[plug] hmmm Linus being opinionated again :-P

Bernd Felsche bernie at innovative.iinet.net.au
Wed Dec 14 12:18:35 WST 2005

Kev <kdownes at tpg.com.au> writes:
>Alex Polglaze wrote:

>> This is an interesting comment. Linux is now so bloated, that where we 
>> were able to run machines with W98 and Wme on a network and now have 
>> converted them to Linux on the same network, they don't have enough 
>> memory to run.

>> We have had to upgrade the memory 4 fold, just to keep the machine usable.

>> Not a good ad for Linux, I'm afraid.

>Yes, I'm glad someone else said that.  Most typical, packaged, desktop 
>distros of Linux need as many hardware resources as their equivalent 
>Windoze solutions.  The days of using those old boxes and still getting 
>modern performance out of them are long gone for most Linux users.

A couple of things to remember:

1) Linux isn't magic. Although it can usually make better use of the
   available hardware than Windows, Linux tends to provide a "richer"
   operating environment for the user with a myriad of services and
   server. The big-name distros tend to install too many whizz-bang
   stuff by default. Linux often tends to over-exploit its inherent
   advantage of better resource use.
   There is often not a "lite" choice that's also attractive to
   ex-Windows users.

2) Installing stuff that'll never be needed could be avoided if
   there were sufficient hooks to install on demand by application
   or even type of file. Users should not be expected to know which
   application is required; they should need only point to a file
   to open and the system should suggest a few options.

3) Installers need to be constructed more intelligently so that they
   don't have as much of a footprint on "bare" hardware. It's
   ludicrous to require more than 128MB of RAM during installation.
   64MB should be more than enough.

   SuSE 10.0 for example can actually install with 64MB but it
   *really* doesn't like to. One has to manually allocate
   make/allocate swap space before proceeding with "normal"
   installation. [Suse 6.4 installed on a 486 with 8MB RAM; after a
   similar allocation of swap space.]

4) New hardware is very, very cheap. Sometimes it's better to throw
   old hardware away (in the direction of a recycler, of course)
   than to persist with old stuff; especially for desktop use.
   Desktop users will probably want to at least listen to music and
   watch videos.
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