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Old 12-23-08, 09:23 AM   #1
Doofus McFancypants
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Default Streamline computer OS?

Hey all,

I am aquioring an older computer (PII with Windows NT on it / 17" tube monitor) My goal is to make it into a dedicated MAME machine- Think Oldschool Arcade machine - complete with the joystick controller and buttons)

I know Windows NT is a resource hog - and as this is basically going to be dedicated to running the MAME stuff - i was wondering...

Has anyone here had experience with serious "detuning" of a computer OS? Purge the unneeded stuff - keep the core items?
IS it better to wipe the system and install Linux ( I have NO experience with Linux - so there would be some learning needed)

I googled "Minimum Operating System" - "Lite OS" and several others but the into was just VAST - did not know where to start. I am hoping to make this as low $ as i can ( computer was free - moniter is free - the Emulation program is free... you see where i am going here)

So i some to the Eco-masses : )
If you can point me in a good direction - I can then begin the learning.

Thanks
Steve

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Old 12-23-08, 10:39 AM   #2
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Whether or not you can use Linux would depend on what your free emulation software is compatible with, first figure that out.

Personally I like the Linux option, because it is quite well known to work on older/slower machines quite well. If your emulation software is not Linux compatible maybe you can find something that would suite your needs for Linux. I would say in order for Linux to work for your project you have to be willing to spend a lot more time than simply install - run (which I suppose your initial plan was), and if you're the type that likes to learn new things, and sees Linux knowledge being valuable this would be a good hands-on learning experience.
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Old 12-23-08, 12:52 PM   #3
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It seems that for this project Linux would be ideal ( old computer - dedicated tasks). I will be getting my hands on the PC later today ( i thought he was taking off for holidays)

Once i have it and run it a little - I will see what limitations it has ( memory / drive space / etc)

I may start out with windows and try to uninstall everything unneeded - i have seen some items about limiting what starts up on Boot.

You are correct - The emulator may be the limiter though. Would need to be Linux - or else there is no point. there are several dozen out there - and i am sure Lunix guys LOVE the old games as well -

Steve
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Old 12-24-08, 12:25 AM   #4
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It's dead simple to install mame on Ubuntu 8.10. I just did it in about 5 minutes. Installing Ubuntu will take you longer due to size but it's actually easier than installing Windows (no activation key to find or forge). Once Ubuntu is installed you can install mame:

1. Applications > Add/Remove
2. Search for mame
3. Select Kxmame and Click 'Apply Changes'.
4. You're done. You'll find it in the Applications menu under 'Games'.

You'll have to find the roms by other means though as they're not considered free software.
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Old 12-26-08, 12:51 PM   #5
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Optimized versions of Linux distributions will be able to run with an old computer.

Current versions of Linux distributions, noticeably with graphical programs such as firefox (with tens of tabs, flash...), open office, acrobat reader... and a full graphical interface (kde, gnome...) will need at least 1GB of RAM and more than a couple of Ghz.

I would say using the OS you know best is the best route.

In Microsoft world, IMHO, NT is better than 2K that is better than XP... (in a memory consumption point of view). May be a 98SE will be enough.

The best is certainly a non graphical OS such as MSDOS if your program has his own graphical drivers and libraries. OpenDOS is a compatible Open Source OS. May be is there some LiveCD with MAME on it...

A quick search found these pages :
Hope it helps,

Denis.
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Old 04-12-09, 12:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groar View Post
Current versions of Linux distributions, noticeably with graphical programs such as firefox (with tens of tabs, flash...), open office, acrobat reader... and a full graphical interface (kde, gnome...) will need at least 1GB of RAM and more than a couple of Ghz.
Not necessarily. I'm posting this on a 500mhz slot 1 pentium III with 256mb of ram. Firefox has 15 tabs open and uses ~40% of memory. X is using another 10% or so, fbpanel, openbox, and mpd use another 15%, and most pdfs use ~10-20% in evince. One big problem was that if I did run out of memory, through some flash bug or evince opening a horribly rendered pdf, oomkiller would chug for minutes before finally killing something, so linking xkill to a hot key really helped keep the system from grinding to a halt if I ran out of ram (I generally don't activate swap). Now my laptop with 128mb of ram, that's something where firefox can't be used well, but dillo works great for most stuff.

