[Solved] Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

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Lazy8
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[Solved] Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:43 am

I have Linux Mint Xfce 18.1 running on an AMD Athlon 3000+ PC, which runs at 2.19 GHz (single core), and I have 3 GB RAM. It runs, networking works, as I can do all updates, but neither Firefox, nor Chromium will run.

So again, should I go to an older version of Mint Xfce, like maybe 17.1, or even 16.1? I'm assuming (I don't really know) that the newer version has more bloat.

Thanks!

[Solved]
The solution was to simply install Mint Xfce 18.1, which comes with Firefox 47, and then disable all updates to Firefox. Firefox 47 is compatible with older CPU's that don't support the SSE2 instruction extensions used for security. If it's that important, you can still get the latest version, 48, of Firefox that is similarly compatible.
Last edited by Lazy8 on Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby MintBean » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:53 am

I think those browsers require instructions sets that your old CPU doesn't support so moving to an older OS won't help.

17.x may be marginally speedier than 18.x. Don't use anything other than 17 or 18 as they are no longer supported.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:45 am

MintBean,

Thank you! I did consider that possibility, as I've seen this as an issue in other areas.

Then the logical question is, what browser might be supported by my older hardware?

Thanks again!

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby MintBean » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:57 am


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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby SprinterDriver » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:06 pm

Hi.

Later versions of Firefox and Chromium require the CPU to support SSE2 instruction - your CPU doesn't support that, and therefore the browsers won't run.

I have a similar old computer (Athlon XP 2000+) that won't run modern web browser. I managed to install Cupzilla and Midori, but those will be extremely unstable on most websites. One known exception - as long as Cupzilla is only used to browse this forum, it seems to behave stable.
I suspect it crashes once it tries to decode a web page that make the browser trying to execute SSE2 instructions.
Linux Mint 18.1 Mate 32 bit.
Runs fine on AMD2000+ / 1GB ram / NV40 [GeForce 6800] / MSI MS-6380E (Hardware not too much to brags about)

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby raspu » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:04 pm

SprinterDriver wrote:Hi.

Later versions of Firefox and Chromium require the CPU to support SSE2 instruction - your CPU doesn't support that, and therefore the browsers won't run.

I have a similar old computer (Athlon XP 2000+) that won't run modern web browser. I managed to install Cupzilla and Midori, but those will be extremely unstable on most websites. One known exception - as long as Cupzilla is only used to browse this forum, it seems to behave stable.
I suspect it crashes once it tries to decode a web page that make the browser trying to execute SSE2 instructions.


I think you are right about the newest versions of Firefox and Chromium. Perhaps the original poster might try and install Firefox 52 ESR (Extended Support Release), which, as far as I know, is the last supported Firefox version that doesn't need SSE2 to run.
Last edited by raspu on Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:44 pm

Thanks everyone!

Just got back, but while I was gone discovered that the issue was in fact because new versions of most browsers require support for SSE2 instruction extensions that my CPU does not provide.

SOAP BOX:
It seems to me that Linux Mint, and other distro's, should provide a hint of this problem, and solutions as browsers are critical to any OS.

raspu,

I'm going to look into getting Firefox 52 ESR, but can you tell me where to get it anyway, if it's not too much trouble. That might save me some time.

Thanks!

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby karlchen » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:07 pm

Lazy8 wrote:I'm going to look into getting Firefox 52 ESR, but can you tell me where to get it anyway, if it's not too much trouble.
Bookmarked webpage: Download Firefox Extended Support Release in your language
Note:
The Linux installation packages come as .tar.bz2 archives.
They have to be installed manually. You cannot use Software Manager, Synaptic or apt-get to extract them and to install Firefox 52.4esr.

Manual installation instructions for Ubuntu/Linux Mint:
Installing Pale Moon and Firefox ESR browsers in Linux Mint and Windows
Go down to the section: Installing Firefox ESR in Linux Mint
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Old bugs good, new bugs bad! Updates are evil: might fix old bugs and introduce no new ones.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:03 pm

Hi Kari,

I tried the Firefox 52.4 ESR per your suggestion, and Firefox is crashes as it did before. There's either something wrong with my installation of Mint Xfce, or maybe I need an earlier version of the ESR. The crash report doesn't say much that is of use to me, so I'm at a loss. I'm going to look for other alternatives, like the Pale Moon branch of Firefox, and see if that works.

I appreciate your time and effort! I don't think I could have found the downloads to the ESR releases very easily. They aren't visible from the Firefox website.

Thanks again!

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Aleron Ives » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:03 pm

Keep in mind that finding a working browser won't necessarily help that much, depending upon which websites you use. If your CPU doesn't support instruction sets required by current HTML5 browsers, you may be able to get an old browser to run, but it will crash or display blank pages whenever you visit a site that requires HTML5 or other features that your old browser doesn't support.

