Working with Dinosaurs


Remember that new old system I bought? Yup, this one.

I’ve finally gotten around to experimenting with it. First things first, as always, backup the harddrive with clonezilla. But as I mentioned before, for some reason Clonezilla wouldn’t boot >.< A surrogate machine, a drive swap and five minutes later I have one lovely blank 1.6GB harddrive.

First thought was to find something old to run on it, simply for the fun. So I pulled out my Breezy Badger disc, booted it up, and carried out a default installation. The installer installs the base system, copies packages to be installed onto the drive, reboots then installs the rest. The base system install after 2 hours, and it began chugging it’s way through the rest of the packages.
It got as far as, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. An error message flew up, and my suspicions were quickly proven by a quick

df -h

The drive was full 😯 First ever time I saw it at 100%

Apparently a default Badger is simply too heavy for a 1.6GB harddrive. Reading the notes would have shown me that 🙄

A barebones system was in order. I installed an Ubuntu 9.10 command line system, seeing as I have the largest apt repository for that. I didn’t particularly want to waste time downloading updates.

Following the instructions from Ubuntu Docs, I installed a bare Openbox session and Xorg. A little tinkering, setting up Openbox, and I have a working system. Not working very well, but it’s Openbox and Xorg on a 200Mhz Pentium. Ram usage all out is below 50MB, including browsing the web with juancarlospaco’s 1.5KB python web browser.

It boots in 40sec but it’s far from snappy. Perhaps I need to tweak Xorg? Or perhaps I should listen to K.Mandla and realise that Xorg on a Pentium is simply too much? 😕


One Response to “Working with Dinosaurs”

  1. 1 Brainstorms

    Suggestions for such a small, old system:

    1.) SliTaz Linux v3.0 (custom, Swiss origin)
    2.) Damn Small Linux v4.4.10 (Knoppix, kernel 2.4.31; dormant)
    3.) Tiny Core Linux v3.0 (custom, kernel 2.6.33)
    4.) Feather Linux v0.75 (dormant)
    5.) Puppy Linux (v2 through v5, might require 2.17)

    I have a 1997 Toshiba laptop with a 120MHz Pentium I, 48MB RAM, a 1.3GB hard drive, and a 10Mbit PCMCIA network I/F — and it will run all of the above. (However, with Puppy, it’s restricted to v2.17.)

    Feather & DSL are dormant, but they’re fairly full-featured. Feather has quite a few apps & sports a polished look & feel, but takes up more space on the HDD. DSL is *tiny* by comparison, fast, and has a repository in the cloud — but has a sort of clunky look & feel to it.

    Both SliTaz and TinyCore are being developed & supported. TinyCore is about 10MB for the initial load, but only gives you network support, a desktop, a terminal window, and an app repository tool. You download apps & build it up as far as you wish. Lean & fast, and has a “frugal” install mode, like Puppy.

    SliTaz is my choice, however, as it’s full-featured, installs a good set of default apps, is small & fast, and its appearance is very polished and pleasant. Has a repository of 2200+ apps. Initially takes up only 250MB of HDD, and runs in 128MB RAM. Can be configured for low RAM systems, too. Good hardware support as well. (Swiss made, what can you say? :^)

    I currently have it running a 1999 IBM ThinkPad i1400 with a 433MHz Celeron (Pentium 2), 256MB RAM, a 4.6GB hard drive, and a 3com 10/100 PCMCIA network I/F. Haven’t found anything better, and it’s fast enough to be a usable machine (esp. with a larger external monitor).

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