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[DPRG] How to get Linux onto a old small laptop

Subject: [DPRG] How to get Linux onto a old small laptop
From: R. Steven Rainwater srainwater at ncc.com
Date: Fri Nov 8 11:25:01 CST 2002

I've used a couple of small Linux distributions. Many
of the smaller distributions are based on older 2.0
and 2.2 kernels. While most any kernel will probably
boot on your laptop. you may have trouble finding
ethernet or video drivers that work well. On the
other hand, the newer 2.4 kernels in some of the 
mini-linux distributions seem to have trouble with 
older non-pci bus hardware. 

Most of the distributions that have "rescue" in the 
name are designed for data recover rather than general
use. They're probably not going to be very useful for
robotics use unless you just use them as a base to
create your own distribution.

We used Superrescue Linux recently when the hard drive 
on one of our Windows 2000 machines packed up. We couldn't
find any Windows software that could read the disk and we
could no longer boot the box. Dell tech support said the 
drive was fried beyond any hope of recovery. I stuck the
Superrescue CD in and booted from it, mounted the NTFS 
partition, and was able to recover everything of 
importance. Since Linux has drivers for just about every
file system used on Windows, Mac, and Unix boxes these
days, it can be really handy for this sort of thing. 

Anyway, here's another list of small Linux distributions
that I compiled recently.

Trinux - uses the latest 2.4 kernel and is designed to
boot from read-only image in flash memory or a CD-ROM. 
It's intended for securitys apps but can be adapted to
general use pretty easily. It uses 12-16MB of RAM.

PeeWee Linux - fits on a floppy, based on Red Hat 6.2.
Can boot from read-only media. (RPM packages and 2.2.x 
kernel). We've used this distribution on an embedded
i586 PC-104 board.

Cosmic Chaos Linux (CCLinux) - based on Slackware,
fits on floppy, older kernel (2.0 or 2.2) but they're
working on integrating the 2.4 kernel.

giotto - fits on a floppy, uses 2.0.x kernel

Pocket Linux - fits on a floppy, uses 2.0.x kernel

Etlinux - fits in 2MB ram / 2MB disk - designed for 
embedded use. unknown kernel

And here's a list of other Linux-based things that fit
on a floppy. I haven't checked out all of these:



On Fri, 8 Nov 2002 08:03:34 -0800, Dave Hylands wrote:
>I haven't used any of these but this is my collection of small Linux

R. Steven Rainwater * http://www.ncc.com/humans/srainwater/index.html
"As you struggle to save humanity be sure to avoid electrodes in
your path"  -- Robotron 2084

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