Test run of 2009/05/25 image

Mikus Grinbergs mikus at bga.com
Thu Jun 4 13:21:35 UTC 2009

These days I do almost all my running with the most recent F11-based 
builds available (e.g., 2009/05/25 image and newer).  It is only the 
lack of audio or video in F11-on-XO that keeps me from abandoning my 
8.2.1 systems.  Most of the items mentioned don't bother me:

[Note:  My XOs all have a "permanent" SD card, which holds lots of 
executables (including activities) + gigs of data + swap partition.]

> Forewarning: non scientific tests...
> * "occasional" creating devices hang
>   For me, it was "occasional" boot. Once it took 16 boots, the last
>   3 of which separated by two hours from the other 13.

My *average* number of repeats before boot is successful:  5 or so

> * wasted memory
>   GNOME just SHOULDN'T be there. A simpler window manager  will
>   make it much better. I installed OpenBox but it was very hard
>   because of OOM killer :)

Looking only at what XO-1s I have powered up at this instant:
   nand occupancy for 2009/05/28+:  516 MB
   nand occupancy for build 801:    504 MB
[Both values are affected by how many Activities installed in nand.]

256 MB of RAM is not much.  That's why I have an active swap 
partition.  I'm not sure how much a smaller "resident system"
would help.

I do experience [particularly when using 'find /'] unwanted system 
stalls (OOM killer?) after the system has been running for a while.
My guess would be that there are memory leaks - which would be a 
problem even if initially available amount of memory were greater.
Here's hoping that eventually enough people will be using F11-on-XO 
to justify investigating such problems.

> * OpenBox launches way too many GNOME daemons.
>   I had to kill a lot of them by hand in order to get some more
>   free memory.

I normally run applications with Sugar instead of Gnome as the 
manager.  Haven't tried to overcommit with F11-on-XO builds, but in 
my experience with F9-based builds, two "monster" applications 
active simultaneously (e.g., Firefox + Adobe Reader) are as much as 
the XO-1 can handle.

> * not enough memory for yum
>   99% of the attempts to install anything resulted in OOM kills

Helps to periodically do 'yum clean all'.  Yum normally runs fine.
[Did cause a system stall once when trying to update glibc - but 
that was on a 'yum upgrade' that was pulling in some 40 packages.]

> * speed of GNOME interface was acceptable
>   really, this was the biggest surprise I had...
> Conclusion:
>    fedora-olpc, to be a sucess, needs a much slimmer UI than that
>    of GNOME.

"Success" needs to be defined.  Seems to me the OLPC was envisioned 
mainly for a single-application environment.  Except for being slow 
at processing, I think it succeeds admirably.

[GNOME-on-XO has the advantage of clarity and not-very-complicated. 
Yes, other UIs can be fashioned, but work would have to be put in to 
make them "do enough to make it easy for users".  <See how much 
effort it has taken to fashion Sugar.>]


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