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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 09-19-2006, 09:54 PM   #16
blackhole54
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W/o a GUI, DSL is supposed to be able to run on a 486DX with 16 MB Ram. I've run it successfully with a GUI on 32 MB, although to get a GUI to work under Linux on an old laptop is likely to be a major headache, or even impossible. If you're willing to take the performance hit, you can stretch the memory requirement a bit with swap -- either a Linux swap partition, or a swap file on a DOS partition.
 
Old 09-20-2006, 08:08 AM   #17
steve s.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macemoneta
Folks, you're forgetting the memory capacity on a Windows95 era PC. Upgrading the memory is usually not an option either, because the cost of these very old memories exceeds the value of the machine.

Steve S.- How much memory does this have? Less than 8MB, you are looking at FreeDOS. 8-16MB, your options are tomsrtbt or BlueFlops. If you've got more your options will open up, but that would be unusual on a machine that was running Win95.
First of all, thanks to everyone. Very good ideas.

How do I check the memory? Does it show that on initial boot?

I am guessing it is pretty low. I tried Toms and it asked me where the kernel was stored. Do I have to put that on the hard drive first or something? Did I miss something.

I couldn't get it to read blueflops, although that looks pretty cool. I tried multiple different floppy's and I couldn't get the first of the two to load...can't figure out why. Same deal with menuet, although I don't know what I'm going to do with menuet anyway. Menuet got to where I should select a video set up and then it would fatal error on me.
 
Old 09-20-2006, 08:46 AM   #18
macemoneta
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The memory will be reported in the BIOS (usually hold the F1 key when powering up).

If tomsrtbt won't load, then the high capacity floppy format may not be supported by that machine. BlueFlops should have at least started to boot... Give FreeDOS a try. If that won't boot, then there's likely something wrong with the machine (try reseating the memory, if it's accessible).
 
Old 09-20-2006, 03:02 PM   #19
fozner
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I've run DSL 3.0.1, with GUI, nice desktop, with icons and truecolor wallpaper on only 13MB RAM. It's at least as functional as Win95 and I get the apps I like, xmms mp3 player, dillo, skype... The old 586 NEC/intel versa has a surprisingly responsive framebuffer but it will not play video (then again, neither would Win95 on this machine). To make it work, you will need a 32-64MB swap file. (Just don't load Firefox. It will take 5 minutes to start. Use Dillo instead.) To create a swap file, I used dd. For a swap partition, I used fdisk when I was installing. From there, mkswap, swapon and editing /etc/fstab will make it active at boot. Numerous guides.. Here's one http://www.linux.com/guides/sag/x1762.shtml

Typical RAM usage while browsing in Dillo is around 6MB (3MB with JVWM) and 5-10MB swapped out, so I'm guessing if you have less RAM, switch to JVWM, it has no wallpaper but it looks and functions exactly the same otherwise.

I'm even thinking of getting a cardbus SD card reader because I'm curious if I can put the swap file on there (or even X) and get better performance...

Last edited by fozner; 09-20-2006 at 03:29 PM.
 
Old 09-20-2006, 07:25 PM   #20
steve s.
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In the bios it says System RAM: 8MB, Current extended RAM: 7MB.

Is that what I'm looking for regarding the memory?


It's funny, I put computers together for fun, but I still couldn't tell you much about memory, and definitely nothing about laptop memory.

Edit: after reading back over some of the posts, it looks like I'm screwed with the memory. Any chance I can add more memory to it? I have two of these laptops (for some reason) so can I steal some from one to put in the other? Do I get to take things apart?!

Last edited by steve s.; 09-20-2006 at 07:27 PM.
 
Old 09-20-2006, 09:22 PM   #21
blackhole54
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IIRC, when I was playing with FreeDOS, one of the floppies (an installation floppy?) I was playing with had an option to boot into memtest86. This would not only confirm the amount of memory you have, but would test it. (You might want to let it run for several hours.)

With FreeDos having just released 1.0, maybe you should head on over to their website and see what's offered. Even if that is not your final decision of what to install.
 
Old 09-21-2006, 12:48 PM   #22
macemoneta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve s.
In the bios it says System RAM: 8MB, Current extended RAM: 7MB.

Is that what I'm looking for regarding the memory?
Yes. Your Linux options are limited to non-graphical user interfaces. There are some (very) old Linux distributions that will run in 8MB, but having surveyed many of them in a machine of this era, they are not usable. For example, 20 minute boot times, ancient web browsers (2 minute load times) that don't work on most web sites, etc.

Quote:
It's funny, I put computers together for fun, but I still couldn't tell you much about memory, and definitely nothing about laptop memory.

