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Old 01-27-2009, 12:55 PM   #1
gychang
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which install option for PII 233MHz, 96MBRAM, 8GHD?


I have thinkpad 560Z and want to run DSL. Has no CD, so will try to install by taking the HD out and put into another laptop and install DSL, and put the installed DSL back to the 560Z.

Since RAM is scarce and CPU low power,

1. which type of DSL install (frugal, N etc) is ideal.

2. Which PCMCIA wireless card work well with DSL.

thanks,

gychang
 
Old 01-27-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
roystonlodge
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Here's my advice, for what it's worth:

- Forget using the hard drive completely. Instead, get yourself a Compact Flash card and a CF-to-IDE adapter, and install it in the hard drive bay. It's much more energy efficient since there's no moving parts. Also, I presume the hard drive in such an old laptop is pretty small, so a new CF card would probably be a nice upgrade in terms of the amount of storage your computer will have.

- The other benefit to this strategy: It'll be much easier to install DSL on the CF card from another computer. Simply use a USB card reader. Make sure the computer you're using for the install recognizes the card reader as SDA1, and then do a frugal GRUB install on the CF card.

- I'd make two partitions on the CF card. The first would be a 64MB bootable Linux partition, for holding the core DSL package. The second would be a FAT32 DOS partition, for your MyDSL extensions, your backup.tar.gz file, and any other persistent directories you want on your system (like a persistent home, or a persistent opt). That way, you can access your DSL backup and other files from a Windows PC, simply by using a USB card reader.

- Boot DSL toram to cut down on the amount of data written to the CF card. Flash memory doesn't last forever, and degrades with every write cycle. On such a low powered computer running an OS as small as DSL, it probably wouldn't make a difference since you'll have lots of memory to spare on the CF card. Still, it doesn't hurt.

- You can also create a third, Linux SWAP partition on the CF card, which would be nice on a computer with so little RAM. The down side is, of course, that it requires a lot of write cycles on the CF card. Just make the SWAP partition nice and big, like 3 times your computer's RAM, and you'll probably be fine.

- If you do all this and you find it still doesn't work very well, play around with the different boot "Cheat Codes" to see what works best on your machine: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/i...hp/Cheat_Codes.

- Here's a link to the verfied wireless cards with DSL: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/i...Wireless_Cards.

- Here are a few more tips on reducing memory usage: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/i...ingMemoryUsage.
 
Old 01-27-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
gychang
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Registered: Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roystonlodge View Post
Here's my advice, for what it's worth:

- Forget using the hard drive completely. Instead, get yourself a Compact Flash card and a CF-to-IDE adapter, and install it in the hard drive bay. It's much more energy efficient since there's no moving parts. Also, I presume the hard drive in such an old laptop is pretty small, so a new CF card would probably be a nice upgrade in terms of the amount of storage your computer will have.

- The other benefit to this strategy: It'll be much easier to install DSL on the CF card from another computer. Simply use a USB card reader. Make sure the computer you're using for the install recognizes the card reader as SDA1, and then do a frugal GRUB install on the CF card.

- I'd make two partitions on the CF card. The first would be a 64MB bootable Linux partition, for holding the core DSL package. The second would be a FAT32 DOS partition, for your MyDSL extensions, your backup.tar.gz file, and any other persistent directories you want on your system (like a persistent home, or a persistent opt). That way, you can access your DSL backup and other files from a Windows PC, simply by using a USB card reader.

- Boot DSL toram to cut down on the amount of data written to the CF card. Flash memory doesn't last forever, and degrades with every write cycle. On such a low powered computer running an OS as small as DSL, it probably wouldn't make a difference since you'll have lots of memory to spare on the CF card. Still, it doesn't hurt.

- You can also create a third, Linux SWAP partition on the CF card, which would be nice on a computer with so little RAM. The down side is, of course, that it requires a lot of write cycles on the CF card. Just make the SWAP partition nice and big, like 3 times your computer's RAM, and you'll probably be fine.

