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Old 08-07-2004, 02:23 PM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2004
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64MB RAM & need hardware detection

I'm getting burned out on trying to understand installation. Right now, I just don't want to. Don't get me wrong, I do want to learn to be my own sys admin, in fact, I want to truly command the command line interface, period -- twenty years wasted on GUIs is long enough -- but I don't want my intro to *nix to be such a major hurdle. I think I can learn more from

man man

and a working installation of any decent and recent Linux than reading outdated docs and Googling Usenet groups and generally making a nuisance of myself in public. Thank goodness for Asking ignorant questions is a pretty quick way to get an answer and I appreciate your patience. Seeing the new iso subsite made me finally register here.

Will Libranet (Free Classic) get me started with just 64 MB RAM? Will X windows work for me with such limited resources? If it runs Emacs I'll be happy.

I'm frankly scared of frying a video card I can't afford to replace. I really need excellent (ancient, standard) hardware detection if I'm going to get anything installed at all - then I can record the detected hardware and start experimenting with Debian, FreeBSD, Slackware, whatever looks good. I've read that Libranet is a particularly good distro for newbies. I'll be happy if this is the case. I define good as get it over with. After that, I'll be going straight to the command line and learning bash. No interest in any newbie-friendly features of Libranet other than installation.

Would this be a good match?


Last edited by wannabefree; 08-07-2004 at 02:29 PM.
Old 08-07-2004, 03:02 PM   #2
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What I *think* I know about my hardware comes from a free utility called Belarc Advisor 6.1 - might be useful for others planning a migration, as it works the same way regardless of which particular Windoze OS you are currently trapped on. Tiny (605 KB) utility from reputable hardware vendor fits on floppy; no spyware or viruses or nagging according to ZDNet and my own experience.

Any needed install info missing here?

WinTel modem a showstopper? Do I need to buy a network card? Little confused on these issues. (I truly hate hardware.)

Operating system:
Windows Millennium Edition (build 4.90.3000)

[I'll want a dual boot system, with about 4 GB for Linux; need reasonable guesstimates for recommended partitions]

367 megahertz Intel Celeron
32 kilobyte primary memory cache
128 kilobyte secondary memory cache

8.43 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
5.38 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space
Generic floppy disk drive (3.5")
Generic IDE hard disk drive (8.43 GB) -- drive 0, No SMART Driver

Standard Floppy Disk Controller
Intel 82371AB/EB PCI Bus Master IDE Controller
Primary IDE controller (dual fifo)
Secondary IDE controller (dual fifo)

Bus Adapters:
Intel 82371AB/EB PCI to USB Universal Host Controller

Standard 1200 bps Modem
Telepath Internet 56K WinModem

System Model:
System Serial Number: xxxxxxxx
Chasis Serial Number: xxxxxx
[case says GP6-366c]

Main Circuit Board:
Board: Intel Corporation FJ440ZX AA729475-203
Serial Number: noneofyourbusiness
Bus Clock: 66 megahertz
BIOS: Intel Corp. 4F4JZ0XB.15A.0006.P04.9903221349 03/22/99

Memory Modules:
64 Megabytes Installed Memory
Slot '0' has 64 MB

ATI Rage 128 VR AGP [Display adapter]
GATEWAY EV700 [Monitor] (16.1"vis, September 1998)

Creative AudioPCI (ES1371,ES1373) (WDM)
Gameport Joystick (no joystick connected)

Other devices:
Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural Keyboard
USB Root Hub
WDM Communication Device

Can't see it here, but I have a Microsoft / Gateway private label Intellimouse 1.1A PS/2 Compatible : 2-button with scrollwheel (is that the above "WDM Communication Device"?)

Sorry if this is too much info; I'm worried it may not be enough. I just thought it might save time to have it one place.

Last edited by wannabefree; 08-07-2004 at 03:32 PM.
Old 08-08-2004, 09:05 AM   #3
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Registered: Jul 2003
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The Very Verbose Debian Installation Walkthrough

With this article you will understand how Debian/Libranet works, it is a non-technical, simple article that will explain how the installation function, it is Debian oriented but will answer many questions.

Libranet 2.8.1 free edition, will be a snap to install, it will partition automatically your hard drive (choose free space) in your hard drive. I don't know about the ATI video card, but the autodetection is superb. It comes with IceWM by default, and the second cd has a ton of software.

Choose Libranet's auto-partition, then in the next screen you can choose 'entire disk' or 'free space', choose 'free space', if you want to keep your Windows, and that's it.

The APT program is simple:

to install:
apt-get install <name of package>

to remove:
apt-get remove <name of package>

as for the rest of your hardware, i don't think you will have no problems.

Here's my hardware to give you an idea:

PII 266 with 128MB RAM
nVidia Riva 128 with 4MB RAM
10 GB hard drive
17" Optiquest Monitor
PS/2 mouse and keyboard
Realtek nic card
Yamaha sound card

All was autodetected rapidly an with no problems, i bought this box in August '98 with 64 mb ram, and only added a second dimm of 64 mb ram.

With only 64 MB RAM , stay away from KDE and GNOME, they are bloated and slow and need a lot of RAM to move decently, stick with icewm, fluxbox, wmaker, xfce4, etc.

Last edited by macondo; 08-08-2004 at 09:09 AM.
Old 08-08-2004, 01:09 PM   #4
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Thanks, that helps a lot.

I also read and downloaded the "Libranet GNU/Linux 2.8.1 Install Guide" -- step-by-step illustrated 1MB PDF at -- which makes Libranet hardware detection look far more sophisticated than that of the older Debian 3.0 install, described in your linked "Very Verbose Guide." Very educational. (I take what may be your subtle hint and will try to be brief from here on!)

My video card shouldn't be a problem, according to which links to [ATI Rage section].

But the Libranet systems requirement page also says this about modems:

"Many internal and almost all external modems are supported.
Winmodems are not supported although some drivers do exist."

COM1 standard 1200 bps modem; COM3 Telepath Internet 56K Winmodem

Please tell me I won't be surfing at 1200 baud!

Well, I'll find out soon. Soon as get to a friends broadband and CD-R equipped machine.

Thanks again.

Last edited by wannabefree; 08-08-2004 at 01:17 PM.
Old 08-08-2004, 02:14 PM   #5
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Elgin,IL,USA
Distribution: Sidux, LinHES, and Mythbuntu
Posts: 209

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If Libranet does not detect your modem look at
They have the tools and instructions to find out if your modem is supported and how to get it working.


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