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Old 04-01-2014, 11:47 PM   #1
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Trouble upgrading hardware past Slackware 11.0

Hi. I need some help.
I am trying to rejoin the Linux community by upgrading an old computer. It had Slackware 2.* something on it and I tried first to upgrade to the latest v.14.1, got nowhere, tried latest Ubuntu, then mandrake... and version installed but it's a dead end distro anyhow.

I wanted to stay with Slackware as it seems to be the closest distro to the legacy UNIX systems I used to work on. In any case, it does not seem to matter what distro, I can't seem to upgrade my hardware past a certain old release of any Linux distro.

And in the process I seem to have unplugged most all hardware and ended up ruining the Windows side... anyhow at this point I've formatted both disk drives several times and on and on...

My hardware at this point.. a Gateway is roughly:

486 processor,

128MB ram (I think)...

2 drives - 13GB and a 40GB hard disks..

simple IDE .. (I pulled the Promise Ultra 66 card)..

a 3dfx Voodoo Banshee exotic card causing all sorts of trouble..

with another exotic monitor - VX900T .. unknown make and model but hard to configure..

removed the Zip drive (remember those?

I have Windows 98 on one side - originally FE but upgraded to unoffical SE

Bios does not support boot by Flashdrive, (though the upgraded Win98 does)..

I have only a floppy and a generic ATAPI CDROM (read only from Linux) for input/install on the Slackware side.

I tried several permutations but ended up with an old version of Boot Magic and Partition Magic on the Windows side as well as Lilo on the Slackware side to make it work. Actually quite easily.

But when I moved from Slackware 11.0 to 12.1 (using downloaded ISO burnt to CDROM)... everything from display to loading to performance goes down hill .. lilo did not work untill I fiddled with it, and the Xconfig process sort of works - not counting it wipes out the High Definitions of the Graphics Card/Monitor on the windows side... i guess i could live with that..

But everything slows down - mainly seen in the graphics responses and the new programs starts... with the upgrade to Slack 12.1 ...

(I used huge.s - the single processor version of the kernel - hugesmp.s didn't work - here I'm not sure which version of slack went from bare.i to huge.* .. it all blurs... )

Slackware 13.0 will install but will not load the O/S when I try it with Lilo and all the rest... even with a boot disk.. the version seems to install but will not boot. (Can only boot from CDROM the current version - i can get it to boot using a 10 year old floppy with a version of the kernel i forget what I was experimenting with - but I can't get the Slack 13.0 provided boot kernel to work... )

Slackware 14.0 (and Ubunto the latest version) will not even load - it just hangs.... and the monitor will not display or configure..

SOOOO... can anyone give me some advice or directions.. other than buy a new computer.. .. and/or..

what changes so much that disqualifies my hardware between these versions...? and..

... a process to get to the latest Slackware and kernel.... and the changes and innovations involved.

Thanks in advance for your time attention and any help..

Last edited by bruce0; 04-02-2014 at 12:38 AM.
Old 04-02-2014, 07:54 AM   #2
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Registered: Nov 2013
Location: Brazil
Distribution: Slackware
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I am not an expert but isn't your hardware too old for newer Slackware versions? I had a thread about an old PC and people suggested me older slack versions. I ended up installing ArchBang and it worked, give that a try.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:33 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Hell, Arizona (July - 118 degrees)
Distribution: Slackware 14.2 soon to be Slackware 15
Posts: 557

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FWIW I'm running Slackware 14.1 on several old Socket A boards with several old Athlon variants running at about 1200MHz. Installs and runs great, one of them has a sata pci card and three 1TB sata drives. Rock solid, but when I went from 14.0 to 14.1 I started experiencing performance issues on these as well as other boxes. I'm going to roll these back to 14.0 this weekend. But other than that they are rock solid and work fine.

I was unable to get either Slackware 14.1 or 14.0 to install and run on an older Asus board with a 4 core Phenom. IIRC 14.0. I had to use Slackware 13.37 on this box, and the mobo isn't that old.

I also have an old Celeron based toshiba laptop that won't run 14.0 either, it too has Slackware 13.37.

While my experiences hardly constitute a representative sampling, it seems that Slackware 14.x compatibility with old hardware seems to be hit and miss - mostly hit but with several annoying misses. Slackware 13.37 with the 2.6.x kernel runs on everything I have. 14.0/14.1 won't.

I've had several issues with 14.1, both performance and compatibility. I've rolled back most of my 14.1 boxes to 14.0 and this weekend I'm rolling back the rest. For now I'm staying with 14.0 until the next version comes out.

Slackware 10.2 was one of my favorite releases. Rock solid, fast, still using KDE 3.x. I would recommend you go with that on older hardware like you have. Slackware 9.1 was very good also, I used to use that for my half-life servers.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:40 AM   #4
Registered: May 2002
Posts: 93

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I'm pretty sure you've hit the end of the road. Until recently I had 15-year-old box with an even older Pentium 90 in it, that I used as an IP-chains/IP-tables router and a for few other things. Slack 11.0 was the end-limit I could get to run useably on it. (It had started on 3.2.) Though at least I could get the "alternate" 2.6 kernel from 11.0 to run on it and didn't have to stick with the 2.4 series from the installation.

But desktops (486's!) from the last century have become museum pieces. If you still decide to run one now, you obviously can, but you may need the museum version of the OS to make it worthwhile.
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