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SubjectRe: syslog full of kernel BUGS, frequent intermittent instability
> It's the mandrake default AFAIK.  I don't know what all that stuff is, 
> so I don't mess with it. My installation does "feel" bloated (very
> unscientific opinion): it "feels" much less responsive in the GUI

As your machine is quite old, you would probably get a noticable speed
increase from mounting your filesystems with noatime, which is very
straightforward and shouldn't cause any problems - just edit
/etc/fstab, and add the option noatime after each disk partition, for
example, you might have something like:

/dev/hda2 / ext3 defaults 1 1

which you can change to

/dev/hda2 / ext3 defaults, noatime 1 1

This is a bit off-topic, but in my experience is about the best way to
increase performance on old, (and not so old), hardware, apart from
compiling a custom kernel. Without noatime, every time you read a
file, the current date and time is written to the disk. With noatime,
it's only recorded for a write. Almost no programs use the access
time data.

> Yesterday I ran burnMMX repeatedly and recorded the results in a
> text file. Today, I took everything apart and cleaned up any dust
> and then moved the single RAM stick into the next slot over (I have
> 3 slots in total).

Are you sure there isn't a correct slot that it should be in? Most
motherboard manuals specify that the slots should be used in a
specific order.

> Initially I was elated as I ran three tests for about 20 minutes
> each with no errors. But my bubble popped on the 4th run. Changing
> slots does look like it improved things judging from the results,
> but still not as it should be - at least that's the way it looks to
> me.

I seriously doubt that a single RAM module should be installed in the
middle slot of three. One of the end slotf would seem more likely.

> I'm still running tests as I write this, but will copy the
> results so far below and let you judge;

> Where should I go from here? Try another slot? Buy new RAM? More
> testing?

It might have been disconnecting and reconnecting the RAM that
improved things, not the change of slot. Try both end slots.

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