OS recommendations? Really old laptop...

starhawk

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OK, this one's a doozy ya'll. I have a Dell Latitude CPi D300XT here, FINALLY working.

Specs are as follows:
P2 300MHz CPU
64MB RAM (only one slot works)
NeoMagic 2160 graphics (WTF?) w/ 2MB VRAM
Left modular bay currently has battery (recognized, not sure how much charge it will take if any)
Right modular bay currently has 24x CD-ROM drive module, can swap for floppy drive module if needed (have both modules) but I don't think that they're hot-swappable...

Currently I have no hard drive for it, nor caddy, but I have a few options...
(1) I have a CF->IDE adapter but no card, if I can find a small CF card then I'd be all set.
(2) came with a IBM drive, 6.49gig unformatted, wedged in pretty bad cuz it's really too big (12mm, not the newer 9.5mm) TBH I'm scared to see if it works or not.
(3) if it's really worth it, I have a 30gig drive I could stuff in there -- would it even be useable to its full size?

Note that the RAM is not only old and slow (PC66) but a weird type called EDO that hasn't been made in at least 15 years AFAIK. I only have 64mb sticks, but I could put a 128mb stick in there if someone wanted to donate it... this laptop is NOT worth spending money on!

I definitely want something with a GUI (so FreeDOS is right out) and I hate the way DSL and DSL/N look and act. Their user interface IMNSHO needs a LOT of work. Is there anything out there that will work here?
 

Jesse B

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You could try something like a barebones Debian install and then install X11/xorg and LXDE. There are few things I can think of that will run with less resources than that, especially without serious modification. There are other desktop environments as well, but I feel that LXDE is a good mix between low-resource and aesthetics.

Good luck, looking forward to seeing how this goes for you :D
 

starhawk

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Well... dunno much about Debian TBH (I've used Ubuntu, Puppy, and *very* briefly DSL and DSL/N).

What I think would be best for this system would be something that would use no more than half the RAM for the OS itself (that's a max RAM use of 32mb by the OS :eek: ) and have some sort of featherweight desktop environment included in that. Ideally it would be less than 500mb in size so that I could use a 2gig CF (4gig at most) in an adapter that I have as the HDD. I don't have many laptop hard drives right now... I don't trust the one that was in there for anything other than paperweight duty, and other than that all I have is a 30gb, 2x 40gb, and a Conner CP2121 that's best left to itself.

If what I'm describing can be done with a modern ver of Debian (which I somehow severely doubt) then that would be great. Otherwise... *wince* not sure what to do at that point.

FWIW I know that I'm not gonna get the same performance on this CPi as I get on my ASUS 1000HEB netbook w/ WinXP. There's no damn way that's gonna happen. I just want to minimize the pain as much as I can ;)
 

jiminator

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eh, ask for someone to donate a laptop to you for shipping costs. I imagine a lot of work hand me downs that are old but otherwise fine. No real reason to struggle with what you have.
 

450

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what will you use this for?

Windows 2000 Pro maybe?
 

starhawk

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Gah, it's just one of those hobby things for me... I have an odd sense of what constitutes "fun" I suppose. Actually... tell ya something. This won't sound related at first...

My grandmother (God rest her soul) loved Cairn Terriers. Adored them to the point of one wondering if she hadn't been one herself in a prior life. She knew those dogs well. She also had a bit of a pointy temper about caring for them, and often could be heard remarking to owners who were, in her opinion at least, letting their Cairns get the best of them... "Come on! You're smarter than the damn dog!"

I'm smarter than this CPi any damn day. It's not going to get the best of me if I can help it. Yes, there are better laptops. I know this -- I'M TYPING ON ONE. That said, I'll feel pretty good about myself if I can take that lemon of a CPi and make it dance like I want it to. I can do this, I know I can do this, I just have to actually, well, do it.

See what I mean?

BTW, did some digging at DistroWatch... what do ya'll think Swift Linux would do for this laptop? Smoke or soar?

