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Old 04-08-2008, 07:40 PM   #1
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Distribution: Fedora 8, Ubuntu 7.10 (previously) and Windows XP MCE
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Installing Linux from secondary computer

Hey, this will be slightly complex.
I have an old laptop. Easily 10 years old (256 mHz Processor, 160 mb Ram) which I want to run as... well a glorified typewriter. It has a single USB port, no mouse (not even a touch pad since I kind of decimated it during my casemod) and an external keyboard in it's Ps/2 port.
I have a Cardbus Wireless card which MIGHT work inside linux, but definitely not for install. No Ethernet. No CD drive. Not even a phone jack. I have a HD interface and am using the target hard-drive as a glorified flash-drive.
Okay, basically I need an ENTIRELY keyboard driven linux (I would love an X-Server), word-proc, and Wireless (file sharing). I had DSL on it before the mouse went and it was okay. I actually managed to get it booting from the HD on that computer without the CD, but it was a live distro.
I thought about Gentoo, but I don't have the interfaces to install it (CD or Network) and I know that some distros can have an ISO in a separate partion. Problem: the drive is 4.13 gigs in it's entirety.
Is what I want to do possible? A linux install that does hardware detection and setup AFTER install?
Old 04-08-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Distribution: Fedora, Gentoo
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Yes it's possible. The lappy I'm using to write this is older than that. I did exactly what you're suggesting, i.e. stick the drive in an other machine and install from there. I reckon you'd be able to hack something up with just about any distro, but I went for Backtrack. It's got a nice 'live installer' that's meant for installing onto a usb stick. It works perfectly well for another drive, plus the distro is designed to work on a wide range of hardware, and detects everything at startup.
Plug you drive into your working machine, boot up backtrack then install it into the laptop drive. Stick the drive back in the laptop and it should (famous last words ) just work.

I installed gentoo on it first, but with only 4gb disk, it wasn't workable. And build times were a nightmare.

Hope this inspires you to try it. My lappy runs fine now, at least for browsing the web and email.
Old 04-08-2008, 10:43 PM   #3
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That's what is nice about Linux. You can use a LiveCD or even a Distro install cd on a host system to install. Then just move the HDD to the system and boot. The detection should take care of it. If not you will have to get the drivers to the kernel either by moving the HDD back to the original system. Or you could hopefully compile the new kernel on the present system. You should be able to get on the inet or use the usb to port via a flash to provide the needed support once you have things configured.


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