hardware David uses

updated 2003-05-06


assembling a custom PC

building a computer from little pieces -- and other, faster ways of getting a good PC.

see also

assembling a custom PC

case mods

[FIXME: don't I have more links to strange-looking case mods ?]

quiet PC

ways to modify a PC to make it much quieter, and reviews of particularly quiet PCs.

see also


Computers DAV owns

This is complete as of 1998-08-13.

  1. HP28 (8 000 Hz !) (4 000 Bytes of RAM !) A great machine when Uncle Bob gave it to me in 1988 (?). Now obsolete; I recommend all freshman engineering students buy the latest HP calculator -- -- the HP48GX is $190 as of 1998-08-09) http://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/forth/ftp.dei.isep.ipp.pt/pub/forth/docs/hp28c.txt
  2. HP48GX + Serial Interface Cable (got this 1998-09-19 for $219 from Wholesale Products) 49 keys, 128 K Bytes RAM, 512 K Bytes ROM, 4 MHz 131 x 64 pixels

    DAV's HP48GX is serial number

     ID 8 04 06025
      | |  | +-- unit number 06025 that week
      | |  +---- week 04
      | +------ year 8 (1998)
      +-------- made in Indonesia

    When I type ``VERSION'', it says

    "Version HP48-R"
    "Copyright HP 1993"

    [FIXME: move this text to the HP Calculators Wiki http://hydrix.com/wiki/pmwiki.php/ ]

  3. Newton http://www.amug.org/amug/sigs/newton/nanug/nanug_newton.html and check out the interesting ideas at Future MessagePads http://www.walletware.com/FutureMessagePads.html
  4. Apple PowerBook 520c (Unfortunately, despite the name, it does not (yet) have a PowerPC CPU). [note to self: reboot holding down "Shift-Option-Command-Delete" to force a Mac to boot from a System other than its standard startup disk, such as a Zip disk, a CD-ROM, or a external hard drive]
  5. Windows95 box uses a Tyan Titan-VX AT motherboard ; Socket 7; AMD-K5 133PR . (Check http://www.tyan.com/ for updates.)

    playing with Paul's machine: d0b1t0d0 Disk Drive (DASD) IC35L040 AVER07-0 39266MB Optimal http://mail-index.netbsd.org/port-i386/2002/06/29/0000.html

the Alpha AXP box

the Dell PC

Dell Optiplex GX1 tower ``Dell ... System Optiplex GX1 350MTBR+'' http://www.linuxcare.com/labs/certs/C1F1C6Ra.epl 350 MHz Pentium II 192 MB SDRAM 6 GB HD (784 cyls x 255 heads x 63 sectors x 512 bytes/sector) (4 MB SGRAM video memory)

3Com 3C918 Integrated Fast Ethernet Controller (3C905-TX ...)

Video card: apparently: ATI Rage Pro Turbo AGP 2X (integrated into the motherboard).

bought used; when I bought it, it had Windows ME installed.

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=oplex_other&message.id=29 tells me


Remove case cover on left side. Notice Release button on the power supply case, push it and lift power supply up out of the way. Remove cables from floppy drive. On top front of case near the front notice indented button with icon of case front on it, push it and remove front face cover. Notice a big round lever on left side of floppy drive, push it and pull out floppy drive. You then can remove the floppy drive screws.

11-26-1999 02:25 PM

Doesn't look anything like http://www.stephan-i.com/DellGX1.htm .

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=oplex_upgrade&message.id=5399 [offline ?]

It does look like http://www.angelfire.com/wy/DellOPTIPLEX/GX1.htm and ($180 including shipping) http://www.a1computerstuff.com/gx1-333.html

http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums?category.id=optiplex support forum

BIOS settings: ... Drives: auto ... Reserved memory: None CPU speed: 350 MHz Chassis: disabled DAC snoop: off ACPI: off -------- Do I want to change this ? On: hold power button more than 4 seconds to turn off. [ ACPI: Advanced Configuration & Power Interface http://www.acpi.info/ http://sourceforge.net/projects/acpi/ http://acpid.sourceforge.net/ http://developer.intel.com/technology/iapc/acpi/downloads.htm http://mobilix.org/apm_linux.html ] Boot Sequence: Diskette First --------- I think I really want CD-ROM first.

