Getting started with Linux

Henry Yen blinux-mail at
Wed Oct 22 20:48:27 UTC 2008

Just a few comments on Live CD's:

Graphical environments running from a Live CD will be very very sensitive
to the amount of RAM in the system.  Live CD's will run quite a bit faster
if you give them a healthy dollop of swap space.  That said, the sheer
amount of power and features in a modern Linux Live CD over an older
(almost ten years old!) system such as Windows 98 require a larger amount
of RAM.  Live CD's tend to throw in everything including the kitchen sink.
Perhaps there's an Ubuntu variant that's specifically targeted towards
low-memory machines that would be more satisfactory, especially when some
swap space is available (that's a chicken-and-egg problem, of course, as
it may difficult to allocate swap space until after the system is operational,
which will take a long time because there isn't any swap space).

One other thing that goes a long way towards helping low-memory machines
to run faster is to boot from USB stick.  In a 512MB laptop (with the typical
very very slow CDROM drive), I boot MEPIS (a Debian variant) to fully
operational in about four minutes.  Booting from a USB stick, it's about
fifty seconds.  Unfortunately, low-memory machines are usually older, and
are much less likely to support booting from USB.

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 03:09:09AM -0700, Tony Baechler wrote:
> Also, while it's true that you can run Orca from the live CD, it is 
> very, very slow.  It took at least 15 minutes to boot and several 
> minutes just to open an application.  Yes, it could be done but frankly 
> it was very painful.  I'm running Windows 98 on 256 MB of RAM.  I'm the 
> first to admit that memory could be the issue, but Windows 98 runs fine 
> and fairly fast.  OK, one could argue that of course the live CD would 
> be slower and Ubuntu compares to XP in terms of resources, but I would 
> disagree with that too, at least on a general level.  Linux from the 
> console runs very well in that same box and from a live CD (grml 1.1rc1) 
> with no problem and minimal slowness.  Linux by design should require 
> less resources than Windows, but the argument would seem to be that this 
> is no longer correct, at least from what I've read on the lists.

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