More on Ubuntu Feisty 7.04

I played more with Ubuntu’s new version yesterday and the better part of today too. This is the first time in my 8-9 year experience with Linux that I had to do little manual work to get the system to a state that I feel comfortable using as a desktop. I had some application crashes but nothing serious, and when Automatix2 for Feisty is out it will take care the rest of my concerns. There is a lot of polish on Ubuntu, even if as I said the other day, it does not have all the helpful configuration dialogs that Yast and Fedora have. This is also the first time that I felt that I didn’t really need the -dev packages installed. There were only 2-3 applications that I needed and the repositories either did not have them available, or they featured older versions.

One peculiarity is how much RAM Ubuntu really consumes. The updated System Monitor uses a different algorithm to measure RAM usage and gives some pretty low numbers. In reality though, you need at least 256 MBs to comfortably load the default desktop of Ubuntu and 512 MBs to actually do some real work with it.

Regardless, if Bluetooth OBEX actually works well (can’t be tested via VMWare) and if suspend-to-RAM also works, I might switch to Ubuntu full time for my new laptop that comes over around March 20th.


Tom Dison wrote on March 8th, 2007 at 10:52 AM PST:

Sadly, you are right on the memory requirements. Lately, on older machines (I have several older laptops) I have been usng DSL. It is an amazing distro for older machines. On these machines, I have a nice graphical desktop, firefox running, and a few other apps running, and the memory usage is only 30-40 MB of ram. I really don’t know how they do it, but it works really well.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 8th, 2007 at 11:07 AM PST:

Did you try the “free” command on DSL? What does “free” says?

On ArchLinux I could go down to 50 MBs of RAM with Gnome loaded on my ex-Vaio laptop. The trick was (except of only using the services that were really needed) to disable any 3D/GL support in the xorg.conf file and that would save you about 20-30 MBs of RAM. Check this screenshot here which shows the memory consumed (this is with the old system-monitor code that was just reporting the same as “free” did, ubuntu’s new system-monitor version is not as accurate). If you remove the MBs of RAM that system monitor itself required to run, you could load Gnome on my Vaio with Arch Linux with only 50 MBs of RAM. Overall, I had a modern functional desktop with 128 MBs of RAM. I sold that laptop now though. :)

Simon wrote on March 9th, 2007 at 6:35 AM PST:

meh. The less ram is being used the more ram is being WASTED.

The new system monitor is excluding the cached/buffered part of the ram from the ram usage and is correct. HINT: look directly under the line you have highlighted in that terminal window with free command

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 9th, 2007 at 6:45 AM PST:

I do not disagree that if RAM is not used it’s being wasted. What I don’t like is the actual fact that Ubuntu requires 256 MBs of RAM as a logical minimum, no matter what “free” or “system monitor” says.

Tom Dison wrote on March 11th, 2007 at 12:43 PM PST:

I checked on the free Ram on DSL (it’s my son’s laptop now). It has a free memory display on the desktop that was showing only 32MB of RAM in use with desktop and Firefox going. When I did a free, 78MB was in use. It was subtracting the cache and the buffer usage.

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