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Old 04-25-2008, 05:58 PM   #1
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Location: New York, NY
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Absolute Linux version 12.1 on a Dell Inspiron 3500 [ PII 128MB R]

I come from a PC support background (Microsoft). I recently purchased a PII on Ebay for the express goal of learning Linux.
BTW:I checked the hardware by installing Win98 from a clean "no OS" hard drive.
I have burned iso's and installed easy distributions (such as Knoppix, PCLinuxOS, Freespire, and DSL).
Some of the hardware installs I have attempted have been "incomplete." That is with flaws but for the most part up and running.
A)So I assumed that I could attempt a slackware `distrub.'
The Absolute install comes with quite helpful hints. I used cfdisk to correctly partition the hard drive, and set up my boot and swap regions.
B)The install process `grinds to a halt` when the install attempted to copy the installation files.
The cdrom is recognized in the start up on-screen loading of Linux in RAM, as is the HD.
[Unfortunately 128MB of RAM and a PII seems not enough to run Knoppix, which I have found a great diagnostic tool for hardware.]
C)It cannot be a case of too low RAM.
Nor was my partition bad, I believe. I checked this in cfdisk (a fresh reboot).
PSOh sorry) Processor speed is 333.
Thank you. Andy Polon

Last edited by AndyDP; 10-16-2008 at 08:57 AM. Reason: unecessary header
Old 04-26-2008, 08:45 AM   #2
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Welcome to LQ!

There are a few reasons that can cause the PC to hang during installation.
First, ISO file you downloaded may be corrupted, check with md5sum.
Second, burn the CD using lowest speed.
Third. Bad or buggy hardware. A number of reasons here. Bad IDE cabling, out-of-spec PSU, faulty RAM, etc. Getting the latest version of BIOS might help (even if the latest is old too).
Old 10-03-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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Problem solved via “diversionary install”

Actually the hardware was fine.
Remember this is a real old P II laptop (Inspiron 3500) from Dell.
I raised the RAM count to 261.
I believe one issue was embedded NT in the bootloader.
Hard to purge. I solved this issue with a “diversionary install”:
First I bought an old copy of Corel Linux 1.2 from the Debian website
This actually did install & (I assume) cleared up the errant boot loader on the HD. After that it could allow me to install Ubunto 8.04, (overwriting the older Linux).
Unfortunately, I choose to believe the hype that I have read that Linux should allow you to revive old computers. If you can accept truly slow performance, I guess I can. However the off the shelf version of Ubunto seems to be to loaded with modules and extra bulk to run acceptably on this old PII laptop. The bus speed is 333.
I just remastered this workstation with a Fat 32 based fresh install of Windows 2000 workstation. The hardware may have been designed for this hardware platform (better performance than Ubunto even with Win32 add-ins: a free anti-virus program, abiword, & gnumeric).
I will hang out and wait for the HiVision Mininote, if it ever will be sold in New York.
Old 11-18-2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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Try TinyMe. I too have an Inspiron 3500 and it is the only distro I've tried so far that gives me reasonable performance. You'll need to hand edit the /etc/modprobe.d/sound file but aside from that everything worked "out of the box."
Old 11-25-2008, 03:04 PM   #5
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PII vs. PIII Dell 3500

Thanks for the tip on TinyMe....I will check it out
A couple of Dell 3500 Inspirons have passed through my place -- the one I was struggling with was a PII based.
I had some extra parts (CD ROM, external power convertor, battery) from the PIII version which did Not fit the PII, oddly enough. Why Dell kept the model number is anyone's guess.
The later PIII used a Dell standard Power connector (20V --the 3 prong connector) which is much like the Inspiron 4000 and 5000. The PII uses an ADP-60BB, which has a round connector, much like the early Dell PI laptops.

I did try the new version of Puppy (4), not bad, even from the live CD.
RAM was boosted to 256. However I could not get the AC 97 sound chip to work (same was true of ubunto--in checking this problem out this seems to be a known issue with the AC 97).

This thread started with a slaxware derivative -- anyone out there tried absolute? Not the vodka, although it might lead to that.....

Onward and upward...
Old 11-26-2008, 08:35 AM   #6
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Here is the /etc/modprobe.d/sound file that I use. It's worked on each of the distributions that I've tried on my 3500. One outstanding problem that I have not seen a solution to is that in order to increase the volume from its initial level, you need to use the function keys and the system does not remember this between boots.

blacklist snd-opl3sa2
alias snd-nm256 snd-sb8
alias snd-card-0 snd-sb8
options snd-card-0 index=0
options snd-sb8 irq=5 port=0x220 dma8=1
install snd-sb8 /sbin/modprobe snd_seq; /sbin/modprobe snd_opl3_synth; /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install snd-sb8 && /usr/sbin/alsactl restore >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
remove snd-sb8 { /usr/sbin/alsactl store >/dev/null 2>&1 || : ; }; /sbin/modprobe -r --ignore-remove snd-sb8


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