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#1 2020-06-13 21:42:59

m1rr0r5h4d35
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Registered: 2017-01-08
Posts: 56

Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

First, this may have been answered elsewhere, and if so, then I apologize. I did try searching around a bit before posting, but I didn't see a reference to it anywhere.

In the past, #! and Bunsenlabs have supported the 32-bit platforms which has been quite the godsend for me, as I run a lot of old junk and was curious if that is still going to be the case going forward. I am aware that many distros are dropping x86 support in favor of focusing on 64-bit and that most likely this will eventually happen across the board with distros. I was just hoping to get an idea of what the outlook for BL is on this issue.

Already at this stage, my options are quite a bit more limited for these machines than one might suppose. Basically, its BL, Bohdi, and Slackware. BSD notwithstanding, even some of those projects have dropped 32-bit. Ubuntu and Mint have 32-bit spins, but I have my doubts that they are actually running them on real 32-bit hardware, as when I tried them they usually crap out right after you make a choice on GRUB. I can get mint XFCE to install on this netbook, but the performance is better in BL.

That being said, the three aforementioned distros (including BL) are really the only options that leave you with any kind of usable system. I would be saddened to see support for 32-bit dropped in BL, but I know it's coming someday.


"A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

- William Gibson

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#2 2020-06-13 21:47:10

rbh
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From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 661

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

m1rr0r5h4d35 wrote:

I would be saddened to see support for 32-bit dropped in BL, but I know it's coming someday.

I think BL will support 32-bit as long as Debian does...


// Regards rbh

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#3 2020-06-13 22:11:41

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 2,942

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

We're still looking to support amd64 and i386 with installation media (as far as I know, I'm not spinning the ISOs -- it could be that 32bit will be released with some delay). From a packaging perspective, the main package repository (lithium distribution), besides all the architecture-independent BL packages, will ship up-to-date versions of jgmenu and tint2 as binary packages for the amd64, i386, armhf (arm32v7) and arm64 (aarch64, arm64v8) Debian architectures. This means that the BL core should run on all those architectures. We only test amd64 and i386 thoroughly, however.

The buster-backports repository accompanying the lithium repository is going to include an up-to-date build of mpv from the get go and will be getting continuously updated. BL buster-backports is planned to support amd64 and i386 only at the moment, mainly due to lack of time to invest in cross-compiling packages that don't compile without more effort on ARM, such as mpv because of its waf build system.

The main repository for lithium and buster-backports are already populated, see https://www.bunsenlabs.org/repoidx.html#lithium and https://www.bunsenlabs.org/repoidx.html … -backports and ready for use.


Per aspera ad astra.

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#4 2020-06-13 22:50:50

eight.bit.al
Member
From: Prison
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 627

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

m1rr0r5h4d35 wrote:

That being said, the three aforementioned distros (including BL) are really the only options that leave you with any kind of usable system.

BL Lithium will (has been promised) to support 32 bit machines. Real Soon Now™ smile

Until then, allow me to suggest SparkyLinux Buster (32bit) in LXQt, Xfce, and my fav - Openbox (MinimalGUI, in Sparky speak)
https://sparkylinux.org/download/stable/

8bit

Last edited by eight.bit.al (2020-06-13 22:57:22)


Fly, for a white guy.

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#5 2020-06-14 01:05:51

m1rr0r5h4d35
Member
Registered: 2017-01-08
Posts: 56

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

Thanks for the suggestions, 8bit, I will have to try those out. I have never really used Sparky before.

It seems like minimal and slim distros use to be more popular, but ever since octa-core 4Ghz procs and 32 GB RAM laptops became a thing nobody gives a crap anymore.

As I said, I could get Mint XFCE to run on this Netbook, but most of my 32-bit machines won't run anything *buntu related, and to be honest XFCE has gotten (subjectively) more bloated lately. In fact, I see that many places recommend using Mate over XFCE now on older machines. Funny that XFCE use to be considered lighter weight than Gnome 2 back in the day. You live long enough, you see weird stuff happen.