2003-02-10:DAV: all slots are empty.

It has 5 (five !) PCI slots and 4 ISA (16 bit) slots, on on a special daughter card.

C: used space: 651 MB Capacity: 5.98 GB

original partition:

784 cylinders of 255 heads * 63 sectors * 512 bytes =~~= 6 GB. /dev/hda1 1 783 (b = Win95 FAT32) WindowsME

2003-02-12:DAV: installing software that came with CD writer hardware: This Ahead license agreement (license) does not include the right to use the included MPEG Layer-3 audio compression technology for use in real time broadcasting (terrestrial, satellite, cable or other media) or broadcasting via Internet or other networks, such as but not limited to intranets etc. or in pay-audio or audio-on-demand applications.

Installed: Windows XP from CD. Windows update from microsoft.com (Winzip not needed) comlink API from 2 CDs Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.1 from http://www.adobe.com (Mandrake)

2003-08-31: DAV: downloaded Nero 6 from http://nero.com/ and installed on Dell. 2003-11-18:DAV: installed WinZip http://winzip.com/ on my Dell.

2003-11-20:DAV: installing the Eclipse IDE for Java http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?JavaIde http://eclipse.org/

2003-11-22: installed (on Dell box) the Java SDK from NetBeans IDE v 3.5.1 with J2SE v 1.4.2 COBUNDLE http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/download.html j2sdk-1_4_2-nb-3_5_1-bin-windows.exe Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, v1.4.2 and NetBeans IDE 3.5.1 was installed successfully. Installation location: C:\Program Files\sun\j2sdk_nb Installation log: C:\Program Files\sun\j2sdk_nb\install.log To Run the IDE: †Double click the NetBeans IDE 3.5.1 Desktop icon.

2003-11-24: installed (on Dell box) Borland C++ Builder 6 trial edition (It installs Java JRE 1.2.2 unless it finds a higher version ...).

2003-11-30 As specified in the Eclipse "readme_eclipse.html", I created a shortcut to the Eclipse executable and modifed the properties of that shortcut to target: "C:\Program Files\eclipse-SDK-3.0M4-win32\eclipse\eclipse.exe" -data "C:\Documents and Settings\caryd\My Documents\caryd\java_workspace" -vm "C:\Program Files\sun\j2sdk_nb\_jvm\bin\javaw.exe"

2004-02-18:DAV: installed on Dell: installed Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 1.5.0 Beta 1 -- the SDK, not the JRE. http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/download.jsp

2004-03-14: re-installed latest version of Eclipse from http://eclipse.org/ . Stable Build: 3.0M7 February 12, 2004 . [FIXME: JUnit]


As specified in the Eclipse "readme_eclipse.html", I created a shortcut to the Eclipse executable and modifed the properties of that shortcut to target: "C:\Program Files\eclipse-SDK-3.0M4-win32\eclipse\eclipse.exe" -data "C:\Documents and Settings\caryd\My Documents\caryd\java_workspace" -vm "C:\Program Files\sun\j2sdk_nb\_jvm\bin\javaw.exe"

set the path according to http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/install-windows.html to: C:\Program Files\Java\j2sdk1.5.0\bin;

Simplified the shortcut to target: "C:\Program Files\eclipse-SDK-3.0M4-win32\eclipse\eclipse.exe" -data "C:\Documents and Settings\caryd\My Documents\caryd\java_workspace" (Now that Java is on the path, it works just fine with this shorter path.)

