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Old 06-06-2004, 05:00 PM   #1
NeoX51
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Unhappy Need Help Installing Slackware (7.0) on Laptop with 4MB of RAM (!!!ASAP!!!)


I've been trying for the last 2 weeks to get Slackware 7.0 to run on my laptop (A Toshiba Portege T3400CT with a 400MB HD and 4MB of Ram... plus an external floppy drive, but no CD rom support). My goal is to have the laptop run entirely on Linux with a 100MB "/" partition, a 200 MB "/home" partition, a 40MB "/usr" partition*, and a 60MB swap partition.
(*-The usr partition might just be added to the Home partition if i end up needing the 4th partition slot for something else. Also... the sizes arent set, they're just preferred estimated sizes)

I've made bootdisks and rootdisks... but LILO would always hang after getting the rootdisk. I've read all the docs pertaining to this, but none have worked. One suggestion the docs had was to use an uncompressed root image on a floopy because the lack of RAM prevented the PC from successfully uncompressing the file. But I didnt know how to successfully do this, so i skipped that suggestion.

Other than the hanging system on rootdisk decompression... the other error I constantly get on attempts to boot the system is "Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on XX:YY". But because of my lack of experience with linux or unix... the error gives me little info other than the fact that it's an error.

After failing for a week straight... I tried the Zipslack method (the one with the zip files, not the ZIP drive)... and was able to transfer them successfully to the dos partition. Using Loadlin on the Dos partition, and the "lowmem" zimage (just to be safe)... I am able to boot Linux from my Dos Partition. This is where I've been stuck for the last week.

How do correctly create the Linux partitions and swap drives? and what steps do I have to take to have setup install the base files (Package A) on to a different partition?

I was also wondering...
Is there a different distribution that would better suit me in my current situation? I just got slackware 7.0 cause it was free and still had some support for old 4mB machines.

Thanks!

Last edited by NeoX51; 06-06-2004 at 08:12 PM.
 
Old 06-06-2004, 08:28 PM   #2
wapcaplet
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You are in luck. Check out this old thread of mine.

To make a long story short, what you will most likely need to do is first install a very minimal Linux distribution that can successfully unzip and boot the kernel in only 4MB RAM (SmallLinux can boot in 2MB). From there, you install a real distro (like Slackware ).
 
Old 06-06-2004, 09:01 PM   #3
NeoX51
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Thanks for the info... a few questions...
1 - if i have to edit a script... what should I use since I have no access to linux yet?
2 - where did u get the super formatted diskettes?
Thanks again!
 
Old 06-06-2004, 10:18 PM   #4
wapcaplet
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If you don't have an editor but are still able to boot into a shell of some kind, you can use the crude but effective method of 'echo' to add lines to a script. I think I may have done something like this to make an /etc/fstab. For instance:

echo /dev/hda1 / ext2 defaults 1 1 >> /etc/fstab

Time-consuming and error-prone, but it'll get the job done.

As for the superformatted floppies, I don't recall how I made them, but in the end I didn't use them anyhow. Most of the techniques I used were based on the 4MB Laptop Howto, which explains the basics. The problems I had were mostly due to increased memory requirements in Slackware and muLinux since that Howto was written, and my interest in getting an unsupported network card working.

One thing I mentioned in my other thread was the need to create two temporary root partitions. I didn't elaborate too clearly on why this was so; the reason was this (if I remember correctly):

First I had to install SmallLinux to the hard drive, and make it bootable. (that's the first temporary root partition). This installation is used purely for the purpose of creating the additional partitions you need. It's necessary to have it booting to this partition, because there isn't any way to fit all the utilities you need on a single disk along with a bootable kernel and root filesystem (it won't boot in 4MB of RAM with all that). So anyhow, this partition boots; you copy the necessary utilities from another floppy, and use those to create the other partitions.

The second one I believe was for the purpose of using a custom kernel so I could get that network card working. (this is the second temporary root partition). You may not need this one; you might instead be able to just create your Slackware-to-be partition, and install directly from floppies.

