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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 09-30-2009, 07:23 AM   #1
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Question Installing Linux on '96 laptop: No CD-ROM, No USB...

First, I'd like to explain my madness. I have a dozen odd machines and a few laptops, mainly running Ubuntu. Recently I acquired a 1996 Compaq, P120 with 16MB ram, floppy and a spot for a HDD (I've got a 15GB one earmarked). Most people would look at this laptop as junk, though I had to bring it back to life.

I've done a bit of research on installing a Linux distro using floppy discs, though this sounds like a painful way to do it. Net installs (starting with the floppy) is doable, though this doesn't seem to be a 'normal' thing to do any more (the Kernel is now bigger than a floppy so that's an issue in itself).

My idea was to use another laptop with a PATA connection and install a distro on that and just plug the hard drive into the old laptop and hope that the hardware detection kicks in.

So what does everyone think? Doable?

Also, what distros should I look into? I'm thinking DSL or similar, since that's got autodetection of hardware and should run with only 16MB (off the HDD that is).
Old 09-30-2009, 07:56 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Brazil
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Yes, most generic distros will automatically work in different hardwares. That's the way I would do it: put the notebook HD in my desktop to format and install, or even an USB-PATA converter so I don't have to open up my desktop.
Old 09-30-2009, 08:04 AM   #3
Registered: May 2009
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ME personally - I'd just run Win98 on it !.
try puppy linux, though.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:02 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2009
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TinyCore is another alternative.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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You might be interested in this blog. He talks about how to run Linux on old hardware. I find it fascinating, but I'm funny that way.
Old 09-30-2009, 10:59 AM   #6
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: USA
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Debian allows you to install over the internet as long as you can boot up its netinstall kernel and initrd.img file.
Old 10-02-2009, 02:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback - I'm going to install DSL on the hard drive (using a PIII-700 laptop I have) and then install it back into the PI-120 lappy.

Fingers crossed, detection will ensure that everything will work fine - I've even found a 10/100 PCMCIA card that should provide network access (it works on the PIII-700).

If I can get on the net with this using dillo or similar, I'll be wrapped. I don't know why this old tech is so appealing to me though it only applies to old laptops as old desktops get put out for clean-up (and are collected within 30 minutes by scavengers!! Council Clean-up here is like Xmas!).
Old 10-02-2009, 03:29 AM   #8
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If you have PCMCIA network card, if upper tip fails, you can set up PXE installation


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