- Here's a link to the verfied wireless cards with DSL: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/i...Wireless_Cards.
Great!, thanks for a super idea, I am a newbie but understand some of what you said. I appreciate the linked page was exactly what I needed.

Let me understand what u said.

1. replace the laptop HD with CF-to-IDE adapter. (newegg has it)
2. install DSL distro in to CF (using my desktop with cardreader)
3. Put installed CF back to laptop and install (I want only DSL, NO WINDOWS).

Does DSL come with Gparted? or some sort of partitioning tool?, I don't understand torem etc...

Do I have the basic strategy correct?

gychang
 
Old 01-27-2009, 04:20 PM   #4
roystonlodge
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Yes, you understood my advice precisely.

Now, to try and help answer your further questions:

- DSL's built-in partitioning tool is fdisk.

- toram is a boot cheat code that tells DSL to load the entire operating system into RAM rather than read/write to the hard drive. When you boot from the LiveCD you enter these cheat codes to customize how you want DSL to boot. In the frugal install, you add the cheat codes to your /boot/grub/menu.lst file, which is stored on your boot drive (usually /mnt/hda1).

- Remember, when you install DSL on the CF card the card will show up as /mnt/sda1. But when you plug the card into your new laptop via the CF-to-IDE adapter, it will show up as /mnt/hda1, because DSL will be fooled into thinking it's a hard drive.

- There is a cheat code for booting the LiveCD into a special installation version of DSL. When the boot promp comes up, type install, and you'll get a menu where you can run fdisk and run the install grub script.

- After you create your partitions using fdisk, you'll have to format the FAT32 partition. From the command line type mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/***. (*** means the partition you want to format. Don't actually type ***).

SO, to summarize the process (I'm going to assume you're creating a swap partition in this walkthrough):

1) Download the latest DSL iso image and burn it to a CD.
2) Find a computer with a CD drive. Plug a CF card into it via a USB card reader. Boot the computer using the DSL LiveCD.
3) At the boot prompt, type install.
4) At the install menu, choose fdisk.
5) Using fdisk, write your swap partition, your bootable 64mb linux partition, and your FAT32 partition. When the script asks which disk your want to partition, type sda.
- Your swap partition should come first. Do not set it as bootable. The type is Linux Swap. The size should be around 3 times your laptop's RAM. Remember to write the partition! (I have a tendency to forget that step.)
- Your DSL image partition should come second. DO set it as bootable. The type is Linux. The size should be around 64mb. Write the partition!
- Your files/backup partition should come third. Do not set it as bootable. The type is FAT32. The size will be calculated automatically, as it's just the final free space on the CF card. Write the partition!
6) Quit fdisk, go back to the install menu and run the Frugal install using grub script. Follow the script's prompts and answer it's questions. It'll ask where you want to install DSL. Type sda2. It'll ask where you want to save your mydsl extensions. Type sda3. It'll ask you to write any boot codes you want. I suggest you type toram. It will ask if Windows is installed on your primary partition. Answer no.
7) When it's finished installing, reboot the computer. Again, you're booting the desktop with the LiveCD, except this time when you get the boot prompt you need to type dsl toram. You'll have to answer a few questions about how you want X to display, and then you'll get the DSL desktop.
8) Now you format the FAT32 partition: Open a terminal and type sudo mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sda3.
11) Next, you now have to create the swap file: Open a terminal and type sudo mkswap /dev/sda1 and then type sudo swapon /dev/sda1 [If you get "device or resource busy" here, ignore it.].
9) Now, shut down the computer. Don't select backup.
10) Take your CF card and install it in the laptop via the cf-to-ide adapter.
11) Turn on the laptop. If the installation went correctly you should first get a boot menu. Choose the first option it gives you. Then you SHOULD boot into the standard DSL desktop. When you shut down the laptop, remember to select backup to save your settings and stuff.
12) I take no responsibility is any of this doesn't work.

Last edited by roystonlodge; 01-27-2009 at 04:24 PM.
 