If you have to get a browser working on your existing hardware, it appears that Firefox 48 was the last version to work on CPUs that don't support SSE2, or at least it's the last version that came out before Mozilla started making noises about requiring SSE2. See:

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/4 ... easenotes/
https://portableapps.com/node/54910

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:19 am

Aleron,

Thanks! I don't even get to the point where the browser comes up. It fails immediately upon execution, with an option to report the crash.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Pierre » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:15 am

so, Lazy8 , that machine should be able to support the Mate version of LinuxMint,
as well as the XFCE version of LinuxMint.

therefore, are you able to get a copy of LM18x Mate and run that as an Live Environment,
in where you can re-test the Firefox issue with that version of LinuxMint ?.
- don't install this version, just yet, just run & try this version of LinuxMint.
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Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:21 pm

I learned a few things since posting my question, and replies were very helpful.
Here's the answer that I needed to know: After installing Mint Xfce 18.1, I should have disabled updates for Firefox. A fresh install of Mint Xfce 18.1 included Firefox 47, which works with older CPU's like mine. That's all I needed to do! Install Mint Xfce 18.1, and then disabled updates to Firefox!

I want to thank everyone who contributed! While I just stated what works, I wouldn't have understood why it worked without your help.

So how does one close an issue, or flag it as resolved?

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby MtnDewManiac » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:54 am

Lazy8 wrote:After installing Mint Xfce 18.1, I should have disabled updates for Firefox. A fresh install of Mint Xfce 18.1 included Firefox 47, which works with older CPU's like mine. That's all I needed to do! Install Mint Xfce 18.1, and then disabled updates to Firefox!


As long as you never forget that it's not just new features that Mozilla adds with their updates. Security issues get fixed in them, too. And your static version of Firefox will never see those fixes.

Regards,
MDM
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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Aleron Ives » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:08 am

Lazy8 wrote:So how does one close an issue, or flag it as resolved?

Edit your first post and add [Solved] to the beginning of the post title, which will also change the title of the thread to let future readers know that your question was answered during the course of the thread.

To add to what MtnDewManiac said, remember that your Firefox is also frozen in time feature wise, so eventually you will find that websites don't work with it. Since you can't fix your hardware limitation by updating your OS, you'll need to start thinking about what hardware you'll use for your next PC when the limitations of this version of Firefox start to become problematic a few years from now.

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Re: Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Lazy8 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:44 pm

Aleron,

Thanks for the advice. I'm aware of the short remaining life, and security issues that I should expect. I have plenty of newer PC's that won't have similar issues. This old PC is just something I have in my utility/project/hobby room to play music while I build, repair, or otherwise maintain stuff. I don't plan on doing much Internet browsing on this PC, it's just a convenience, and in particular when I might want to download something on that PC, which will be rarely. I also did this as a mini project. Mint Xfce 18.1 runs well on this old beast. This is a PC that I built some 15+ years ago. It has 3 GB of RAM, and a once decent AMD single core CPU running at 2.19 GHz. It was once a hobby of mine to built my own PC's. Then later it became a hobby to bring life back to older PC's using Linux. I use older PC's for very specific task's, like for a jukebox, or movie server/media player. For more serious use, I have much newer PC's, a couple of which I've upgraded the CPU because I could.

Thanks again.

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Re: [Solved] Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Aleron Ives » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:31 am

With 3 GiB of RAM you could run Cinnamon just fine, so don't think that you're limited to Xfce because of that old hardware. I run Cinnamon on a laptop with 2 GiB of RAM without problems. You'll start seeing benefits from Xfce if you have <= 1 GiB of RAM.

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Re: [Solved] Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby MtnDewManiac » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:03 am

Aleron Ives wrote:With 3 GiB of RAM you could run Cinnamon just fine, so don't think that you're limited to Xfce because of that old hardware. I run Cinnamon on a laptop with 2 GiB of RAM without problems.


Does this depend on which graphics card interface the computer has? A lot of older (but still functional) desktop computers have AGP graphics ports (with varying speed(?) suffixes). Would such systems be usable with the Cinnamon DE? Or would Cinnamon require more graphics card prowess than (inexpensive) AGP graphics cards can provide?

Regards,
MDM
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Re: [Solved] Should An Older Version of Mint Be Used for Older PC's?

Postby Aleron Ives » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:21 am

I don't think it matters. I'm running Mint 18.2 Cinnamon x86 on a Thinkpad T60 from 2006, and it has either an AGP or gen1 PCI-E ATI GPU. Cinnamon uses ~500 MiB out of my 2 GiB of RAM, so I have plenty left over for running applications; however, I notice that some of the Cinnamon effects don't work, e.g. when I click an On/Off preference slider, there is no animation of the switch moving; instead, the switch icon just suddenly appears in the opposite position. I guess an old GPU may not be able to handle all of the advanced effects that Cinnamon wants to use, but if you just want to be able to use the DE itself, it works. It would be nice to know what specific version of OGL (or other API) your GPU needs to support for everything to work properly, though.

I think the CPU on a machine of this era is likely to be a bigger bottleneck than the GPU. For instance, I can't watch YouTube videos above 480p (and even that's a bit of a stretch), because the CPU can't decode the video fast enough, and that would be the case no matter which DE I use.


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