Pumping Up The Memory

Over the past few days, I have been running Mac OS X.2.6 on the base 128Mb of RAM that is factory-fitted with iBook. The user interface feels sluggish, and from the noise generated by the hard disk head banging on the platters, you know the operating system is paging hard. At the end I have to rip another stick of 128Mb from my Dell Inspiron 8000 to get a reasonable performance when I do anything other than just browsing the file system.

And then here comes the rescue. I ordered a stick of 512Mb PC133 SO-DIMM from Express Powermac and it arrived at work yesterday morning. The first thing I did when I got back home is to pop that into my iBook, and fired up Mac OS X. Then I see how it transforms. Everything becomes smooth, and the GUI stops being sluggish. Still not blazingly fast, but it has lifted up the user experience a lot. I can now run all 3 web browsers (IE, Camino and Safari) without paging and swapping!

And even the Virtual PC becomes "usable". I've got a Virtual PC 6 with Windows XP Home installed, and by giving it 256Mb of RAM, turning off all the effects and all the unnecessary services, it has achieved "okay" performance on my iBook 900Mhz. I have not yet spent much time on getting it to work, and I believe there is still quite a bit of tuning to do. At least from "unbearable slow" when the virtual machine has only 128Mb to "slow but usable" with 256Mb.

I was also trying to get OpenOffice.org final beta for Mac OS X to work yesterday. It is a huge 170Mb download, and it requires an X11 server to run. Currently I am using Apple's own X11 for Mac OS X which is based on XFree86 4.2.x, and I have been having fun running Gimp on it, installed from Fink. However, when I tried to run OpenOffice.org it reports some undefined symbol in the OpenGL library. The only source of help for OpenOffice.org on Mac, OOoDocs, is down at the moment (at least their forum pages are empty), and I have not been able to find out a way to solve the problem. I heard somewhere that I need to replace with OpenGL libraries with XFree86's one, as OpenOffice.org is compiled against the standard XFree86 libraries. I might need to give that a try after I get back home tonight.