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Old 07-21-2006, 02:31 PM   #1
egghead3
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Need Extreme Minimal (no xserver) Distro for Pentium 1


I am working in a physics lab at oberlin college and we recently acquired a lot of equipment from the decommissioned AST/RO rf telescope at the south pole. Everything was controlled by a pentium 1 based computer with everything slotted on ISA cards, running lynx OS. Since we have source code for drivers for all the custom IO and controller cards, we are hoping to update the os to linux since the lynx is somewhat painful to use. This would also make a future update to a new computer more viable. I am trying to find an extreme minimal distro that basically has the following:

Terminal and the usual systems programs
GNU C/C++ Compiler
Networking Ability/ftp client/ssh client
SCSI/IDE support

We dont really need much more than this. As I mentioned, we will not be installing an x-server. I have been using ubuntu for quite a while now personally, but dont really know where to start in finding and installing such a minimalist distro. Something with a decent installation/setup program would be preferred. I was looking at perhaps doing an extreme minimalist installation of slackware.

Can anyone point me towards something appropriate?

Thanks
Greg

Last edited by egghead3; 07-21-2006 at 02:35 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2006, 03:13 PM   #2
IsaacKuo
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Distribution: Debian 4.0 Etch
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How much RAM and how much hard drive space is on that machine? I have a 120mhz Pentium system with 48megs of RAM and a 1gig hard drive. I have Debian 3.1 on it, and I DO run X on it. With IceWM, it runs fine in graphical mode; the heaviest GUI application I run on it is Mozilla Firefox--sluggish but surprisingly usable.

Anyway, there's no need to run a true "minimalist" distribution. Debian 3.1 will be fine. You don't need to install X if you don't want to.

(Some people consider Debian a "minimalist" distribution. I don't.)
 
Old 07-21-2006, 04:41 PM   #3
egghead3
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The system has similar specs to yours then. We have a 1 gig SCSI hd. Id have to pull out the ISA card with the processor on it to check the ram, but Im sure its 32 or 64mb.

I will add debian 3.1 to the list of things to check out. How much space does the system installation take up approximately?
 
Old 07-21-2006, 06:25 PM   #4
rickh
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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A base Debian system with no GUI takes about 105 MB. Just get the netinstal .iso, boot it, and when it comes to the point where it asks you what "tasks" you want (desktop, etc) ... reboot. That will be a rock solid, minimalist, OS.

Last edited by rickh; 07-21-2006 at 06:31 PM.
 
Old 07-22-2006, 02:51 PM   #5
egghead3
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Thanks I am going to give this a try next week.
 
Old 07-25-2006, 10:37 AM   #6
egghead3
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Well the debian net install failed, stating it required at least 22 mb of ram (I have 16). Suggestions on where to go from here?
 
Old 07-25-2006, 10:51 AM   #7
IsaacKuo
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Well, one obvious option is to upgrade your RAM. There are cheap SIMMs at Compuvest.com, for example. But then, you've got to figure out exactly what kind of RAM you need. All I really know about SIMM modules is that you should install them in pairs.

Another possibility is to install the base system on a different computer, making sure to use the same model of network card. Then, after it ejects the CD and asks to reboot, you turn the computer off and move the hard drive. Make sure to do this with a small hard drive--like maybe less than 10gigs--because large hard drives probably won't work on that old Pentium system.

However, maybe the install would still fail because of lack of RAM. I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.
 
  


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