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I have some older laptops (486, Pentium) that do NOT have:
- Built-in ethernet
- CD-ROM drives of any kind
- On-board USB
What they DO have is an external floppy, and a (small) hard drive. They also have PCMCIA slots.
I'd like to install a light, basic distro with GUI, web browser and basic word-processor. Then I hope to install a 3Com PCMCIA network card and use them for simple kitchen-table -type wikipedia questions, webmail, and emergency loaners.
So I'm looking for an ALL-floppy distro - and I don't care if it takes 20 floppies. Is there a distro like this? Or is this a lost cause?
Other things I've considered:
* Boot from PCMCIA - I'd have to $buy$ a card-based drive, copy/convert bootable CD iso, etc... (most likely what I'll try next) (My followup question will be how to make the card "just like" a bootable CD)
* Buy (dedicated, proprietary) external CD drives for each machine - more costly than above, but failproof
* Pull the drive, copy/convert CD iso into laptop HD partition, replace drive, boot from floppy, mount filesystem, etc... - seems like the hard way
* Boot to DOS, load card+ethernet drivers, map drive, copy CD over network, etc... - also the hard way
Slackware 4.0 and 7.0 are popular for just these reasons. You are able to do a complete install of Slackware 4.0 from only floppies. You can even do a partial install of 7.1 including packages a and n (networking packages), which you could then use to complete the install without a cd.