[E3-hacking] Mass storage on the E3

David Given dg at cowlark.com
Tue Mar 21 20:47:33 GMT 2006

jasmine at electronpusher.org wrote:
> Learn to build distributions appropriate to the hardware available?
> There's no earthly reason that anything the 5910 is capable of should
> need more RAM than you have available.  If you want to run GNOME or
> something on it, you're going to have a horrible shock when you find out
> how badly it runs X11, never mind the other stuff that's involved.

Aside from the fact that the E3 has more memory than the first machine I
ran X on, I'm quite aware of its limitations. I don't want to run X. What I
*do* want to do is to run headless Debian; building a distribution is a
significantly bigger and more complex job than is really worth doing, and
using a known good distribution that runs on the ARM will save vast, vast
quantities of grief.

However, as soon as you start using server software you start running into
issues where you can't put fixed bounds on the amount of memory your system
will use. While *most* of the time that 32MB will be ample, *occasionally*
memory usage will peak at larger values than that. (apt itself, for
example, tends to chew large quantities of RAM for just a few seconds on
startup.) I don't want to run using swap, but I do need to have it
available just in case --- have you ever seen Linux run out of hard memory?
It's really not pretty.

If you take a look at miniature ARM distributions such as Familiar, you'll
see that even they recommend a IBM microdrive to swap onto, for exactly
these reasons --- but the E3 doesn't have a PCMCIA slot.

+- David Given --McQ-+ "If you're up against someone more intelligent
|  dg at cowlark.com    | than you are, do something insane and let him think
| (dg at tao-group.com) | himself to death." --- Pyanfar Chanur
+- www.cowlark.com --+

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