I recieved a hand-me-down laptop back in december of 1997, and have since installed several versions of linux on it, with varying degrees of sucess.

the basic system configuration is such:

Sharp PC-8660

  • 486 DX2-50
  • 8mb of ram(after a 4mb upgrade)
  • 320mb hard drive(40 dos, 47 linux(extra), 18 linux swap, 232 linux)
  • internal 3.5 floppy
  • PCMCIA slot
  • Backpack CD-ROM (for use with parallel port)

    Sharp's webpage is not particularly helpful(practically useless), but you might find some info at www.sharp-usa.com and download the dos disks(about the only useful thing on their site, is no longer there)

    Far more useful than Sharp's webpage, the Linux-Laptop page has links to many sites for more information about linux on portable computers.

    i've installed many different distributions of linux on this ol' laptop, though mostly due to its minimalist nature(as well as other reasons), i've found looplinux to be most appropriate; The basic installation is under 25mb of hard disk space, with a minimum of 8mb of ram. It is fully compatible with slackware packages, and through using Midnight Commander, it can install packages from many other distributions as well. My only gripe with looplinux is its lack of version numbering and installation is probably not for the beginning user(though i think it's fairly simple to learn)

    in under 240MB of hard disk space:
    I've recently gotten XFree86(3.3.5) running on it, and it runs decently (my X config file). I've even got Netscape Communicator(4.7), which took some work(it required libstdc++-2.8.0 from the debian distribution- slackware's didn't work); it runs mighty slow- almost unusable in today's impatient world, though it's amazing that it works at all... I'm fond of the Amaya web editor/browser, which is much smaller, though it lacks encryption and a few other features. There was still enough space for compiling kernels; it's great to trim the kernel with so little ram available. I've tried re-compiling XFree86 to get it smaller, but without much luck.

    another interesting thing i've experimented with was using the live filesystem CD-ROM (and linking the usr and opt directories to the ones on the CD-ROM) from the slackware 7.0 distribution to save some disk space and get a decent system crammed into about 47(65 with swap) megs of HD space.

    earlier attempts:

    My first attempts at installing linux on my laptop were made much easier with my Backpack CD-ROM(as opposed to floppy installation). It did limit the distributions i could try- Redhat, SuSE, LinuxPro were the only ones i've actually had any sucess getting to work with the Backpack CD-ROM(though i've since gotten Slackware 7.0 to work- just had to boot with the pportide.i kernel)

    it's run Redhat 4.2, 5.1, and 5.2- though it never fully made it through the installation on Redhat 5.2, i believe because it ran out of memory(and had to do some system repair on the first boot). As soon as the console on tty2 pops up, getting some swap-space running was critical. It ran SuSE 5.2 quite happily for quite some time. SuSE 6.1- was having similar memory issues during the installation(though it never totally crashed like redhat 5.2)

    to np's linux page

    if you've got any questions or comments, please email np@crackpot.org