Getting started with Linux

Tony Baechler tony at
Thu Oct 23 10:09:48 UTC 2008

Henry Yen wrote:
> 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.


Your point is well taken.  On a faster machine with 1 GB of RAM, Gnome 
runs significantly faster.  I am also running it from a hard disk 
install, having given up on the live CD.  I intended to install Debian 
on that machine with Gnome anyway.  I found the performance to be much 
better than XP.  For command line only cases, live CDs work fine, but I 
agree that my system is far from ideal for a live CD target, thus I'm 
still running Win98 here.  I intend on upgrading one of these days, once 
I get virtual machines set up and the Linux system is tuned the way I want.

On the other hand, the same live CD which ran fast on my low memory 
system was even slower to boot than Ubuntu on a faster system with more 
memory.  Specifically, grml 1.1RC1 took about 30 minutes to boot (I mean 
from starting the CD to an actual command prompt) on a Pentium D 
processor with 2 GB of RAM and software speech.  There was no X 
environment or anything graphical.  The only thing that would take 
memory is ESpeak, which even on my low memory system runs fast.  I would 
be interested in an explanation of why an apparently superior system 
would take such an extremely long time to boot when my old and slow 
system takes about 1/3 the time.  Both are standard desktop systems.  
The faster machine has two cores and I don't remember the exact 
processor speed.

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