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Precise: the new Wary?

May 25, 2013 — BarryK
I am seriously thinking of retiring both Wary and Racy.

The reason is, Precise Puppy actually works as-well, even better, than Wary or Racy on old hardware. My rationale...

When I sold my house at Perenjori, well over a year ago, I was forced to be ruthless, and threw out a lot of "stuff", including some old PCs and various parts. The desktop PCs that I kept went into storage in a relative's garage and I have only recently been getting them out and setting them up.

I now have seven desktop PCs and three laptops. The oldest PC has a Cyrix 6x86 CPU, and unfortunately I am unable to set it up as I no longer have one of those old keyboards with the large round plug -- I will keep a watch out for one at markets, etc.

I have tested Precise 5.6 on two laptops and six desktop PCs, and in every case the automatic startup to desktop worked correctly, with the correct Xorg driver. This is excellent.
In every case, the PCs powers down, again excellent.

The only downside is SeaMonkey. The oldest PC I tested is a Compaq Presario, with Intel Celeron Coppermine 565MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, and Intel 82810E DC-133 video.
After having created a save-file, and note the hard drive has a 500MB swap partition, I started SeaMonkey ...and waited... it took 3 minutes to startup.

Other apps startup in a reasonable time, slow, but this is only a 565MHz CPU. But, SM is a resource hog and just doesn't want to work in only 128MB of RAM. Yes, it does use the swap partition, and the hard drive is very busy.

So, the minimum specification for Precise Puppy 5.6, as is, with SeaMonkey:

i586 CPU
pre-PCI (isa/eisa) expansion bus not supported
pre-USB PCs not supported

On that basis, is Precise a "Wary replacement"? Are there many PCs still in use out there, below those specs?

If we build a Precise with some other web browser, say Opera or a much older version of SeaMonkey, with say Sylpheed for mail & news, then the above spec could be reduced to 128MB RAM.

But then, are there many PCs out there that are PCI (which replaced the ISA expansion bus) and have less than 128MB?
I know there are some transition motherboards with both ISA and PCI slots, which are not supported by Precise.

The thing is, time is marching on, and those old pre-PCI and pre-USB PCs are disappearing. Maybe we have reached the point where we can relegate them to history?

If so, then Wary can be retired. Rerwin has done a good job with compiling analog (dialup) modem drivers for the 3.2.44 kernel in Precise, covering almost as many modems as does Wary.

Then the great advantage of automatic startup to desktop makes Precise very attractive.

Any thoughts on this are welcome!


'no longer have one of those old keyboards with the large round plug'
Username: Sage
Can get a converter plug for pence. If you can't find one, I may have a spare, otherwise, when you're in Blighty next (!) I'll send you back with a sheaf of old keyboards under your arm. The old ones will always be the best. Better built, more robust, no 'W' keys and cost up to 100 when new. Got to have the ISA slot facility (is it still in the kernel, anyway?) so that I can run quality sound cards straight from the board instead of into some tinpot amp chip feeding plastic speakers. Not everyone is discerning about their sound these days but let that be their problem, not ours. Opera - you know my views!

Wary & Racy
Username: Ramachandran
"Almost old PC's are obsolete and abandoned by people. Anyway concentrating on a single OS is highly appreciated. You may give retirement to Wary and Racy. Looking more from Precise Puppy.

old PC's
Username: james c
" I still use older hardware every day....ranging from an old Cyrix 250 Mhz w/64 Mb ram ,a bunch of old Celeron's and P3's and so forth .....on the older hardware it still seems to me that Wary performs better.I think it probably still has a place. That being said....racy probably could be replaced with Precise.

Barry Precise comments Request
Username: GCMartin
"I fully understand what you share. I see the benefit you offer. To expeand just a little, you are proposing a type of distro with a standard set of very useful tools that will cover the "gamit" of PC you believe are active in the world. Your approach is realistic. It intends to exploit the available hardware useful for user productivity. When you demonstrated to the community with Wary and Racy, you did just that for 32bit PCs. You provided a Standard desktop which would operate on just about ALL PCs known at the time which would operate in 32bit mode. Wary for those with RAM from 256MB to <4GB RAM. AND Racy for those with 384 to any RAM size, achievable. The desktops in each were the same. The ISO size was the same. The performances were essentially the same. Should you go forward with your plan, a reasonable one, you should also allow those of us who want to use Prescise on newer 8GB PCs to be able to do so with PAE AND NON-PAE. This will allow a Precise desktop to take advantage of ALL RAM and yet, use it for the consistent desktop.

