New OSs On Old Hardware

Got my old notebook computer back from a buddy of mine who borrowed it to use as a IRC and IM terminal. I figured that I could use it to do some coding while in the living room. I’d have to break out the mile long network cable to connect myself to anything, as I’m not about to shell out for a wireless setup, but I’d be able to do work while watching TV. Linux was installed, but I figured that I’d do a complete re-install. I was thinking of using the original “recovery cd” that came with the system (windows 95+apps), but I couldn’t find it. So I started downloading ISOs and going through my collection of OS CDs. I wanted something user friendly, and non-hackerish (I don’t have time to go through a Gentoo install).

Now this is a Fujitsu Lifebook 735DX, not the most modern of machines. A p133/1.5G/48mb system.

My first thought was Redhat 8.0, it’s sexy, new, and I’ve never run it before, so why not. I got to the point of actually installing packages via their nice GUI interface and it died with python memory allocation errors. IE: not enough ram.

Next was Mandrake Linux, and while I was waiting for their 9.1beta3 ISO to download I installed the 8.0 set of disks I have sitting around. The install was butt ugly, the graphics card on this laptop (a trident somethingorother) sucks. It complained to me that there were resource problems, but let me install. Took so damn long that by the time it was done the ISO I was downloading was done. I booted it up though, saw that the video resolution was set up wrong, and nuked that with the 9.1 beta3.

That install went poorly as well. It looked ugly, and towards the end of installing packages it complained that something was damaged and gave me the “low resource” options, a plain install with the option of X and/or documentation. I tried it a couple of times but no go.

Next was Windows 2000. The first choice I got was to partition with FAT or NTFS. I found an article on FAT vs NTFS performance and it looked like for my situation (low memory, slow hard drive) FAT was the best bet. Halfway through the partitioning it bailed out telling me that I was low on resources and it couldn’t complete the operation, or something was wrong with the disk. I am pretty sure that the latter is not true. I’m watching it partition with NTFS now (15%), and will see how this old box handles Windows 2000…. if not, well, I have an old Windows 95 disk sitting over there, and if I have to, I’ll use it.

So, anyone want to take it off my hands? It’d be a good machine for a student, but sadly, students don’t normally have more than $20 to their names at a time! If you’re interested, email me. Until then though…

Hmm… still 15%…

7 Comments on “New OSs On Old Hardware”

  1. I have a P90 toshiba laptop running RedHat happily.
    It’s got a whopping 700MB HD and 24MB RAM. I have no complaints at all about the machine.Oh… you wanted to have X running on it… well fark that dude! Mine is my FW 🙂 It also runs mutt and slrn fine, the occasional links. It can also do a lightweight httpd but that’s about it.

  2. forgot to mention, if you want you could run older distros on it. I’ve got a ton of old copies, you can even use that Slack dist from ’95 I’ve got if U want 🙂

  3. from the OEOne website;
    “At least a Pentium II/Celeron 233Mhz or better is required”

  4. your laptop is just the machine i was looking for just before getting the handspring visor. my plan then was to setup the thing for cli and just live in emacs or bash/vi/links/mutt/pine.
    another thought, how about OEone?

  5. I have installed slackware 9.0 on my cyrix pr120 (proceseur 100Mhz, 1.2 Gb HD, 24 Mb RAM).
    It works with Abiword, gnumeric xpdf (on the slackware cd), dillo for html viewer and opera, X Win Commander and X file Explorer (file manager) and siag office and nedit (text editor).
    The x windows is fvwm95 (it is impossible to use kde or gnome).
    What do you think about this ?
    Olivier Ernst in Marcq en Baroeul FRANCE

  6. Hi there, I was looking on some information regarding Windows 2000 and the old Fujitsu 735Dx and found this post. I got one a couple years ago, with Windows 95 installed and quikly upgraded it to Windows 98. I was good for writing and picture editing, but Yesterday my wife computer, a newer one running Windows XP, began to have some issues until it finally died. So I decided to see if the old Fujitsu could work at least as a limited Internet and document editing machine. Out of a whim I installed Windows 2000 Professional, after checking the mininam requierements, and found out that the old thing is able to handle my Motorola Surfboard moden even better than the defunct desktop. Of course, it took ages to install Win 2000 and even more to get it running on the net, but this old and resistant machine has proven its worth for me. And to think my wife wanted me to get rid of it! I am becoming more attached than ever to this old thing and I would really love to get my hands into another one just to get it working again. I am pretty sure I will find some limitations, but so far it’s performing great. Anyway, congrats on the nice blog. It’s a very interesting source of information. And have a nice day.
    Carlos Martinez