The third was the Slackware-to-be, and was the _real_ root partition; after getting Slack installed there and successfully booted it, I could re-allocate the other two temp partitions for better things.

Anyhow, your mileage will certainly vary. Overall it's quite a learning experience, but it can be done. Good luck!
 
Old 06-06-2004, 10:34 PM   #5
lman
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I played around with an old IBM PS/2 a few months ago. I eventually installed slackware 3.9 successfully. The limitations of the machine led to that choice: 1) it's a 486, and 2) only a 127mb hdd.

It worked as a great backup machine on which I wrote and compiled some school C++ projects.

So from my sketchy notes (some of the ideas came from the TLDP 4mb howto and other places):

1. Get your SmallLinux diskettes.
2. Boot and make 3 partitions (main, swap, and temproot).
Your temproot will be small, a few mb.

3. Install SmallLinux onto main partition: cd /Install, and use the install.sh script.

4. mkfs.ext2 /dev/your_temproot
5. Add line to /etc/rc.M for your swap. "swapon ..."
6. Reboot with "root=/dev/your_mainpartition"
7. Mount SmallLinux boot floppy.
8. cp /mnt/linux /vmlinuz
9. reboot with your main partition as root
10. mount slackware rootdsk
11. copy the disk contents to /dev/your_temproot
12. umount, reboot with root = /dev/your_temproot
13. now you're set for install.

I went through a floppy install. I think it was around 30 disks or so.
 
Old 06-07-2004, 08:45 AM   #6
gnashley
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If you have ZipSlack running you have everything you need. read the FAQ.TXT for directions on migrating your system to linux partitions. It's really easy and doesn't take long. Run fdisk in Zipslack and create your partitions. You may want to increase the size of your /root/swapfile first.
After creating the partitions, follow the directions in FAQ, then edit the fstab on the new / partition, then reboot and run liloconfig.
 
Old 06-07-2004, 08:49 AM   #7
mjolnir
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Just as wapcaplet said this is an interesting learning experience.
I put smalllinux on an old 386 with 8 megs of ram and had a lot of fun
doing it. Eventually I intend to go the zipslack route that Iman outlines
above.
" Need Help Installing Slackware (7.0) on Laptop with 4MB of RAM (!!!ASAP!!!)"
I have a question about the urgency of your request for help. Is this a
back-up computer? I say this because 3-4 hundred would get you a much
more functional laptop to use as a starting point.
 
Old 06-07-2004, 05:28 PM   #8
NeoX51
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to wapcaplet:
-Thanks for the info....I got smalllinux installed and booting up by itself... but how do i go from this point to installing slackware? (i ask because in ur steps, u used NFS which I dont have). Also... u got SW 9.0 working on ur old laptop... should i get the 9.0 files instead of using the 7.0 stuff? or is all the same thing?

to Iman:
- Thanks for the help too. it helped when i was installing and configuring small linux.

to gnashley:
-I had Zipslack running off a DOS partition... and it wasnt letting me use any other partitions i made... (for example...instead of responding as /dev/hda2, it was reading as /dev/hda1p2, which is something i found no info about) Besides... while i got a back of the installed Zip Slack... i decided to start from scratch with small linux. thanks anyway.

to mjolnir:
-installing smalllinux wasnt as hard as i thought... i created an extra 8MB swap space partition just to be safe. I've tried the zipslack... but i didnt like the fact that it had to boot from DOS (i'm sure i could've changed it to boot in linux, but the lack of MEM was holding me back).

-I said "ASAP" because i have this laptop (while old, still fully functional), and know it's capable of running linux with little problem (and I cant afford another laptop right now) . I am a college student @ the Art Institute of CA, current studying "Visual & Game Programming", so having a portable workspace is a huge advantage. I also am drawing close to my finals, (for my Principles of Programming class, I must create a game from scratch using C++)... and since i've spent the last 2 weeks on this already... i really would like to get this little project completed with enough time to work on my final.

