Last May I wrote about reviving a pair of ancient laptops using Damn Small Linux. I called them “atticware” (a term I can’t take credit for inventing, BTW) because the attic is where computers that old often end up. My point is that there are current Linux distributions that can allow even decade old hardware to run a current if lightweight OS and software. The uses for this should be obvious: non-profits, the proverbial starving students, anyone of limited means, developing countries, and so on. Various programs to recycle old system and get them into deserving hands have sprung up like weeds though I suspect few if any bother to load Linux on such systems.
Anyway, I wrote a follow up piece in July linking to step-by-step installation instructions. I’ve received lots of responses since then. The interesting quirks I reported in the Damn Small Linux (DSL) frugal installation were fixed in version 3.1 along with lots of other improvements.. As a result I’ve updated the web page to reflect changes with the new version. I know the DSL developers had read and commented favorably on the page. DSL developers famously respond to their user community and this is just one example of that. This is one of the many advantages of running something under current development.
Another response I received informed me that Memory Ten sells 64MB and 128MB memory upgrades for the Mitsubishi Amity CN, which raises the possibility of running a somewhat heavier distribution or at least using more and varied MyDSL extensions on the machine. You still won’t be able to run a full sized Linux distro without upgrading the hard drive as well. It’s more memory than Mitsubishi ever intended for those machines but heck.. I’m told it works just fine. Thanks to Todd Bergey for the information.
I’ve been experimenting with various distributions on my two Toshiba Libretto SS1010 systems. These are itty bitty laptops just a bit bigger than a standard paperback book. They have 233MHz and 266MHz mobile Pentium MMX processors and 64MB or 96MB of RAM, respectively. I’ll post some of the results soon.