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Old 01-17-2009, 07:03 PM   #1
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Taming the Toshiba Tecra 730CDT


I am new to Linux, but with pretty long background in IT world. I am humble to learn the basics of Linux, but I am well aware of technology and programming terminology and systems.

So, I've dig up this old laptop of mine, and thought I'd give it to my kids (4yr and 6yr old). Perhaps that would be better use of it than in junkyard. I thought, why not Linux, where I could set up a very controlled, very secure environment.

So, this is what I have:
- Toshiba Tecra 730CDT
- 3.5″ Floppy drive
- CD drive
- No built-in network card, I'm ordering a PCMCIA piece on Ebay right now.
The floppy drive and CD drive are interchangeable pieces of hardware. I can have both present, if one is docked in the unit, and the other attached, using special bus cable.

So, I needed to check if this is feasable plan. I made a Fedora 10 Live CD, in hope to boot from it, and see what performance I can get.

To my dismay, I quickly learned that the old BIOS of that piece does not support booting from CD. And there's no newer version of BIOS that could do that. So, I am stuck. I don't want to delete my old Windows right away, risking loosing that one, and being unable to run Linux either.

What I think I could do, is the following:
1. Perhaps I can make a bootable Linux floppy, from image. I guess I have the DOS util that does that. I have no idea what image I should use.
2. When I successfully boot, I'd need to recognize the CD drive. No idea how to do that one. I hope, it could be done using standard means, but I indeed don't have any idea what standard means are.
3. When I see the CD, I could then tell the system to boot from the CD. I am not sure if that's correct to call it booting, since the original booting happened from the floppy. I don't care how that should be called, but I'd like the system to treat that CD as if it would be booting from it.
4. If all that works, maybe I even succeed to load Fedora and start working with it. Maybe the performance even is Ok, and I want to stick with it. But, while it's not installed on the HDD (and the HDD is small) then I'll need to configure that floppy so that the CD-booting commands are executed automatically. Perhaps some kind of script. No idea what script and how to make it happen automatically upon floppy boot.
5. Later on, I hope to get the network up and running maybe that whould be possible to configure the floppy to boot the Linux from LAN?

Maybe someone even would point me out that I am too optimistic, trying to run new Fedora on such a dinosaur. If so, please suggest me "lighter" version that could be run from CD.

I will be thankful to hear any suggestions, how to act on. I am reading trhough Linux Bible 2008 Ed, so I will get smarter in the basics, with time. Right now it's a bit walk in a dark room.


Old 01-17-2009, 07:47 PM   #2
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Basically, you have the right plan, what you should be thinking about is the default window manager in Fedora 10 is the latest version of Gnome, which is not gonna run very well on your 'dinosaur'! I would suggest something like xubuntu or any linux that runs a light window manager like xfce.
Old 01-18-2009, 04:57 AM   #3
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Hello, irishbitte

Originally Posted by irishbitte View Post
Basically, you have the right plan, ..
Thank you for your suggestion on distributions. I will start with lighter X. On the other hand, doesn't the newest window manager have configuration features that would allow to make it simple and quick?
Plus, you can see all of those "I have no idea" in my plan, and see where I am stuck... At first, I need to be able to load whatever Linux version from CD, and then I can do the next things.

Last edited by Passiday; 01-18-2009 at 08:43 AM.
Old 01-18-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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-will you tell us more about laptop specs,like RAM,HD space etc.Also,can it boot from a floppy diskette? Here is a good tutorial,just to get you started and give you some hope , One more good link. Don't wory,there's only a few things you can't do with Linux.
Old 01-18-2009, 07:20 PM   #5
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Take a look at the links posted by alan_ri regarding your initial issue, and after that, what i mentioned previously, xubuntu is an example of an xfce implementation that feels like a heavyweight system, yet using light resources. traditionally, lightweight window managers like xfce or fluxbox are difficult to implement, but this is not so in xubuntu.


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