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(Solved)--Bad idea to switch?

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Fibogacci
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#11

Post by Fibogacci » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:50 pm

h2-1 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:31 pm
I don't believe you can run modern linux with xfce in a practical sense with less than 4gB, and that's not really enough to do much, 8 gB is better, but if you have a super light window manager, not a desktop, and are aware of the ram issues, and realize you basically cannot run things like gimp, firefox, chrome, thunderbird, you could get away with 2 gB, but it's not very fun, unless you like using all command line tools, then it will work fine.
Well, tell it to my computers eg. ASUS with P4 1.7 GHz and 1GB RAM with MX 16 or even another machine with 512 MB RAM and MX 18. 'Practical sense' can has a really wide meaning.

Sure, Firefox is not an option (and many other programs), but these machines are usable (with some knowledge) and they are using/running "modern Linux with Xfce".

2 GB plus SWAP is a much better situation.

MX Linux is not Ubuntu or other 'modern' distribution. It can manage on low specs, no question about it.
Last edited by Fibogacci on Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:55 pm, edited 4 times in total.
MX-18 Continuum x86_64: laptop Dell Inspiron N7110, Intel Core i5-2410M @ 2.900GHz, 4GB RAM, Kernel: 4.19, DE: Xfce
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#12

Post by Fibogacci » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:52 pm

. (sorry, doubled post)
MX-18 Continuum x86_64: laptop Dell Inspiron N7110, Intel Core i5-2410M @ 2.900GHz, 4GB RAM, Kernel: 4.19, DE: Xfce
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h2-1
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#13

Post by h2-1 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:54 pm

Just as an aside, damentz has been debating, and now decided, that he's dropping 32 bit support as of liquorix 5.2

He gives his reasoning, which is pretty valid, here: https://techpatterns.com/forums/about2734.html

We'd talked about this off and on, and he was pretty much decided, but that forum issue post on 32 bit liquorix decided him, so that's now official, 32 bit is being dropped in damentz packaged liquoriix kernels.

Note that the kernel itself is not likely to be the bottleneck, the x200/t400 era and newer Lenovo thinkpads will run great, they have good cpus, and as long as you make sure to max out the ram before it gets too hard to find, those should run modern linux for a long time to come. And if you run something like i3 on them, which is what I'm leaning to now, it's really nice, there is zero issue with speed or resource constraints. I think I use 8 gb on x220/t420, and that is enough as long as I don't get carried away with tabs on chrome/firefox
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h2-1
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#14

Post by h2-1 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Fibogacci, I have an ancient, 1998 laptop that runs I think Debian etch, can't remember, with fluxbox, 192 mB of ram, slow, but works, but can't run a new linux. Has a 1 gB ssd. I think that laptop shipped with something like 32 mB ram, but I maxed it out when I started learning about this stuff, which is why it still can run now. inxi takes something like 20 seconds to run on it for full output, though inxi 3.0 massively improved execution time since it's much better code and language.

But I would really recommend maxing out ram, it's a solid practice and adds years to the life of your system, and, has the added bonus, you can run all the software you want. If you pick the right time, before the old ram gets too rare or hard to find, or too expensive, you can usually max the ram out for not that much money, then you never have to think about it again. I just restored a friend's apple imac with 4 gB ram, which had basically grown unusable since the system itself wanted some 3+ gB just to run, by switching a 2 gb with an 8 gb stick, thus boosting the ram to 10 gb total, for I think about $50. That made the system usable again, for almost no money.

I used to run a 512 mB max ram system, but after a while, it just got too limiting, and i gave it away, and then it ran for someone's grandmother for a few more years before it got dumped, but it wasn't practical if you wanted to do normal things, like use libreoffice or watch youtube videos. I set that up for the grandmother with gnome 2, which I think is similar to xfce re resource consumption, roughly, at least it was back then.

It's not MX that is light really, it's just the package selection that will do that, gnome or kde are hogs, and will kill any resource limited system, I like xfce and use it myself as my main desktop, but with resource limits I wouldn't use it, fluxbox is easy to use and fairly user friendly, i3 isn't as easy to use or user friendly, but is very nicely designed.