Probably why I stick with BL over many of the other projects out there. I have always preferred straight-up window managers to all-out desktops since way back in the late 90's It sometimes surprises me that you don't see similar projects to BL based around other WMs. The closest thing I can thing of ATM are the community builds of Manjaro, and of course projects like ArchLabs and such.

Anyway, I have been blathering on to long. Thanks for all your hard work guys, and thanks for continuing to support all us nuts still refusing to give up our Pentium 4's and crappy netbooks. I appreciate it.


"A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

- William Gibson

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#6 2020-06-14 01:26:42

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,308
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Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

As twoion pointed out (but I'm re-emphasizing) BL supports 32bit machines already, in that i386 builds ofall our packages are available from the regular repositories.

What isn't yet available is a 32bit iso file, which means the install path for i386 Lithium is a little more complicated: install a basic command-line-only Debian Buster system, add the BL repository and then install bunsen-meta-all. Details here: https://forums.bunsenlabs.org/viewtopic … 524#p81524

We do not plan to release a full-sized i386 iso along with amd64, but are now working on a ~700MB 32bit non-PAE iso which will be small enough to fit on a CD-ROM. The number of 32bit users is falling and does not really justify maintaining two 32bit iso builds. However, once the CD iso is installed it will be simple to expand the system right back up to the default BunsenLabs setup if desired, or to something a bit lighter, suitable for older machines, according to taste.

PS Debian grows a little bigger with every release (fair enough), so getting down to 700MB will be a real squeeze this time. We already used all the high-compression tweaks we could get our hands on for the Helium CD, so this time it will call for some fierce cutting of packages that would still be nice to have, and a bit less eye-candy. (Of course it can all go back in post-install.)

Last edited by johnraff (2020-06-14 01:32:41)


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

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#7 2020-06-14 02:50:31

eight.bit.al
Member
From: Prison
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 627

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

johnraff wrote:

As twoion pointed out (but I'm re-emphasizing) BL supports 32bit machines already, in that i386 builds ofall our packages are available from the regular repositories.

Well, there you go m1rr0r5h4d35, from the source.

8bit


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#8 2020-06-14 03:01:13

m1rr0r5h4d35
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Registered: 2017-01-08
Posts: 56

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

I get that. It makes sense, and I do appreciate all that goes into it. I appreciate the effort to produce a CD-sized ISO as well. On the desktop side, dropping a DVD drive in is no problem, but on old laptops, it can be a real issue. Some point out using a tool like Plop linux floppy or similar to boot USB sticks, but this is a 50/50 shot at best, as the USB ports have to be seen in the BIOS for these to work, and it has been my experience that it's rare to find a machine where this is the case.

I would recommend that if you are looking to cut stuff, start with userland stuff. It's nice to have VLC and LibreOffice already installed, but not necessary. That stuff can be installed after the fact.

If I am to be perfectly honest, most 32-bit machines that people are going to reasonably use at this point are probably going to be netbooks like this one, and Pentium 4 era desktops/laptops. Most of them won't have 3d cards in them, unless someone is building a retro battlestation for old games.

So you could probably just drop compositing from 32-bit as well. I doubt it sees a lot of use on the 32-bit side. I mean I like having compositing and all, but it just eats resources that you are unlikely to have on a box that old.

Honestly, I would be happy just to have a functioning system from it. Doesn't take much to make me happy. As long as it had Openbox, tint2, conky and terminator and the usual BL goodness anything else is just icing on the cake.


"A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

- William Gibson

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#9 2020-06-14 07:15:32

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 4,881
Website

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

^ I don't get this post.
Are you saying that you're having problems with BL on x86 32bit machines???
(Btw, disabling compositing for good is literally a one click action on BL)

rbh wrote:

I think BL will support 32-bit as long as Debian does...

