Monday, December 22, 2008

1 year anniversary.

Wow. I started this blog 1 year ago.

Anyways, on the state of things:
I intend on getting the 486 running by installing a network card and downloading the BasicLinux DOS-loader version. I'll probably find a smallish hard drive for the other eMachine, or maybe just throwing this in it and using my spare 4GB SDHC card.
I installed ethernet network cards in three of the four machines that needed them, the 486 being an exception because it's too old for PCI. I'm getting an ISA adapter for it. Anyone have any tips for installation or is it the same as PCI?
I made a go at giving Oofleschmoop a new HDD when I disassembled a broken iBook G3, but apparently (after thinking the mainboard was borked) the 20GB HDD from the iBook is too much and the BIOS hangs at startup.
It only supports 8GB or less it would seem, so I'm getting a 2.5" Compact Flash to IDE adapter and using a 4GB CF card. This should make the laptop lighter too, so I really like the idea.

Regarding the comments on the last post: I intend on trying out SliTaz and/or Tinycore Linux. Since I now have a spare 20GB HDD I can just pop out the 12GB XP HDD in Neezltrak and put in the spare, which is currently loaded with Damn Small Linux, to test out Tinycore/SliTaz.

I'm also moving all the old desktops from my room to the basement (until the Computer Club is started up) so I can get an internet connection for all of them. In the interest of neatness I have Neezltrak, Fahrigon, and Antikron sitting in a stack running Folding@home. In addition, Blokhmen's logic board has failed again, the major issue being a no longer working fan. Due to holiday shopping and inclement weather I probably won't get him fixed until 2009, so I'm doing everything from Centrikle now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lotsa stuff

Lets see...
Since my last post, I got a Dell Mini 9 (1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD) (one of those new netbooks) and loaded my XMonad config from Esteguan, which it does awesomely with.
Then I got a Dell Inspiron 1200 (1.3GHz Intel Celeron M 350, 256MB RAM, 30GB HDD) from a friend. I've installed Xubuntu on it and am planning to do OS development for the computer club at my school.
That same day I brought home an old 486 from my dad's workplace. It has a 66MHz 486, 8MB RAM, and a hard drive of probably less than 1GB. My dad was also planning on throwing out another eMachines 400i that was supposedly broken, but I stopped him and grabbed it. If it's truly broken I might just salvage parts, if not I'll just install a good Linux distro for it.
About a week later my dad asked for a laptop for the new CNC machines so that the machinist can program them using a simple text editor because the built in editor is unintuitive and kinda sucky. So I've given him Esteguan, and taken the DWL-G650 (he won't need it).
Then, yesterday, I was informed that my cousins had an old laptop sitting around. When I visited them I found a Gateway Solo 5300 (700MHz Intel Pentium III, 192MB RAM, 10GB HDD) in near perfect condition. She had used it from 1999-2001 and then let it sit since then, because she wanted something faster (after paying $1600 for it but two years earlier). Also, I found it to be perfectly speedy, then I installed sidux and now it's even faster.
And I don't talk about this one, but I do have another Thinkpad T20 (700MHz Pentium III [Windows lists it inconsistently as 540MHz and 426MHz, but I don't think they sold T20's like that], 128MB RAM, 12GB HDD) but I need it for robotics so I use XP on it. I'm buying more RAM for it now, as XP really really really sucks with 128MB RAM.

Dell Mini Inspiron 9 is named Centrikle, the Inspiron 1200 is Fahrigon, the 486 and the 7th eMachine are yet nameless, the Gateway is named Antikron, and the T20 with XP is named Neezltrak.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The new Family Computer

I checked the tracking today and it said it was coming tomorrow along with my Ubuntu keyboard from ZaReason, but I looked outside and there was a UPS truck carrying a bunch of packages.
UPS must be pretty fast.

Anyways, I have unboxing pics. ZaReason uses a moderate amount of packaging and this computer is really small for a desktop.
A picture is worth approximately 1235304 words (at this resolution anyways), so I'll just post 'em.

The two packages.

The Ubuntu keyboard, which is _awesome_
Unfortunately we do not have an extra USB mouse so I have to use the one I have for my MacBook so I can't right click on the MacBook for now.

That's the computer's package. I'm actually glad it had all those peanuts, because the UPS lady wasn't exactly treating it like it was fragile.

And now, for the big reveal...
What were you expecting? A pony?

To give you some perspective...
Apparently blogger won't let me rotate the image, but there you have it standing on its side next to Eckle.

That's a bunch of random crap that came with it, including...
I won't need it of course, but it's nice to have something official.

