[Wolves] Thanx and Question

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Mon Jun 15 10:15:22 UTC 2009

Dave Morley wrote:
> On Mon, 2009-06-15 at 10:12 +0100, Adam Sweet wrote:
>> dick_turpin wrote:
>>> Octavio Augusto Sánchez Velázquez wrote:
>>>> Thanx everybody for the welcome, now, I have a question.
>>>> My mom has this laptop which she only uses for presentations and it is
>>>> dam slow. Of course it has windows XP I want to kill this OS of her
>>>> laptop and get a useful one. it is a Compaq presario 700 with a mobile
>>>> AMD Duron Processor at 493 MHz (I know, it is an old one) 112 MB ram.
>>>> So my question is What distro should it fits best for my mom. It must be
>>>> possible to install a desktop manager, as long as my mom would not
>>>> understand the CLI. and She requires some presentations maker, something
>>>> compatible with ppt. and a word processor compatible with .doc Thank you
>>>> very much...
>>> Hi Octavio
>>> All the Buntu fanboys/girls will of course say Ubuntu however as your
>>> mum is a soon to be ex XP bod you might consider Mandriva its one of the
>>> easiest distros and makes most XP users feel at home.
>> I expect that the memory foot print of Mandriva or any full scale Linux
>> distribution will be way too much for this machine. I imagine this
>> machine is really grinding on the disk at the moment. Your best option
>> for this machine to be comfortable to use would be to fill the machine
>> with as much RAM as possible and then use a light-weight desktop
>> environment such Xubuntu, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and so on.
>> You can find out about the maximum installable memory for this machine
>> under Windows by using the online tool on memory manufacturer Crucial's
>> website:
>> http://www.crucial.com/uk/
>> or I think the program Si-Soft Sandra used to tell you.
>> Under Linux, use dmidecode, I found that you have to run it as root
>> rather than sudo to avoid typing your password in blindly because 'less'
>> collects all output before displaying anything:
>> adams at selenium:~$ sudo su -
>> root at selenium:~# dmidecode | less
>> then look for Memory Controller Information to see what is installable
>> and the Memory Module Information sections to see what modules you have.
>> It was a good day when I discovered that trick :)
>> The Crucial website will offer you compatible memory if your laptop is
>> in their database, it should be, being a Compaq. Older memory isn't as
>> cheap as you think though, because less of it is made, so if more memory
>> isn't an option, just use the lightest weight desktop environment you
>> can. It may take some playing with different distros to find one with
>> the right balance of performance and features.
>> Another point, if your mom needs a presentation app, the only one I know
>> is OpenOffice Impress and OpenOffice is horrific with regards to memory,
>> a quick test shows that it will use about half of your existing memory
>> straight away. There may be other alteratives that I don't know about,
>> but certain OO Impress will be the most full featured with regards to
>> Powerpoint compatibility, from there downwards, it will be a sliding
>> scale of compatibility.
>> If you don't mind the machine swapping to disk all the time and being
>> really slow as a result, as it probably is right now, then you might be
>> able to get away with a larger desktop environment and OpenOffice.
>> Hope I'm not putting you off, I'm just setting some expectations. Unless
>> you can get some extra RAM, it could be hard going and chances are that
>> your mom won't be happy with the same performance as Windows XP under an
>> unfamiliar environment :(
>> Regards,
>> Ad
> Ad nice tip did you know that sudo -s is the ubuntu recommended way to
> get a root shell though?  It is marginally cleaner log wise etc
> apparently.

Whoever said that the Ubuntu recommended way it the best way? ;)

To be serious though, I've always done 'sudo su -' as I know what it
gets me, such as the root environment variables. sudo -s seems to also,
but the includes /usr/X11R6/bin in the path, which I don't care about. I
don't know how long sudo -s has existed, certainly nobody ever mentioned
it when sudo started becoming a recommended way of doing things in
Knoppix and early Ubuntu, or maybe I just wasn't aware of it before
then. On Debian the paths are different between a normal user, 'sudo su
-' and 'sudo -s'. I hate having to type in /sbin/ifconfig when ifconfig
will do :)

In principle I can see that sudo -s is cleaner since it runs only one
process - sudo, rather than sudo and then su. Does anybody know if there
are any other differences between 'sudo su -' and 'sudo -s'?

I know I complain about this every now and again, but you do see that
you could have removed all of that stuff leaving only the dmidecode line
and perhaps the 3 or 4 preceeding lines of context don't you? I've
deliberately left everything in too to make the point so you can see how
this grows unwieldy, unreadable and a waste of mail server resources (ie
Spamassassin and virus scanning are pretty memory and CPU heavy) and
bandwidth to send it out to every subscriber.

Trivial as those may seem, the mailing list server handles mail for 146
mailing lists using donated hardware, I suspect our own list is moderate
in usage compared to some. You really should remove anything which isn't
directly related to what you're saying. Leaving everything in makes it
harder to find the context of what you're saying for the casual reader
who is not following the thread and makes it slower for people who are
following the thread to find the point of your reply. People on digest
mode will now get the entire content of my post 3 times in one email.
Everybody else gets it 3 times in 3 emails.


Thanks for the tip though and sorry for another Mailing List Etiquette
Gestapo tirade. I don't have Dave Goodwin to back me up any more ;) At
least you are leaving a blank line between the quotes and your comments
now :)


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