Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby Norwegiancod » 2014-01-15 18:11

Hi all,

I'd love to install a minimalist Wheezy+Xfce desktop on my very old, non-PAE (~2005/Centrino), laptop basically following the guide at http://auriza.site40.net/notes/debian/x ... tallation/. However, I have two questions before I get started:

1. Will the standard 32-bit i386 net install iso at http://www.debian.org/distrib/ have issues with my non-PAE processor? I think I might need the i486 kernel; is this either included as an option on the disk, or is there a different way to ensure compatibility with my non-PAE CPU to allow for smooth installation?

2. I posted about this on the Xfce forums, but I'll solicit any advice here too: the guide linked above is for Lenny and was posted in 2010. Are there any updates to the packages he listed there (e.g. LibreOffice vs OpenOffice)? I'm most concerned about the Xfce-related packages he mentions in #5 and #6; is there anything there I should update? (I think I read on Wikipedia that 4.8 replaced hal for example.)

5. Install basic Xfce desktop
Code: Select all
# apt-get install --no-install-recommends \
xorg xfce4 slim alsa-base alsa-utils \
hal gamin dbus-x11 sudo xdg-utils


&

6. Install Xfce additional application
Code: Select all
# apt-get install --no-install-recommends \
desktop-base gnome-icon-theme dmz-cursor-theme \
xfce4-terminal xfce4-taskmanager xfce4-screenshooter-plugin \
thunar-archive-plugin thunar-media-tags-plugin


Thanks in advance for your advice!
Norwegiancod
 
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby curtaintwitcher » 2014-01-15 19:03

Run through a typical, or preferably expert, curses mode install and eventually you'll be given the choice of kernels. Just go for the linux-image-486 meta package and all should be well.

Not sure about installing minimal Xfce, but the xfce4 package is a meta package which may pull in stuff you don't want.
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby AN0NYM0US » 2014-01-15 20:23

I usually start with
xfdesktop4 xfce4-panel xfce4-mixer xfce4-terminal xfce4-session xfce4-settings xorg alsa-base alsa-utils
without recommends

oh and my favorite icon theme as well
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby Norwegiancod » 2014-01-15 20:45

Run through a typical, or preferably expert, curses mode install and eventually you'll be given the choice of kernels. Just go for the linux-image-486 meta package and all should be well.


This is great news, thanks for the confirmation!

I usually start with
xfdesktop4 xfce4-panel xfce4-mixer xfce4-terminal xfce4-session xfce4-settings xorg alsa-base alsa-utils
without recommends


Thanks! These seem like a good starting point.
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby Norwegiancod » 2014-01-18 20:03

As a follow up with this project of mine, the net install disk automatically installed the 486 kernel without issue and I used the general process mentioned above. I ended up basically looking through the xfce4 and xfce4-goodies meta packages and installing the bare essentials with no recommends to get what I wanted.

Ultimately, I'm very satisfied with my results! I moved to Debian because I prefer it vs a 3rd party distro anyways, but I also wanted to achieve similar or better minimalist performance as a side goal. Mind you, the RAM numbers below are an arbitrary assessment of "minimalism" and the delta between these numbers is probably relatively inconsequential in absolute, real-world performance terms, but I used these as benchmarks for fun. That said, I am happy as a clam that I (a linux noob) was able to roll my own Debian install and achieve performance that is more "minimal" than the vaunted CrunchBang (what I was running previously).

My set up and benchmarks were:

Idle: free -m just after standard system startup (this is not purely idle as it includes the terminal used to run the test).
Load: free -m with 1 window of LibreOffice Writer open, 1 window and tab of Chromium at google.com, logged into my account with all my addons and bookmarks loaded, etc.
Disk: df -h after running aptitude clean/autoclean

Finally, I set the benchmarks with my real-world setup, which includes several high-overhead autostart services running in the background that would be omitted in a purely "minimal" system, but I run to have a practical, usable laptop DE: Dropbox, Tomboy, and Wicd.

