Laptop Resurrection

My adventures in Linux and using it to save one poor negelcted laptop.

Friday, November 12, 2004

3 distros later...

Over the past week I have tried Debian, Red Hat 9.0 and Slackware. The end result. I'm back with Vector. It seems the most stable and easiest to use. Tomorrow I'm going to do some customization. Uninstall some uneeded programs and maybe add a few. Right now the ultimate goal is to make this laptop usable for writing. (I write Science Fiction short stories).

I was also going to install Fedora Core 3 on my families PC but do to problems like my disks failing the media test, cheap unreliable burning software (tip: you get what you pay for when you download free burning software), and the fact that the installer won't boot into the graphical installer, minggled with the fact that we just moved from Alaska and I can't find our system restore disks made me decide not to mess with Linux on the family PC.

Monday, November 08, 2004

crash and burn

After 7 attempted installations of Linux today I've come away tired and hoping my laptop isn't busted. I started with Slackware this morning. Tried it 3 times and I just couldn't get it to work. I need to learn what packages I do and don't need better because I kept installing to much. Next I re-intalled VectorLinux but it turns out I used the wrong disk and installed 4.0 instead of 4.3. So I burned a new 4.3 Cd and everything was going fine until I went to configure the printer. My laptop locked up on me and i had to start over. The last 2 times I got an error saying xfree wouldn't install and it screwed up the whole thing. Now i'm downloading a new distro called Bonzai Linux to try. It's based on Debian 3.0 woody.

Well tomorrow is another day. Another day another distro.

PS to make it all worse I still haven't found a decent picture hosting service. not that it matters because all the pictures i took you can't make out what it says on the screen. Hopefully Fedora Core 3 will be out tomorrow and the world will be a happier place.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ran out of space

I started installing slackware. I got quite a ways throught the installation and it tells me ther isn't enough hard disk space. I'll wait until another to install Slackware because I have more stuff I have to do today. I'll just go back to Vector.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Slackware 10 downloaded

Slackware 10 is downloaded. I Decided only to download disks 1 & 2. Tomorrow I will be spending my after church hours (after 3:30 pm) installing Slackware. I here it can be difficult to install but difficult is what I live for. For me, working on a computer problem is almost zen like.

Bad Picture Posting, Slackware mirror

I've tried posting the pictures. Well, let's just say with everything google does really good, posting pictures on to a blog sucks. So what I'm going to do is try to find an online picture sharing service and just post the link when there are new pictures. It's not the best but what can I say.

On another note I found an FTP server that actually has the Slackware 10 ISO's to download instead of using Bittorrent. I'm only going to use the first 2 CD's and anything else I want to install I can just download, burn to CD and compile on my laptop. Hopefully I'll be able to do that tomorrow.

Click Here to connect to mirror

Pictures coming

I got my $20 digital camera. The pictures come out pretty crappy but what can you expect from a $20 camera. I've been trying to post them but you have to use a seperate service called Hello to upload the pictures and it keeps encountering a server error. I will work on it tomorrow and hopefully put some pictures up

Also I got CD 1 of Slackware downloaded and am working on downloading CD 2.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Slackware Disk 1 75.9% and Pictures coming

I've got Slackware Disk 1 at 75.9% completed from bittorrent. I started last night about 11:30 pm so at this rate it'll take about 24 hours a cd. I'm going to get on later and see about a different bittorrent client. Hopefully it'll work faster because with 4 cd's to download it could take forever.

Soon I will be able to include digital photos. I convinced my parents to get me a $20 digital camera. Unfortunatly I will have to wait to get my disposable camera developed, but if I get a chance I might just reinstall Vector Linux to take the pictures of the installation. The pictues aren't the best quality they're only 640x480 but I don't want any massive pictures anyway. I think they'll be big enough to put up here.

On a side note Fedora Core 3 final release is supposed to be out on Monday. Time to increase my current Linux partition on my pc from 15-20 or 30 gigs.

Starting the great Slack-pedition

I've started downloading Slackware 10.0. I'm excited but it might take a few days. The only way to download Slackware is from Bittorrent. I'm using the Bittornado Client which lets you change the settings to get optimal download rates. But it still says it will take anywhere from 12-36 hours to downlaod and that's only for CD 1 and there's 4 CD's. Well, patience is a virtue.

Anti-Linux Propoganda on a Linux Site

Here is a paragraph I saw on the website

We urge our visitors to boycott LINUXTODAY.COM. LINUXTODAY.COM is currently sponsored by Microsoft Corporation and displays sponsored anti-Linux content on its web site. We consider this practice immoral and hypocritical for a web site that acts as a Linux advocacy resource.

I checked out this claim and it's true. has Microsoft Banner Ads that link to the "Microsoft Whitepapers" that claim that Linux is 4 times hard and 3 times more expensive than linux.