Last edited by roflwaffle; 04-12-09 at 01:18 AM..
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Old 04-12-09, 06:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roflwaffle View Post
Not necessarily. I'm posting this on a 500mhz slot 1 pentium III with 256mb of ram. Firefox has 15 tabs open and uses ~40% of memory. X is using another 10% or so, fbpanel, openbox, and mpd use another 15%, and most pdfs use ~10-20% in evince.
Congratulation, you don't qualify as an average Joe He uses a "full graphical interface (kde, gnome...)" and you aren't. I'm using enlightenment (the old e16 version) which eats only 8MB of memory.
But about all the following points I do qualify :
  • I have 143 tabs in firefox which is using 476MB (339 of real memory). Happily I have noscript and flashblock and most sites have javascript and flash deactivated : this is the only way I found to get back the power over firefox...
  • I have 7 pdf opened and acroread is eating 140MB (67 real).
  • I have only 2 ods (Open Spread Sheet) opened and OpenOffice is eating 252MB (118 real).
  • As my graphical card is using main memory, the X server is eating 399MB (134 real).
  • The strangest thing for most of you is that I'm currently using 35 xterm (text terminals, mostly connected to half a dozen remote systems) eating a total of 208MB (65 real).

I thought about buying a small "Internet PC" (such as the Asus EEEPC) because the main programs I use are firefox, xterm, ssh, OpenOffice and acroread and they are consuming a very small quantity of electricity. Because of the way I use them, firefox noticeably, the processor will certainly be underpowered and I would kill the Solid State Hard Drive with a swap file, so I would have to buy one with a "Spinning" Hard Drive which is mostly the cost of a oddment notebook with bigger disk and RAM.

Denis.
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Earth absorbs 1.8 t CO2/head/yr, while a French generates 6.2 t CO2/yr
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
  • kg saved 06/08-08/09: 1816.9+382.9 (ecodriving / 1420mi not driven) = 2199.8
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (2.66 kg/l diesel)
  • kg saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels : 187 kg/yr
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    (59.1 g/kWh)
Radioactive wastes saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels :
  • Long life (>100,000 years) : 2.85 g/yr (0.9 mg/kWh)
  • Short life (<300 years) : 31.7 g/yr (10.0 mg/kWh)
Based upon "official" French figures...
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Old 04-12-09, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groar View Post
Congratulation, you don't qualify as an average Joe He uses a "full graphical interface (kde, gnome...)" and you aren't.
Gnome is only about 20-30mb above something like "light" like Xfce, so we ain't talking about a huge deficit there. I could kill one of the xterms I tend to leave open to free up enough memory for a "full graphical interface".
Quote:
Originally Posted by groar View Post
But about all the following points I do qualify :
  • I have 143 tabs in firefox which is using 476MB (339 of real memory). Happily I have noscript and flashblock and most sites have javascript and flash deactivated : this is the only way I found to get back the power over firefox...
  • I have 7 pdf opened and acroread is eating 140MB (67 real).
  • I have only 2 ods (Open Spread Sheet) opened and OpenOffice is eating 252MB (118 real).
  • As my graphical card is using main memory, the X server is eating 399MB (134 real).
  • The strangest thing for most of you is that I'm currently using 35 xterm (text terminals, mostly connected to half a dozen remote systems) eating a total of 208MB (65 real).
143 firefox tabs!?!??!?
Quote:
Originally Posted by groar View Post
I thought about buying a small "Internet PC" (such as the Asus EEEPC) because the main programs I use are firefox, xterm, ssh, OpenOffice and acroread and they are consuming a very small quantity of electricity. Because of the way I use them, firefox noticeably, the processor will certainly be underpowered and I would kill the Solid State Hard Drive with a swap file, so I would have to buy one with a "Spinning" Hard Drive which is mostly the cost of a oddment notebook with bigger disk and RAM.

Denis.
If you trimmed down your firefox sessions you could probably pull off a flash drive with a couple gigs of ram.
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Old 06-02-09, 04:48 PM   #9
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I've got an old sony laptop w/ a tiny HDD and 512mb ram
I'd like to run it as an entertainment server: mostly music. iTunes won't even install due to lack of processor power and/or RAM.

what about *nix OS w/ ??? for music? I'd like something a little more GUI than not for the music as i'm not the only one using it.
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Old 08-05-09, 08:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groar View Post
Because of the way I use them, firefox noticeably, the processor will certainly be underpowered and I would kill the Solid State Hard Drive with a swap file, so I would have to buy one with a "Spinning" Hard Drive which is mostly the cost of a oddment notebook with bigger disk and RAM.

Denis.
I thought excessive use of swap would kill a spinning hard drive, due to the extra use it gets wears out things and all that. Whereas a SSD has no moving parts, and electrons don't wear out when they're shuffled around a few extra times.


I want to get a 7" EEE PC for my car. A double-din head unit slot in a car is just about the same size as the screen on that little netbook. And a usb touchscreen kit costs about $60. The efficiency of the eee is also important as the car will be an EV.

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