Compaq ProSignia 200

Compaq ProSignia 200

hardware disassembly:

hardware re-assembly:

[hardware] Compaq intial hard drive partitions when I bought it: #:id: LBA start: size : name 0:12 63: 80262 Compaq Diag. (39 MB) 1:07 80325:4016250 HPFS/QNX/AUX 2: 0 0:0 3: 0 0:0 http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq4.html#Disks mentions Many Compaq systems, some Dell and other systems use a "maintenance" partition, which should be kept intact. Apparently had Windows NT Server 4.00 on it... but I couldn't guess the password so I just wiped that partition. ... the BIOS "test" gave errors on a couple of different CD-ROMs; it seems to read many sectors OK before the failure ... ... I had to re-format my floppy before the Compaq would accept a OpenBSD boot floppy ... ... "Available disks are: sd0." a: / (min 60 MB, below 2 GB for booting), /usr (min 390 MB), /var (min 25 MB), /tmp (min 50 MB), /home b: swap: 256 MB ... tinydog ... Configure the network: Available interfaces are: xl0 tl0 Which one do you wish to initialize ? [xl0] I dunno. One is the ethernet on the motherboard, the other is a PCI ethernet card, but I don't know which is "xl0". The default media for xl0 is media: Ethernet autoselect (10baseT) Do you want to change the default media ? ... dhcp ... duplicate IP address what ? I thought dhcp was supposed to take care of that for me. ... since it found the dhcp server, xl0 must be the PCI ethernet card. ...

(from BIOS step 2:)

(from BIOS step 3:)

installing Debian: I made a boot CD ("sarge") from http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/ . I just turned on the power and the Compaq booted off it. I hit Enter ...

selected the default language (English-US) ...

selected "Detect a keyboard and select layout", hit enter, and I got the message

[!] Error running kbd-chooser An error or warning message was logged while running kbd-chooser Segmentation fault kbd-chooser's postinst exited with status 35584 Go Back Continue

Start over: I download the "rescue.bin" and "root.bin" floppy images from ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stable/main/disks-i386/3.0.23-2002-05-21/images-1.44/ . As instructed in http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-appendix#s-obtain I use http://http.us.debian.org/debian/dists/woody/main/disks-i386/current/dosutils/rawrite2.exe to write those images to floppies. (More info at http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-methods#s-create-floppy )

OK, stick in the rescue floppy, hit enter.

It churns for a while, then asks me "Insert root floppy disk" (not even a please !).

... it spins the root floppy for a while ... then I get several "data CRC error" messages. I put that floppy back in my other computer, re-format it, and use rawrite on it again. This time (that same floppy) works fine.

" ... built on 2002-05-15 by Adam Di Carlo ...". Thanks, Adam !


Select Disk Drive: it's silly to ask me, because it only gives one choice:

. Partitioning: You must create at least one ``Linux native'' (type 83) disk partition, and you probably want at least one ``Linux swap'' (type 82) partition. -- http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-partitioning.en.html

"5 to 10 MB ... [for] /boot" -- on-screen install instructions.

... ... create a small (5-10MB should suffice) partition at the beginning of the disk to be used as the boot partition, and then create whatever other partitions you wish to have, in the remaining area. This boot partition must be mounted on /boot ...

For new users, personal Debian boxes, home systems, and other single-user setups, a single / partition (plus swap) is probably the easiest, simplest way to go. However, this might not be such a good idea when you have lots of disk capacity, e.g., 20GB or so. Ext2 partitions tend to perform poorly on file system integrity checking when they are larger than 6GB or so. For multi-user systems or systems with lots of disk, it's best to put /usr, /var, /tmp, and /home each on their own partitions separate from the / partition.


-- http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-partitioning.en.html the swap partition... double the amount of RAM on your machine in size. -- http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=2016&page=4

sda1   5   41 MB Compaq diagnostics
sda2   1    8 MB /boot "If you are using lilo, your boot partition must be contained
       within the first 1024 cylinders of the drive. ...
       If you have more than one boot partition (from other OSs, for example,)
	   keep them all in the first 1024 cylinders "
	   DAV: asked for 5 MB; cfdisk rounded up to 1 cylinder (8.2 MB)
sda5  12   99 MB /home (DAV: asked for 100)
I [DAV] like to keep my user directory small enough (under 600 MB) to
make it easy to archive on CD-ROM.
sda6  16  132 MB SWAP (DAV: asked for 128)
sda7 221 1818 MB /
(no more empty space)

When Debian asks if it wants me to scan for bad blocks, I say "yes".


