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tweak minimum requirements
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Description

A rather interesting discussion on our user mailing list about the proper definition of the gigabyte (mirroring a discussion on the kernel mailing list) led to the creation of a bug report regarding the fact that when available disk/RAM equals required{Storage,Ram} in the Calamares welcome module configuration, the installation will not proceed. Furthermore, the upstream bug suggested cleaning up the language so it was unambiguous.

Additionally, the user that started the discussion suggested that we tweak the minimum requirements to be that exactly: the minimum requirements, since the space occupied is nearly half of what we say we need. Based on our new direction post, we said we would get rid of minimum system requirements. However, we enforced them in Cosmic and this was problematic enough that we explained it in the "issues with workarounds" section of the release notes. We've already taken a step in this direction in that we lowered the RAM requirements.

I know that we don't want to make it seem like we're the right distro for the folks with 256MiB of RAM and a 5GiB disk, but we shouldn't be so heavy handed about prohibiting them from playing with it. Instead, it might be good set to set Calamares for minimum requirements.

Maybe an additional improvement would be to have Calamares also provide suggested requirements when device values are between required and recommended. It might help with satisfaction, especially in light of the modern web.

So full list of changes:

  1. upstream Calamares should check if the device is greater than or equal to the required size
  2. upstream Calamares should use GiB (or at least only use GB when they mean base 10)
  3. upstream Calamares should use "more than" instead of "at least" since it's less likely to confuse people
  4. we should lower required settings in our Calamares welcome module configuration to their minimum values
  5. we should publish recommended values
  6. we should work with upstream Calamares to provide an option to show suggested requirements

Event Timeline

wxl triaged this task as Normal priority.Apr 27 2019, 1:57 AM
wxl created this task.

I'd like to get @kc2bez and @hmollercl on this one; @kc2bez because he's been doing a lot more Calamares work lately and @hmollercl because he has been keen on analyzing our system usage.

~350Mb is RAM consumption right after first login. One could get around ~300Mb disabling Qlipper, Compton, Printer Applet. Maybe one could disable lxqt-runner (since lxde doesn't have one).
Main problem are current web pages and browsers which are extremely resource hungry (facebook, gmail are a good example).
So, less than 1Gb RAM shouldn't be an option.

Besides that, today buying old RAM in aliexpress, ebay, etc.. is cheap and most 10 year old computer should at least be able to handle 2Gb.
I have a netbook with ATOM 64bit which handles 2Gb w/o problems and a centrino duo more than 13 years old which handles 4Gb and I bought those DDR2 667 4Gb (2x2Gb) in aliexpress for USD 8.70.-

In T72#1808, @hmollercl wrote:

So, less than 1Gb RAM shouldn't be an option.

I disagree. The point of minimum requirements is, that we prevent users from installing, if the machine does not fulfil the minimum requirements (e.g. on hardware with 256 MiB). The minimum requirements should be based on technical facts and not impose unnecessary limits.

I use very often virtual machines, and sometimes I "need" two running Lubuntus for testing different settings at the same time and I am working on the host system (with browser and dozens of open tabs, IRC, IDE, etc).

The goal of Lubuntu is not to support very old hardware, but to have

a lightweight yet functional Linux distribution based on a rock-solid Ubuntu base

or in other words: Lubuntu is a very good distribution for virtual machines.

I also use it on virtualmachines and disable qlipper and compton.

My problem is people who want to have all the functionality with 512Mb RAM and browsing in facebook. If we decide to put 512Mb we should put a big disclaimer regarding that.
I agree that if someone only wants to play music, with 512Mb will be ok.

Maybe minimum (with big disclaimer) and recommend then?

I have no problem to make recommendations like 1 or even 2 GiB of RAM. And we can or should write these recommendations and the minimum requirements into the manual/blog/download page/forum, so that it will be hard not to find them.

wxl added a comment.Aug 7 2019, 3:53 PM

Echoing @apt-ghetto, I think it would be good to have two things:

  • minimum requirements
  • recommended specifications

Beyond that, though, we are using minimum requirements in Calamares and that needs fixing as the original description, so that's what we need to fix in addition to publishing that information.

But we should put big disclaimer that on less than 1Gb you should disable compton, qlipper and lxqt-runner and if printer is not used also printer-applet.

wxl added a comment.Aug 7 2019, 5:30 PM

Agreed. And not use the web.

kc2bez added a comment.Aug 8 2019, 3:45 PM

I think some of the key to success here may be in having swap (see T22). I setup a VM with a 2Gib swap space and 478Mib. I left it running overnight and RAM utilization was 113 Mib. As a side note the web was browse-able, perhaps not optimal by any stretch but functional. Swap isn't a cure-all and may not be the ideal solution for everything but it can sometimes help. I know I just threw some more variables in the mix but I think we need to look at that too.

wxl added a comment.Aug 11 2019, 5:40 PM

Ok, so who wants to take responsibility for this, write something up and follow through on the Calamares bits, including the upstream ones? I'm pretty sure all of the upstream bits are covered but I'm not sure about adding a suggested requirements setting.

wxl assigned this task to hmollercl.Aug 15 2019, 4:35 PM

Seems like T4: Make it lighter is related here and Hans is on that one, so giving this to him.