There it is all set up and stuff. I actually have a Webcam I'm going to install (Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000, supposedly it works out of the box with Linux), but it's late here on the East Coast.

So there you have it. Eckle is no longer tasked with being the family computer, and now it can be used for testing the Icebuntu developments I should hopefully have soon when I get a crappy old Dell to develop it on.

Did I say this computer is really quiet?
It is.
Really quiet.

Oh, and it's based on the MSI Wind PC, just in case anyone here has never heard of ZaReason and was thinking "that looks familiar".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sidux on Esteguan

One of the things I didn't like about Dreamlinux was that it was based on etch, which meant old packages.
So I've installed Sidux 2008.3 on Esteguan and it's pretty good. Lightning fast, Xfce by default, really recent packages, and all that good stuff. I'll post further on it later, as I've literally had it running for less than 5 minutes now.

In other news, I have great news regarding Icebuntu. As soon as I get this "crappy" Dell I've been promised (the owner got a MacBook from her new workplace) I'll be able tow work on Icebuntu more.
First thing I'll do is replace Ubiquity with inxtaller. Unfortunately you won't be able to use it with dualboots (until of course it's updated to work with multiple partitions).
I might have to rename Icebuntu because of trademark issues with Canonical, any suggestions?

Monday, October 6, 2008

BasicLinux on Nettlewark

It's installed to the hard disk, LILO and all.
Now, for the interesting part -- boot time.
Coldboot to "Please press Enter to activate this console. _" is...
Around 45 seconds (not a scientific measurement).
On a Pentium I.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Today's changes

So, I started last night by replacing Fluxbuntu (which is, AFAIH, a dead project) with AntiX M7.5 on Siplebop.AntiXM7.5 on Siplebop(Sorry about Mr. Blurrycam, my camera doesn't like taking pictures without flash)
As you might not care, Siplebop is the family computer now.
But he is soon to be replaced for lack of Flash abilities by a ZaReason Breeze 3110.

Anyways, I went on to replace the apparently broken FeatherLinux on Zalaf with INX 1.0, which I posted about earlier.
There's your CLI only INX pics.

And in other news, instead of replacing Syllable OS with INX as I said I would earlier, I decided to use the newly released Vector Linux Light 5.9, and it's been a mixed experience.
Partially insanely buggy and hard (the installer) and partially amazement at how fast it is, even with kdm.

That's LXDE by the way.

I might update this post if I resolve some Vector Linux issues and get around to installing BasicLinux on Nettlewark.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

INX Is Not X -- but still awesome

I'm on Siplebop right now, typing this in links2 -g.
But why you ask? Can't I just use Kazehakase you say? Well, I'm not running Fluxbuntu on it (surprise), I'm running something called INX (stands for INX is Not X).
What's special about INX?
No X.
It's a CLI only distribution, and it's not meant for servers either.
Because of this, even from the LiveCD, it's _really_ fast.
I'm not installing it on Siplebop, but I'll be installing it on Nesuro.
It also has a new experimental installation script called "inxtaller", which I could modify to use on Icebuntu when I get off my ass and work on Icebuntu.
Get it here:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So, I got into a bike collision on my 2 week bike trip yesterday, and luckily nothings broken.
But I strained a tendon on my left shoulder, and I probably won't be able to carry anything big/heavy for a few weeks, which means I'm less likely to be as independent as I was in maintaining these oldies.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In regards to the last post:

I'm pretty sure that my DeLi CD is messed up.
It installed all the extra apps in... 2 seconds? (read: it didn't)
And when I checked /dev/hda1, it looked as if all the /dev stuff had been put in /
So I'm actually quite happy it was just the CD/ISO, since that's easy to fix.

UPDATE: That was stupid.
Astuguor didn't have the RAM to do an install without a swap -- something I would of known had I read the wiki.
Let that be a lesson to ye.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My attempts to upgrade Astuguor to DeLi .8

Have failed.

I tried by the obvious method, installing it from CD, and LILO won't boot it (it looks like it's booting but then it hangs...).
I suppose I could use Smart Boot Manager to boot it then get help or reconfigure LILO (I noticed that during the install, no questions about the bootloader were asked, so maybe LILO is just confuzzled).
Unfortunately, I have no friggin clue on how to get to the BIOS setup to boot from a floppy, so I can't boot SBM.
Well crap, I'll have to work on reconfigging LILO from a LiveCD or something.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Syllable OS -- Not Linux, but...