Precise 5.6 failure
Username: Terryphi
"For me the question is whether Precise 5.6 is fit for new computers not old ones! Precise 5.6 is a total failure on a new Acer Aspire 5749 laptop with 6MB RAM. It corrupts the displayed characters and freezes as soon as the desktop is loaded and I select any menu option. Maybe it has something to do with the recent Xorg tweaks? However it does work on a 4 year old PC with 2MB RAM. Meanwhile, Racy works beautifully on both machines. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

ATK needed for GIMP
Username: don570
" When I tried to compile gimp 2.8.4 for Wary I got a message that ATK 2.2 or better was needed. So I doubt that Wary will support future apps.

Username: linuxcbon
"You really think testers have time for 2 puppy versions :). Merge all puppies in one. And also you forgot to compile for i486. I once tested on old laptop, see : And maybe one puppy version with all compilation stuff included, very handy for programmers...(yes I have ideas and challenges for you)

Agere modem
Username: peebee
"The main advantage of Wary for me is that there is a version of the Agere HDA modem built into my HP550 laptop that works on kernel but on no later ones that I am aware of. I was under the impression that you Barry had a laptop with the same modem? If the Agere HDA modem can be compiled for the Precise kernel then that would be great, but without it Precise lacks a capability which Wary provides. I need the modem on occasions when I visit relatives with no broadband and also to send faxes. Regards PeeBee

Rest Racy & Wary
Username: FeodorF
"Forum member 'rcrsn51' got me hooked onto Samsung laser printers. rcrsn51 offers .PET files on the forum to make printers work 'out of the box'. Samsung itself offers a shell script driven 'Samsung Unified Linux Driver installer' (uniting 'cups','sane' and 'ghostscript')for it's products. Locking at the you will find this: [code]DISTRO_VERSION="" DISTRO_SUSE=suse DISTRO_DEBIAN=debian DISTRO_ALTLINUX=altlinux DISTRO_FEDORA=fedora DISTRO_MANDRAKE=mandrake DISTRO_REDHAT=redhat DISTRO_UBUNTU=ubuntu ... [/code] The script is a bit bugy but will work with Precise Puppy! Therefore I would say that putting Racy and Wary to rest and sticking to one of the main distros - to create a Puppy version out of it - might be the right way for the future. Regards Feodor

Please retain Wary and Racy
Username: mistfire
"Barry please dont retire the wary and racy. Those pups really helps puppy to retain its base ISO filesize and retains more legacy PC support. I notice that the puppy is now bloating. The Puppy 3.x is about 98Mb, then on the release of 4.x it become about 85-88Mb (Nice compact), and suddenly on the release of puppy 4.3.x to recent it boom to 100+ Mb ISO file size (what a paradox). When the puppy ISO file size become increase, then the Wary and Racy comes to rescue. The cause of booming the ISO filesize was the collection of drivers from past to present devices. I think you must consider this representation of those puppies. 1. Wary - Past (legacy PC about 1995-2007) 2. Puppy - Present (PC about 2007-Present) 3. Racy - Future (PC about 2010-Present) If you retire Wary and Racy, the puppy will ultimately continue to bloat until it fills the entire CD.

Precise: font to big
Username: bark_bark_bark
"The font in Precise makes things not fit well on the screen compared to Slacko. Things in slacko fit way better than in precise. (th8is only effects netbooks)

transition motherboards
Username: disciple
"> But then, are there many PCs out there that are PCI (which replaced the ISA expansion bus) and have less than 128MB? > I know there are some transition motherboards with both ISA and PCI slots, which are not supported by Precise. I hope you simply mean that the ISA slot isn't supported, not that the whole motherboard isn't. From what I can tell a lot of new PCs around here had ISA slots well into the 2000s (even if no one actually used them).

Username: mavrothal
"For me the value of wary/racy is the custom compiles with minimal bloat and dependencies. A full blown (debian/fedora) OS will still run on an older machine but he performance penalty will be more than noticeable. On the other and I can appreciated the hassle of compiling all these packages over again and working out Xorg issus from scratch. However, if we are talking 32bit/1MB RAM machines, custom compiles makes all the difference and wary/racy fits than niche. If on the other hand we are talking 4MB+ 64bit machines, then any full blown distro will run fine but puppy more often than not will run within a virtual machine on this hardware just for testing...

Re Precise font too big
Username: BarryK
"bark_bark_bark, It is only a few things that are too big. I reduced the font size in Geany, but not enough. The welcome1stboot application is too big, it needs to be recompiled -- well, more than that, redesigned and recompiled -- a difficulty of the BaCon HUG absolute-layout system.

