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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 12-14-2008, 04:07 AM   #1
yakkmeister
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Difficulty installing linux (pretty much every distro) on HP OmniBook 900


Ok,
So I have this little OmniBook 900, it's a PII 300 w/ not more than 100mb ram.
There is a 10Gb HDD in there too.
The FDD is external (bootable by BIOS)
I have a USB cdrom (HP cd-writer 8200 series)
I have a generic 128mb USB mass storage device

That's pretty much it.

I have been able to get the usb drive working under freedos.
I have been able to get the machine partially working under DSL - the init(?) part seems to hang when the audio driver is loaded (the audio device is currently disabled but it has had the same effect regardless of the setting)

I Cannot boot from USB
I Cannot boot from CDROM (it's USB, remember :P )

So - what I need to do is get a boot disk which will give me access to the USB key and install from there ...

Well, I have a dos (win98 modified) boot disk which grants me access to the USB drive but cannot make the cdrom work.
It is possible that the cdrom is nonfunctional.

I need to get from the point where dos (from boot disk) can see the files on the usb drive to installing something. Once I have something that can boot into an environment where the USB is working, I can sort the system out from there.

I have little in the way of preferences in distro and I am quite willing to work with any WM - the machine is just going to be a typing mule.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated

Cheers,
Yakk.
 
Old 12-14-2008, 04:31 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
So - what I need to do is get a boot disk which will give me access to the USB key and install from there ...
Smart Boot Manager is your lifeline here. Put it on a floppy, it can pass the boot process to another device, like a usb CD-drive.

Lets see ... There are linuxes which install from floppy... see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_Linux

Basic Linux or RIP?
 
Old 12-14-2008, 05:15 AM   #3
yakkmeister
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Hey, thanks for the reply.

I will have a look into the SBM thing.
What I want to achieve is not to run a stupidly small distro like the those single floppy bizzo's, as brilliant as they are (and I applaud their engineering) but to run a moderately sized one like DSL or Puppy. The issue seems to be that the CDROM I have is either broken or unsupported.
I think I could be ok if I can get the SBM to work with a usb drive though - in fact it sounds like a bang-on plan!

Thanks again!
I'll hopefully post again with a success.
 
Old 12-14-2008, 05:33 AM   #4
Simon Bridge
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I was thinking that the small floppy distro will install, (IIRC: muLinux runs from a floppy) from there you can access the usb pendrive, thus install DSL.
You may have some trouble running even DSL on that HW though. Let us know how you get on.
 
Old 12-14-2008, 05:46 AM   #5
yakkmeister
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I had tried that - I used a number of different ones but to no avail.
I actually used the DSL boot disk with some success, only there was the issue with freezing.

DSL should run fine on this laptop - it runs WinME well enough (but who wants that!) and I have had success running it on an AMD k6 100mhz machine with some stupidly small quantity of ram - it was actually quite snappy...

I guess what I need is be able to start the installer from a floppy/ram based environment...

SBM is on it's way now so I'll create a bootable USB drive and try to get it to pass the boot process to that ...
Wish me luck! :P

Yakk.
 
Old 12-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
Simon Bridge
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Luck.
Tell us how it went.
 
Old 12-14-2008, 08:21 AM   #7
yakkmeister
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Ok - so I played with the SBM thing ...

given a bootable (by syslinux) usb drive and a floppy using the SBM thing (impressive software!) I am still unable to bust this thing ...

I am trying like the dickens to get dsl to give me an install mode ... Talk about coming full-circle!
I had tried this before but it's possible I have been giving too many params or the wrong ones etc ...
So far I am not getting as far as before ...
I think I have killed off all my floppies! Argh!

If someone has an idea of how I can get DSL to give me install mode off usb, I'd love you forever!

Basically, it boots into the live thing, but there really isn't enough ram for that so it halts, so-to-speak.
So I can get it to see the usb.
What I use to get there is:
Code:
boot: dsl fromusb
What I used on the old old computer I mentioned before was

Code:
boot: install
What I need it to do is essentially

Code:
boot: install fromusb
Catch my drift?

edit:

Tried different prarams ...
When I use "install fromusb" or "install dsl fromusb" (with a working bootdisk, sigh) I get;
Code:
Found USB device(s) handled by usbcore.o.
Found USB device(s) handled by usb-uchi.o.
Found USB device(s) handled by usb-storage.o.
Can't fine KNOPPIX filesystem, sorry.
Dropping you to a (very limited) shell.
Press reset button to quit.
Odd ... I know the files are there, same as on the cd...