EDIT: 450, no offense, but I do believe that my choice of subforum eliminates Windows from consideration... don't think I'd get any better than 98se on this thing (if that) anyways. Besides, I can't pay Microsoft in pocket lint ;)

EDIT2: oh damn, Fleabay wants a minimum of $35 for a 128 stick of EDO lappy RAM? :eek: sorry, take off the 3 and we'll talk ;) anyone who has something that might work and will take pity on me can send me a PM with the model # and I'll look it up.
 
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Ion Silverbolt

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Puppy Linux might work. If all else fails, you might be able to find a really old release of Red Hat or Slackware that will run well on it.
 

starhawk

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I've more than a little experience w/ Puppy ;)

Strictly speaking there are two flavors (both technically-unofficial "puplets") that MIGHT work on this system, one called PupNGo that's so stripped down it's not even funny, and the other called TurboPup that I really don't like the look of. I could *probably* (if the right graphics drivers are available, I don't even know) get PupNGo useable... but it would take me honestly most of a year of fecking around.

Bottom line... unless you strip it down to the point of uselessness, Puppy gets very claustrophobic around about 256mb. It's really not very happy even at 512 without a swap partition. Besides, it would just about smoke the CPU from overutilization.

Just looked up more on Swift... it needs 128 to even run :( oh well... I was waiting for something like that.

Don't want something old if I can avoid it. Old hardware + old software = big mess, in my experience...
 

Jesse B

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Well... dunno much about Debian TBH (I've used Ubuntu, Puppy, and *very* briefly DSL and DSL/N).

I just suggested it because in my fooling around, I've gotten a barebones Debian install to use 10MB of RAM for general use. This was obviously without any sort of DE, but I can't see memory usage getting much lower than that. The DE is obviously what will use the majority of the memory.
 

starhawk

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Hey... one other thought... I've got one stick of RAM that *might* be EDO but I can't tell... it's got two labels on it. One is basically unreadable from wear and age, the other has a bunch of what looks to my uneducated eyes to be Chinese. If someone can translate the Chinese, I'll post a pic of the stick.

BTW only thing on the chips that I can read (faded silkscreen yay :rolleyes: ) is that they were made by NEC.
 

Sgraffite

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(3) if it's really worth it, I have a 30gig drive I could stuff in there -- would it even be useable to its full size?

It should be, my Pentium 233 is able to use a full 40gb drive, just make sure you use a modern file system.
 

-Sn1PeR-

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On hardware like that I would be rocking only CLI -- and an extension cord... can't imagine the battery works.
 

450

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Recommending Win2k in the Linux/BSD/Free Systems forum? Not sure if troll...

No. Not trolling.

I used a PII 366MHz Thinkpad for a while and I found Win2k to be the best fit.
 

CEpeep

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Recommending Win2k in the Linux/BSD/Free Systems forum? Not sure if troll...

No. Not trolling.

I used a PII 366MHz Thinkpad for a while and I found Win2k to be the best fit.

44-oh-i-see-what-you-did-there.jpg
 

starhawk

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On hardware like that I would be rocking only CLI -- and an extension cord... can't imagine the battery works.

Sorry, no. My favorite bash command involves a soda can and our 4lb sledge. *shrugs* hey, it's how we get Christmas money these days.

Gotta have stuff to click on for me to use it.
 

starhawk

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Someone over in Mobile Computing just recommended Gentoo to me. How hard should I be laughing?
 

CEpeep

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Someone over in Mobile Computing just recommended Gentoo to me. How hard should I be laughing?

Well, once you get it set up it will be faster than just about anything else running on the same hardware. The real question is do you mind waiting 40 hours for everything to compile?
 

ameoba

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Someone over in Mobile Computing just recommended Gentoo to me. How hard should I be laughing?

It might finish compiling during your lifespan.

The problem with trying to run anything modern on this machine is that modern software has certain expectations of what a computer can provide. You say you want to run a GUI? Xorg's going to take half your RAM off the bat to even run, and that's before you throw on a window manager, desktop environment or modern applications.

Your 3 best choices are going to be:
  • Something non-Linux (Haiku, Plan 9/Inferno, QNX if they still make a desktop version).
  • An old Linux distro from when this was considered usable hardware
  • Using it as a thin client/X-term.
 

starhawk

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Geez, that's about what I thought.

