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Red Hat or Red Dog?

Posted on 1999-11-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I did a FRESH install of RedHat 6.0 on a Dell Dimension 200 mHz computer, and it is a DOG!!  The hard drive is constantly doing something, and it takes about 3 minutes to log in (from when I push enter after my password).  I am greatly dismayed.
Question by:BMWnFun

Expert Comment

ID: 2204456
Redhat shouldn't be running like that.  What kind of hardware is installed: Type of processor (Pentium/AMD/Cyrix), video card, any other add ons, usb?  hard drive(s)?  ram? what's the size of the swap file you created? what are the sizes (devices & mount points) of the other file systems?  My gusess: file system or swap configuration needs adjusting.

Expert Comment

ID: 2204561
shimko is correct, this is a classic swap file misonfiguration complaint.

Expert Comment

ID: 2205660
My RedHat 6.0 has me logged in within 15 seconds or so, and that's on an old Pentium-120MHz.  Make sure your swap is at least 32Mbytes or more; I use 96Mbytes on mine.
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Expert Comment

ID: 2205662
Oh, by the way, you can use the command "cat /etc/fstab" to get answers to the questions near the end of shimko's comment.

Author Comment

ID: 2205674
My computer is a 166MMX (true intel), 48M ram, 1 20G hard drive partitioned into a 2G (not mounted in RedHat) and a 18G mounted under /common.  The swap partition is on a 2 G hard drive, 190M in size, the rest of the drive is the root partition.  I also have a 6G drive in one partition mounted as /usr.

My video card is a Diamond Stealth 3D 3000 (unfortunately).

Accepted Solution

rwenzla earned 200 total points
ID: 2205849
First, lets try to isolate the problem.  Are you logging in to an XWindows session?  If so, reboot and at LILO: type "linux 3" (or whatever you would type boot linux followed by a "3").  This will boot you into text mode.  Is it still a dog?  If not, we are probably looking at a graphics setup problem. (Graphics are the most time consuming task a computer has to do - Painitng a 1024x768 screen in 16M colors is a transfer of over 2MB).

If its still a dog and whirring in text mode (you'll have to play around alot to try to use up the memory in text mode), I agree that its probably a swap thing.  Creating a swap partition doesn't , by default, mean it's getting used.

Type the "free" command to see how much mem is being used, and if swap space is available.

If there is no swap, then check /etc/fstab to see if the swap line is ok.  Mine is:

/dev/hda4  swap  swap  defaults  0  0

If the line is there, but no swap shows up in free's output,
try issuing the "swapon -a" command.  Does it succeed? if not what does it complain about?

If it succeeds, then for some reason, you aren't turning on swap during the boot sequence.  It should be one of the fist non-comment lines in /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit

I see it as about the 16-19th lines:

# Start up swapping.
echo "Activating swap partitions."
swapon -a

Make sure these lines are OK.

190MB seems large for a swap.  The older kernels couldn't support single swap spaces of greater than 130 MB.

Maybe the stock kernel of RedHat 6.0  doesn't either, so mounting swap fails.

Expert Comment

ID: 2205854
An after thought:  Did you install as a workstation or server?  Servers are typically set up to use ALL the available memory for incomming connections, since very rarely will someone directly login to the server.

The default config for apache under RedHat 5.2, spawns connection processes (httpd) untill all the memory is gone. . .

It's a trade-off thing, you can optimize for speed or for memory use.  CPU's were slow back then, so they optimized the O/S for speed.  Memory was expensive back then, so they wrote applications efficiently.  It's a good combo overall, but it means that Linux is a terrible pig when the memory is gone . . .

Expert Comment

ID: 2216073
just uninstall it

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