Ok, so with 92% of Wolvix not cutting it for Nesuro, I decided I'd mess around with Syllable OS, which is not Linux, no matter how much it seems like it.
Nesuro flies with Syllable, I'm getting an amazing resolution, it boots in 40 seconds (30 seconds for that damn eMachines splash screen, 10 seconds for Syllable), uses 6% of my HDD at base, has some nice themes preinstalled, uses very little RAM, etc.
I love it, but I won't bother putting it on any other computer, they're fine with their distros.

In other, sad news, I think Oofleschmoop's hard drive has given out, so I'll try and find a replacement HDD.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Linux on old computers Forum!

I've seen a recent flurry of posts in Ubuntuforums regarding putting Linux on old computers, so I decided to make a forum to centralize this.
Link is here: (yes, Forumer. I fail. I know.)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Esteguan: Now on the internet!

I got the D-Link wireless card, and it works perfectly with Dreamlinux.
Only problem is that, (with Dreamlinux), I have no way of knowing what network I'm connected to.
I'm assuming it's connected to my home network, but what if I travel? (Which I will do frequently with it until I get Oofleschmoop working, because it's smaller than Blokhmen.)
I may just have to install nm-applet...
Update: I installed it and it's working fine now. I just have to remember to auto-start it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Update time!

Regarding those 4 computers I got to take home.
I got X working on Nettlewark, but with 16MB RAM I may actually just install BasicLinux and compile twin
I got Arch working on Zileo, with e16 and a bunch of other fun apps. (like Netscape :D)
I got 92% of Wolvix installed on Nesuro, but since I fail at life the parts that didn't install were the package manager (Gslapt) and the terminal. And a bunch of other stuff.
I got X working on that Packard Bell too (with DeLi), which I didn't name yet. Uh, Zitrak?
And I've come to the conclusion that Minix 2 would work well on that Packard Bell, the only problem being that I intend to run twin on it and I don't know the requirements for twin or if it will work on Minix 2.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4 more computers

Remember this one?
The one I failed to install DSL to?
Well, thanks to Smart Boot Manager, I managed to get DeLi on it. Despite a few minor issues (X not working), it runs nicely. I'm going to dub this one... uh... hmm... Nettlewark.

And this one, not sure if I discussed it yet, ate my CD last time. It works now (senile old computers), and DeLi is working on it too. Well, with the same issues.

It's a Packard Bell 820 (well, it says that's the model #...) with 30MB RAM.

I nabbed two more eMachines eTower 400i's (that makes 6...) one with 256MB RAM and the other with 128MB.

I'll dub them Zileo and Nesuro.
Screw logical naming schemes.

Although I didn't take these home, I did get to see a 1987 (I guess, latest copyright info) IBM PC

Don't worry, I just took the case off to dust it out.
It came with MS-DOS 4 in a floppy and IBM PC Basic without the MS-DOS floppy. It has 640K RAM (It should be enough for anybody) and what looks like no HDD. I was informed it was used for making bar codes.
Linux on it? Sure, find me a Linux distro that fits on a 1MB formatted 3.5" floppy and will run nicely in 640K.
I'll bake you cookies if you can get it to run X.

I then found a slightly less obsolete Packard Bell L.E.G.E.N.D. with 3MB RAM and MS-DOS (not sure which version). It has a 486 with who knows what clock speed. I think that Linux would actually be a bad idea for this, maybe I could try running FreeDOS with OpenGEM or KolibriOS.

I intend to come back because of a few Pro-Techs I'd like to try with Basic Linux (which I have the two floppies for now).

Friday, April 11, 2008

DeLi is working on Astuguor now

When I installed it (I thought having DSL on all those systems was a bit much), I tried to start X... and it didn't work. So now after some trying, I fixed X (it was looking for the mouse in /dev/input/mice instead of /dev/psaux) and I set up IceWM a bit.
Pros of DeLi:
Light; The apps included (Konquerer, Abiword) only take up 1MB RAM for some reason... (probably the same with DSL, can't confirm it though.)
Needs a bit of configuration to get really working
Still in Beta (at .7.2 I think)
And from what I can read on the forums, very little software outside of the defaults will install on it. That said, the defaults are great.

All in all it was a great choice for this computer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


It's back on Eckle becuase I got fed up with messed up Fluxbuntu.

It's fairly slow, though Fluxbuntu wasn't much better. I'm thinking of installing Arch when I'm smarter when I have the time.

The countdown

I might as well put this here.

Sure, Ubuntu won't run on these oldies, but many of the light derivatives would benefit from 8.04.
I also use Ubuntu personally...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Note: this may be formatted badly because the iPod Touch doesn't support the normal blogger text box, so I had to edit it in HTML... So much for Apple's blogging from phone campaign...

