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putting debian on a dell inspiron 3500

		How can I install debian on my dell inspiron 3500? First of all, it has
one large fat-32 partition for win-98 that covers the whole drive. I don't
have anything too usefull to back up with, to format and repartition it. I
don't know whether or not it uses other partitions for swap and suspend. I
have a goldcard global 56k modem in it I'd like to be able to use in linux.
It's a PCMCIA modem, I assume, because I can remove it. The trouble comes
in because I would like to be able to use CD's to install debian 2.2 potato
when they come available. I use a special patch called speakup, found at
linux-speakup.org that needs to load a bootup. How do I turn on hot
swapping of the options bay so I can boot off of a floppy, install the
drivers from the windows partition, and install the base system and
supplementary packages from CD? They offer a patched debian rescue.bin that
will boot the system. I had problems on my regular computer getting it to
install that kernel, so I downloaded their applied kernel which is version
2.2.14, had a ton of unresolved modules, but had a bootable system, then I
applied the patch to the 2.2.15 source tree and all works good. The patch
requires a 2.2 kernel to run, thus the reason why I downloaded potato's
base setup from their site that had the proper implementation. I really
don't feel like having to download everything again. I will be stuck
downloading the speakup bootdisk again because my internal speech card in
my regular computer isn't the same as the external serial device I use in
my laptop. I think it's automatically probed for when the kernel first
boots, as a friend who uses a similar device in his regular machine said he
never had to specify the port. Is there a bay manager that I could fit on
the root disk that will allow hot swapping, so I can remove the floppy
drive and put the cd-rom in when the cd is called for? I was thinking of
hooking both machines together and transfering the whole system over, but
my laptop's hard drive is bigger, so I probably wouldn't get a file system
of appropriate size. I would then recompile my 2.2.15 kernel to have the
driver needed for my laptop built in to the kernel and overwrite the kernel
that would already be there. Will that work right? I know the install was
quite buggy on my regular machine, don't know what it'd do to my laptop. I
have   an old parallel port tape drive laying around somewhere I used to
use with an old machine and windows 3.11 when I used that, but it ran with
the colorado trakker software, will that work in linux? If so, do I just
send a tar command to /dev/par0 to make it work? I've never heard of floppy
tapes before, so don't know if the ftape module would work, or if the drive
needs to always be connected to the machine I load the module on.

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