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F15 Rants - Talking To The Wind A place to gnash your teeth and vocalize your issues with F15, such as the default Wallpaper, Gnome3 and LibreOffice. Sure, the proper procedure is to use Bugzilla or subscribe to the Devs mailing lists at Fedora Project, but if you simply want to complain with no effect, here's your spot!

 
 
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  #1  
Old 23rd April 2011, 03:59 AM
markdk Offline
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Minimum memory for install ?

Glad there is a gripe forum :-).

Been playing with (trying to play with) FC15 beta in virtualbox.
Install crashes if memory set to 512Mb, ok on 756Mb.

Unfortunately not just from an interactive install from the iso image/dvd but also exactly the same issue using a kickstart install into a virtualbox VM.

Using my live webserver kickstart file, the only change being directory path changes from FC14 to FC15beta in my url paths.

I assume my issue is that there are install flags to force a text install (including in kickstart configurations) that I haven't found yet.

My gripe is that I'm pretty sure that when FC15 is installed on a server with only 512 Mb of memory in runlevel 3 it will work just fine.

But it seems the actual installation requires more memory than the final installed OS will.
Hopefully the final release of FC15 will require less memory for an install.

The gripe. It needs more memory to run the install that it does to actually run the OS.
  #2  
Old 23rd April 2011, 04:14 AM
jpollard Online
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Re: Minimum memory for install ???

That is because the entire system must reside in memory during the initial install.

Do I think it is excessive? yes.

You can add the kernel (a bit over a 1 MB) the initrd (twice - the compressed form + the expanded ramdisk format root filesystem + required I/O buffering.

Now once the kernel gets started the compressed form is released, but then you get the GUI installation ... plus the minimal processes... and systemd itself takes a fair sized chunk (on my test VM, x86-64, it takes 21MB alone).

I can remember when the whole kit and kaboodle only needed 8MB.
  #3  
Old 23rd April 2011, 04:59 AM
marko Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpollard View Post
That is because the entire system must reside in memory during the initial install.

Do I think it is excessive? yes.

You can add the kernel (a bit over a 1 MB) the initrd (twice - the compressed form + the expanded ramdisk format root filesystem + required I/O buffering.

Now once the kernel gets started the compressed form is released, but then you get the GUI installation ... plus the minimal processes... and systemd itself takes a fair sized chunk (on my test VM, x86-64, it takes 21MB alone).

I can remember when the whole kit and kaboodle only needed 8MB.
Maybe you can make the "entire system" smaller by picking "minimal install" ? Would that make the install image a lot smaller then after the installation you could reboot and install the remaining packages wanted piecemeal.
  #4  
Old 23rd April 2011, 12:51 PM
jpollard Online
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

No - because to be able to select the minimal install, you still need to boot the install...

The problem is the bloated system itself + the GUI.

In installation really needs to be done in three steps.

1. hardware identification - kernel, command line only, partitioning, LVM? boot definition.

This is a problem because people need to be able to partition the system, and to make it nice for new users, they want the GUI partitioning. This makes the current boot very bloated as you now need all the graphics to be usable. It SHOULD be possible. All this step needs to do is define the disk layout, the graphics, the network, and install /boot, and a minimal root filesystem (no GUI installed yet). There will be a provided configuration as identified by the user and the hardware (graphics, network, and installation tools).

2. Boot the minimal system and immediately install the additional software needed for the hardware (more complete graphics, network, and expanded installation tools). Now the user can select local time, type of system, change default keyboard configuration, added drivers..

3. reboot, complete the configuration. This should be what is in "first boot" stage.

IF the GUI could be dropped from the first step, then a PXE boot should easily fit within 512MB, and quite possibly much less. The GUI on an initial installation boot current has to have every possible graphics device possible plus lots of different configuration tools, and that bloats the system considerably.
  #5  
Old 24th April 2011, 03:08 AM
markdk Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

Gripe update, makes 'rescue' boot useless.

Makes a bit of a joke of all those articles on the web suggesting you can repurpose old hardware by installing Linux. Ok, Linux still needs less than windows. Ok, it does use less memory, if you can get past the install step :-).

Hopefully the final FC15 release will actually have a text install mode.
Needing all that GUI stuff loaded even during hands-off a kickstart install is a bit pointless. Say for example a headless server that will never install any GUI packages, very pointless.

