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Re: Challenge - Getting Debian Working on a Pair of Real Old Laptops

On Tue, Sep 02, 2008 at 09:52:48PM -0700, Scarletdown wrote:
> I have a pair of old P-I based Toshiba Laptops (Satellite Pro 425CDT and
> Portege 650CT), and I am trying to figure out how to get a working
> Debian installation on them.  These laptops are very light on RAM.  The
> Satellite has 40MB (which I believe is the most she can take), and the
> Portege has 24MB (can take up to 80MB).
> Both of them have successfully run Windows 98SE, so I figure they should
> be able to run an ultra lightweight Debian desktop as well.  For the
> local desktop setup, which will just be mostly for maintenance purposes,
> I am wanting to use LXDE as my desktop environment with the only
> additional X-based apps installed being XMMS (these have decent on board
> sound, so it would be a shame to let it go to waste), and Dillo, for
> basic graphical web browsing.
> The primary use for these two laptops however, will be as thin clients
> which would connect to another more fully featured Debian system via
> XDMCP.  For this, I will use GDM, since none of the other login managers
> I have tried have any easy way to select remote login as a session.
> So anyway, I have run a test install, by first doing a minimal net
> install of Stable on my "build box" and upgrading to Sid.  After
> transferring the drive from the build box to one of the laptops, I was
> greeted with a kernel panic (same with when I tried it in the other
> laptop).  I don't recall what the actual full error messages were, but
> apparently, neither 24MB or 40MB are sufficient to run a bare bones
> console only implementation of Debian?

some info on the kernel panic would probably help a lot...

> I am guessing that these laptops can't use a 2.6 kernel, since I tried
> Damn Small Linux (which uses 2.4) on them just to see if I could get a
> working desktop, and was able to run Fluxbox and get on the Web with
> Dillo.
> So now that I know that these laptops can boot up into functional Linux
> systems, are there any suggestions I might try to get a proper "pure"
> Debian setup on them?  I don't want to go with DSL, because there are
> just too many annoying little details to configure manually.  Come to
> think of it, I don't really want to go with any live distro.
> Suggestions?  Pointers? Tips?

you may improve the ultimate installed experience by rolling your own
kernel with just the bare minimum you need for these lappies.


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