Minimum Specification Hardware FAQs
- Minimum Spec FAQ
- Does Bodhi Linux Legacy (32-bit) work with non-PAE CPU?
- My BIOS Can’t Boot to USB/CD-ROM
- Web Browsing (Graphical)
- Web Browsing (Text)
- Lightweight Email Clients (Text)
- Installation Successes
Minimum Spec FAQ
If your system is near the minimum specifications of Bodhi Linux (as defined below), some unique situations, such as severe memory-constraints, may be experienced that would not happen on systems closer to or exceeding the recommended hardware specifications.
This article looks to answer some common questions on this subject using real-world experiences as examples to hopefully improve your experience of Bodhi Linux when system RAM is pushed to the very limit.
- 32bit, 500MHz (Non-PAE) processor
- 512MB** of RAM
- 5GB of drive space
** NOTE: The Bodhi installer runs best with more than 512MB of RAM (ideally 1GB or more). With 512MB RAM, the Bodhi Linux installer will work, but it will work slowly. After installation, you will find Bodhi runs reasonably well with 512MB RAM.
Does Bodhi Linux Legacy (32-bit) work with non-PAE CPU?
“Yes”, Bodhi Linux Legacy supports 32-bit non-PAE processors (typically processors that came before than Pentium II / Athlon – Like Pentium M, Celeron M) as well as newer processors that support the PAE extension.
My BIOS Can’t Boot to USB/CD-ROM
If you find your BIOS doesn’t support booting to USB/CD-ROM (for Bodhi Legacy Installation), or it is supported in the BIOS but it doesn’t work correctly – a small utility named Plop Boot Manager can fill the void. It has a range of features (such as multi-OS boot, etc), but in this context, we’ll just focus on aspects relating to Booting to USB/CD-ROM.
At the time of writing Plop Boot Manager version: 5.0.15 is considered the latest stable (version 6 is still in testing).
Plop BM can be started from An external device (USB, Floppy, CDRom); Another OS boot Loader (Grub, Windows BCM, Lilo, etc), or directly from the Master Boot Record (MBR).
For an MBR approach (creates a pre-boot option to boot to USB on every restart), see Plop Installation page. Section 3 details approach for various installed OS’s such as DOS, Windows, Linux (Lilo, Grub), etc
Other non-permanent approaches are also covered (here) and include Live CD, Windows Boot, Grub Etc.
Web Browsing (Graphical)
Is there a low memory browser?
Bodhi Linux ships with the lightweight Epiphany web browser, in certain scenarios on minimal specification hardware, free system resources become scarce. Here are some alternatives you could try (your mileage may vary).
sudo apt install palemoon
- I strongly recommend Palemoon with one or two tabs max. Don’t run anything in the background you don’t absolutely need; even nm-applet takes like 5M of precious memory etc.
- If you want to use sites like youtube, don’t expect more than 360p in a browser. Use smtube/etc for 720p video. Set your browsers UserAgent to mobile and you’ll get much better performance cuz they won’t put soo many videos on the screen at once.
- If you want to use Gmail, set it to the HTML version. The regular version takes 200mb+ memory so unless it’s your only tab it’s unusable.
You basically need to watch your memory constantly and learn what type of websites use ridiculous memory and find alternatives or close all other tabs when using them, i.e. google maps. Use text and mobile alternatives to websites where they exist… for example m.cnn.com for news is far faster than regular cnn.com.
Also, ads waste resources! But so do ad blockers. I’d still recommend using ublock origin with Palemoon tho. Don’t use AdBlock Plus with firefox, that plugin alone takes like 100MB. However, an alternative is to edit hosts file which takes zero memory, there are examples available online, that have the majority of adservers/etc blocked, but I couldn’t find an autoupdater for Linux so the file can get stale and need to be updated to block latest ads. (updaters exist for android and windows, however….).
Midori (not recommended for Bodhi Linux)
sudo apt install midori
- fortunately, the Midori web browsing application successfully displayed websites — as many as 3 or 4 tabs — prior to the application collapsing due to constraints on the relationship between resource availability and resource consumption. In other words, eventually, the web browser seems to consume resources beyond the computer’s availability, eventually knocking out the application. NOTE (for those curious): The Midori browser was able to open YouTube after about just over a minute.
Web Browsing (Text)
Are there Text browsing apps?
sudo apt install lynx
- archaem wrote:
- Tested on this machine (IBM T40 from the early 2000s with 512RAM). Putting the learning-curve associated with this browser aside (to use the browser effectively one must learn the commands and tweaks available in the numerous help and manual pages which requires more than a few minutes), the primary issue with this text browser was its inability (deliberately designed) to *not display* HTML 4 tables according to their intended layout. Considering the Bodhi Forum is built with a table structure, navigating the forum was a troublesome if not hopeless endeavour. The “troublesome” aspect is doubtful considering the tool used to access the forum was a text browser and “troubles” were expected. Therefore, it’s more appropriate to describe as a hopeless or fruitless task;
sudo apt install links
- archaem wrote:
- After lengthy tests, the primary factor to consider between Links and Lynx — besides their respective help and manual pages and differences in layout — is the manner in which they display webpages. Links, unlike Lynx, *does* display HTML table structures, thereby enabling effective browsing of the Bodhi Forum, as demonstrated by this here post;
sudo apt install links2
- archaem wrote:
- Links2 is distinct from Links by the fact that Links2 *can* display images. Admittedly, browsing the Internet with the Links2 browser on a near decades-old machine is quite an enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that the three text browsers mentioned above operate within the terminal (Bodhi’s “Terminology” application). Recognizing that the text-based browsers consume minimal resources relative to “normal” browsers, multiple applications can operate alongside the browser given that the additional applications also consume minimal resources.
sudo apt install elinks
- text-based none GUI, but being that guy (CLI) I believe it’s the best of the CLI based web browsers.
sudo apt install w3m
What are the key takeaways for Text-based Browser?
- archaem wrote: The Links and Links2 browsers combined with Bodhi Linux 32bit Legacy can reinvigorate old computers, especially considering access to the Internet has been noted as the primary factor restricting folks from using their older machines. Sure, the Internet “feels” differently while browsing with Links and Links2, however keeping in mind the discussion here is about an early 2000s computer running on *512MB* of RAM and accessing the Internet in 2020, it’s fair to say Bodhi’s 32bit Legacy and the Links/2 browser is an awesome combination!Note: this message is not arguing Links/2 is better than Lynx. As mentioned above, the two browsers are *different* and each has its strengths. While Lynx arguably has a steeper learning curve than Links, Lynx seems to offer the user more options in terms of customization. And again, the fact that Lynx does not display HTML 4 table structures nor images is *not* a hindrance to the application considering the designers intend this distinct aspect of their application.
Lightweight Email Clients (Text)
Mutt E-Mail Client
A text-based email client that’s fast and feature-rich. For more details see: Mutt Email Client webpage.
Outlines installation success on hardware that is at/very close to the Minimum Spec.
- IBM T40. 512MB RAM. Pentium M Processor 1.5Ghz. 40GB PATA HDD (Dual Boot: Bodhi Legacy 5.1 & Windows XP). AMD/ATI RV200/M7 (Mobility Radeon 7500). USB 1.0. DVD Drive. More details in Forum post
- Dell Inspiron 1300. 1GB RAM. Intel Celeron M Processor 1.2Ghz. 40GB PATA HDD (Dual Boot: Bodhi Linux Legacy 5.1 & Windows 7), Intel Extreme Graphics 4MB. 400Mhz FSB. DVD Drive