Just out of curiosity, I checked what my xfce is using with all the ram it actually wants:

Code: Select all

ps aux | grep xf | awk 'BEGIN {a=0} {a=a + $6} END {print "total: " a}'
total: 683984

ps aux | grep -iE '(xorg|xf)' | awk 'BEGIN {a=0} {a=a + $6} END {print "total: " a}'
total: 1043696
that's what the system if able to use all the ram it wants is using to run my xfce desktop plus xorg. So about 1 gB. I could strip out some xfce plugins and extensions etc and drop a bit off that total, but I use xfce so I can run all those neat things. Note that I think there's a glitch in my xorg, that seems like unusually high memory consumption.

I would knock something like 600 or more mB off that if I were running i3 or fluxbox.
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#15

Post by asqwerth » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:23 pm

My VirtualBox test installs of MX are always set at around 3.7GB RAM. Just because it seems to me there should be lots of machines around with that amount of RAM.

It's OK for basic browsing in FF (including YouTube viewing) if you don't open too many tabs. 3 or 4 is OK.

Usually clementine (playing music) and thunar will also be open in my VM.

Not the most sophisticated or difficult of usage tests, admittedly.
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JayM
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#16

Post by JayM » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:12 am

h2-1 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:54 pm
Note that the kernel itself is not likely to be the bottleneck, the x200/t400 era and newer Lenovo thinkpads will run great, they have good cpus, and as long as you make sure to max out the ram before it gets too hard to find, those should run modern linux for a long time to come. And if you run something like i3 on them, which is what I'm leaning to now, it's really nice, there is zero issue with speed or resource constraints. I think I use 8 gb on x220/t420, and that is enough as long as I don't get carried away with tabs on chrome/firefox
While I agree that as a rule of thumb the more ram the better, the kernel may be what's causing the OP's complaint of lock-ups even when idle. In fact I'm sure of it, as I have the same issue with newer kernels on my Athlon 64 x2 which I think is about the same vintage as his Core i2 if not older. I would try either the Debian 4.9 kernel or antiX 4.9.182 which has all of the security patches.

@rs55: Thanks for the tip about the Liqorix kernels. I'll try it on my 32-bit netbook (currently maxed out at a whopping 2GB of DDR2 RAM.) MX with the stock 4.19 kernel runs OK on it but it's a bit slow. By the way, I was testing antiX 19b1 on it and I noticed that it's a bit faster than antiX 17.4, which in turn is quite a bit faster than MX 18.3, so I'm looking forward to MX-19 as Buster-based versions seem to be even faster than Stretch-based ones. BTW I tried a Liquorix kernel on the Athlon desktop and also had no more lockups, but I went with the 4.9 kernel instead to save some power (and money.)
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#17

Post by JayM » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:10 am

1. None of the Liquorix PAE kernels I tested, 5.1.16 (I think it was: I'm back to using my desktop PC now) or 4.20 worked on my netbook. They'd boot but I'd get the Black Screen of Death with the blinking cursor in the upper-left corner indicating that lightdm wouldn't start. It wasn't worth the time to troubleshoot it and try to get it working. I just booted back into the original kernel.

2. Re: MX slowness on my netbook, I had changed a setting in BIOS (SATA/enable 32-bit I/O) and enabled it thinking it might speed up my system but it actually had the opposite effect. MX, while still slower than antiX on that system, is quite usable now, and easy on resources.

@rdotex, try resetting your BIOS settings to default and see if that speeds things up a bit. There could be a setting enabled in there that's affecting performance. Or if your BIOS has a preset to maximize performance, try that.

3. I noticed in my conky, which is a customized version of DigitalBBQ, that even with Firefox and MX Package Installer running my RAM usage was low, around 10% to 15%. CPU load was likewise fairly low but I don't remember the percentage.

@rdotex, I recommend that you install gkrellm and run it to see where any bottlenecks on your own system are, whether CPU or RAM. That will tell you if you actually need to add more RAM or not. Or run MX Conky/Conky Manager, unselect the default conky and select DigitalBBQ instead then monitor the % of CPU and RAM load.