Custom Debian Xfce
Idle: 137 MB
Load: 320 MB
Disk: 2.4 GB

CrunchBang (default install, except for the services mentioned above)
Idle: 173 MB
Load: 398 MB
Disk: 3.1 GB

Linux Mint 13 Xfce (again, stock except for the added services to make the comparison fair)
Idle: 228 MB
Load: 447 MB
Disk: 3.3 GB

Anyways, this is one of the first truly involved Linux projects I've undertaken and I just wanted to post here to pat myself on the back and say that I love Debian!
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby AN0NYM0US » 2014-01-19 14:01

You can use ps_mem.py to get a good look at memory usage of each program.
https://raw.github.com/pixelb/ps_mem/master/ps_mem.py


It provides output as such
http://img.vivaolinux.com.br/imagens/di ... _mem-1.png



To install it - open a terminal, su to root and use the following commands:

Code: Select all
wget https://raw.github.com/pixelb/ps_mem/master/ps_mem.py

chmod 755 ps_mem.py

mv ps_mem.py /usr/local/sbin/



then to run it, open a terminal, su to root and use the following commands:

Code: Select all
ps_mem.py
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby Norwegiancod » 2014-01-20 02:44

Thanks, I used top with Shift-M to sort processes by memory usage to get a breakdown, but that looks good too!
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby chubbys » 2014-04-26 22:35

Installing linux on "non pae" laptop.

Robolinux installed ok on my dell d505 'm' cpu (has the pae problem)

i burnt the latest version robolinux 7.42. onto a usb with unetbootin (basic iso option at bottom of unetbootin screen)

I ran through the robolinux install using all default options and when it came to rebooting ,i had a choice of the 686 (default choice) or 486 .
I let it boot up with the default 686 option and logged in to the robolinux desktop with out any problems .
I have a tmobile 3G dongle and it was recgognized without any problems.
But u have to click on your usernamne in the top bar and go to system settings/network and click mobilebroadband.
Then click the icon in the top right corner of robolinux desktop and select your gsm network to switch it on (connect)

I don't know too much else about robolinux ,so can't say much else atmo.
This is the first time i've seen it in action ,so not sure if it's any good.
I believe it's based on debian wheezy.
===============================================
I posted ages ago about using that lubuntu grub'n'iso to "shoehorn" a non pae peppermint 4 iso into an install.
http://peppermintos.net/viewtopic.php?p=36450#p36450
It involved renaming the peppermint 4 iso to lubuntu.iso and using it to overwrite the lubuntu.iso in the grub'n'iso img after you have the grub'n'iso.img running live ,so you could install the peppermint 4 pae iso.
So instead of installing what it thinks is lubuntu ,you end up with peppermint 4 installed.
The guy responsible for lubuntu grub'n'iso also left some useful info in that peppermint thread.

note:that old peppermint forum is read only now.
They have a new forum.
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby ew-linux » 2014-04-26 23:58

Eh... sorry my fellow norwegian. If you want to compare with Crunchbang, then you need to compare with the non-pae(i486) version of Crunchbang, and that uses only app. 70-80 MB Idle, so your figures are for the i686 version of Crunchbang....

Other than that, thums up :)
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Re: Minimalist Wheezy+Xfce+non-PAE install

Postby stevepusser » 2014-04-27 17:34

ew-linux wrote:Eh... sorry my fellow norwegian. If you want to compare with Crunchbang, then you need to compare with the non-pae(i486) version of Crunchbang, and that uses only app. 70-80 MB Idle, so your figures are for the i686 version of Crunchbang....

Other than that, thums up :)


If he installed Crunchbang on that same machine, the pae kernel would not have run, so the comparion is fair if he used the same machine.

Also, 486 support and PAE support are separate configuration options in the kernel, so it is possible to have an i686 non-PAE kernel as well as one with PAE support. I don't think anyone bothers to make a 486 PAE version (if indeed the chip supports it) since you won't often find 4 GB or more on one of those machines!
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