SONY VAIO PCG-Z600TEK (aka PCG-5316) – Debian GNU/Linux install notes

A friend gave me this old laptop from the early 2000’s.
Here are my personal notes about installing an optimized and lightweight Debian GNU/Linux system on this machine, mainly for internet browsing / music playing (with external speakers!)

Official support pages

Computer specs

PIII 700MHz
128 Mb SDRAM on the motherboard, 1 SODIMM slot available for RAM upgrade (Specs says this computer can be upgraded upto 256 Mb at max!)
8 Mb Video RAM (ATI Rage Mobility M1)
20 Gb HDD (a Win2000 system was installed)
No CD / No floppy drive
No booting from USB! / No PXE boot!
No Wifi
Dead battery!
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Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) on iMac G3 (PowerPC)

Guide updated 07/17/2012 : some mistakes corrected!

Netinstall and a lightweight desktop

I recently got an old iMac G3 and felt the need to replace the crappy existing MacOS 9 system with my favorite system : Linux of course!

After a mandatory RAM upgrade (from stock 64M to 512M), I found that the CD drive is extremely picky/worn-out and wouldn’t boot any burned install CDs…

But that’s not enough to stop me, since those iMac models support booting from the network.

I first tried to netboot Debian Squeeze on it, but there were some issues (yaboot started but couldn’t load the kernel).

After some research, it appears that Ubuntu has an updated netinstall iso which just works!

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Creating a Wireless Access Point with Debian Linux

A quick and dirty way to recycle an older computer with a wifi adapter.

Adapted from original HowTo (Thanks Matt!) at :
http://mcbridematt.dhs.org/blog/2010/11/21/HOWTO%3A%20HostAP%20%28Master%29%20mode%20for%20Ralink%20rt73%20USB%20wifi

Other sources :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridging_%28networking%29
http://wiki.debian.org/BridgeNetworkConnections
http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Documentation/hostapd

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Installing an OpenBSD 4.9 (i386) desktop system

Note : this tutorial is now obsolete. Please refer to the official OpenBSD installation documentation.

 

How to obtain a lightweight OpenBSD desktop using the XFCE 4.8 environment

(this tutorial was made using a VirtualBox 4.0 virtual machine)

Download the install CD image : http://ftp.fr.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/4.9/i386/install49.iso (french mirror)

Choose your mirror here : http://www.openbsd.org/ftp.html

Installing OpenBSD

The install procedure is straightforward. Boot the CD and follow the Official faq : http://www.openbsd.org/faq/index.html
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Compiling your kernel during CRUX Linux 2.7 (i686) installation

Some people seem to have problems booting their freshly installed CRUX system. I suspect this is caused by some Linux kernel misconfiguration, so here are some pointers.

I assume you followed the official installation guide here http://crux.nu/Main/Handbook2-7#ntoc9

When comes the kernel compilation phase however, no detail is given (Crux assumes you know how to do that)

Everything can be tweaked, but the goal here is to obtain a working kernel 🙂

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A fast and lightweight Linux desktop with CRUX Linux 2.7 (i686)

http://crux.nu

Main advantages for CRUX :
– fast (simple yet efficient boot scripts) and “keep it simple” principle (targeted at experienced users)
– contains only essential software (reduced disk space usage)
– good package manager with support for dependencies (prt-get) and BSD-like ports system (few but quality packages)

Some cons :
– kernel must be compiled during installation process
– being a source-based distro, compilations will take a long time on slower machines
– no support for native languages (but this is done on purpose)

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Recycling an IBM ThinkPad 365X as a MP3 Player with SliTaz GNU/Linux 1.0

Maybe you’ve got one of these laptops and wonder what to do with it?
I’m proposing here to use it into a basic MP3 music player (a Linux system of course!)

Let’s see what we’ve got here :

IBM ThinkPad 365X, model from 1997

Pentium 133MHz, no MMX!
16Mb RAM
2.1Gb 2.5″ HDD (initially running Win95)
Floppy drive
No cdrom drive!
No network interface!
No USB!

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