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ZipLinux 02-17-2004 12:56 PM

Installing Slackware from zip disk.
I have a 486/DX-75Mhz, 16MB Ram, 500MB HDD laptop that I would like to use to run Slackware. This computer does not have CD, NIC, or PC-card capability - my sole option being to install via zip drive.

I do NOT want to use Zipslack as I'd only have to do further messing around with a ZIP drive to install extra apps. I'd rather install everything I want from the full distro.

My questions:

a) How do I go about partitioning the Slackware distro to fit onto zip disks and how would I go about performing the install process (me being a relative newbie)?

b) What packages should I install; baring in mind my computer's specs. I'd like at least: a C/C++/Perl development environment (I have heard that it is possible to install a small development environment and a larger one - what's the difference?), some form of GUI (the best possible considering the hardware), & Apache (for simple web hosting with CGI/PHP - are there modules that can be skipped?).

Hoping someone can help :-)

gnashley 02-17-2004 03:29 PM

Zipslack would actually be a good choice for you. Or you could run install from the floppies and install packages you saved on the zip disk. read my howto on installing. You'll be able to get X and some development tools in <550MB. I just did a minimal install <30MB of slack 9.1. I've also done Slack9.1 with KDE in about 250MB. I would suggest you use windowmaker or fluxbox window manager, ROX-Filer 1.2.2 (including rox-base1.0.0) and nedit.
X should just barely run on 16MB RAM, but you'll need soem swap space also(at least 16MB).
I'm working on updating the webpage as I have more tricks.

ZipLinux 02-17-2004 06:29 PM

I took a look at your page and it looks _very_ useful thanks. I'll have a mess around tomorrow and see how I get on. Any further suggestions will also be very welcome :-)

ZipLinux 02-18-2004 09:38 AM

Having messed arround some more and while re-reading your info, I was wondering if you would recomend that I use 8.1 or 9.1? You also mentiond that you were refining your 9.1 setup - is this info available?

gnashley 02-18-2004 02:10 PM

I really prefer 8.1 as it seems to run 'cleaner'. Also it'll use less space as X-base and X-fonts are bigger in 9.1.
For development you'll need to install a/gawk, findutils, grep, glibc; d/make, binutils, kernel-headers, gcc, gcc-g++, perl. For compiling some programs you may have to put d/autoconf, automake as well and maybe even m4 and libtool.
If you use the install floppies, you can install from the zip drive. Just download the packages you need and put them on the zip drive with the same directors structure as the web site. in otherwords everything should be in a folder called 'slackware' with subdirectories a, ap, d, l, x, xap...
Apache is pretty small, not sure what all you'd need to go with it.
It might still be easier to install zipslack and start from there.
You may need to use the zipslack bootdisk (even if installing normally) since it has support for zip drives compiled in.

ZipLinux 02-18-2004 04:53 PM

8.1 it is then :-)
I must say it's tempting to use zipslack but it seems that it would be a bit of a bother to install within a true Linux partition (rather than sitting inside a DOS/Windows partition) and I'm also worried that it might include junk that I'll never use - important considering the low disk space available. As your instructions regarding Phoenix are so good, I feel quite confident to try an install using self-selected packages.

I'll also try to make a note of everything I do and post it here in case the experience can help others.

gnashley 02-19-2004 04:43 AM

Yeah, i always cut Zipslack to about half the size before installing other stuff. I#m still wainting for space on ibiblio to upload my distros. I have some cut-down zipslacks that are good to start from.
You probably should just use the ext2 file system. Reiserfs would take more space but runs a little faster and is harder to corrupt.
The basic packages mentioned including X, fonts and fluxbox(or blackbox) will need about 100MB.
You may have trouble getting your graphics card to work on such old hardware. You might need to use the xvfb (frame buffer) to get X working.
i tried the other day to get X working on a 486 with just 8MB RAM! All I could get was a 320x240 screen. With your 16MB X should work, though you may need at least 32MB swap if you try to do anything graphically- probably handy for the compiler also. You could save a little space by setting up a swapfile on you main partition instead of using a swap partition.
You can also save resources by editing /etc/inittab and turning off getty's 2-5. Leave 1 and 6, though. 6 runs in the background when you run X. CTRL+ALT+F6 will let you exit from X to a terminal on F6. (CTRL+ALT+F7 returns you to X).
Also you can turn off everything in /etc/inetd.conf to speed up boot time.
Also, when you format the disk you have a choice of block size. Large-Block systems will run faster. If you plan to have many files under 4K you can use a smaller block size. However, I have tested a minimal install using the various block sizes and the installation size doesn't change, so go ahead and use block-size 4096.

ZipLinux 02-19-2004 06:35 AM

Excellent suggestions as ever gnashley :-) Just a few more questions...

Firstly, you suggest that I create my swap partition within my main partition. I've done a bit of googling but can't find any info on this. How would this be achieved?

Secondly, I've run into problems installing from the zip drive. Though I can mount and view the install packages just fine using the boot/root disks (I'm using the iomega.s boot disk) and though the setup program accepts my mount point as the "installation media source" once I begin an install it complains that it can't find the series a, ap ... etc. My zip directory structure is as follows:


I have only included the .tgz packages within the package subdirectories e.g. aaa_base-8.1.0-i386-3.tgz. Should I also have included the relevant .asc files?
The zip disk is in FAT16 format - is that perhaps the problem?

Third question - You say that Reiserfs takes more space that ext2 - how much more? I have experienced problems with ext2 in the past, so might consider a performance/space trade-off if it's not too great.

Finally could you perhaps glance over my post here (I didn't want to overload this thread) regarding partitions. You have of course already answered my question relating to the swap disk size. You might also notice that I took a less fleeting look at my laptop's specs and found that I had overestimated the HDD size by 50MB :cry:

Again, many, many thanks for your excellent advice :D

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