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Old 03-06-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
Radiotubes
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Smile Fun with Slackware-3.3 on a Compaq Contura 4/25C 486SL computer


Hello, I'm pleased to report sucess installing Slackware-3.3 on an old Compaq Contura 4/25C! The procedure wasn't terribly complicated but needed the aid of a "modern" computer to save some time and steps. I'm surprised to find how similar the older version of slackware is to the current. I must give my appreciation to Mr. Volkerding for his consistancy.
I wanted to get a short post here (via lynx browser over a ppp connection on a serial cable) to mark the occasion. This is mostly an exercise in: "I can do it, so why not?" but have enjoyed the process and learned a bit along the way. I'll post a bit more on the process if anyone is interested
 
Old 03-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
harryhaller
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That's interesting Radiotubes - and I will stay tuned

I've just got today some old PCs: Compaq Deskpro XL 5120/60 and a 5133 whuch says it is a 466/33 plus a Prosignia 300. If I get into difficulty perhaps you'll be able to give me some pointers - I haven't yet decided which version of Slackware would be compatible with the respective machines.

Last edited by harryhaller; 03-07-2011 at 12:11 PM.
 
Old 03-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #3
harryhaller
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..and my difficulty is that all three machines have scsi disk drives.

That petrifies me because I once tried to install slackware on an IBM PS/2 whuch also had a scsi drive - and mca, of course. At the end, the disk was unreadable.
 
Old 03-07-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
timetraveler
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Did you compile your own kernel?

How old a machine can we go?

Anyone have an IBM 5100?
 
Old 03-07-2011, 12:55 PM   #5
Skaperen
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Who will be the first to install Slackware 1.0 then do every upgrade in sequence to get to -current?
 
Old 03-07-2011, 05:32 PM   #6
Radiotubes
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I used the stock "bare.i" kernel for the 3.3 install. Because of bios limitations on the hard drive (disk size), I set up my partitions on the native machine (compaq contura 486sl) with the Slackware root/boot disks. I pulled the hard drive, connected it to a "modern" computer, and downloaded the various installation sets to a partition I had created on the disk. I must mention that I upgraded the ram on the machine from 4MB to a total of 20MB! wow! Once I had all the sets loaded up I transferred the drive back to the Compaq....booted the slackware install boot and root disks, and away I went with a usual installation. I have attempted to install versions 8, 9 and 10 on the machine as well as the zipslack versions with no luck. For some reason I cant get any of the stock (or my own custom compiled) kernel to boot correctly. I always end up with either init panic, or kernel panic. I've never been able to get a 2.4.* series of kernel to work, however, "Blueflopps"...the two floppy distro... uses a 2.6.* kernel ... boots fine.

I think this Compaq Contura 4/25C is from 1993. Not terribly old, but old enough.

@ harryhaller As far as scsi support goes. I believe there are a good number of pre-compiled kernels that have scsi support for slackware-3.3
 
Old 03-07-2011, 11:24 PM   #7
Lufbery
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Radiotubes,

That's pretty awesome that you got Slackware 3.3 working on an older computer!

For your next challenge, you should compile Linux From Scratch on it.

Seriously though, other than for fun, what are you using the computer to do?

Regards,
 
Old 03-09-2011, 02:45 AM   #8
devwatchdog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryhaller View Post
..and my difficulty is that all three machines have scsi disk drives.

That petrifies me because I once tried to install slackware on an IBM PS/2 whuch also had a scsi drive - and mca, of course. At the end, the disk was unreadable.
I had an old IBM PS/2 9595 some 9 or 10 years ago that was used as a server in a bank at one point. I found a few ethernet cards for it and configured it as a firewall.

There are several things needed in order to prepare for an install on these machines, such as configuring a custom kernel for the install (without MCA support, there is no point in even attempting an install), and you also have to be aware of the IML partition on the SCSI drives. As I recall, without that IML (system) partition on the drives, they would not function at all. I remember wiping them those partitions out and having to find a way to replace them. At the time I found floppy images that would recreate them, and it seems like those images are still available from what I see. You'd have to do some research on the IML issue, as it was not across the board on all PS/2 systems -- apparently some had manual methods that might not have required an IML partition on the hard drives.

I installed Slackware on it, and it functioned very well for several years. I left it at a company where I worked, and imagine it was shipped off to some recycling center by now as they had no one that knew anything about Linux besides me.

The PS/2 systems require a bit more homework than your typical old hardware, but it is definitely possible to install Slackware on them.
 
Old 03-10-2011, 04:02 AM   #9
davidsrsb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skaperen View Post
Who will be the first to install Slackware 1.0 then do every upgrade in sequence to get to -current?
That would be pretty hard to do.
Early Slackware must have been expecting a 486, ISA bus, VGA graphics and only a few MB of RAM
 
Old 03-13-2011, 10:27 PM   #10
harryhaller
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Thanks for those tips, radiotubes and devwatchdog. Especially about the IML partition - I used to be very cavalier about zapping anything on the disk when I was doing a clean install. I am pretty sure that I would have simply deleted any partition as "leftovers" from the previous OS. That would explain the problem.

btw, I've just been given a beautiful IBM PS/1 2133/154 with Slackware installed. The guy couldn't remember the release no. nor whether it was straight Slackware or Vectorlinux. However, there's no /etc/slackware-version and the files in /var/log/packages have no version numbers. But he thinks it would be about Slackware 2. Haven't had much time to play with it, but it was remarkably quiet and since it's in runlevel 3 console mode, seemed quite nippy.

The person who gave it me, who has made it a hobby of giving homeless pc's a home and slackwaring them, showed me what a huge difference it makes when you trim the kernel to the essentials when you have so little memory and a slow processor.

He and radiotubes have certainly inspired me to continue.

Another "btw". I have also acquired a IBM PC/AT clone.. will Slackware run on that? (I was thinking of putting in Minix1).

Again, thanks for the tips about scsi disks.
 
Old 03-13-2011, 11:34 PM   #11
bgeddy
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Quote:
That would be pretty hard to do.
Early Slackware must have been expecting a 486, ISA bus, VGA graphics and only a few MB of RAM
I've recently got Slackware 1.01 to install in VirtualBox. The easy way to do the upgrade would be to up the hardware specs of the VM as you upgrade versions. I set the VM to have a 300MB hard disk and 300MB of memory. The VM only seems to recognize 64MB of main memory at the moment but I've only recently started playing around with this. To upgrade through every version would take a lot of time so for now I may skip a few versions and try a new install.
 
Old 03-14-2011, 05:02 AM   #12
allend
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Quote:
Another "btw". I have also acquired a IBM PC/AT clone.. will Slackware run on that? (I was thinking of putting in Minix1).
Linus wrote the original Linux on an 80386 to explore the capabilities of the processor. Not sure that Linux will backport to the 80286.
Minix, however, will run! That I know from personal experience. I do not miss having to mount and unmount floppies though. I still have a copy of Tanenbaum's "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation".

Last edited by allend; 03-14-2011 at 05:08 AM.
 
  


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