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  1. #1

    Looking for a Distro for an old computer

    My dad found an old IBM computer, and I wanted to know if there was a linux distro out there I could use on it.

    From the BIOS screen, I gathered the following information:

    IBM Setup - (C) Copyright IBM Corporation 1995
    System Summary:
    Processor Pentium(R)
    Processor Speed 100 MHz
    Math Coprocessor Internal
    System Memory 640 KB
    Extended MEmory 15360 KB
    Video Controller S3 Incorporated. Trio64
    Cache Size 256 KB
    Shadow RAM 384 KB
    System ROM F000h - FFFFh
    Memory Type Fast Page
    Diskette Drive A: [Not installed]
    Diskette Drive B: [Not installed]
    Hard Disk Drive 0 1282 MB
    Hard Disk Drive 1 Not installed
    Hard Disk Drive 2 Not installed
    Hard Disk Drive 3 Not installed
    Mouse Installed

    Product Data:
    Machine Type/Model 658650U
    Flash EEPROM Revision Level LPKT63AUS
    System Board Identifier 4W5DOC3PU01
    System Serial Number 23WDCP0
    BIOS date 02/04/1998

    Devices and I/O Ports:
    Serial Port A Address [3F8h-IRQ 4]
    Serial Port B Address [2F8h-IRQ 3]

    Parallel Port [3BCh-IRQ 7]
    Parallel Port Mode [Standard]
    Parallel Port Extended Mode [ ]

    Mouse Installed

    Diskette Drive A: [Not installed]
    Diskette Drive B: [Not installed]

    -Video Setup...
    Video Controller S3 Incorporated. Trio64
    DDC1 Monitor checking [Disabled]

    Video Memory 1024 KB

    Video Display Type [Custon ]
    Monitor Horizontal Frequency [Undefined ]
    Refresh Rate for (640x480) [60 Hz]
    Refresh Rate for (800x600) [56 Hz ]
    Refresh Rate for (1024x76 [43 Hz interlaced]
    Refresh Rate for (1280x1024) [Not Supported ]
    Refresh Rate for (1600x1200) [Not Supported ]

    -IDE Drives Setup...
    Hard Disk Drive 0:
    Size 1282 MB
    IDE Performance [High Performance]
    Hard Disk Drive 1:
    Size Not installed
    Hard Disk Drive 2:
    Size Not installed
    Hard Disk Drive 3:
    Size Not installed

    I do not have a battery to place in the motherboard so the computer will only boot to the BIOS. I don't exactly know what I am going to do with the computer (probably just use it as a lab rat for my experiments), so I was wondering if any of you experts could list out some possibilities I have with linux and what I could use it for.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer Giro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    No common distro will work on that ram and you will need a kernel with coproccessor support to. My advice would be a mini distro search google for floppy disk distros.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Täby, Sweden
    I don't really see that problem. I even installed RedHat 7.1 on an even worse computer (it was mainly supposed to be a router, but could do other things as well), and used another one with similar specs as a HTTP server. Of course, it took a while to boot it, but with some tweaking here and there, I think the problems should be negligable, especially of you choose a more lightweigh distro than RH to begin with. May I suggest Debian, for example? Also, don't turn it off. ;-)

    The coprocessor won't be a problem - that's just the ordinary Pentium floating point instructions that it's referring to. There's nothing special about that at all.

    Of course, you can't run a more elaborate GUI like GNOME or KDE, but a twm session could surely work, if you aren't content with text mode.

    You'll probably want to add quite a bit of swap, I guess (or as much as you can fit on that HD). Of course, if you could find another RAM bank to put in there, it really would hurt.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Okay, thanks.

    I'm not really looking for a GUI because I want to learn how to work with commands and such. Once I get a Diskette Drive I'll be able to make a few boot disks and such.

    I'll keep you updated,

  6. #5
    DSL ( should work. I have used it on a comp. with 60mhz processor, 16megs of ram, and it worked fine. I could even run GUI. I comes with bash, ssh and other shells for coding.

  7. #6
    You can also use a old version of Slackware!

    Good luck

  8. #7
    DSL looks quite interesting. I'd try it, but what a waste of an entire cd. If i had a burnable business card, then i'd try it.

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