"Please select the medium you will use to install the system." OK, I want to do a network install, like http://www.debian.org/distrib/floppyinst . But I don't see any "network" option.

I randomly choose "floppy" and it asks "Please place the Rescue Floppy in the first floppy drive." OK, I take out the root disk, stick in the floppy, and hit enter. It spins for a while, then asks Please insert driver disk 1.

I hit "cancel". ... I scroll down (following the directions at Section 7.1, 7.7 http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-system.en.html ) and select "Configure the Network", type in the hostname

, then it claims it didn't find a network interface. Odd. *both* the internal and the add-in PCI ethernet card are cabled in to my hub ... although the lights by the internal and the corresponding lights on the hub are dark. The lights corresponding to the add-in PCI card are all light; I know that card worked before ...

OK, I just realized that I *should* have followed the directions at http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-methods.en.html#s-kernel-choice and used the "compact" 4 floppy set at http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-methods.en.html#s-kernel-choice


2003-10-28:DAV: I want to install over the network. Starting at http://www.debian.org/ and clicking "Network install" leads me to http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst and then http://www.debian.org/distrib/floppyinst I think the floppyinst page should give just a tiny bit more detail ... Back at http://www.debian.org/ I click on "Installation manual". This leads me to http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/install .

I choose the the "compact" 4 floppy set because the manual http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-methods.en.html#s-kernel-choice says "These built in drivers allow you to take full advantage of the Debian installer's net install feature to install the driver floppies over the network so that only the root and rescue floppy disks need to be made."

4 floppies ? 5 floppies ? (see http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-install-methods.en.html#s-where-files which matches http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-appendix.en.html#s-rescue-images ) I created these 5 floppies with http://sourceforge.net/projects/ntrawrite/ .

http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-appendix.en.html#s-rescue-images lists a bunch of "rescue floppy" images -- aren't they all the same ?

FIXME:Should I use ext3 filesystems or what ?

... the manual http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch-preparing.en.html recommends that I read "Dselect for Beginners" http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/dselect-beginner "after the basic install is complete."

todo: backup the Compaq partition.

///Install Debian:/// ... 2003-10-29 So I stick in the "rescue floppy" and turn it on. At the "boot:" prompt I hit "Enter". After a bunch of stuff scrolls by, it asks "Insert root floppy disk... and press ENTER" So I do that. I select "en ... and press Enter to proceed in English.". I wonder what the difference is between English(Ireland) and English(United Kingdom) ? "This installation set was built on 2002-05-15 by Adam Di Carlo"

Partitioning /dev/sda :