Last edited by NeoX51; 06-07-2004 at 05:30 PM.
 
Old 06-07-2004, 06:46 PM   #9
wapcaplet
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Quote:
Originally posted by NeoX51
to wapcaplet:
-Thanks for the info....I got smalllinux installed and booting up by itself... but how do i go from this point to installing slackware? (i ask because in ur steps, u used NFS which I dont have). Also... u got SW 9.0 working on ur old laptop... should i get the 9.0 files instead of using the 7.0 stuff? or is all the same thing?
Mostly I just followed the 4MB Laptop howto that I mentioned earlier.
 
Old 06-07-2004, 09:40 PM   #10
NeoX51
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i'm having trouble getting the slackware bootdisks & rootdisks to work. When in linux (smalllinux), it doesnt read the disks correctly. I can transfer any of the files to a temp DOS partition, which i can mount in linux. if i take the color.gz or one of the other root files, could i just extract them to my 2nd temp_root partition?
 
Old 06-08-2004, 03:43 AM   #11
mjolnir
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There is a smalllinux group at yahoo that may be useful to you.
Good luck on your finals project.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 03:59 AM   #12
NeoX51
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Talking I'm so close, I can taste it!

I'm sooo close!.... using Iman's quick directions, i'm on step 10. by this time, whenever I try to mount the slackware rootdisks.. i get errors saying it cant be properly read. It says:

EXT2-fs error (device 02:00): ext2_check_descriptors: Block bitmap for group 0 not in group (block 1996268025)!
EXT2-fs: group descriptors corrupted !
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/fd0, or too many mounted file systems



*----------(if it matters- here's my fstab)----------*

/dev/hda1 / ext2 defaults 1 1
/proc /proc proc defaults 1 1

*-------------------------------------------------*

I'll keep trying stuff... but if anyone has seen this before and knows how to get past it... PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!

thanks (again)

Last edited by NeoX51; 06-09-2004 at 04:29 AM.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 09:35 AM   #13
gnashley
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Which root disk(s) are you using, which bootdisk and how did you write the rootdisks to floppy or are you mounting some other way?
 
Old 06-09-2004, 10:01 AM   #14
NeoX51
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I'm using the slack 7.0 disks... used rawrite (in dos) to create them. The disks are fine.. it's just an error i get when trying to read them in the smalllinux partition.

Boot: Lowmem.i (because of the lack of mem the laptop has)
Root: Either Color.gz or Text.gz (if i can get either to work, that would be great)

And... I try mounting them by typing "mount /dev/fd0 /mnt"... which is how i've been mounting every other floppy... but it doesnt respond to the Slackware disks... and says:

"EXT2-fs warning: mounting unchecked fs, running e2fsck is recommended"

when i mount the SmallLinux disks... (but it DOES mount).

Last edited by NeoX51; 06-09-2004 at 05:03 PM.
 
Old 06-09-2004, 05:34 PM   #15
lman
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Quote:
Originally posted by NeoX51
I'm using the slack 7.0 disks... used rawrite (in dos) to create them. The disks are fine.. it's just an error i get when trying to read them in the smalllinux partition.

Boot: Lowmem.i (because of the lack of mem the laptop has)
Root: Either Color.gz or Text.gz (if i can get either to work, that would be great)

And... I try mounting them by typing "mount /dev/fd0 /mnt"... which is how i've been mounting every other floppy... but it doesnt respond to the Slackware disks... and says:

"EXT2-fs warning: mounting unchecked fs, running e2fsck is recommended"

when i mount the SmallLinux disks... (but it DOES mount).
Have you tried using other rootdisks? Since you have the swap now you should be ok with a regular text.gz root. I would even try getting a regular (not the one in "obsolete") Slack 3.9 text.gz and just see if that will work since I recall using that.

I wonder if fstab should have an entry for your swap. Have a look here: http://home.t-online.de/home/joerg.s...alllinux.xhtml
 
  


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