Subject: Re: Standalone xterm in 4MB?
To: Todd Vierling <>
From: David Burren <>
List: port-i386
Date: 12/01/1997 11:22:09
> I have yet another teeny 386-40 sitting here that is functioning as an
> X-terminal for my sparc.  Has anyone tried a standalone X server setup (rc
> consists only of ifconfig, route, swapon, and X) before, and if so, in how
> much memory?  I'd like to do away with th Micro-X DOS server I'm running
> (based on X11R5) and put a "real" X server on it, but I'm worried that even
> as the only user process running, X won't enjoy 4MB. 

I have several 486s at home that are Xterminals similar to this.
However, I'd suggest that 4 MB is probably going to be _really_ tight,
depending on what you run.

My configs are 8 or 12 MB, with 80 MB swap disks (IDE).  The machines boot
diskless from a server.  They run a few daemons apart from X - the worst
offender is a trimmed-down xntpd (NFS is much happier that way...).
The X server is configured to connect to xdm on the server, which also runs
the fontserver.

Tuning the kernel down as much as possible is well worthwhile, along with
compiling an Xserver with only the bits you need (no PEX, only the driver
for your card, etc).

In 8 MB performance is ok, until something like netscape causes the X
server to alloc/free large amounts of memory and the machine swaps itself
to death (almost) for a minute or two.  12 MB is better.  Just to skew
the data a little more, these machines have 2MB video cards (1280x1024x8
and 1024x768x16).  Obviously, with smaller virtual screen dimensions
your memory footprint will be smaller.

If you boot an appropriately trimmed down kernel and look at the available
memory stats during boot, then compare that with the size of an Xserver
on another box, you will get a feel for it.  4MB total doesn't leave much
memory for the Xserver...
David Burren