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  1. #1
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    Can I use Linux?

    I have an old Packard Bell <img src=/S/beep.gif border=0 alt=beep width=15 height=15> that recently became surplus. Pentium 120, 48Mb RAM, 120Mb HD. Would this make a suitable platform to run Linux on? Would it's ~1995/96 era BIOS & CMOS cause any problems, especially considering how proprietary the system's hardware is? I'm just curious to see if I can find some use for it other than anchor/dust collector/paper weight. I was also thinking of trying QNX on it. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15>

  2. #2
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    It depends. Those hardware specs are probably in the range of minimum requirements. If you're just going to use it as an experiment and a way to introduce yourself to Linux, check the hardware compatability listing on QNX's website to see whether your Packard Bell is ok. As a file server on a home network, you might be able to get away with shoving a little bit more RAM in there (it's cheap) and a bigger hard drive, respecting the limitations of the motherboard. As a day-to-day productivity machine, you're better off with a low PIII or Celeron with 64MB of RAM.

    By the way, I haven't heard of the QNX distro - what's the appeal? Have you thought of some of the more mainstream distros that have a reputation for being easy to install and configure?

  3. #3
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    This would be a fine machine if you don't need a GUI (graphical user interface). X needs mucho resources.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    David, here's a link I just stumbled upon that may be of some help from TechRepublic. There are tons of helpful sites out there - just dig in and google.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    David,

    I am running RedHat 7.2 with KDE 2 on a P 75 originally with 48 MB ram. Ran fine but a lot of disk swapping. Upgraded to the motherboard's 128 MB maximum and now it runs fine.

    A 120 MB hard drive won't hold the X gui, though. Need 1 GB minimum for current versions.

    BTW, I have a 486 running RedHat 6.2 fine. It has 80 MB ram and about 1.6 GB drive.

    Let me know if you tried and have any problems. I've encountered (and solved) quite a few in your current quest.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    The information that I came across on QNX came from a Lockergnome newsletter from June 2002. According to the article, it was tested on some low-end pc's (Pentium 100's & 200's with 16Mb RAM). It uses a microkernel and has a GUI named Photon, and the whole fits on a floppy. The link I have saved to QNX is http://www.qnx.com/demodisk/.

    As to the purpose, it's just to learn a little, and maybe have a simple internet-capable machine that has more stability than Windows. In the interim, I plugged in a pair of cheap speakers so my daughter can use it to play her JumpStart Toddler 'geem'. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  7. #7
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    Here's a little update on QNX - I can't use it, though it still looks interesting. I downloaded it, copied to the floppy, and ran it on my main home PC. It worked fine, but it was unable to detect my mouse (USB mouse, using a PCI card; no non-Windows support is my guess), and it also balked at my Winmodem. The video was relegated to 640 x 480 VGA mode, probably due to the PCI video card and lack of drivers. Given this, I didn't bother trying it on the older machine since they both have the same make of modem.

    The browser did look functional, and there were some additional tools that would likely have been useful, but on the whole I don't think it's worth investing in any newer hardware to retry. And Ceara likes her game too much so I guess the computer has a new dedicated use after all.

  8. #8
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    Try using a more known distribution. Red Hat 8.0, which may be pretty slow if you run a window manager like gnome or klde, but it should detect the mouse and modem without a problem. If your gonna run a windowmanager, try using windowmaker. Its a little harder to use if your not a linux geek but it runs well; on older systems.
    Mike Wolfman
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  9. #9
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    Psst... Mike.... I think you got it wrong <img src=/S/duck.gif border=0 alt=duck width=23 height=23>, but not my much. The distro is KNOPPIX <img src=/S/crazy.gif border=0 alt=crazy width=15 height=15>. The current release is version 3.1 available here.

    Thanks for dropping in though... I still get lost in here, as my Linux knowledge is low (but growing)... but I knew about this distro myself. It saved me hours of time configuring Debian 3.0 on my notebook, before I switched to RedHat 8.0.
    Christopher Baldrey

  10. #10
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    Edited by WyllyWylly to add URL code. See the Quick Guide.[/i] <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    OHHH I know a distribution that will run on it...

    Knobix

    http://freshmeat.net/releases/106226/

    It runs completely off a cd and mounts your HD for storage. I use it for recovery or if the compiuter I'm using has Windowz on it (yuk)
    Mike Wolfman
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  11. #11
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    Re: Can I use Linux?

    My bad.. I'm not one for spelling... I was close... <grin> I read there was a new version out on freshmeat yesturday.... Thanx
    Mike Wolfman
    Jack of all, Master of none
    Bow before me, for I am root.
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