sda1   5   41 MB Compaq diagnostics
sda2   1    8 MB /boot "If you are using lilo, your boot partition must be contained
       within the first 1024 cylinders of the drive. ...
       If you have more than one boot partition (from other OSs, for example,)
	   keep them all in the first 1024 cylinders "
	   DAV: asked for 5 MB; cfdisk rounded up to 1 cylinder (8.2 MB)
sda5  12   99 MB /home (DAV: asked for 100)
I [DAV] like to keep my user directory small enough (under 600 MB) to
make it easy to archive on CD-ROM.
sda6  16  132 MB SWAP (DAV: asked for 128)
sda7 221 1818 MB /
(no more empty space)
It tells me "Partition table has changed. Please reboot the system" -- is it *really* necessary to reboot the system ? I tell it to initialize the swap partition, and scan for bad blocks. Next I "Initialize a Linux Partition". The first one hilighted is "/dev/sda2", which I want to be /boot. Taking the advice at http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=2016&page=5 I select "/dev/sda7", the partition I want to be "/", and I say "Yes" to scan for bad blocks. After a long scan, I say "Yes" to mounting it as "/". Then I hit "Alternate :" to initialize "/dev/sda2", scan for bad blocks, and mount it as "/boot". Then I hit "Alternate :" to initialize "/dev/sda5", scan for bad blocks, and mount it as "/home". Next: Install Kernel and Driver Modules. I select "network". Hostname: tinydog Do I want to use DHCP ? Of course. "The network has been successfully configured using DHCP/BOOTP." If I hit alt-F2 now and type ifconfig, I find out that "eth0 ...inet addr:". odd -- there's another machine on my network that has that address ... When I "Continue" it tells me: "Going to download the following files over a HTTP connection: images-1.44/compact/rescue.bin compact/drivers.tgz" I thought I already downloaded rescue.bin to create the floppy I first stuck in when I turned it on ... From where ? Ah, the next screen tells me: Download URL: us.debian.org/debian/dists/woody/main/disks-i386/current/ and allows me to change it, but I just take this default. Q: "woody" ? How do I install the latest development over the network ? (That's "sarge" or "sid" I think). It starts downloading, the little thermometer bar gets about 3/4 of the way across, then pauses for a very long time. One of the other machines on my network pops up a "network address conflict", and sure enough, that machine has ip address, and when I hit alt-F2 and type ifconfig on the (hopefully soon-to-be-Debian box) it also says it's at . How odd. Is my DHCP server broken ? work-around: I unplug the ethernet cable from that other box temporarily, until I finish this Debian install, then reboot with the "rescue" floppy and start over. "Next: Configure Device Driver Modules". Um... I just hit "Exit", hoping I don't need any special configuration. "Next: Install the Base System". "Select installation medium": I choose "network". Hey, I'm feeling deja-vu. "Installing Base System, please wait..." the thermometer runs by ... when it's completely filled yellow, it pauses ominously long, but after 30 seconds it continues to retrieve more stuff. After a few minutes, filling and emptying the thermometer bar, I get "Unpacking required packages..." "Installing base packages..." Then I choose "Next: Make System Bootable". "Where should the LILO boot loader be installed?" either /dev/sda (the MBR master boot record), or /dev/sda2 (the boot block of the boot partition, aka /boot). What do I know ? Since the comment next to "/dev/sda" says "use this if unsure", I use it. Include: put all into the menu. I get the warning about LILO not being secure against local attacks (physical access to the box). "Debian is now installed (although not yet fully configured). You should build a custom boot floppy,..." So I stick in a fresh blank floppy ... "It's time to reboot..." So I take out the floppy, and hit "Next: Reboot". The moment of truth ... I get the LILO boot menu. Excellent. It times out, "Loading Linux........". ... stuff scrolls by ... Kernel panic: assertion "k != -1" failed: file "sym53c8xx.c", line 10128 OK, let's try a cold boot. I turn off the power, wait a few seconds, then turn it back on: ... LILO times out and loads Linux ... ... stuff scrolls by ... "Congratulations, you have successfully installed Debian!". WooHoo !. "... setting up ... If you want to revisit this setup process ... later ... just run /usr/sbin/base-config." OK, I hit Alt+F2 and I get a "tinydog login:" prompt. Odd, I haven't set up *any* passwords yet ... so I just hit Alt+F1 and continue ... Yes, I want to set my hardware clock to GMT (it's a bit off at the moment; I'll fix that later). "Select a city or time zone:" -- odd, there are *no* cities listed. OK, I know