If you would like to see my thoughts on the matter I have them posted at The post got locked so you can't reply but you can still see it. Just Click Here

Installing FireFox, and thinking about Slacking off

I just finished installing FireFox on my laptop and I must say I was plesantly surprised. Instead of most linux software that you have to compile from source FireFox actually has an installer. You uncompress the file to whatever dircetory you have it in (/usr/local/src in my case) open up your file browser, head to the firefox-installer folder (/usr/local/src/firefox-installer) , click on the install icon and follow the on-screen instructions. Firefox is installed into the firefox-installer folder so if you want to make an icon on your desktop head over there and the program is, of course, called firefox.

Also since I have VectorLinux installed and running (to the best of my knowledge) perfectly I might try a harder distribution such as Slackware (What VectorLinux is based on) or Gentoo in the coming weeks. I'm hoping that if I go with Slackware that most of it is optional packages because Slackware is 4 cd's and simple arithmetic will show that, that comes to 2.4 Gigabytes and my hard drive is only 2, not to mention that 128MB of that is in the SWAP partition. But I guess there's only 1 way to find out. By doing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

For those of you who are dissapointed

This post is for anyone who might be dissapointed with the fact that I don't have any information on putting linux on a laptop with only a 25-30 mhz processor about 4MB RAM and about 170-200MB Hard Drive. Here's a HOWTO on called the 4mb-laptop HOWTO. Enjoy

RPM's R.I.P. and DSL tried and died

The RPM's don't work on my system, of course they were designed for Fedora Core and Red Hat not Slackware and Vector Linux. To bad. Althought the nice people pointed me to which has a ton of Slackware Packages and I'm sure Vector will get more packages as Vector Linux 4.3 Matures.

The one thing I like about open-source software is that, unlike the careful choices you have to make in your software using windows, it's like [insert favorite gift giving holiday]. There's a lot of good stuff out there. Sure, there is plenty of fruit cake (sorry if I insulted any fruit cake lovers) but a little fruit cake is worth it when you open up that big screen tv.

I also tried DamnSmallLinux. I couldn't get x started do to the fact that the native resolution is 1024x768 and the max resolution on my laptop is 640x480. I tried starting it with the vga=normal cheat code but x wouldn't start. to bad.

If you don't know what a cheat code is in DSL check out the Knoppix site. It tells about them in length somewhere on that site.

PS all the links I put in myself. They are not added by for advertising and I didn't get paid to link to the sites I just thought anyone reading this might like to find out more.

Buy 1 get 1 free

I discovered a new feature. Debian and Red Hat/Fedora can take their single package systems and shove it. Vectorlinux comes with 2 package managers. It has it's own Vecpkg tool for VectorLinux Packages but it also comes with pkgtool under VASM for Slackware Packages. If you use VL the slackware version is 9.1 so you can look for those on the Slackware site. Well gtg I'm going to use pkgtool to get 3 for 1 by installing a tool to be able to use RPM's (Red Hat Package Manager) to install software.

I got VL 4.3 intalled

I got VL 4.3 installed. I got a kodak plus digital disposable camera and got most of the process on film. However I ran out as I started going through the best new feature of version 4.3.

That new feature is that the VL team got rid of the out dated Red Hat Sound Configuration tool and opted to use ALSA. One of my biggest problems was that I couldn't get the sound to work and i was going to try ALSA anyway but VL has version 1.0.5 included in the installer(if you try VL and ALSA doesn't work for your sound card they have versions 1.0.6 and 1.0.7-rc1 on the ALSA site). So far my biggest pet peeve is that they dooped FireFox for Mozilla Classic. Not only is Firefox a better browser in my opinion but I couldn't get Mozilla to start on my lowly machine. I started mozilla, went to the bathroom, got something to drink and ate some pizza. 5 minutes later I come back and mozilla still hasn't started. I was using the IceWM which has a graph on the toolbar that shows CPU and Memory usage and they were maxed out so I ctrl-alt-backspace'd out of x and shutdown. It doesn't make much difference to me because I currently don't have a network card for internet access on my laptop and they have Dillo for a low resource web browser but it's things like that, that can make a stellar distro like Vector Linux an extordinary one, a 4 star instead of 5. I still love vector and would recommend it to any newbie with a slow machine.

My money resources have been drained for the time being so unless I can get a job or "persuade" some money from my parents it might take a little while to get the pictures up. Hmmm...I need to find that add for donating plasma for money. (FYI Plasma is your blood without the blood cells).

For information on Vector-Linux click here
For information on ALSA click here

A few things I need to do in the coming months

Download CUPS (printer drivers)
Get a used printer (I can use the family printer but it's a pain to have to unplug it from the family pc, plug it into my laptop, then put it back)
Find an old serial or paralell (butchered that spelling I think) port floppy drive
Get a network card (preferably wireless)
find some more RAM

Sunday, October 31, 2004

New Version

Right now I'm downloading VectorLinux version 4.3. Since there was a request for pictures I will get a disposable camera tomorrow and take pictures of the installation and get a picture disk with it when I get it developed. Just be patient I'll get those pictures up as soon as i can pay to have them developed.

Technorati Profile