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Hmm. Try creating a boot partition when you install (mounted at /boot). Make that the first partition on the machine. Older machines sometimes have problems when GRUB stage 2 is not near the very begining of the drive. I would make it apx 50MB. Some people argue that is too big or too small. Your call.
There should be a point during the install when it asks you how you want your disk partitioned. Instead of letting it partition automatically, choose the manual option. Create a 50MB partition at the beginning of the drive and tell it to mount that as "/boot". You will probably want two other partitions, one for swap (the type is "swap") and one for "/" (aka the root partition). The size of the swap partition + physical memory needs to equal more than your highest imaginable memory needs.
If you have less than 256mb or ram, you will have problems with almost any recent distro. They don't built them for specs like that anymore. People always suggest DSL-N... It should be enough if you just want simple office applications and internet, but don't get your hopes up for installing too much new stuff.
You are pretty much limited to E17 or Fluxbox as a window manager. I personally would get a Ubuntu Dapper net-install, and choose the packages I need myself.
I think your best bet is to ask around if someone still has a 500mhz+ pc in the basement...
Try installing an old 'distro'. Check system requirments before going through all subsequent hassles. Older versions are often available at the library-providing someone has not stolen the disk! Your spec will install Windows 2000 so there will be a version of linux out there that will install. Try something released around 2003. Note also that grub has been updated recntly and this maybe adding to your problems.
spencex, first of all check if you have at least 128 Mb ram. If you have anything less than that youcannot install KDE or Gnome. Both need atleast 80 Mb ram.unforunaely mepis auto allocates paritions for /, /usr and swap , unless you explicitly set their size while partitioning. so you cannot set swap size, which could have improved the suituation.so you will be left with a teriminal. you can try reducuing the video aprture under bios. in PII 233 Mhz it will be usually set for a default of 32 Mb. Try reducing it . But your resolution may be less than desired. Also you may not be able to view good quality video. speed and hard disk space are no constraints for Mepis as it can install with less than 3 Gb. ( My mepis 3 happily chugs with just 2 Gb along with a win 98 taking up the rest of 4.7 Gb and all this on a pII 200 Mhz MMX with 128 Mb ram. a if your system has on board video that will be using quite a bit of ram leaving very little for the OS. See if you can add a little extra ram or if you have an onboard VGA ignore it and try to add an PCI VGA card. As I understand it, Linux was intended for the not so rich and building systems that require huge resources is not a way of addressing it. That is one of the reasons why I have still not installed suse 10 on my machine though I have a cd. ( asking for 10 Gb system patition and 750 Mb ram is still too high by third world standards.) While I have no intention of undermining the contributions of REDHAT, NOVEL,etc. It would be nice if they come up with systems suitable for the ordinary user who do not need all the bells and whistles. My own experiments started with buying old mother boards at the sunday market and putting together a working system. I started off with a 486 DX with just 2.2 Gb hard disk and 32 Mb ram and could comfortably install win 98 and office 2000 and use it well too. As I stated earlier I have more than a dozen mother boards which some rich soul had thrown away, and today all are in working condition, allbiet they needed some minor repairs. This is more than enough for people who want to learn to work on computers and even those who primarily work with word processors. Third world realities are darker than the rest of the world is allowed to see or listen. Sorry friends no offence meant.
I understand about the third-world PC 'market.' We do tend to take a lot for granted here in the U.S.
Spencex, if you are in or near a reasonably sized city, call some pawn shops, used office supply stores, thrift stores, etc. and ask about used PCs. Especially that week right after Christmas and maybe the first couple of days after New Year's Day, some terrific deals are often available in used PCs. Down here we have a PC Outlet which is an off-shoot of a Goodwill store a few doors down. I've picked up HDs for under $5; speakers (ditto); whole, very decent (fancy for 2001) PCs for under $70 in there. They never seem to have laptops, but they are a great source for PCs and parts/peripherals.
I couldn't install Mepis (v6.0) on a (2001) Dell laptop (or even run the demo disk), and was told the reason was probably that RAM is insufficient. It does seem to need at least 256. If you do visit a pawn/second-hand store, take along a CD, btw -- these machines come without an OS.
I tried to repartition the HD without success. Then I tried installing Ubuntu Dapper. The installation went very smoothly, but when I rebooted the computer, I had the same problem as I had with Mepis--stalled at loading the Grub, followed by an Error 25 (whatever that is).
I found an older version of Ubuntu called Warty to download, so I'll try installing it and see what happens. If that doesn't work, I'll had to the library to see if I can find a circa 2003 distro on floppies or CD.
By the way, I should have mentioned that the computer I'm trying to Linux is a NEC Versa 6230 laptop with 128 megs of RAM.
It looks like Delilinux would be a good candidate for this machine, but the installation CD won't boot. It appears there are workarounds using Rawrite, but I don't really understand the process. With this laptop, I can use either my floppy drive or my CD-ROM drive but not both at the same time. I have a USB floppy drive, but the laptop doesn't recognize it as a device from which it can boot.
I am hoping to resurrect this old PC rather than sending it to the trash heap. It was running Windows 2000 pretty well, although it was awfully slow to boot. Surely there's a version of Linux available that can do better!