I'm "Central". "Shall I enable md5 passwords?" Yes. -- shouldn't "Yes" be the default ? "Shall I enable shadow passwords?" Yes. -- Yes is already the default. I set a root password. (change with "passwd"). Gaaa -- I don't even get the little dots. Annoying. ... you may create additional accounts later by typing 'adduser ' as root ... caryd Now I hit Alt+F2, login as root, and type "ifconfig". I see it's still configured as "eth0 ... inet addr:". I plug in the other machine, ... and it still gets configured as How annoying. So I unplug it for a bit longer ... and return to the Debian box and hit Alt+F1. "Shall I remove the PCMCIA packages?" OK. "Do you want to use a PPP connection ...?" No. "Choose the method apt should use to access the Debian archive:" ftp. "Use non-US software?" Sure, why not."Use non-free software". Hmm... which is that ? I'll say Yes for now. "Use contrib software?". Sure, why not. "... select a mirror that is close to you on the net." How in the world am I supposed to know that ? Why can't "Debian Configuration" figure out for itself which is the closest one ? "Apt is now configured, ... Add another apt source?" "your Debian system is very minimal... Run tasksel?" Yes. I choose "Servers: web server", (what's a "conventional unix server ? Ah, I see "info" gives a bigger description.) and that's it for now. "Run dselect?" Nah. "packages will be REMOVED: pcmcia-cs* ... NEW packages will be installed: analog apache ... g++ ... gcc ... ispell ... libjpeg ... libperl libpng ... make manpages-dev ... perl ... python ... whos ... zlib1g ... Need to get 48.1MB of archives." OK. "Do you want man and mandb to be installed setuid man ?" I fail to see how it might be a security risk, so I say Yes. "Configuring Binutils: Kernel link failure info ..." Huh ? Did some error happen ? "Add a mime handler for "application/*" ?" Huh ? I take the default, "No". "Configuring Locales" -- why ? Not really knowing what I'm doing, I select both "en_US ISO-8859-1" and "en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8". "Which locale should be the default ...?" I don't understand why "Leave alone" and "C" are both listed; aren't they the same ? I go with the default "Leave alone". "To configure [statd], use program name "statd" in /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny." (During the Apache install) "Pondering............................. done." Cute. "Do you want to erase any previously downloaded .deb files?" Sure, why not. "I can do some automatic configuration of your mail system... exim" Huh ? I don't want a mail system on this box. So I choose "No configuration... do the configuration yourself later or run this script, /usr/bin/eximconfig, as root. Look in /usr/share/doc/exim/example.conf.gz OK, I get a login prompt. I log in as a user and do "lynx localhost" ... cool. configuration files: /etc/apache/ the DocumentRoot: /var/www/ CGI scripts: /usr/lib/cgi-bin Log files: /var/log/apache User directories are enabled, user documents will be looked for in the public_html directory of the users' homes (under /home). I shutdown and reboot; everything seems to work fine -- but (installation on Compaq) 2003-11-25 but I get a text prompt. "startx" does nothing. Yep, pretty minimal. I run tasksel to set up more stuff: - desktop environment - scientific applications - games - C and C++ development - Python development - TeX / LaTeX environment - conventional Unix server What does "conventional Unix server" mean ? Ah, I can just hit "Task info" and it tells me: telnet, traceroute, manpages, bsdgames, telnetd, etc. Good -- I want those. It downloaded and started to install .... Configuring xaw3dg xaw3dg is no longer a libXaw replacement. ... this package no longer adds a three dimensional appearance on applications dynamically linked against libXaw. It is now only useful with packages that are specifically linked with this library. ??? Paper size configuration: ... I'm getting error messages "Failed to open configuration file /etc/exim/exim/conf" ... "In order to combat globbing attacks, you need to setup your FTP server with sensible resource limits through pam_limits. Please read the README.Debian file for details." ... setting up libgrlade-gnome0 ... Errors were encountered while processing: cxref E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1) Huh ? df tells me there's plenty of free space left ... I try tasksel with just one item at a time.... nope, only "conventional unix server" is still on the list. I select it and "Finish". cxref (1.5c-9) seems to install just fine this time. Lots of other stuff installs ... python ... ... hyperlatex throws up a bunch of "free variable" warnings. ... I try startx but X windows fails to start; stuck in text mode.