Well, I was trying out vtwm the other day, and I noticed that my RAM usage was less than 10% (on Blokhmen). Since I found the complete documentation for it, I'm going to make an awesome .vtwmrc, and probably use it on one of the DSL machines with 32MB RAM.

Fluxbuntu is back on Eckle.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean I've given up on Icebuntu.

Currently though, there are two problems with Icebuntu...

a) Kinda in development

b) Ubiquity crashes Eckle at 15% when formatting the disk...

So I have Fluxbuntu now, but I'll probably wipe it and put on Icebuntu when it has either a lighter installer or an alternate CD to install it from.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wireless PCMCIA cards.

These are pretty much essentials for Esteguan and Oofleschmoop, so I've been hunting them down and have come across some gems.

Found them on this page on the DSL wiki.

DX-WGNBC: Something from Dynex, it'd be great if it wasn't discontinued everywhere I google.

AT&T 6700g

It's great, but expensive... if any readers want to comment with a place to buy them that's cheaper, I'd much appreciate it.

Cisco Aironet 350

A bit too expensive too, but cheaper...

And from Amazon.

Compaq WL110

Not sure if this is the right product even, and it's still pretty expensive. (Yahoo! Shopping had it at $128!)

D-Link DWL-650

This was the card I though I ordered earlier... (I got the DWL-G650M, which doesn't work with Linux, despite the name similarities.) It looks good though.

I'm going to update this later.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Well, the second alpha of IceBuntu is out, and it seems more than ready for Eckle and Siplebop.

The forums are here (I'm the admin there...):

UPDATE: The above mentioned forums are still up, but we intend to move away from them (big company and stupid annoying ads).

So now they're hosted on , albeit they're quite bare now. I have to work on configuring MyBB.

There's have a wiki page here:

And the thread that started it all...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Some OS changes.

The Compaq got DeLi (still have to figure that one out)
The eMachines with 160MB RAM got OS changes too.
Siplebop (just stay with me here) got Fluxbuntu
Zalaf got Feather Linux.

I also have a complete list of names for the computers

MacBook: Blokhmen
ThinkPad T20: Esteguan
ThinkPad 560: Oofleschmoop
eTower 400i [1]: Eckle
eTower 400i [2]: Siplebop
eTower 400i [3]: Zalaf
eTower 400i [4]: Ezlekraz
Pro-Tech: Clipafa
Compaq Presario 5070: Astuguor

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Well, that's solved.

I managed to install BeaFanatIX on the family eMachine. It's mostly based on Ubuntu 5.10 (or at least the version I have is), so it installed and ran quite fine, but in failsafe mode. Unfortunately, it doesn't recognize the soundcard, though it's a minor problem.
KateOS is still a viable option, I just have to install it first.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ugh, distro horror.

On the family eMachine: (400Mhz processor, 192MB RAM, 4.3GB Hard drive)

Xubuntu was somewhere between horribly slow and annoyingly slow. Even Opera took a while to load, and it took forever to startup. I went and installed Fluxbuntu, but have met some annoyances. In addition to Fluxbox not being user friendly,
Fluxbuntu having some pretty annoying pre-installed applications, and worst of all, the screen resolution being funktastic, I've decided I needed to replace it.
And so I go to Distrowatch
First try. KateOS. After quite a few errors, it doesn't even boot from the LiveCD. Working with the nice folks at the forum on that one.
Second try. BeaFanatIX. Same error as Dreamlinux and Knoppix.
(It fails to find the CD holding the OS, and drops me to a rather limited shell)
It's actually rather unfortunate that BeaFanatIX had those same issues (not sure if they're resolvable) because it looked like a great distribution for these computers.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Computer Literacy Questionnaire

Although it's true that, chances are if you can understand the stuff on this blog, you'll be considered computer literate, I'd like you to take this survey anyways.

<a href="">Click Here to take survey</a>

Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

More eMachines!?

Three more.
same specs, except different RAM amounts. One has 32MB, the other two have 160MB.
The two w/160 are running AntiX, and the other, DSL.
In addition, the eMachine with 192MB RAM is now running Xubuntu (I had a corrupt disk prior) and is the family computer. It connects to the internet fine, although Firefox was too heavy for it, so I installed Opera. Shoot me.
I made an interesting find! Windows 3.1!
What to do with that...
And, I got my Dad to order me an external CD drive, and a wireless PC Card, that supposedly works with Linux.