4. Re: lock-ups when idle, do install one of the 4.9 kernels, whether Debian or antiX, then run MX Boot Options and select it as your default kernel and reboot. Or if you wish to continue using the 4.19 or newer kernel, in BIOS look for a setting called speedstep or EIST and disable it if it's enabled (which it won't be if you've loaded the performance preset but will be in power-saving mode.) I have an AMD Athlon desktop and that same feature is called Cool'n'Quiet, and I also get random lock-ups even when idle with the 4.15 or newer kernels if it's enabled.

5. @rdotex, are you running the stock MX-18.3 with Xfce, or did you install a different desktop environment such as KDE or Gnome? As was mentioned earlier in the thread these DEs use considerably more system resources than Xfce. Also, have you installed any packages from MX Test repo, Backports or Flatpaks? If so, running one of these may be what's slowing down your system (or it may not, but it's something to check.) Basically I'm asking if you've modified your MX 18 in any way.
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#18

Post by JayM » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:08 am

I think we all got off into a tangent here, myself included. Rereading the original post, the report was that compared to MX-16, MX-18
1. Is slow to start (I take that to mean slow to boot up, log in and load the desktop.)
2. Locks up at random even when idle
3. Doesn't shut down properly.
Nothing was mentioned of overall slowness or performance issues, just booting up, shutting down, and lockups. All of these sound like kernel-related issues to me and probably have nothing to do with the system needing more RAM (why should it, if it was running OK in MX-16 and performing the same tasks?)

I just downloaded the MX-16.1 ISO, burned it to a live USB and booted into it. There's no Quick System Info tool but inxi -Frxz showed that it uses kernel 4.7.0 (and also that MX-16 is based on Debian Jessie.) There are no newer kernels available in its stable or test repos. I didn't check backports. So the OP has jumped from kernel 4.7 clear up to 4.19 and I think that the newer kernel just isn't playing nicely with his older hardware, as I and others with older computers have also experienced.

The oldest kernel that MX-18 offers is 4.9, which is an LTS kernel. That shouldn't be too great of a jump from 4.7 and I bet it would fix all of the reported issues. I would try the Debian 4.9 kernel first, then OP can install and test the antiX 4.9.182 kernel later if he likes as it I believe it contains more security patches than Debian's. If the 4.9 kernel doesn't fix the issues then it may have something to do with his hardware vs. Stretch, but I highly doubt if that's the case by any stretch of the imagination (pun intended, sorry.)
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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#19

Post by tex » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:46 pm

Sorry I didn't say this to start: I cannot login to this forum using my original username: "rdotex", so I found that I had this one, 'tex' and the password still works, so this is 'Me, rdotex' talking: (I don't know where that 'avatar' came from!)

Well, we've had some family health/death issues so I have been off-line for a while. However, the last time I had the machine with the MX18 issues running, I didn't shut it down, I 'suspended' the system. A couple of days later, it will NOT complete the boot-up! The 'progress bar' fills very slowly, and when it gets full it simply Stops! I can't get it to do anything after that, even trying all the 4 options in the 'Advanced Options for MX 18.3 Continuum'. The only thing that makes a difference is if I click on the 'MX 16...' option--then it will boot just fine into MX16, but the 'Thunderbird' is a 'new' install and does not have the accounts and emails that I had in Thunderbird in MX 18.

So, I guess I don't know how to "un-Suspend" the MX 18!

Any suggestions?

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Re: Bad idea to switch?

#20

Post by Eadwine Rose » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:46 pm

Quick explanation on the avatar: do not add PPAs to MX Linux. People tend to do that and this is the way to warn new users about it.

Hi and welcome, again.

I will let the admin who runs the forum software know about the username issue.
MX-18.3_x64 May 26 2019 * 4.19.0-5-amd64 ext4 Xfce 4.12.3 * 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 2700
Asus TUF B450-Plus Gaming UEFI * Asus GTX 1050 Ti Nvidia 390.116 * 2x16Gb DDR4 2666 Kingston HyperX Predator
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