2004-10-21:DAV: I get a nice email from someone at Debian asking if the latest version fixes the bug I reported. I dust off the Compaq and start over.

Following the polite request in response to my bug report

http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=242338 , I go to http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer . (Odd that this redirects to http://www.nl.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ , but it's all still in English, so I ignore it.)

Under "daily built images" I choose "other boot images".

Then under "i386" at the intersection of "floppy" (because I suspect my CD drive is bad) and "Daily builds", I click "working". That leads me to http://people.debian.org/~joeyh/d-i/images/daily/floppy/ . I see 4 floppy images there, so I make 4 floppies with http://sourceforge.net/projects/ntrawrite/ .

Then I return to http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer and follow the link Installation Howto http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en.i386/apa.html (see also http://wiki.debian.net/?DebianInstaller ) and follow the instructions.

2004-10-22:DAV: I try to take the default as much as possible.

I stick the boot.img floppy into the Compaq and turn it on.

At the "boot:" prompt I hit "Enter". After a bunch of stuff scrolls by, it asks "Insert root floppy disk... and press ENTER" So I do that. ...

"You probably need to load drivers" Really ? No, I don't think so.

... Grrr -- on a different machine on the network, I get "there is an IP address conflict" pop up. I temporarily unplug its ethernet cable while I finish installing ...

hostname: tinydeb

domain name: david.internal.org (I think this was selected automatically from my local DHCP server)


Partitioning /dev/sda (2.1 GB):

SCSI1 (0,0,0) - 2.1 GB

#1      41 MB Compaq diagnostics
I delete all the other partitions, then I use "Guided partition" on the free space. It recommends "All files in one partition". It actually creates 2 more partitions (a total of 3), 123 MB for swap, 1.9 GB for /. ( / is ext3, bootable). (no more empty space).

... "Installing the Debian base system" ... (my blinky lights show it's downloading a bunch of stuff) ...

"Install GRUB ... to the master boot record ?" Yes.

"installation is complete". Suuuuure it is. So I pull out the floppy and hit "Continue". Reboot.

Debian Configuration ...

... adduser caryd ...

apt configuration: ftp

I ping a few Debian mirrors from a different machine on this network; it seems that the fastest mirrors are:

debian.midco.net time=28ms
debian.uchicago.edu time=44ms
ftp.debian.org time=49ms
ftp.us.debian.org time=49ms

"Add another apt source ?" Sure, why not.

"Add another apt source ?" I hope 2 is enough.


Choose software to install: [ ] Desktop [ ] Web server ... I wish it told me how to get back to this menu. (Later I find out: run the "base-config" or "tasksel" program) I leave them *all* blank. (selecting only [*] Desktop made it download almost half a gigabyte of stuff ... and eventually gave the error (during video card autodetection ?) screen fills up with lots of copies of the message "Use of uninitialized value in join or string at /usr/share/perl5/Debconf/DbDriver/Stack.pm line 83." plus a few other messages mixed in, such as "Can't call method "description" on an undefined values at /usr/share/perl5/Debconf/Question.pm line 76, <GEN0> line3." "INIT: Id "1" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes" )

Leaving them all blank gives the error: "There was a problem installng the selected software. One or more packages failed to install."

It's not OK, but I hit the OK button anyway, because there was no other option.

That returns me to the "base system configuration menu"; I hit enter to select "Select and install packages". Choosing *nothing* just returns me here again.

I choose [*] Desktop.

I get the same error: "There was a problem installing the selected software" ... "If you want, you can go back to the package selection step, and try again. If you decide not to try again, bear in mind that some packages on your sistem will be in a broken state until you manually resolve the problem." .

I skip over "Configure the Mail Transfer Agent" and jump right to "Finish configuring the base system".

"If you want to revisit this setup process at a later date, just run the base-config program."

I get a text login prompt. ping works fine. I run "base-config" ... I log in as root, and run "base-config".

Same error.

(Copied to http://wiki.debian.net/index.cgi?DavidCary ) (Now I need to "After using the Debian-Installer, please send us an installation report using the template, even if there weren't any problems." -- http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ )

//end install//

2005-05-31:DAV: OK, I'm sick of floppies. I (finally!) replaced the bad CD-ROM drive with a nice CD-RW drive (48x16x48). While booting Mepis cd, "Boot 2.6 (newer hardware)"

"REALTIME operation timeout exceeded - Switching to normal scheduling"

... it seems to get stuck for a *long* time at "Updating fstab..." ... screen goes blank ... and it reboots.

