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Aight, here's what's going on. I want to install linux on a 486 laptop that has a 514meg HD. I need a version of linux to run on this thing, but it also has to have modem support, telnet, ftp, bash, etc etc...
The Laptop has no CD-ROM so that's outta the question.
I'm used to running the Slackware version of linux, and don't plan on running any kinda of GUI (KDE, X Windows, GNOME) just the shell.
BasicLinux is a mini-Linux that runs in a 4mb ramdisk. It has a fully-featured shell, an easy-to-use editor, and a variety of useful utilities. In particular, BasicLinux is well equipped for internet use: it can dial an ISP, browse the web, send/receive mail, and download files.
BasicLinux is a good distribution for an old 486. It is much leaner than RedHat and performs better on old hardware. Although BasicLinux initially runs on a ramdisk, it can be installed to its own HD partition, where additional packages can be added (including X and GCC).
Slackware is the best choice, IMO for this kind of thing. I have slack 9.0 running on a notebook with a 486 dx2/40 proc, 28mb of ram and a 256mb drive, XFree 3 is installed and working. Thanks to Slack's separation of the kernel headers/source I'm even able to compile modules on this machine. There's still about 60mb of the drive free, even with a 25mb swap partition. Even got links running in vga mode.
Wow, you've got almost 2x the drive space of my contura 400cx, as well as a much faster proc(mine is a 486 dx2/40) but sadly, almost half the memory. May I suggest a memory upgrade via Ebay? That's where I found the chips to boost my contura to 28mb from only 4mb, man, what a difference. Admittedly, as my 3rd notebook, it's a toy, but it's still fun and the screen is amazingly nice for it's era.
Anyway, when it was only 4mb of ram, I followed the "4mb laptop" howto on tldp.org, a very nice howto, very accurate and all went well. Once I got it to 28mb, I went with an NFS installation of Slack9, and it was well worth it, Slack9 rocks
In short: I downloaded the "slackware" directory from Slack9 from the nearest ftp mirror to another box on my network, I exported that directory to the contura's anticipated ip address via /etc/exports and then ran exportfs -a. Then, I fixed up a custom bootdisk for slack9, adding my wireless card's module (atmelwlandriver) to the pcmcia boot disk. After that it was all about mounting the the directory containing the slackware dir and then telling setup to get it on.
To do this you'll need another box running slack9, and a working network to put both machines on. You can also use a wired pcmcia adapter, which I have done also, mine is a Linksys pcm100 which is supported out-of-the-box these days, eliminating the need to losetup the slack pcmcia disk and dd it back out.
EDIT: crap, just saw your question "what did you install...", if you mean exactly what packages I installed, let me know and I'll post the list.
Yeah I do need a memory upgrade, I was looking to get the 24mb chip for the laptop. I do know what packages to install, Ive installed A, D, and N but I also wanted to know what out of those do I really need. When I install those 3 in full, I only have 18mb left on my Hard drive. If you could help, thanks alot.
If that's all you have left, you've got some fluff in there somewhere ...
Ok, give me like, 20 minutes and I'll post a link that will take you to a text file listing all the normal files on the machine. The file's gonna be too big to politely post here.
Also, you may want to check out the 4mb laptop howto on tldp.org and follow at least a few of the memory conservation recommendations there, it really helps. The one thing I'll *never* go back to is the ash shell although it did make the machine usable with 4mb. Curious: how big is your swap part?
Ok, here it is, and it's 617.7Kb. Now that I look at the complete list, I still see quite a bit of fluff on that little box, aah well another day...
EDIT: url removed, no longer valid.
this is a plain text file, I skipped the /dev and /tmp directories.
correction: there's 81% of the drive used by the files(about 160mb), about 39mb left and a swap part of 26mb. With XFree 3 and twm running memory usage is maxed, but running X apps remotely is a viable option, firebird and opera both work well that way.
PS: If you need this listing for more than the next hour or so, download it to your machine, I'm not going to leave it up for very long as it's large and will eat my bandwidth if it gets too many clicks.