[Sugar-devel] Sugar-devel Digest, Vol 11, Issue 89 (SoaS performance/hard drive swapping)
abhunkin at uncg.edu
Wed Sep 16 16:23:59 EDT 2009
1) Is there a difference between Fedora 11 and SoaS with regard to how many
"sound cards" are supported?
2) Would it be possible to configure a SoaS USB drive so that the unused
portion could function as a swap drive?
Frankly, if a full Fedora 11 supported more sound cards and other hardware
(e.g., video cards), and/or a higher-capacity USB drive would allow for a
swap drive, I'd *certainly* opt for a larger USB drive. We're only talking a
few $ (or whatever) more.
I doubt the above scenario is possible - but it can't hurt to ask. (Though I
imagine if feasible it would already have been implemented.)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Bogstad" <bogstad at pobox.com>
To: "Jim Simmons" <nicestep at gmail.com>
Cc: "Art Hunkins" <abhunkin at uncg.edu>; <sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org>;
"Sebastian Dziallas" <sdz at sugarlabs.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [Sugar-devel] Sugar-devel Digest, Vol 11, Issue 89 (SoaS
performance/hard drive swapping)
On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 10:51 AM, Jim Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com> wrote:
> Being a frugal person I do all my home computing on legacy machines
> like the ones you've tested with. As far as SoaS is concerned, I
> agree with your conclusions. I got better results than you did with
> my Pentium III because I've installed a USB 2.0 expansion card on it.
> I haven't tried a Pentium II.
> What I'd like to point out is that while these older machines don't
> run SoaS very well they may be perfectly adequate running Fedora 11
> with the included Sugar environment, especially if the Sugar
> environment and its Activities are the only things running. I do that
> with a Pentium III with 256 Meg of RAM and probably much less than 1
> gigahertz speed. One advantage you have doing this is you can have a
> swap partition on the hard drive. Another advantage is that the
> Fedora 11 distribution probably supports more sound cards than SoaS
> ever could. Plus you don't have to deal with slow USB 1.0 ports,
> flaky thumb drives, etc.
I was under the impression that SoaS WAS Fedora 11 at that level of
the software (just installed and configured a little differently). I
haven't delved into SoaS packages in detail so I could be wrong here.
As for swap, if you are repurposing discarded machines on any kind of
scale you are going to end up with non-functional machines which are a
great source of parts. Strip the RAM from the dead machines and
upgrade the rest. This is something that even 10-12 year old kids can
help with and probably enjoy. If it's part of a project where they
get to take the machines home afterwards they will be even more
My wish is to figure out ways that SoaS can take advantage of the hard
drive while still remaining a portable environment. Hmm... Hey, here
is a potentially useful 'hack'. Have SoaS detect the presence of a
hard drive at boot time, look for partitions marked as Linux swap, and
enable swapping on them. This could make 256Meg machines much more
usable. Should be as safe as the contents of partitions with the
Linux swap type are pretty much fair game to be overwritten at any
The only case that I can think of where this would be a problem is if
someone is doing Linux kernel dumps to swap space for diagnostic
purposes. If they are doing this then they are uber-Linux wizards and
are already having to deal with this potential issue in their normal
usage of the machine.
Anybody want to code/script this up?
Or we could make a swap file on the flash stick (not in the Linux root
filesystem though, too many levels of indirection for good
performance). This could be setup to only be turned on when the
physical memory in the machine is below a certain amount.
Perhaps do both in the same system startup script. Check for hard
drive swap partition(s) first and use if available. If no hard drive
swap partitions are available, check memory of machine and use a swap
file on flash if memory is low. This idea
I really like (of course I'm biased).
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