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for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:46 pm
by markus-1969
I am writing these words on a laptop that is 12 years old - 4 GB, linux mint x64. It is running pretty well but sometimes the CPU is used at maximum level. Normally, I am just writing with libre office and using firefox. I do not need a lot of colors, 256 colors would be enough - or even 64 kb: the CPU and the video card is often not strong enough for comlex videos ....

That's why I am asking you: Could you let the user of linux mint choose easily the number of colors rhe computr is running ?

256 colors
64 kb colors
more ...

1st step: the user chooses the number of colors

2st step: the colors the windows in linux mint are running with is adapted to the choice of the user.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:03 pm
by SprinterDriver
Hi. What desktop version are you running ?

Right now, I'm using a Dell Latitude D620 (2007 ish), upgraded to 3GB of ram. This one is working like a charm.

If your computer is in the same neighbourhood about CPU, then XFCE or Mate should run just fine.

I remember the days in Windows 9x world where 256 colors was maximum when gpu drivers wasn't installed. You need to go back to the 90's to find graphic cards that doesn't support more than that. And also I don't beleive that you would gain any performance if you could recuce colors - only make a very nice desktop environment being ugly for no reason.

Anyway - a possible solution:
https://unix.stackexchange.com/question ... -bit-depth

You can try that one, nice if you repport back if it work or not.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:48 am
by markus-1969
I am using this machine now - and I am running the task manger ...

When firefox is running, the capacity of CPU is very often running at maximum level - that's why the amount of calculation the CPU has to do has to be reduced: Old PC's and old graphic devices are not built for the actual amount of data ...

I do not need millions of colours - 256 colours or 64 k colours is simply enough for firefox ....

And my suggestion is:

1) give the user the choice about the number of colours he / she wants to have: millions of colours, 64 k, 256

2) create a desktop environment for 256 colours / 64 k colours

3) if the user chooses 64 k colours or 256 colours, the desktop environment is set to 256 colours - point 2)


I was running the task manager quite a long time and I guess that there is a gain of performance: When firefox is running, it takes a long time until the websites are set up / shown correctly and this website without graphics is much better than websites with a lot of pictures.

For those who do not believe it: Please take the oldest Laptop / PC with 4 GB and X64 and try it by yourself: It is not efficient: Eyes can't view the difference between millions of colours, but the user has to wait because the system can't calculate millions of colours efficiently.

64 k colours is simply enough, but there is no option to select that easily .... or even 256 colours in extreme cases (for word processing there is no need for 64 k colours).

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:18 am
by markus-1969
I was just watching a video at a website of a TV news chanel:

The old PC was unable to handle the video at high resolution - and at high colours; the difference between the colours is not visible.

It does not make sense to run the video at a lower resolution in high colours - but there is no option to decrease the number of colors in order to reduce the amount of calculations the video device has to do ...

Please give the user the choice, e. g. as follows

256 colours
1 kb colours
4 kb colours
16 kb colours
64 kb colours
256 kb colours

I guess, Windows users have the same problem: They can not decrease the number of colours; it is perhaps a good slogan for linux, if people start to recognise that it is possible to install and to run linux on PCs / Laptops they intent to throw away because the computers are too slow for windows

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:23 am
by SprinterDriver
Why can't you just reveal the HW speccs of your computer, GPU in particular ?

Please run in Terminal:

Code: Select all

lspci -vnn | grep VGA -A 12
Or

Code: Select all

lshw -numeric -C display
More commands on this web page:
https://www.binarytides.com/linux-get-gpu-information/

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:31 am
by markus-1969
SprinterDriver - thank you, I tried it on the machine here but it shows me only the facts / capacities and capilities of the display chip / driver.

BUT: For those who are familiar with Linux codes / command lines, almost everything seems to be easy but the same issue is very difficult for other people.

If Linux already provides the possibility to decrease the number of colours, it seems to me that it is not so difficult to give the user the choice to select the number of colours in a menu as shown above.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:20 pm
by SprinterDriver
markus-1969 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:31 am
BUT: For those who are familiar with Linux codes / command lines, almost everything seems to be easy but the same issue is very difficult for other people.
That is why I write the command in code tags, so it is more easy for you to copy/paste.

To be specific, this is what you do:
  • In web browser: Select the line in code tags, then copy (Ctrl+C)
  • Open Terminal
  • In Terminal, Paste the text (Ctrl+Shift+V) (In Termial, you paste and copy like any other programs exept that you must use the Shift key as well)
  • Hit Enter and wait for the result.
  • Select the resulting output, then copy (Ctrl+Shift+C)
  • Switch to web browser (Alt+Tab) - when ready while edit the answer - you paste the copied text (Ctrl+V)
Also notice - In Linux, you can use the middle mouse button to "paste" whatever test that was previously selected without using any keyboard shortcut at all :D

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:44 pm
by markus-1969
well ... It does not help me to copy & paste commands when I do not know what I am doing ...

that's why I would like to have the option to choose in a menue

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:08 pm
by SprinterDriver
Ok - Then I may assume you didn't installed Linux Mint yourself?

You see - there is three "versions" of Linux Mint, whereas the version that ship with XFCE is the most lightweight one (less demanding). I beleive in your case, it will help if you switch to that version.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:02 am
by markus-1969
You see - there is three "versions" of Linux Mint, whereas the version that ship with XFCE is the most lightweight one (less demanding). I beleive in your case, it will help if you switch to that version.
And then ?