Edit: after reading back over some of the posts, it looks like I'm screwed with the memory. Any chance I can add more memory to it? I have two of these laptops (for some reason) so can I steal some from one to put in the other? Do I get to take things apart?!
I checked into this. The memories for notebooks of this era are all proprietary and in very limited supply (which means VERY expensive). Even if you choose to buy more, many machines are limited to 16MB (a huge amount, at the time). You can't usually combine memory from several machines, because these things typically have all memory slots filled. Swap is a very bad idea on these machines - the hard drives (typically less than 1G in size) are painfully slow.

Your best bet to make the machine usable is to hunt down a floppy version of Win98 (yes they still exist, mostly floating around the internet). Aside from that, and as painful as it seems, the machine is recyclable. I've still got a similar machine in a drawer - I can't bring myself to throw away a perfectly good, working machine. But I know I eventually will.
 
Old 02-05-2007, 07:55 PM   #23
steve s.
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I'm resurecting this thread!

Oh, what the crap?! I started messing with this ancient laptop again...I've had a little more use with the command line via Linux, and I applied a little bit and searched the hard drive some more...sure enough, found Windows.

That's Windows 3.1 folks...didn't even know something like that existed!

I'm just now exploring it, but, wow.

Still would love to put something else on it, but just finding something on there is amazing...

I was thinking of putting like Menuet on there...oh, well. More playing to follow....
 
Old 02-06-2007, 01:49 PM   #24
fozner
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As an update to what I said before, Damn Small Linux works for me with only 13MB of RAM!! (I followed instructions online for creating a 64MB swap file.) D.S.L. is fully graphical and has a handy menu from which you can click to download and install software. Firefox is too bloated, however, I installed the recommended trimmed-down version of Opera and now I have a fully functional graphical browser that supports JavaScript--something I wasn't able to do with win95 with the limited RAM available.

Installing DSL was easy, once I got around a serious issue with not being able to boot to CD. The way I got around it was by downloading the "force boot to CD" boot loader from a Slackware mirror. I copied the boot loader to the hard disk, overwriting the boot sector of the hard disk. Then I put in the CD and by pressing a special key combination I was able to boot the CD. Once in a shell, I blanked out the boot sector and partitioned, formatted and typed the command, "dslinstall".
 
Old 02-07-2007, 09:07 AM   #25
steve s.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fozner
As an update to what I said before, Damn Small Linux works for me with only 13MB of RAM!! (I followed instructions online for creating a 64MB swap file.) D.S.L. is fully graphical and has a handy menu from which you can click to download and install software. Firefox is too bloated, however, I installed the recommended trimmed-down version of Opera and now I have a fully functional graphical browser that supports JavaScript--something I wasn't able to do with win95 with the limited RAM available.

Installing DSL was easy, once I got around a serious issue with not being able to boot to CD. The way I got around it was by downloading the "force boot to CD" boot loader from a Slackware mirror. I copied the boot loader to the hard disk, overwriting the boot sector of the hard disk. Then I put in the CD and by pressing a special key combination I was able to boot the CD. Once in a shell, I blanked out the boot sector and partitioned, formatted and typed the command, "dslinstall".
Well, I'll check on DSL again, but I only have 8MB of RAM.

And I don't have a CD player, just floppy. That's probably the biggest limit.

I found a few sites with die-hard Win3.1 guys (who knew there was such a thing?!) that had older versions of Opera and stuff like that, so still playing with it. I'll have to install Opera from a floppy in DOS/Win...have to see how that works.

My goal is to get online with it at least once...I think that would be cool. Of course, have to figure out how to use a modem that connects via a serial port...don't have a phone or LAN jack on this thing at all. Crazy.
 
Old 02-07-2007, 10:12 AM   #26
alred
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probably there is no such thing as the best linux for floppies ... on floppies you may have a look and start from here ::

http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/sys...ry/!INDEX.html

can try , may works in the end ...

your goal may(or may not) need more than one floppy ...



//goodluck ...

.

Last edited by alred; 02-07-2007 at 10:13 AM.
 
Old 02-08-2007, 12:17 AM   #27
blackhole54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve s.
My goal is to get online with it at least once...I think that would be cool. Of course, have to figure out how to use a modem that connects via a serial port...don't have a phone or LAN jack on this thing at all. Crazy.
A serial port is the most straightforward way to use a modem on Linux! If you can actually get some version of Linux running your machine, you have an external, RS232 based modem and you have a dialup ISP to connect to, connecting via modem should be a piece of cake. It's the other stuff that might be hard!

Of course, I've eaten my words before!
 
Old 02-08-2007, 04:15 AM   #28
alred
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you need to be a music lover in-order to appreciate these kind of things ...


//hmm ... really miss that "tu tu tu du du ti ti ti shiiiiiiiiiiiiii ei ei siiiiiiiiiiiii .... tup ." period ... ^_^


.
 
  


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