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Old 06-14-2004, 05:16 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Bellevue, WA
Distribution: Arch w/ XFCE
Posts: 834

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creating a bare-bare-barebones system for an underpowered laptop

I have a 25Mhz 486SL laptop with 4MB RAM. I've tried a few distros, but they all need 8MB or so, so I'm kinda stuck at getting linux on this. I loaded the SmallLinux distro on it via ramdisk, but that's nuthin. BUT - it worked. So I thought about it a little, and had the idea to just build a linux system from complete scratch.

Would this be difficult to do?

My goal is for linux to load up, ask for a login, and get me to a shell. That's it for now. I figured if I installed a system that worked, I could expand on it. If I could get my NE2000-based NIC to run too, that would be fan-freakin-tastic cause then, I could easily work on the system, retrieving packages and stuff from the internet.

However, I have no idea where to start. I dunno about LFS, is that a good route? How can I put together a miniscule system like this?
Old 06-14-2004, 08:25 AM   #2
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Northcliffe, WA
Distribution: Slackware 12.0
Posts: 481

Rep: Reputation: 30
Have a look at this

Building a Minimal Linux System from Source Code
Old 06-15-2004, 01:57 AM   #3
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Bellevue, WA
Distribution: Arch w/ XFCE
Posts: 834

Original Poster
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Wow! Great info! Thanks a lot, I'm at it now!
Old 06-15-2004, 05:53 PM   #4
Alex Cavnar
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Nashville, TN
Distribution: FreeBSD, Slack, and DebianPPC
Posts: 60

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4MB-Laptop HOWTO

It's using an older version of Slackware. I've had success running this on a Compaq Contura 486/33mhz laptop with 8 MB of RAM, and a 270MB hard drive. The trick on the 4MB system is to initialize the swap partition, and make it available during the installation process. The HOWTO describes how to do that.

I actually had an NE2000 PCMCIA card running fine on that laptop-- too- It served me well, in fact-- I could use that machine to ssh into any of my other boxen. On top of that, I got Vim installed on it with syntax highlighting, so I could write little code snippets, and take fairly quick notes. All of this, and I still had about 110 MB of space left on the disc.


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