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SubjectLinux hostile to poverty
Date
                     Linux Becomes Hostile to Poverty
----- ------- ------- -- -------
I hope that got your attention!

Unlike earlier kernels, recent Linux kernels have become less usable on
what has now become low-end (obsolete!) hardware:

(1) The memory rusts (see below). 2.1.109 appears to be worse than any
kernel since 2.1.98.

(2) 2.1.108 introduced a "feature" whereby the underline bit is turned
on for any character written to screen on a monochrome adapter. It's
not a pretty sight! 2.1.109 hasn't fixed this.

My apologies for not attempting to fix these things myself, but other
things are keeping me busy.


Bill Metzenthen


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rusting Effect Update.
------- ------ -------
[For those new to the effect, somewhere in the 2.1.xx kernel series
my low memory machine (8Mbyte) began to get sluggish after being
used for some time due to lots of swapping. This is reliably triggered
by doing a 'find' on a directory which has lots of files (a few tens
of thousands) in sub-directories, etc. My test consists of compiling
one of the kernel files before and after doing such a find (fresh after
re-booting.]

The results so far:
kernel approx rusting effect
2.0.33 38 --> 30 (improves!)
2.1.96 37 --> 263
2.1.98 43 --> 284
2.1.99 36 --> 100
2.1.100 38 --> 121
2.1.101 47 --> 152
2.1.102 48 --> 150
2.1.103 53 --> 168
2.1.106 57 --> 209
2.1.108 54 --> 200
2.1.109 51 --> 273
2.0.33 42 --> 34

Don't read too much into the precise figures. These results were
obtained over a period of months, during which various things have
changed (such as libraries, probably the compiler, etc). The first
2.0.33 result was obtained on 25 April, the last on 18th July.

All of the later kernels show some recovery over time. For example,
with 2.1.109 a result of 173 seconds is obtained after a two minute
wait.


--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Metzenthen | See http://www.suburbia.net/~billm/ for information
billm@melbpc.org.au | on an 80x87 FPU emulator, using floating point
billm@suburbia.net | (particularly on Linux), and code for manipulating
Melbourne, Australia | the floating point environment on 80x86 Linux.
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