About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(BSD OpenBSD Qubes OS Lisp cmdline gaming security QubesOS internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@. No AI is involved in this blog.

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Old Computer Challenge v3: day 1

Written by Solène, on 10 July 2023.
Tags: #occ #oldcomputerchallenge

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon

1. Day 1 §

Hi! Today, I started the 3rd edition of the Old Computer Challenge. And it's not going well, I didn't prepare a computer before, because I wanted to see how easy it would be.

Old Computer Challenge v3

  • main computer (Ryzen 5 5600X with 32 GB of memory) running Qubes OS: well, Qubes OS may be the worse OS for that challenge because it needs so much memory as everything is done in virtual machines, just handling USB devices requires 400 MB of memory
  • main laptop (a t470) running OpenBSD 7.3: for some reasons, the memory limitation isn't working, maybe it's due to the hardware or the 7.3 kernel
  • main laptop running OpenSUSE MicroOS (in dual boot): reducing the memory to 512MB prevent the system to unlock the LUKS drive!

The thing is that I have some other laptops around, but I'd have to prepare them with full disk encryption and file synchronization to have my passwords, GPG and SSH keys around.

With this challenge, in its first hour, I realized my current workflows don't allow me to use computers with 512 MB of memory, this is quite sad. A solution would be to use the iBook G4 laptop that I've been using since the beginning of the challenges, or my T400 running OpenBSD -current, but they have really old hardware, and the challenge is allowing some more fancy systems.

I'd really like to try Alpine Linux for this challenge, let's wrap something around this idea.

2. Extra / Tips §

If you joined the challenge, here is a previous guide to limit the memory of your system:

occ.deadnet.se: Tips & Tricks

For this challenge, you also need to use a single core at lowest frequency.

On OpenBSD, limiting the CPU frequency is easy:

  • stop obsdfreqd if you use it: rcctl stop obsdfreqd && rcctl disable obsdfreqd
  • rcctl enable apmd
  • rcctl set apmd flags -L
  • rcctl restart apmd

Still on OpenBSD, limiting your system to a single core can be done by booting on the bsd.sp kernel, which doesn't support multithreading.