I already have Linux Mint XFCE 64 bit running .... and I installed it via DVD on 2 Laptops now ... about 15 times (one system crash, every new version and on a laptop of a friend)

But it is just not only me: On the world, thousands of PCs are thrown away because they are too slow ... let people know that these PCs can be used longer if Linux mint is installed and the number of colours is low ...

Do not only consider me ... consider the world ... and it is just a menu that allows the user / administrator to select the number of colours the graphic device is using

256
1 k
4 k
16 k
64 k
256 k

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:59 pm
by markus-1969
there is still a need to decrease the number of colors ... when I am working on a large Libre Office Text File, my Laptop is really slow; a high number of colors is not needed for word processing.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:53 pm
by antikythera
Firefox is a resource hog regardless of the colour depth your GPU has to display. Turn off compositing and try Falkon browser or Waterfox instead.

Also, if your laptop struggles that much it is either over-heating or simply too old to cope with modern Linux or Windows. Also it would be running software rendering rather than hardware which indicates the GPU driver is not loaded. So fixing that would be better than reducing the color depth.

If you can, clean out the lint from the heatsink and fan. Compressed air is the safest option and an invertable air duster (aerosol can of compressed air with flexible straw nozzle) is not that expensive. Doing that alone can work wonders on old laptops.

Please do as asked and post the inxi output rather than making the same point repeatedly. Otherwise it's hard to take your suggestion seriously without such corroborating information.

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxms

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:47 pm
by markus-1969
System:
Host: Toshiba Kernel: 5.4.0-45-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc
v: 9.3.0 Desktop: Xfce 4.14.2 Distro: Linux Mint 20 Ulyana
base: Ubuntu 20.04 focal
Machine:
Type: Laptop System: TOSHIBA product: Satellite Pro L350
v: PSLD9E-00C002GR serial: <superuser/root required>
Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Portable PC serial: <superuser/root required>
BIOS: INSYDE v: 2.10 date: 09/23/2009
Battery:
ID-1: BAT0 charge: 15.2 Wh condition: 23.8/44.4 Wh (54%)
model: PA3536U-1BRS status: Discharging
Memory:
RAM: total: 3.72 GiB used: 928.7 MiB (24.4%)
RAM Report:
permissions: Unable to run dmidecode. Root privileges required.
CPU:
Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Pentium Dual T3200 bits: 64 type: MCP
arch: Core Merom rev: D L2 cache: 1024 KiB
flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 bogomips: 7980
Speed: 998 MHz min/max: 1000/2000 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 998 2: 998
Graphics:
Device-1: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics vendor: Toshiba
driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0
Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa
resolution: 1440x900~60Hz
OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Mobile Intel GM45 Express (CTG)
v: 2.1 Mesa 20.0.8 direct render: Yes
Audio:
Device-1: Intel 82801I HD Audio vendor: Toshiba driver: snd_hda_intel
v: kernel bus ID: 00:1b.0
Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.4.0-45-generic
Network:
Device-1: Realtek RTL810xE PCI Express Fast Ethernet vendor: Toshiba
driver: r8169 v: kernel port: 2000 bus ID: 02:00.0
IF: enp2s0 state: down mac: 00:1e:33:83:b5:e5
Device-2: Realtek RTL8187B Wireless Adapter type: USB driver: rtl8187
bus ID: 2-6:2
IF: wlx00225f480ca7 state: up mac: 00:22:5f:48:0c:a7
Drives:
Local Storage: total: 232.89 GiB used: 17.30 GiB (7.4%)
ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Western Digital model: WD2500BEVS-26UST0
size: 232.89 GiB
Partition:
ID-1: / size: 17.68 GiB used: 8.65 GiB (48.9%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5
Sensors:
System Temperatures: cpu: 46.0 C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
Info:
Processes: 167 Uptime: 4m Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 9.3.0
Shell: bash v: 5.0.17 inxi: 3.0.38

####


The machine is running quite slow; I do not belive that the fan is the problem; I will try another browser but during word processing in Libre Office Writer (a large file, 3,1 Mio. charakters, images) it is quite slow.

But: I do not need a high resolution - 16 k colors is more than enough.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:07 pm
by antikythera
Reducing the number of colours wouldn't help, your hardware is more than adequate to cope with normal colour depth. The hardware you have would run exactly the same speed. What may work better is using either Linux Mint 19.2 or LMDE4, the reason being that kernel 5.4 in Mint 20 is not optimised for hardware as old as yours. You may also benefit from the older Xorg server and i915 driver builds.

Turn off Java in LibreOffice, that gives it a kick up the backside on any system.

I use LMDE4 on my 5 and 6 year old machines respectively, it has kernel 4.19 by default but there are other kernel options available in Synaptic Package Manager. There's no XFCE ISO but you can replace Cinnamon after install with either that or MATE for example. It's no harder to live with than normal Linux Mint.

The German Mint Community web page has some LMDE MATE and LMDE XFCE ISO to download (other language options can be chosen during live session and install of course):

https://www.linuxmintusers.de/index.php ... ect_805548

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:52 pm
by absque fenestris
The hard drive may also be slowly dying - I had similar effects with the original hard drive in a MacBook from 2009.

You could replace your old spinning hard drive with an SSD.
It won't cost you too much and will definitely speed up your system.

Re: for old PC's: decrease number of colors

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:02 pm
by antikythera
absque fenestris wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:52 pm
You could replace your old spinning hard drive with an SSD.
It won't cost you too much and will definitely speed up your system.
Good option, there's also Pjotr's guide about optimising performance with Linux Mint (Section D)

https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.com/p/1.html