finished.

After booting I configured the network by editing /etc/network/interfaces file and started the network. I updated and upgraded the system through apt-get (including Kernel 2.6.24 to 2.6.25) and could reboot into the new Kernel.

I added xorg and icewm and edited xorg.conf to configure the serial mouse, added Modeline, PreferredMode in Monitor Section, Default depth, depth and Mode to use in screen section. I made .xnitrc to boot into IceWM and used startx to get into IceWM.

The result on IceWM:
$ free -m
Total used free
Mem: 28 26 2
-/+ buffers/cache11 17
Swap 243 1 243

$ ps aux | wc -l
31

I have reduced the tty terminal processes by commenting getty lines in /etc/inittab file.

I added Kazehakase web browser. It gives performance similar to Firefox 1.5 on old DSL.
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