Installing DSL on an old (16Mb RAM) laptop

A couple of days ago, I removed the dust from my old laptop, and installed Linux on it. I chose to install the damn small linux (dsl) distro and encountered some (small) problems during installation, which I describe below.
Since my laptop does not have a cd-rom drive, I used a bootdisk I still had lying around from a previous version of dsl. I put the dsl image (dsl-4.2.5.iso) on a (FAT16) usb stick. Note that my old laptop cannot boot from usb, hence the bootdisk. After booting I got a segmentation fault, which was solved by booting with the following kernel options:

dsl lowram mem=16M vga=771

The vga=771 line was needed to get the display resolution right. After having booted successfully, I followed the harddisk installation instructions, but the dsl-hdinstall script did not run because it could not write to the /tmp directory. The /tmp appered to be a symlink to a ramdisk, but the ramdisk did not exist. This was easily solved:

rm /tmp; mkdir /tmp; dsl-hdinstall

DSL is running from my harddisk now (still using the lowram mem=16M boot options). I still need to configure a couple of things and check if all the hardware works. If anything interesting comes up, I will add it to this message.

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4 Responses to Installing DSL on an old (16Mb RAM) laptop

  1. freezerburn says:

    this is exactly what i'm looking for, i hope it works when i try :) thank you

  2. louic says:

    Thanks for your comment. I'm glad I could help.

  3. Robert Kousbroek says:

    I have installed DSL on a compaq armada 1120t for my 5 year old kid.

    Specs: 24 MB RAM, no CD-Drive, no USB-drive, 1 GB harddrive
    Pentium 70-100 Mhz

    It works ok. ;-)

    I made 4 partitions:
    2x FAT32 (for Win95); 1x Linux SWAP and 1x EXT2 filesystem

    I needed to use the Poormans installation, since I don't have USB or cdrom to boot. Just copied the CD (harddrive attached to another computer) to the harddrive (KNOPPIX folder and BOOT folder)
    Now with the bootfloppy, you can boot from floppy and futher boot from HD.

    My bootoptions are: DSL minimal mem=24M lowram


    Robert Kousbroek

  4. louic says:

    Thanks Robert for sharing this information.

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