Word.
And that opens a world of distros based on it, incl. but not limited to BL, antiX, MX, Ubuntu of course, and all the rest.

No end of 32bit support in sight.

But - quoting myself here:

Don't get me wrong, I won't cry disappointment or shout protest or even try to blow it up into a politicum should Debian ever drop support for x86 32 bit. I will just go out and buy another piece of hardware that's been hyped "obsolete" by shortsighted fools - for next to nothing, thankyouverymuch!

(or even find one on the dump)

Last edited by ohnonot (2020-06-14 07:18:20)


BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos
---
Thank you for posting direct image links!

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#10 2020-06-14 23:44:36

m1rr0r5h4d35
Member
Registered: 2017-01-08
Posts: 56

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

@ohnonot -

Sorry for any confusion. I wasn't having trouble. I was just offering suggestions, as it was mentioned that in the future, some stuff may have to be cut from the 32-bit ISO to keep it CD-sized, and I was only offering what I felt to be observations from actual use on 32-bit hardware. This was not meant to be a criticism of any current ISO.

ohnonot wrote:

Word.
And that opens a world of distros based on it, incl. but not limited to BL, antiX, MX, Ubuntu of course, and all the rest.

What I was trying to get across was that there are many, many distros out there claiming 32-bit support, but often fall flat when trying to run them on actual 32-bit hardware. I have about nine computers in total from the 32-bit era, and only a handful of these distros will actually install and run properly. The three I mentioned being those that actually work.

In the end, all I was wanting to do is see if BL was still planning on supporting the platform, because i didn't see any mention of it on the site. Because it runs so well on all my old machines, if it dropped 32-bit support, I am not sure what I would do.

Hopefully, I managed to clear up my sentiment, but knowing me I just added to the confusion.


"A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding."

- William Gibson

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#11 2020-06-15 19:22:26

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 4,881
Website

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

m1rr0r5h4d35 wrote:

What I was trying to get across was that there are many, many distros out there claiming 32-bit support, but often fall flat when trying to run them on actual 32-bit hardware. I have about nine computers in total from the 32-bit era, and only a handful of these distros will actually install and run properly.

So, let me get this straight, you tested many, many distros that claim x86 32bit support (let's say 25 just for arguments sake), and of these
- 20 did not work at all on ANY of those 9 computers, and
- 5 worked on ALL of those 9 computers?
Colour me sceptical.

BTW, there's a difference between x86-i386, x86-i486, x86-i586, x86-i686. All those are 32bit. I don't know what that difference is, but many distros claim i686 support, and nothing else.
Maybe your machines are not actually i686 machines.
It would be good to know what exactly those 9 machines are or why so many distros fail on them.
You mentioning PLOP makes me think that they are very, very old (no booting from USB). Not all machines from "before 64bit" fall in the same class or even era.
In other words, maybe a somewhat newer 32bit machine would run $distro just fine.


BL quote proposals to this thread please.
my repos / my repos
---
Thank you for posting direct image links!

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#12 2020-06-16 01:13:57

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,308
Website

Re: Question about archetictures supported in Lithium

Debian's earliest processor support is now 686, so we can forget about 386, 486 and 586.
Such machines are probably only capable of running minimal distros like, perhaps, DSL or minix anyway. I think any 32bit machine in anything like normal use is going to be 686. Agreed, the majority of those can boot from USB, but there might still be a few where the BIOS doesn't co-operate and a CD works better.

Can't speak for @m1rr0r5h4d35 but I'm guessing that the issue is not so much the distro basics per se as the combination of apps that is trying to run on it to present the user interface. ie the default desktop. I think it's quite likely that only a handful of "modern" distros, even if available in 32bit, will run at all usefully on old machines.

I have a couple in that category too, both with Centrino CPUs and 1GB RAM. BL Lithium is just usable but a more stripped-down Debian might be a better idea if I was going to use them for other than testing.


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

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