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Old 04-16-2012, 06:17 AM
Aleksandar Kostadinov
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

Hello,

trying to make a print server from an old pentium 100 64M RAM. I had
to take that route because the USB<->parallel cables I've got don't
work. Anyways, first tried to install debian stable but it crashes on
boot. Something with the IDE controllers. btw I think there are some
nasty bugs with stable kernel because it crashes on a Intel core duo
laptop for other reasons. Anyways newer and older kernels work just
fine on these machines. So I went ahead and installed wheezy on the
machine (had to remove the vga=788 and quiet options, otherwise I
can't see the installer).

Now the problem is that I can't install anything more on that machine
because apt-get update takes forever. It downloads package index from
the mirror but "reading package lists" step is so slow I'm not sure it
will ever complete. First 11% complete in a reasonable time but then
it seems it becomes slower as work progresses.

My question is how can I speed up the process or somehow limit the
package lists so apt completes in a reasonable time? The only thing I
have in sources.list is wheezy main repo. Is there any way to further
limit the number of packages?

Thank you in advance!


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Old 04-16-2012, 11:00 AM
Darac Marjal
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 09:17:11AM +0300, Aleksandar Kostadinov wrote:
> Hello,
>
> trying to make a print server from an old pentium 100 64M RAM. I had
> to take that route because the USB<->parallel cables I've got don't
> work. Anyways, first tried to install debian stable but it crashes on
> boot. Something with the IDE controllers. btw I think there are some
> nasty bugs with stable kernel because it crashes on a Intel core duo
> laptop for other reasons. Anyways newer and older kernels work just
> fine on these machines. So I went ahead and installed wheezy on the
> machine (had to remove the vga=788 and quiet options, otherwise I
> can't see the installer).
>
> Now the problem is that I can't install anything more on that machine
> because apt-get update takes forever. It downloads package index from
> the mirror but "reading package lists" step is so slow I'm not sure it
> will ever complete. First 11% complete in a reasonable time but then
> it seems it becomes slower as work progresses.

Looking at the amount of RAM you have, I suspect that what's happening
is that the first 11% of the work is able to fit into RAM, but then your
system starts swapping. As far as I'm aware, Debian should run in 64M
RAM, but it WILL need to swap a lot. I'm not entirely sure there's
anything you can do about that except be patient.

If you have room in your case for a second drive, you MAY eke a bit of
speed out of it by putting a second drive in and putting the swap
partition on that. That way, apt can be accessing the files (probably
mostly on /var) while the kernel is sending data to the swap. At the
moment these two functions are contending for time on the disk.
 
Old 04-16-2012, 12:16 PM
Aleksandar Kostadinov
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM, Darac Marjal <mailinglist@darac.org.uk> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 09:17:11AM +0300, Aleksandar Kostadinov wrote:
>> Hello,
>>
>> trying to make a print server from an old pentium 100 64M RAM. I had
>> to take that route because the USB<->parallel cables I've got don't
>> work. Anyways, first tried to install debian stable but it crashes on
>> boot. Something with the IDE controllers. btw I think there are some
>> nasty bugs with stable kernel because it crashes on a Intel core duo
>> laptop for other reasons. Anyways newer and older kernels work just
>> fine on these machines. So I went ahead and installed wheezy on the
>> machine (had to remove the vga=788 and quiet options, otherwise I
>> can't see the installer).
>>
>> Now the problem is that I can't install anything more on that machine
>> because apt-get update takes forever. It downloads package index from
>> the mirror but "reading package lists" step is so slow I'm not sure it
>> will ever complete. First 11% complete in a reasonable time but then
>> it seems it becomes slower as work progresses.
>
> Looking at the amount of RAM you have, I suspect that what's happening
> is that the first 11% of the work is able to fit into RAM, but then your
> system starts swapping. As far as I'm aware, Debian should run in 64M
> RAM, but it WILL need to swap a lot. I'm not entirely sure there's
> anything you can do about that except be patient.

Excuse me, that can't be serious. Not really usable to wait a week for
it to complete (if it ever does). All benefits using debian are lost
if apt unusable. I'm sure there must be at least a few ways to
workaround the situation. I've a 4G HDD in the machine besides the
boot drive of 1.2G so perhaps create a local proxy/mirror on it with a
small subset of the packages? Any ideas how to do so without the need
of another machine to serve as the proxy/mirror?


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Old 04-16-2012, 08:34 PM
Aleksandar Kostadinov
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

To anybody interested, debian wheezy can't run on 64MB RAM on i386. Or
actually it can run but package management is unusable so all debian
benefits are actually lost.

I tried pulling the .deb files on another machine, then transfer to
the old machine. But dpkg is killed on 95% reading database (I think
OOM killer). It fails even if I try to install 1 package.

Cheers.


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Old 04-17-2012, 02:10 PM
Dom
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

On 16/04/12 21:34, Aleksandar Kostadinov wrote:

To anybody interested, debian wheezy can't run on 64MB RAM on i386. Or
actually it can run but package management is unusable so all debian
benefits are actually lost.

I tried pulling the .deb files on another machine, then transfer to
the old machine. But dpkg is killed on 95% reading database (I think
OOM killer). It fails even if I try to install 1 package.


I run a basic Wheezy system on old machines with 64MB or 32MB of RAM on
i386. I agree that the package management is almost unusable without work.


What I do for a start is run a cutomised kernel with just the necessary
drivers for those machines built in. Smaller kernel = more memory free
for other things. Any devices other than the built in ones are supported
via kernel modules when needed.


Also, and this is the important thing, I have my own cut-down version of
the Wheezy repository running on a slightly more powerful machine. By
reducing the Packages file to just the packages that I use, the time and
memory needed to process them comes down from hours to a few minutes.


I realise that I'm not going to be able to keep these machines running
for much longer, but I'll keep trying for as long as I can.


--
Dom


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Old 04-17-2012, 07:28 PM
Bob Proulx
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

Aleksandar Kostadinov wrote:
> To anybody interested, debian wheezy can't run on 64MB RAM on i386. Or
> actually it can run but package management is unusable so all debian
> benefits are actually lost.

My slowest machine is a Pentium 133 with only 112M of ram and it is
still functioning.

Here is an idea that I would probably do if it were unbearably slow.
I would remove the disks from the slow machine and put them into a
faster machine with more ram. Then I would perform the updates and
upgrades. That should work fine. Then replace the disks back into
the original slow machine. That way the major release upgrade is done
and then all that is needed is the routine security upgrades.
Just an idea...

Bob
 
Old 04-17-2012, 08:03 PM
Keith
 
Default old machine wheezy vs apt

On 17/04/12 15:10, Dom wrote:
I run a basic Wheezy system on old machines with 64MB or 32MB of RAM
on i386.

I like your style....


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