Username: Dewbie
"[i]Are there many PCs still in use out there, below those specs?[/i] This is the main box, a Compaq Deskpro (PII/350). The other one is an IBM Aptiva (AMD K6-2/300), which I will eventually get online. [i]say Opera[/i] I posted too quickly over here: It was flying that night, but on other occasions it was inconsistent...seemed to stall a lot. (This is all with dial-up, by the way.) [i]or a much older version of SeaMonkey[/i] I copied your SeaMonkey 1.1.18 files from Wary, for use with newer Warys (via SFS edits). When zipped, it compresses from 32MB to less than 1MB. :cool: [i]with say Sylpheed for mail & news[/i] This is a great old build: Seems to work with everything I have. :happy:

Can't use latest Puppy with SCSI hard drive
Username: ChiJoan
"My PcLinuxOS LXDE SCSI-installed hard drive died, so I put in another, but Puppy didn't see it to troubleshoot. So I just went ahead and put on PcLinuxOS KDE, since I didn't feel like tweaking their update problems with their LXDE install. Since this is an Intel dual-Slot1 P3 running at 650 MHz and I know many distros are abandoning it, I sure would like one current Puppy to be able to use it. Thanks for all your hard work everyone... Joan in Reno

Wary Puppy Replacement
Username: darry1966
"I use Puppy 4 variants with modern web browsers which is a better idea than using Wary puppy. As for the browser issue I prefer Puppy Linux to come without it and choose your own preference. Why not modernise Puppy 4 which frankly isn't to do and works on a larger variety of computers. Leave all the necessary libs and go for a more barebones approach. Saves Dev having to puzzle over the browser dilemma.. There is still a place for a pure puppy.

Re SCSI drives
Username: BarryK
"ChiJoan, I left the SCSI kernel drivers out of the latest Precise 5.6 build, to save space. It has become rare to find anyone still using SCSI drives, at least in a domestic situation. darry1966, Recent Firefox and SeaMonkey will not compile in Wary or anything earlier, including 4.x. There are also other apps that won't compile. I was forced to release Wary 5.5 with an older SM browser.

Username: Dewbie
"Hello Barry: [i]pre-PCI (isa/eisa) expansion bus not supported[/i] Is this (lack of ISA support) something that's built-in to the more recent Linux kernels? [i]Recent Firefox and SeaMonkey will not compile in Wary or anything earlier, including 4.x.[/i] Is this because of the cmov-error issue? Thanks.

Seamonkey in 4.31
Username: darry1966
"I am running seamonkey in 4.31 with dbus and dbus glib from opt version 2.17.1 downloaded from seamonkey website and made it default browser and as for latest apps well libreoffice works with it too. Still useful don't care about vlc or aqualung being the latest they still work on my old hardware. Firefox I agree with you.

Re SeaMonkey
Username: BarryK
"Well, theoretically, the recent SM's and Firefox's are incompatible with the older glibc and libstdc++ used in Wary, Racy and all 4.x. The incompatibility prevents them from being compiled. If the official versions don't crash, that is good. I don't recall if I tried the official SM binaries in Wary. But, do you use your recent SM or Firefox in a PC of only 128MB RAM?

missing video
Username: broomdodger
"Barry Sony VAIO PCG-R505DL "... precise 5.6.00 All I get is a motled white screen. Is the video driver missing? "... wary 5.4.90 Works well. VIDEO REPORT: Wary Puppy, version 5.4.90 Chip description: VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 82830 CGC [Chipset Graphics Controller] (rev 04) Display controller: Intel Corporation 82830 CGC [Chipset Graphics Controller] Requested by /etc/X11/xorg.conf: Depth (bits, or planes): 16 Modules requested to be loaded: synaptics dbe type1 freetype xtrap glx dri Drivers requested to be loaded: intel Probing Xorg startup log file (/var/log/Xorg.0.log): Driver loaded (and currently in use): intel Loaded modules: ch7xxx dbe ddc dri exa extmod fb freetype GLcore glx i2c int10 ivch kbd mouse pcidata ramdac sil164 synaptics type1 vbe vgahw xtrap Actual rendering on monitor: Resolution: 1024x768 pixels (270x203 millimeters) Depth: 16 planes Bill

Re intel driver
Username: BarryK
"broomdodger, Intel 82830 rings a bell, I think that one of my desktop PCs has that, and X works. But, not sure if I recall correctly. Looks like you will have to use the 'vesa' driver.

vesa driver also
Username: broomdodger
"[quote]Looks like you will have to use the 'vesa' driver. [/quote] I tried all available options, including vesa, still only a mottled white screen.