Try again ... run the MEMTEST on the Mepis CD boot options ... Pentium II 233.2MHz L1 Cache 32K 2286MB/s L2 Cache 512K 335MB/s Memory 64M 64MB/s

... try booting Mepis with "Boot 2.4 (older hardware)" ... "You passed an undefined mode number" ... "Updating fstab..." seems to take a long time ... "Running ntpdate to synchronize clock" seems to take a long time when it's not connected to a network ... hdd: command error: error=0x50 ...

Bummer. Maybe the old CD-ROM drive was just fine ... but there's some other problem with IDE on the motherboard ?


other hardware David uses

[FIXME: perhaps add sections "hardware I have", and "hardware I want".]

Among many other things,


Dell Latitude C640

When I hold down the "Dell AccessDirect(TM)" button and tap the power button, I see the "Pre-boot system Assessment Build 3004" ... all the tests seem to pass, then I get the message: "No Diagnostic Utility Partition found. To run diagnostics, insert your Dell "Drivers and Utilities" CD, then select OK to restart the system and boot off the CD. OK or Cancel".

During boot up, I can press F2 or F12. If I press F2, I get to the BIOS Setup menu. Page 1 of 7: BIOS Version: A04 Mobile Pentium 4 1.60 GHz/1.20 GHz Current CPU Speed: 1.60 GHz System Memory: 256 MB Video Controller: ATI Radeon 7500 Video Memory: 32 MB Audio Controller: Crystal 4205 Primary Hard Drive: 30007 MB Modular Bay: CD-RW/DVD Combo Service Tag: F1Z4S11 Asset Tag: Not Installed Page 2 of 7 Boot order: CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive Diskette Drive Internal HDD Page 3 of 7 Boot POST: Minimal Boot Speed: 1.60 GHz Boot Messages: Enabled LAN Controller: Enabled Docking Ethernet: Enabled Docking IRQ: Optimized Universal Connect: Enabled Page 4 of 7 Serial Port: COM1 Infrared Data Port: Disabled Parallel Mode: ECP Audio Mode: Full Duplex Click volume: [*******] Keyboard Click: Disabled Num Lock: Disabled Enable Keypad: Only by Fn Key External Hot Key: Scroll Lock USB Legacy: Enabled Pointing device: Touch Pad - PS/2 mouse Primary video: Dock Video Card Page 6 of 7 Brightness: [***** ] [********] Power Management: Enabled Enabled Display Time-Out: 4 minutes Disabled Disk Time-Out: 3 minutes Disabled Suspend Time-Out: 10 minutes Disabled S2D Time-Out: 8 hours Disabled Smart CPU Mode: Enabled Enabled Display Close: Suspend Active Ring/Event Resume: Enabled Alarm Resume: Enabled Wakeup on LAN: Disabled Intel SpeedStep(tm): Enabled CPU on AC: Automatic CPU on Battery: Automatic Auto On Mode: Disabled Auto On Time: 00:00 Page 7 of 7 System Security (passwords)

Latitude C640 Service Tag F1Z4S11 Express Service Code 32771210725 Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 Mobile CPU 1.60GHz Processor Speed: 1.56 GHz Memory (RAM): 256 MB Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Professional Operating system version: 5.1.2600

27.9 GB hard drive NTFS Used: 2.14 GB

Power Options Properties: Power Scheme: Portable/Laptop never never never never never never /* DAV: these looks like horrid defaults, so I'm going to change them */ ( scheme Minimal Power Management: 15 min 5 min never 15 min never 5 min ) (Hibernation is disabled -- given Standby, do I really need it?)


2002-11-02:DAV: Future plans.

 cable modem --- Linux or BSD firewall -+- laptop --- PDA
                                        +- desktop -+- CD burner
                                        |           +- scanner
                                        +- RAID fileserver

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