Old 01-27-2009, 04:38 PM   #5
roystonlodge
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One last comment!

Before you go out and buy a CF-to-IDE adapter, you can try following the walkthrough using a plain 'ol USB thumbdrive. The process for installing to a thumbdrive is the same as the process for installing to a CF card. If it works when you do it on the thumbdrive, it should also work on a CF disk.
 
Old 01-27-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
gychang
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Registered: Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roystonlodge View Post
Yes, you understood my advice precisely.

Now, to try and help answer your further questions:

- DSL's built-in partitioning tool is fdisk.

- toram is a boot cheat code that tells DSL to load the entire operating system into RAM rather than read/write to the hard drive. When you boot from the LiveCD you enter these cheat codes to customize how you want DSL to boot. In the frugal install, you add the cheat codes to your /boot/grub/menu.lst file, which is stored on your boot drive (usually /mnt/hda1).

- Remember, when you install DSL on the CF card the card will show up as /mnt/sda1. But when you plug the card into your new laptop via the CF-to-IDE adapter, it will show up as /mnt/hda1, because DSL will be fooled into thinking it's a hard drive.

- There is a cheat code for booting the LiveCD into a special installation version of DSL. When the boot promp comes up, type install, and you'll get a menu where you can run fdisk and run the install grub script.

- After you create your partitions using fdisk, you'll have to format the FAT32 partition. From the command line type mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/***. (*** means the partition you want to format. Don't actually type ***).

SO, to summarize the process (I'm going to assume you're creating a swap partition in this walkthrough):

1) Download the latest DSL iso image and burn it to a CD.
2) Find a computer with a CD drive. Plug a CF card into it via a USB card reader. Boot the computer using the DSL LiveCD.
3) At the boot prompt, type install.
4) At the install menu, choose fdisk.
5) Using fdisk, write your swap partition, your bootable 64mb linux partition, and your FAT32 partition. When the script asks which disk your want to partition, type sda.
- Your swap partition should come first. Do not set it as bootable. The type is Linux Swap. The size should be around 3 times your laptop's RAM. Remember to write the partition! (I have a tendency to forget that step.)
- Your DSL image partition should come second. DO set it as bootable. The type is Linux. The size should be around 64mb. Write the partition!
- Your files/backup partition should come third. Do not set it as bootable. The type is FAT32. The size will be calculated automatically, as it's just the final free space on the CF card. Write the partition!
6) Quit fdisk, go back to the install menu and run the Frugal install using grub script. Follow the script's prompts and answer it's questions. It'll ask where you want to install DSL. Type sda2. It'll ask where you want to save your mydsl extensions. Type sda3. It'll ask you to write any boot codes you want. I suggest you type toram. It will ask if Windows is installed on your primary partition. Answer no.
7) When it's finished installing, reboot the computer. Again, you're booting the desktop with the LiveCD, except this time when you get the boot prompt you need to type dsl toram. You'll have to answer a few questions about how you want X to display, and then you'll get the DSL desktop.
8) Now you format the FAT32 partition: Open a terminal and type sudo mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sda3.
11) Next, you now have to create the swap file: Open a terminal and type sudo mkswap /dev/sda1 and then type sudo swapon /dev/sda1 [If you get "device or resource busy" here, ignore it.].
9) Now, shut down the computer. Don't select backup.
10) Take your CF card and install it in the laptop via the cf-to-ide adapter.
11) Turn on the laptop. If the installation went correctly you should first get a boot menu. Choose the first option it gives you. Then you SHOULD boot into the standard DSL desktop. When you shut down the laptop, remember to select backup to save your settings and stuff.
12) I take no responsibility is any of this doesn't work.
Great write up, this is a must for someone considering putting DSL and do not have a CD or floppy, or other means of installing to laptop. Your explanation is very concise and even I can understand. I really appreciate the effort and you have a way of explaining things clearly. If I will follow this if my swapping of the HD does not work.

thanks again.

gychang
 
  


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