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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 11-10-2009, 08:13 PM   #1
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Install Linux (Debian/Ubuntu) on old blind laptop to use as server


I want to install a small Linux Server using preferably a Ubuntu or even Debian-style distro. By small I mean that I only want enough to develop websites on there. Apache, PHP, MySQL, Python, Perl should be way enough.

Now, the problem lies with the laptop I want to use. It's 'blind' in the way that I have no mean whatsoever to view anything on the screen. In fact, it has its screen broken, and its vga external screen port broken too; this is recent, I have been able to install linux on it previously using an ext screen some time (years) ago, but now it's broken. I think I did set the BIOS to boot from the CD drive first; that should help.

Then, it's quite an old laptop (for me), it's around 5 years old. Specs are: (approx.) 1 GHz proc, 256mb or 512mb ram, 5gb hdd, ports are: network, usb, maybe serial. I don't exactly remember for the ram, but it ran a winxp system with the min reqs, so...

I went and read this article:

and it pointed to that one:

which I skimmed over. But: I'm not (yet) a linux geek. I think you couldn't even quite call me an advanced user. I've used the command line and have no problem with that. But please do not point me to a complicated technical specification or article, I'm not really able to deal with that (yet). What I'm looking for is kind of like a walkthrough, or a something like a tutorial.

Thanks in advance

Old 11-10-2009, 09:01 PM   #2
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If you only want to develop websites why not use XAMPP, it's standalone and cross-platform ? I don't see why you would go through the hassle of trying to install an OS on a broken laptop

Old 11-10-2009, 10:06 PM   #3
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the easiest way would be to install ubuntu server or XAMPP on another machine (usually best to use one of similar age), then setup ssh or install webmin, and then put the drive back into the laptop. you'll need a mini-ide to ide adapter if you use a desktop. I've done this quite a lot and often works without a hitch. i've even switched a hdd from an AMD to Intel machine several times, with completely different hardware, without any problems.

Then you'll be able to login on another machine through Webmin with http://ip-address-of-laptop:10000 (or login with ssh on the CLI with 'ssh ipaddress') Webmin is easier, and good for changing settings etc. If the laptop ends up with a DHCP-set ip address you can find out it's ip by looking on your routers access control page.
Old 11-10-2009, 10:18 PM   #4
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Thanks explodingzebras, I think that's what I'll do. XAMPP is not what I want. I know it exists, I currently use it on several machines. But that's the point. I want a centralised server to develop on whatever machine / os I start up at any given point in time, without having to keep one of my main machines running just for a xampp server.

Thanks again.


debian, laptop, server, ubuntu

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