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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 04-21-2004, 04:43 PM   #1
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Question Should I take the plunge?

I have a perfectly good performing Hitachi C-100 T / 720 laptop (circa 1991) that Norton System works tells me has a 100MHz pentium mA4, with 40 MB of ram (not upgradeable), 2.01 GB HD, Video 800 X 600 in 256 Colors. No USB ports, and PCMCIA external CD Drive.
I only want it as a back up for my Win XP system to access the internet via a PCMCIA Lan adapter that I am going to purchase for broadband use via a DSL LAN modem.
The laptop has Win 95 ver A installed. According to Microsoft the minimum for Win 98 SE is "A personal computer with a 486DX 66 megahertz (MHz) or faster processor (Pentium central processing unit recommended). 16 megabytes (MB) of memory (24 MB recommended)."
I don't have a clue as to how I would get the video drivers for either an upgrade to Win 98 SE or for a Linux installation. So the real question is if I am going to have to search for a video drivers anyway, should I try Linux and maybe learn something in the process? Secondly would the small footprint of Linux make my limited hardware perform the one function that I want faster and more reliably than a Windows upgrade? And finally, if linux is the way to go, which distro would best suit my limited knowledge, limited hardware and limited use requirements.
Old 04-21-2004, 05:36 PM   #2
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Hey there, I'm not sure about the best for your minimal hardware specs... But my best bet would be to try something along the line of Red Hat 5,6, or 7 maybe... They are no longer supported through Red Hat Network pdates.. though there is a third party still maintaining updates... (Sorry I don't know what it is off hand).. My experience has been with Red Hat since version 9... though i doubt it would perform well of that hardware... My notebook is a pentium 4 2.4 GHz that is running Fedora (the new Red Hat for consumers) It is great.. "The industry standard" so a good knowledge of red hat would increase your marketability.. Red Hat is fairly user friendly... though again, i haven;t used the older versions.. but the ISOs are downloadable from I would say start off with version 7 and see if it runs half-way decent... if not.. try 6... as for you're backup.. I'm not sure how much you're going to backup on such a small hard drive... but as long as you are connected through a LAN.. you can do that through samba... give it a try... you may even end up dual booting your desktop computer with fedora if you like it! I've been using linux since about september '03 and I already have very little use of windows... the opnly reason i keep it around is because I'm an IT Professional... dealing mainly with Microsoft based systems.. but honestly linux is great.. from one newbie to another!
Old 04-22-2004, 03:47 AM   #3
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A great deal of Linux detection is done automatically and works successfully. If you're apprehensive about taking the plunge (the answer is Yes, you should) then download Knoppix and burn it to a CD. Reboot under Knoppix, confirm that the hw is autodetected correctly, and if so, then set up your machine as a Linux box. Good luck with the project. -- J.W.
Old 04-22-2004, 05:14 AM   #4
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Maybe I should clarify one thing and that is that I am willing and ready to format C: and end my long unpleasant relationship with Micro$oft on the laptop and use it as a "linux learning" box.

Old 04-22-2004, 06:34 AM   #5
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As already suggested download and burn a Knoppix CD or buy a magazine with a CD ready to go. The advantage is that you don't need to format anything or mess up your existing setup and you'll see how pitifully slow Linux & X will run on your box. At the moment you have a working operating system with a GUI. Installing Linux on your box would be painful, slow and you would need to get your hands very dirty playing wiht the command line. This might sound like a great learning curve but you'd need the patience of Gandhi to get Linux with a GUI to run as well (?) as Win95 currently does on your box. The choice is yours but a working box as opposed to a broken box ????
Old 04-23-2004, 08:10 AM   #6
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dude try dsl - - a fairly new distro that only takes up 50mb of hard disk space, apart from my problems with pcmcia devices its a gr8 distro - it would work well on ur machine specs aswell and good for learning and using hope that helps


p.s. great forum community aswell which believe me for us noob always helps

Last edited by gekkokid; 04-23-2004 at 08:11 AM.
Old 04-23-2004, 04:49 PM   #7
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"apart from my problems with pcmcia devices"

Thanks for the info gekkokid since: "I only want it as a back up for my Win XP system to access the internet via a PCMCIA Lan adapter that I am going to purchase"

I had better stick with the comments of debian_dummy about a working box versus a non working one.
Old 04-24-2004, 03:07 PM   #8
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should you take the plunge? absolutely. but its just a matter of getting past the first few steps, always the hardest.

ive been a longtime linux user, but i recently aquired a laptop for 100$ from a friend and have had some good experiences with it so far.

heres the basic specs...

model: Dell Latitude CP
cpu: Pentium 166
ram: 128MB
agp: NeoMagic
hdd: 1.9GB
eth0: 3Com 10Mbit PCMICA
eth1: Orinoco Silver
rom: [dont know]
fd0: [nope]

im running a faster CPU, and more memory. so your experience may be a bit different. but some details anyhow...

its not much, but it works well. this laptop has run slackware 8, redhat 8, and now slackware 9 quite well. i am using X, but not gnome. gnome is a great desktop, but requries a fair amount of power beind the agp. im currently using blackbox as my window manager. its small, loads completely into memory [therefore fast], easily configureable. i would highly reccomend either blackbox or fluxbox if you plan on using X on a low end machine.

you might want to consider using FreeBSD, as you can install it over FTP/HTTP. the /usr/ports tree should make software easy to install. this type of install requires a bit more reading, but all it requires is a single floppy to boot the installer.

if you were planning to look at the older redhat distros, as halo14 had mentioned, the updates are now likely provided by the Fedora Project. i know that they are providing updates for redhat 8/9 via the 'yum' or 'apt-get' utils. i know that is currenly hosting repo for redhat 7.3/8/9. both yum and apt are avalible for download on and set the default repository to

hope this provides you with some useful info. or at least a little guidence.

Last edited by -Nw- neX; 04-24-2004 at 03:13 PM.


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