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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 06-30-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
wiva
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installing linux on a Sony PCG-C1VE


I'm attempting to install Linux on an older Sony PCG-C1VE mini laptop.

This is a tiny laptop with a Transmeta (x86-compatible) processor, and an internal hard disk (12GB) but without atapi CD-ROM or floppy. It only has one (1) USB port. There's also a PCMCIA port.
It has a nonoperational Windows XP installation (from earlier attempts to do something useful with it).

The only way to boot it is via the external USB floppy drive. The BIOS doesn't have a setting to boot from an external USB CD-ROM drive.

I created boot floppies and tried to get going that way. I've got a PCMCIA network card so I hoped to install via a network connection, or get far enough to let me swap the floppy for the CD-ROM drive, but so far I've gotten nowhere at all.
I tried different distros (Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu) but either it just locks up, or I never get to point where I can see a CD to load from.

I also tried SmartBootManager but that doesn't see the CD-ROM drive either.

Any suggestions are welcome, I really would like to make some use out of this little cute machine.
 
Old 06-30-2009, 10:47 AM   #2
linus72
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Well, Welcome to LQ

now, can you give specs of that lappy?
also, did you upgrade ram or what?

Many thing you could try...
First, will it boot from a regular USB?

second, have you tried Plop bootmanager?
most likely you will have to use the floppy img "plpbtin.img"
which installs plop bootmanager to mbr, but can be uninstalled and will be overwritten when a distro installs grub or lilo.
it can boot usb, cdrom and pxe boot too, even on computers that don't support that.
( http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html )

Now, also, your RAM will probably be a factor when deciding which distro to install.
 
Old 07-01-2009, 02:33 AM   #3
wiva
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Thanks for prompt response. I feel already at home!

Specs are a Crusoe processor, 600MHz, 128MB ram (16MB eaten by video card), 12 MB disk.
I don't think I want to spend too much on upgrading the ram (I doubt if it's even possible [EDIT] I just checked, there's room for more ram).
It originally came with Windows ME (yuk!), at one stage I upgraded it to XP to see how good that would work (of course it didn't) but now can't start it anymore because it's not activated.

I tried Plop, and get to the point where I can boot from USB (can't seem to figure out how to install plop in the MBR), but apparently USB CD-ROM drives aren't supported, so I have to get a bootable distro on a USB stick first.
Which distro do you suggest to put on it (considering the rather low specs)? Any good places to read on the net on how to set up a bootable usb stick?


UPDATE:

I managed to install plop on the hard disk MBR, using a DOS boot floppy.

I put a bootable Knoppix (5.1.1) on a USB stick, and I can boot now (via Plop) from the USB stick. So far so good. But stuck again. I get 5 lines:

Loading EHCI driver
searching on hosts
driver removed
Loading UHCI driver
searching on hosts
host 1


And that's it. The pc locks up completely. Doesn't react to numlock changes and only way to get some reaction again is recycling power. I'll try with another distro.

Last edited by wiva; 07-01-2009 at 07:56 AM.
 
Old 07-01-2009, 07:52 AM   #4
wiva
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Looks like it isn't the distro, it's plop that locks the computer. Only does it when booting from usb, even without a stick plugged in.
 
Old 07-01-2009, 08:13 AM   #5
linus72
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Please explain more, plop only acts as bootloader, so is it locking up after the distro starts loading or when?

also, knoppix I doubt will run on 128mb

I suggest you try a puppy, as their kinda small, frugal, and easy too

go get browserpuppy here
( http://www.browserpuppy.com/ )

once you download it, you gotta extract the iso or mount/copy it, to usb and setup syslinux.cfg
what distro or system or you using now?
 
Old 07-01-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
wiva
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Knoppix was just used to see if I could get any further. I'd worry about getting the right distro afterwards.

Apparently, Plop doesn't know how to get to the USB memory key on this particular hardware, it searches for hosts using UHCI driver, finds something ('host1') and then locks up, so before the distro starts loading. It does the same thing when I haven't got a key plugged in.
 
Old 07-01-2009, 08:51 AM   #7
linus72
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OK, which plop did you use, floppy or cd?
plpbtin.img?

I never saw plop do that?

However, there are other solutions as well

We can try a grub bootfloppy, and other bootmanagers too, like smart bootmanager.

But, still, what system is your main system?
a desktop windows or linux machine?
 
Old 07-02-2009, 01:24 AM   #8
wiva
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Floppy Plop - I don't have another option (the thing doesn't boot from USB-connected CD)

I tried SBM too, doesn't have the option to boot from USB.

My main system is a (company) Windows Vista system.

I was thinking of putting plain DOS on the hard drive, boot from that and see if I can get to the CD that way.

Anyway, I'm on vacation the next few days so I'll continue next week.
 
Old 07-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #9
wiva
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I've made a little progress. I can boot the PC from the hard disk into DOS (Win98). I've been trying to get FreeDOS on it with USB support, but that didn't work too good.
I tried to get a network connection running under DOS, everything loaded, but no connection.

Then I went to work with GRUB4DOS. I managed to get the Debian (3.1) initrd and vmlinuz files on the hard disk (using multiple floppy zip file).
I have a very simple Grub menu.lst file:

title Debian Sarge
kernel /vmlinuz ramdisk_size=10000 devfs=mount,dall root=/dev/hda0
initrd /initrd.gz


The Linux package starts loading, but cannot open root device "hda0" and panics.

I'm not sure what to put there for root= . Any suggestions?
 
Old 07-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #10
wiva
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I made some further progress.

I've opened up the little bugger, the disk is a common 2.5" IDE disk. I took it out and connected it via an external IDE-to-USB box on another computer. Next I used 'Unetbootin' to load 'browserpuppy.iso' on the hard disk.
Unetbootin normally is used to make USB sticks bootable with the distro of your choice.

Disk back into the vaio, rebooted, and came back to the DOS prompt. Without expecting any results at all, I started GRUB again, and selected the 'Debian Sarge' entry that was still in there (without making any changes to the menu.lst file), and behold! Browserpuppy is running! Yeeeeeh! I assume it's running in 'LiveCD' mode but at least it gets me going somewhere.
Now I only needed connectivity to the outside world. Tried to get a network connection going, but I only had one PCMCIA adapter that's supported, and I can't find the cable for that card. AAARGH! The other card I have (3com FEM656C) isn't supported.
I can however mount a USB-connected hard drive using Puppy now. This means I can load anything I want now.
I'll try Xubuntu next - see what that does... Hopefully it supports the FEM656 card and isn't too slow.
 
  


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