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Mon, 19 Jan 2004

Adventures with a little laptop

Warning: high geek content!

A few years ago, I had a Toshiba Libretto, a dinky little PC about the size of a VHS tape. It ran Linux, which I installed from a parallel port zip drive which I no longer have. I got rid of that Libretto when I got a "real" full-size laptop.

But now, I desire a Libretto again, and lo, the desire did get turned into reality.

This one has FreeBSD installed, which is Not My Favourite OS. Nor is Linux, but at least I hate Linux less. So I want to install Linux on it. How to do that, I wonder. The Libretto only supports one PCMCIA device. Its floppy drive is PCMCIA and can only be driven by the BIOS, not by Linux. So any Linux install that requires more than one floppy is doomed. I thought that mulinux would do the trick, but it doesn't, for rather than being one enormous image of a kernel + attached ramdisk which all get pulled into memory at once, it's a kernel, then a small filesystem on the floppy. Grargh.

So I tried taking the hard disk out to do the install on another machine, blessed with a CD-ROM drive. Taking the disk out of the Libretto was fine. But the disk from the other machine has a WEIRD THING attached to it. It's a normal disk, with a bizarro adapter. The adapter doesn't come off even with quite a bit of force and I dare not apply any more lest I end up with two non-functional laptops instead of one.

So next, I believe I need to try getting DOS packet drivers working with a PCMCIA network card, so I can transfer files to the hard disk, then install. Wish me luck!

Posted at 23:00 by David Cantrell