external monitor
Username: broomdodger
"Barry It is morning here, I planned to do this test last night. I connected an external monitor to the: Sony VAIO PCG-R505DL precise 5.6.00 --AND-- The external monitor works great at 1024x768, and even at 1280x1024 ! The internal laptop screen is still mottled grey. VIDEO REPORT: Precise Puppy, version 5.6 Chip description: VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 82830 CGC [Chipset Graphics Controller] (rev 04) Display controller: Intel Corporation 82830 CGC [Chipset Graphics Controller] Requested by /etc/X11/xorg.conf: Depth (bits, or planes): 24 Modules requested to be loaded: synaptics dbe Drivers requested to be loaded: intel Probing Xorg startup log file (/var/log/Xorg.0.log): Driver loaded (and currently in use): intel Loaded modules: dbe dri dri2 extmod fb glx kbd mouse record synaptics Actual rendering on monitor: Resolution: 1280x1024 pixels (338x270 millimeters) Depth: 24 planes Bill

monitor more
Username: broomdodger
"Sony VAIO PCG-R505DL ** laptop ** precise 5.6.00 More info: Note: wary 5.4.90 works well. precise 5.6.00 With the external monitor, I can see the laptop screen turns mottled grey just after 'loading kernal modules'. Another problem: Now that I can see the screen, I can save and restart, but precise 5.6.00 fails to shutdown, it hangs on shutdown. Then I force poweroff. On restart, the wallpaper is blank and all desktop icons are triangles. Tried several times, all the same. Too bad, I was given two of these. I was hoping to use them as servers. :( Bill

slow SeaMonkey
Username: james c
"As much as I like SeaMonkey I must admit that the newer versions launch slowly even on my 2.0 Ghz/1 Gb ram Athlon XP box.Haven't tried on a ram challenged box yet but I can imagine..... Forgot to mention that dbus and dbus-glib need to also be installed too for the latest SeaMonkey to work. Running 2.18 now.

Answer to Seamonkey Question
Username: darry1966
"Minimum machine I run is Sony Vaio FR720 running 4.21 derivative Uhuru Linux it has 256 shared ram not sure how much for graphics and yes it isn't 128 meg of ram. My point is this a Pure based Puppy verses one using Ubuntu packages uses a lot less ram when based on the 4 series and uses a lot less ram than Wary Puppy - so in short if your base operating system uses less ram and supports your hardware you have more to play with when running your programs on top and I am firmly convinced that with a little nous Puppy 4 series can be modified to be the Wary replacement and run a modern browser even if its from opt. Again I repeat earlier statement provide the libs and the workings required let the user choose the browser they want to run.

SlimBoat browser
Username: Dewbie
"Haven't tried it yet, but it appears to have potential:

to broomdodger
Username: scsijon
"boot your laptop with the external screen and start xorgwizard. after picking your driver, test and then set your refresh down to 60hz and try that, if that doesn't work try 50hz. Sometimes the laptops want one or the other and the wizard wants to and thinks it can run with a faster refresh. The chipset is designed to handle it via the external monitor and not the internal LCD, but some don't seem able to deal with some the LCD interfaces properly.

re to broomdodger
Username: broomdodger
"scsijon Thank you for the suggestion, but it did not help. As mentioned wary 5500 works fine and at 60 Hz.

both vaio freeze
Username: broomdodger
"Sony VAIO PCG-R505DL ** laptop ** precise 5.6.00 Using the external monitor to test, both of the VAIOs will freeze on shutdown at the: 'Precise Puppy in now shutting down...' Note: wary 5.5.00 works well.

A Big Thankyou Barry
Username: darry1966
"Barry I want to say thankyou for the great work you have done on Puppy especially the 4 series and wish you all the best on your future ventures in the world of Puppy linux. It has made my Vaio work way better than when XP was on it.

Precise on old machines
Username: Jades
"You know, I didn't even think about trying to run Precise on my K6-2 500. Slacko after 5.3.1 and Lupu after 5.2.5 (IIRC) wouldn't load due to the cmov issue. Hmm... The K6-2 is actually one of my main machines and I use it regularly. It's currently running a full and frugal install of Wary 5.5.

Parallel thread in forum
Username: Dewbie
"[b]npierce[/b] posted an excellent Precise vs. Wary review here: It's quite long, but well worth reading. :cool:

DEBs that fail
Username: BarryK
"I wonder if there is any way for users to report success or otherwise of installing a package from the Ubuntu repo, to some kind of online database? After installing a package, there could be a window that asks to choose one (or more) of: [i]successful success but too many dependencies success but very big success but requires a lot of configuration did not work[/i] If there was someway to automate it, so the reports get stored online, and the PPM could read them. Maybe also record user notes. Any genius who knows how to do this?

fossil repo?
Username: BarryK
"Hmmm, maybe I could setup a Fossil repository to do this.

Tags: puppy