Last edited by yakkmeister; 12-14-2008 at 08:29 AM. Reason: tried some different stuff...
 
Old 12-14-2008, 08:34 AM   #8
Simon Bridge
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So you've got DSL booting from a stick... and you can get to its boot: prompt.

You know - had you installed DSL to the stick, you'd be able to run it from there.
Have you tried accessing the usb cd drive via SBM?
 
Old 12-14-2008, 08:59 AM   #9
yakkmeister
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I have tried to access the CDROM via SBM only problem is, it doesn't do USB.

Running an installed version of DSL from the usb drive would still only be running it as a live distro, right?
Besides, I need the distro on the hdd, I don't want to bother with keeping the usb drive. Since it's my dad's drive, I'm sure he'll want me to return it ... some day ...

I did just have a brainwave though ...
I am going to try running syslinux on the HDD using a dos floppy so that it will have the files on the hdd ... it's a long shot ... have to be clever with partitioning too.

There is a 'fromhdd' kind of option there I think I could leverage ...
Since I can get the USB drive recognised in DOS, and I have the DOS syslinux, I could very well setup a partition to boot from using SBM (that way the 'install' partition can be on the back of the drive so it can be removed later) and then install from the HDD...

Theoretically ...

 
Old 12-14-2008, 04:51 PM   #10
Simon Bridge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakkmeister View Post
I have tried to access the CDROM via SBM only problem is, it doesn't do USB.
Did you not just report that you were able to boot DSL off a usb stick using SBM?
Quote:
Running an installed version of DSL from the usb drive would still only be running it as a live distro, right?
Wrong
Quote:
Besides, I need the distro on the hdd, I don't want to bother with keeping the usb drive. Since it's my dad's drive, I'm sure he'll want me to return it ... some day ...
Hmmm ... well, once you can boot any linux, you can install another one.

Quote:
I did just have a brainwave though ...
I am going to try running syslinux on the HDD using a dos floppy so that it will have the files on the hdd ... it's a long shot ... have to be clever with partitioning too.
Tight fit.

Low-end tech is now quite high. It would be tough to get linux on the old 386 it was designed for. Idon't think you can even get a net-install image for floppy these days.

<checks> Well what do you know... (do you have a nic?)
http://damnsmalllinux.org/network-install.html
... install DSL over a network from floppy image.

http://marc.herbert.free.fr/linux/win2linstall.html
... run the installer from DOS - what you are trying.

http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst
... for Debian - you'll want the minimum you can get away with but you'll have access to the lot. There's an option to use a floppy and install over the internet.
 
Old 12-15-2008, 02:23 AM   #11
yakkmeister
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I reported that I got the USB drive to work with the regular DSL boot floppy.
Sorry for the ambiguity ...

I got a bootable floppy with usb drivers which run 99% of usb stuff, just not my CDROM (the usb disk worked with it), a disk partitioner, syslinux and assorted other stuff.
I actually have a few dozen kb's left over!

I tried netbooting but the pcmcia nic I have didn't want to play ball.

I got the partition trick to work ... kinda...
I have the same issue with booting from the partition as from the USB disk. It could be a simple case of unsupported hardware.
I am going to buy a dozen fdd's so I can do a debian base install off floppy and see how I go. I will also see what happens when I get puppy linux on a usb drive and a working bootdisk...

I am also going to have a good look at those links you gave - looks like there is a bunch of interesting stuff there ...

Cheers!

Yakk
 
Old 12-21-2008, 12:41 AM   #12
yakkmeister
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Ok - so I have no success to report, only an epic fail!

The laptop has completely died!
Possible explanation to the install problems - hardware was broken or breaking

Oh well!

Thanks for all the help!
 
Old 12-21-2008, 05:37 PM   #13
Simon Bridge
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This happens - we already knew you had HW failures - just didn't know the extent of the problem.
Better luck with the next one

Now, at least, you are equipped for really tricky installs
 
  


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