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Old 12-14-2004, 07:45 PM   #1
Puppy Prime Minister
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: SE PA USA
Distribution: Puppy Quirky Xerus Linux
Posts: 8

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Lightbulb DSL WIN98 noCD noFD

After much experimentation and hair-pulling, I've developed a simple method for using Damn Small Linux on my Windows 98 SE computer. My method uses loadlin (from Slackware) and the KNOPPIX, linux24 and minirt24.gz files from dsl- (used ALZip to extract, no need to burn a CD). I did try but it ran too slow on my 366 mhz 92 meg system. Had to find another way.

So, here's the loadlin command-line:
- all on one line:
loadlin linux24 fromhd=/dev/hda1 initrd=minirt24.gz lang=us vga=normal xserver=xvesa BOOT_IMAGE=Knoppix
- all on one line.
And, the Windows desktop shortcut properties under the Program tab:
. Cmd line: dsllinux.bat
. Working: C:\KNOPPIX
And, the Advanced Program Settings under the Program tab:
. selected "MS-DOS mode"
. selected "Warn before entering MS-DOS mode"
. selected "Specify a new MS-DOS configuration"
. specified "CONFIG.SYS for MS-DOS mode" with:
- on three lines:
devicehigh=C:\WINDOWS\Himem.Sys /testmem:off
devicehigh=C:\windows\emm386.exe noems I=B000-B7FF
- on three lines.
Note that the loadlin command-line goes in the C:\KNOPPIX\dsllinux.bat file something like this:
- on eight lines:
@ECHO Press Enter to run Linux.
@ECHO Or, to return to Windows:
@ECHO press Ctrl-c
@ECHO reply Y
@ECHO at prompt, enter win
@ECHO then press Enter
loadlin linux24 fromhd=/dev/hdb1 initrd=minirt24.gz lang=us vga=normal xserver=xvesa BOOT_IMAGE=Knoppix
- on eight lines.

If interest is expressed, I can provide a ZIP file of all the needed pieces at my web site.

As I want totally automatic hardware detection, one little problem remains. During boot-up, the "DSL X Setup" dialog is displayed. Not a big problem -- just reply with cancel -- gives me a perfectly workable display and recognizes my three-button track-ball with scroll-wheel (whoppie). So, I tried many variations of "vga=normal xserver=xvesa" etc. Oh well. Any ideas, people?

Many tasks remain before I have a fully functional Linux system. Such as: filetool.lst, myDSL, iptables, current versions of Firefox and OpenOffice, etc.

Here's my list (first draft) of Linux requirements:
. small distribution size
. automatic hardware detection
. low memory requirement
. load fresh image upon boot
. use iptables firewall
. phone and broadband Internet access
. support most printers
. browser, mail and word processing
. additional application distributions
. co-exist with Windows
. reside on Windows drive
. use a large swap file on Windows drive
. user files on UMSDOS Windows drive
. user files on NTFS Windows drive (pseudo-partitions?)
. backup user files on removable media
. and, finally, can be installed as a secure full-fledged resident Linux when Windows is no longer needed.

I've experimented with several Linux distributions such as: Slackware, ZipSlack, Slax, Peanut, Feather, Amigo, DSL, etc. At the moment, the contest is between Amigo and DSL. So far, neither wins, but DSL is winning because of its automatic hardware detection, low memory needs and printing capability. Both require me to do much customization. What I want is a Linux distribution that works on my old IBM Thinkpad 560 (24 meg), Windows 98 (92 meg) and Windows XP (family and friends). I suppose I'll need to re-master whatever and publish my own distribution -- yes, yet another distribution, a derivative of a derivative of a derivative -- sigh.

One last thought about the on-going arguments about command-line versus GUI and about documentation. I like GUI. I demand documentation. I was a mainframe systems programmer for many years, now retired, so I know (and love) computer technology and all the nitty-gritty. But, my memory isn't what it used to be, so I need aids to get things done. GUI and documentation help. Furthermore, I have family and friends who just can't handle the command-line; they'll get it wrong every time. For them, forget the documentation -- only automatic hardware detection and GUI will do.

Last edited by JGD; 12-14-2004 at 07:47 PM.


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