Regarding the other stuff... how hard is it to strip Debian that small? If it's not gonna give me eyestrain for the next two years then it's worth considering.
 

CEpeep

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Do you have this connected to your network/the internet? Is the NIC kernel-supported in Linux? If so, you can install something like Tiny Slitaz and then install a minimal GUI by downloading the packages over the internet. I think a minimal Debian install will also work in the same way, but it won't be as lightweight.
 

starhawk

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Network is WiFi only. Only PCMCIA card I have is WiFi B and I don't trust it because the two antennas are on with electrical tape. Don't ask, it came that way. Only things I know are that it's got a very generic label and the antennas look like they came from a router and weren't exactly the screw-on type.

Before you ask, the only USB adapter I could put in there is a Netgear WG111v3 and I know for a fact that it won't work -- at least in Puppy the driver is so slow that I can literally sit the damn computer next to our MiFi and it will timeout rather than connect.

EDIT: did the C-series laptops even support a combo drive in the modular bay? If so, I'd be willing to stuff my rigged combo drive (from the Inspiron 8100) in there... drive is known good according to the Inspiron, but IDK if the CPi will recognize it. I don't want to smoke the thing just yet...

EDIT2: right now there's a 24x CD-ROM drive in there. Before you go :eek: remember that I also have the floppy drive module ;)

EDIT3: oh, btw there is a USB port on the back, but IDK if it's even 1.1 speed... anyone want to bet as to how much faster it would be to pipe stuff through the COM port? j/k :p I'm talking out my ass there and I know it.
 

starhawk

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Holy crap, I put the rigged-up combo drive in there and it actually recognizes it :eek:

Awesome!
 

starhawk

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Looks like TurboPup actually has some promise, surprisingly enough. Getting it to behave with the oddball video hardware will be a challenge at best, but once I get past that...

See, the thing about Puppy is that it's amazingly easy to customize, on purpose. Video and Internet are my two hurdles right now. Once I get that worked out, I'm golden, and I can tinker with the rest till my fingers fall off.
 

starhawk

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TurboPup wins. Boots in less than 5min to a rather responsive desktop. Seriously, this thing's about as fast as my WinXP netbook (ASUS 1000HEB).

Oh right... the Dell is running from CD to boot.

Next up is to change the wallpaper from basic blank black to something nicer, and after that Imma start figuring out how to get WiFi on here.

Right now it's 3am where I live, though, and so I think I'm going to go be unconscious for 12 hours or so. Heavy eyelid syndrome, if you get my drift ;)
 

starhawk

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Hey, not sure if anyone's still even looking at this thread, but if someone gives a $#!* then I can upload a video of the CPi booting... it's not your normal boot process ;) (Puppy is a bit of a different animal.)

Will need upload site suggestions, not doing RapidCrap or MegaDumpLoad because I know better without even trying. Would prefer to avoid YouTube, don't need the publicity, thanks anyways.
 

450

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You can upload it to YouTube but set it such that its only possible to access the video if you know the URL.
 

starhawk

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Not gonna mess with that if I don't have to.

Hey, waitaminit -- doesn't Imageshack accept videos now?
 

starhawk

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Doesn't matter. My never-used DXG 565V that I got like a year or two ago turned on just long enough to inform me that the 4x AAA batteries were now ghosts. No AC adapter was included, nor does the design of the camera permit the use of one.

Mom apparently thinks that the best answer to "Hey Ma can I have a couple AAA's" is :mad: :mad: :mad: GTFO NO U

No way in heck am I putting you folks through the torture of watching a video made on my Kodak EasyShare DX7650. That thing is 6.1MP of motion blur when used as a STILL camera! (Almost every photo taken with that camera requires the use of the "sport" setting!)

Sorry guys, maybe tomorrow.
 

starhawk

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Got batteries. Thanks Dollar General, 8 AAAs for IIRC $2.50 is hard to beat!

Before anyone says it... been using DG batteries for years. They're just as good and strong as Rayovac. The ones I got the other day at Dollar Tree, on the other hand, were an absolute waste of chemistry -- and a $1 bill. Avoid eCircuit brand batteries unless you absolutely cannot find any other kind and your very life depends on it.
 
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