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Well that is faster than I had guessed it would have been.
Anyway, dual booting is going to be a lot tougher without the CD drive than just installing Linux on the machine. Do you really need XP? How big is the drive, anyway?
Not many distributions still support booting from floppies, and even if you did boot from floppy, you would still need to load the actual packages from somewhere. You could use a USB drive, but I am guessing this machine only has USB 1.0, which would be an unpleasant install, to say the least.
It would be a lot easier to pull the drive from the machine, connect it to another computer, and install that way. Would this be a possibility? It sounds like you don't have a lot of spare equipment sitting around.
I was thinking of retaining the xp because I have few software running on window XP platform which I could use. That is why I wanted to do multibooting. Most of the time, I would use DSL. And I would run Windows XP only if I need to run window-based software.
I have one hard disk which is partitioned in 2 drives; drive C and drive D.
You are right, it is USB 1.0.
I understand the concept of multibooting. But I am not sure how to do it with DSL. Is it possible?
How exactly is the USB hub going to help him in this situation? I don't understand your comment at all.
Isn't the Slackware installer still available on floppies for net install? You could install a minimalist installation of Slackware with Xorg + fvwm or blackbox or some other lean window manager.
Not since Slackware 11. As of 12, Slackware has switched to the 2.6.x kernel, which no longer fits on floppies. You could do an FTP install of Slackware 11 from floppies and then manually upgrade to 12.1, but it would be a rather treacherous task given how completely different they are.
Don't forget, most computers from that era do not have a BIOS which is capable of booting from USB devices.
The most convenient way of installing would be to find someone with *NIX running on their desktop and with a USB HD enclosure and use the desktop to do everything.
I suspect the laptop once had an external CD-ROM drive (or a plug-in internal type) and that is how XP got onto it. But even if that equipment were still available, with that vintage of machine it was common to have to boot from a floppy to get the CDROM working anyway.
According to the DSL Wiki, you can create a bootable floppy disk, and use that floppy to boot to an installer on a USB flash drive. Ubuntu lists several methods for installing without using a CD. Perhaps one of those would work to install Xubuntu, or maybe a minimal install of Ubuntu Server, from which you could add on Xorg and the lightweight window manager of your choice. Debian also offers floppy images for a net install without a CD.
Seems like the last time I used DSL, it used some sort of framebuffer / svgalib / something or other windowing system rather than Xorg, which severely limits what you can run on your machine. 10 gigs of hard drive space should be plenty even for a modern distribution. If the Asus Eee PC can do it, so can yours -- only yours won't be limited to that crappy 800x480 resolution!