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Old 05-17-2006, 06:59 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Bellevue, WA
Distribution: Arch w/ XFCE
Posts: 834

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Building an ooold old laptop into a linux box

I brought out my 486SL yesterday and actually got a little bit of linux working on it. But now I wanna get more serious about it and actually get a system on it. It's a 25Mhz system w/ 4MB EDO and a 777MB hard drive. All I'd like to do is get it to a terminal with a package manager like apt. I have a Cisco Aironet 350 PCMCIA card that would work just fine in it as far as hardware goes.

So yeah, I would like to compile a kernel on another machine and shift it over to the lapper via floppies. I have SmallLinux on it right now, so I can use it as starting grounds to what I have in mind. Then I'd get bash and apt on it later. Some wireless tools too. From there on, I could use apt to get utilities that I need. But that's just an idea I have ... it may or may not be as easy as that.

So yeah, what would be the best way to go about doing this? I'm gonna work on configuring and compiling a kernel for i386 at the moment.
Old 05-17-2006, 09:35 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle, WA: USA
Distribution: Slackware 11.0
Posts: 1,191

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Sounds like you would be a good canidate for the "Linux From Scratch" project. It's a howto that pretty much describes how to build your own distro from the ground up. Of course you can just do a minimal install of an already existing distro, but not quite as fun by any means.

Check out for more info.

Old 05-17-2006, 10:02 PM   #3
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Boise, ID
Distribution: Mint
Posts: 6,642

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As long as you have realistic expectations in terms of system performance on a 486 with 4Mg RAM, you might want to try Damn Small Linux Have fun


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