Maybe one day there will be a seperate initrd.img/vmlinuz combination that is happy to just use minimum memory and do nothing but follow the kickstart instructions.
On the FC15 beta at least the initrd.img and vmlinuz in isolinux and images/pxeboot appear to be identical.

Out of curiosity I tried booting into rescue mode; both off the install media and off a network boot. After all rescue mode is text based isn't it.
The pxe boot config was simply

prompt 1
default rescue
timeout 100
label rescue
kernel vmlinuz
append initrd=initrd.img ramdisk_size=9216 noapic acpi=off linux rescue

Booting of the dvd in rescue mode with 512Mb assigned, crashed.
Booting off the dvd in rescue mode with 756Mb was ok.
Network boot using the rescue mode config above with 512Mb assigned, crashed.
Network boot using the rescue mode config above with 756Mb assigned, ok again

Thats another good reason to keep the GUI bloat out of the main boot image. On the odd occasion you do want to boot into 'text only' rescue mode to see whats wrong with your server, say maybe to see if a memory card has died, you can't. As as rescue mode is known to be a text environment, why must the GUI bload be bundled with it.

I think jpollards comments above nailed it.
The first step is simply all basic disk/lvm componentents and system maintenance functions; and then should be to determine what may be required, not to blindly by default load up everything that could possibly be required (as that is doomed to fail, there will always be an exception; which will be handled in the next release needing even more memory?).

For me the concern has moved from install won't work to 'rescue' is useless.

Say for example... Opps, I broke my sshd config file. I must boot into rescue mode to edit one config file. All I need is basic disk and lvm software. But I cannot boot into a command line interface because... all the GUI components that will never be used need to be loaded into memory. Anyone else see that as an slight issue or is it just me ?.

That first install/boot step should be the mimimum needed to manage the OS and filesystem from the command line. Bundling of other junk is detrimental.

But hopefully the final release of FC15 will re-implement a text mode install.
  #6  
Old 24th April 2011, 04:09 AM
marko Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

Quote:
But hopefully the final release of FC15 will re-implement a text mode install.
I just checked the anaconda options page and it has text option

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Anaconda/Options

do you guys mean that in the anaconda in Fedora 15 in particular they removed the text mode?
  #7  
Old 24th April 2011, 05:46 AM
smr54 Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

The text option has been crippled, and even worse for system admins, RH did the same. They call it "streamlined and simplified," but that was a spin as untrue as Windows Genuine Advantage.

As for Linux and old hardware--that's still true, just not true for many of the mainstream distributions, such as Fedora. Generally the desktop distributions are heavily bloated, though Fedora, at least, does give an option for a fairly minimal install--crippling the text option makes it require whatever it requires now, 512MB, I think, but it's still better than some which give you no chance of customizing during installation.
  #8  
Old 25th April 2011, 01:25 PM
DokterW Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdk View Post
Install crashes if memory set to 512Mb, ok on 756Mb.

My gripe is that I'm pretty sure that when FC15 is installed on a server with only 512 Mb of memory in runlevel 3 it will work just fine.

The gripe. It needs more memory to run the install that it does to actually run the OS.
I think this only is applicable to virtualbox. Because with virtualbox you are basically running two computers on the same hardware. Kind of resource hungry.

I've installed Fedora 15 Beta on my 701, it has 4GB HDD and 512 MB RAM. No problems at all regarding the install. Re-installing it now as it got a bit wonky after an update, so I'm trying to see if I can reproduce the error.
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  #9  
Old 28th April 2011, 09:49 PM
SiliconSlick Offline
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Re: Minimum memory for install ?

There seems to have been some discussion on this in fedora-devel back in February. One (good) example (describing the problem) is:

http://lists.fedoraproject.org/piper...ry/149120.html

Seems to be part of this effort....

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Anaco.../UnifiedInitrd

Seems the decision was made and if you have 512MB or less, you are going to be stuck using FC14 for rescue and install (with a yum upgrade to 15). Given that, one would hope that a) they make that very clear in the release notes and b) they get anaconda to fail more gracefully when lacking RAM.

Since boot time detection of memory size can't be used to choose between large/small initrd.img then the next possible solution is to create an install disk with initrd.img/install.img separated again (like FC14). Not sure what would be involved with that. Probably diffing the scripts used to build the install media between the two versions and separating them out there is a good start. Could be a lot more complicated though if they've tweaked certain tools to do this "magic". But it might be a worthwhile "spin" to work on.

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