[conspire] my old acer laptop

Heather Stern star at starshine.org
Mon Jan 6 13:28:55 PST 2003

On Sun, Jan 05, 2003 at 08:06:13PM -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Heather Stern (star at starshine.org):
> > Well, at only 2 or 3 a debian setup can get onto the net
> > (e.g. via pcmcia network) - if you don't mind a slightly
> > large stack it can install Base completely from floppy.
> I thought it was conceivable that his laptop might not have PCMCIA 
> sockets (though I don't remember seeing such a machine since the 486).
> But, Dan, definitely you want to leverage that PCMCIA capability as much
> as possible, if the laptop has any.
> The consistent theme you should be noting here is that there are
> _plenty_ of ways to install Linux other than directly from a CD-ROM
> drive.

Yes... and ways to deal with the lack.  Taking a page from rick's 
notepad here's a fairly short enumeration, lengthened by useful comments:

  No PCMCIA at all (either your system *is* that ancient, the slots
  are broken / unsupported *cough* omnibook 600 *coffcoff*, or you
  have one of those handtop that need to boot from floppy and that
  uses up the slot.)   [these are OR choices, pick one asterisk.]
      * loopback based FS-blob in your windows partition
	e.g. zipslack, phatlinux, likely others.  rick's earlier msg.
      * use dos/win utils to split the volume
        boot from toms rtbt (which will let you eject the floppy)
        prepare the linux filesystems
        if case 3 applies, you may be able to network down a tarball
        else: now boot from debian floppies, install Base.
      * use a distro or instructions for one that allows networking
        over PLIP - your parallel port.  experience shows this is
        easier for the client end (who has menus helping) than the
        server end (where you have to have PLIP set up as well as
        the ftp or whatever that's being served up).  Requires a 
        parallel link cable.   And much patience.
      * serial link.  same deal, but even slooo o o o oower.
      * use your pre-existing win thingy to download a tarball from
        the open net before starting asterisk #2, then go there.
      * split a tarball onto a HUGE stack of floppies, carefully lace
        them back together with upholstery thread (use either COPY /B
        or cat) then goto asterisk #2.   And good luck, you brave soul.
        Don't forget to do an md5sum to check the rebuilt tarball.

  with at least one PCMCIA slot... and a network card.
      * same as asterisk number 2 above, take the if- clause.
      * use nearly any distro's "net install" floppy or floppy-set.
      * cross connect to a buddy running the server side of net install,
        then they can have the CDs loaded into place and you can use the
        net install floppy without needing the internet
      * (rare) maybe your computer can boot off an atapi/cdrom device
        plugged in there;  if so then treat as normal distro install,
        you won't need a network card.

  To invade the other thread a tiny bit, if you're buying an ethernet
  card for your laptop for this purpose, make sure it's a stodgy old
  well supported one.  Distros are famous for being well behind the 
  curve on current PCMCIA support, and the boot floppies even more so
  because they hate changing 'em once the darn things work.   It doesn't
  need to be slow, it just needs to have been around a while.

  And of course, you could just linux off of one of the floppy-set
  based distros - the local hard disk merely being storage space.  If
  you do I'd suggest keeping the raw images on your hard disk and a copy
  of the floppy writing app handy - floppies do go bad so terribly
  often.   Anyways some of them do have GUI environments, which wouldn't
  be impressive until you realize that's only one or two extra floppies
  to get it going...

  . | .   Heather Stern                  |         star at starshine.org
--->*<--- Starshine Technical Services - * - consulting at starshine.org
  ' | `   Sysadmin Support and Training  |        (800) 938-4078

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