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Old Laptop

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So I have this old Sharp laptop from 1996. I want to get Linux on it, but there isnt much space(.98 gig) and, the BIOS only lets me boot from the hard drive or floppy. I dont even have a floppy drive on it(but I do have a cd drive), so whats a good small distro for it and how should I try to work it?

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I think you can still install slackware from floppies...not sure though, haven't done that in a LONG time. haha

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I know you said you want Linux but what about giving NetBSD a try? NetBSD is very compact and most cleanest BSD distro's I've ever seen. I don't know why no one ever gives NetBSD the respect it deserves. Afterall, *BSD is the most used operating system for all types of servers. It's perfect for your laptop too.

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Don't forget that a big part of that 0,98GB will be used by your swap partition. I'd say 100 to 300MB depending how much ram the laptop has. Anyway, if you can't boot from cdrom you need to get a floppy drive.

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Probably a lot more trouble than it's worth if you ask me

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Don't forget that a big part of that 0,98GB will be used by your swap partition. I'd say 100 to 300MB depending how much ram the laptop has.

Whoa. No. Swap should never be more the 2x physical memory. Very rarely should it be more then 1x. Otherwise you can start running into issues where you are using swap more the physical memory. It's almost always a performance hit.

I'd reccommend an older verison of Slackware for this. I used it when I was in a similar situation, (486/16, 8MB RAM, 80MB HDD). Although I had to do some crazy undocumented things to get it to install.

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Actually, the usual rule of thumb for swap size is 2x or 2.5x the amount of ram. Well, unless you have over 256MB ram, then 256MB swap space is enough. It's always good to have more than enough swap though, because if you run out of swap space when compiling something it will crash(yes it already happened to me, I had to repartition my harddrive because my 16MB of ram and my 256MB of swap were not enough to build the freebsd userland. I changed it to 512 and it worked fine). I seriously doubt having more swap mean it will be used more often and cause performance problem. After all the point of swap is to improve performance by allowing unused memory to be replaced with often-used memory.

Edited by psychopuppy
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Different distros give different suggestions. I know FreeBSD asked for 2x when I installed it. Slackware only asked for 1x though. I wonder if that's just personal thoughts by distro authors though.

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Anyway, I think I will have to give up on this comp cause I dont even have a floppy drive that fits in it. :(

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Transplant the drive, install something and put it back. Or install Smart BootManager and see if it'll boot the CD. Get a network card in it and network bootstrap it NetBoot and NILO maybe ? Never give up! Unless you'll be mailing it to me, then just stop now and send 'er on over.

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In my opinion, you should get a floppy drive for the laptop and then check out linux distros with low requirements like slackware (stripped down), vector linux (slackware based), or gentoo. You probably wouldnt really need X installed to be productive, but if you must have 1, do not use KDE or Gnome, instead try out something more lightweight like sawfish.

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