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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware
Prehistoric Thinkpad 760EL looking for a puppy
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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 06:32    Post subject:  Prehistoric Thinkpad 760EL looking for a puppy  

Crazy, I know, even with Puppy's longstanding reputation for speaking gently with old hardware. I guess I'm trying it mainly for the challenge.

This creaky old laptop is from 1996. It has a Pentium (I) running at 133mHz, a 1.08gb IDE disk, and a gigantic 48mb of memory.

I'm booting from the HD since this machine can't boot from the CD-ROM.

I figure it's not much use to try newer pups that will want more memory and/or PII+ instructions, so I started with older and retro pups.

The two that have so far come closest to booting are ttuuxxx's 2.14x Top-11, and a 2.16 version that I've had around for a few years.

Top 11 2.14 goes:

(Several lines that seem OK)
Creating unionfs on (/initrd)/pup_new (to become '/') .. done
BusyBox v1.6.1 (2007-07-25 02:56:22 PUP) multi-call binary

Usage: init

Init is the parent of all processes

(Nothing more happens)

=====

Here's what happens with 2.16.

(Several lines that seem OK)
Mounting /dev/hda1 on (/initrd)/mnt/dev/ro_1 ... done
Mntg pup_216.sfs off /dev/hda1 ... mounting on (/initrd)/pup_ro2... failed
Dumping last lines of /tmp/bootinit.log ...
expr: syntax error
[: -gt: argument expected
/mnt/dev_ro1/pup_216.sfs: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /dev/loop0 on /pup_ro2 failed
Dumping last lines of kernel log ...
<4>end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0
<3>Buffer I/O error on device fd0, logical block 0
<4>bio too big device loop0 (2 > 0)
<3>SQUASHFS error: sb_bread failed reading block 0x0
Pausing for 60 seconds ...

(After the delay, kernel panic.)

=====

I tried a couple variants of Pup-n-go. They got to "Booting the kernel," sat there for several minutes, and then reported:

ldm_validate_partition_table(): Disk read failed.

=====

This old laptop runs Win98 OK, if slowly. M$ Scandisk reports no disk problems, so I don't get why the Puppy 2.16 kernel log gripes about sector 0 errors, and Pup-n-go says that the disk read failed.

Contents of menu.lst:

title Puppy
kernel (hd0,0)/puppy/vmlinuz pfix=ram
initrd (hd0,0)/puppy/initrd.gz
boot

Any thoughts or ideas? Other old or newish Puppies that might be more suited to something this ancient?

Thanks!
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8Geee


Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 1536
Location: N.E. USA

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 09:11    Post subject:  

Just wondering out loud... is the HDD formatted FAT16?
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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 10:30    Post subject:  

Nope, FAT32.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 10426
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 11:26    Post subject:  

You could try using this boot option.
puppy pfix=nocopy do not copy .sfs to RAM

If it is booting using the normal Puppy boot loader
At Puppy boot screen
Press and hold F2 key
When option screen pops up
Add that option

If using some other boot loader.
Quote:
Contents of menu.lst:

title Puppy
kernel (hd0,0)/puppy/vmlinuz pfix=ram
initrd (hd0,0)/puppy/initrd.gz
boot

Add option to the kernel line.
Code:
kernel (hd0,0)/puppy/vmlinuz pfix=nocopy




That may free up a little more RAM

Quote:
48mb memory

I think you just have too little RAM.

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When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked

Last edited by bigpup on Sun 06 May 2018, 12:22; edited 2 times in total
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 10426
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 11:32    Post subject:  

Quote:
I'm booting from the HD since this machine can't boot from the CD-ROM.

Sure about that.
I have never found a computer that had a CD drive that could not boot from the CD drive.
Well ,maybe a computer made for the military that had a very restrictive bios.

Sure there is no option in the bios setup for boot device selection?

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When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 10426
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 11:40    Post subject:  

Trying the very oldest Puppy versions is your best option for working with very little RAM.

Puppy 1.0, if you can find an iso of it, could be good to try.
All the links I have tried are dead for Puppy 1.0

Found this:
http://www.freeveda.org/linux/puppy/pizzapup-1.0.1.iso

Here is a bunch of Puppy 1.0 iso's
https://archive.org/details/Puppy_Linux_Series1

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I have found, in trying to help people, that the things they do not tell you, are usually the clue to solving the problem.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 17:12    Post subject:  

Weird, I know, but it really doesn't support booting from the CD drive. The bios has options for floppy or hard disk.

Or rather I should say DIDN'T and HAD. I guess all this stress and activity was too much for the old girl. I came back after a break and she was cold as clay and dark as the grave. Wouldn't wake up at all. Vital signs all flat.

Sorry to have taken your time for what turned out to be a futile quest. Sad
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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 951

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 18:34    Post subject: Re: Prehistoric Thinkpad 760EL looking for a puppy  

ahoppin wrote:
...

This creaky old laptop is from 1996. It has a Pentium (I) running at 133mHz, a 1.08gb IDE disk, and a gigantic 48mb of memory.

....

Here's what happens with 2.16.

(Several lines that seem OK)
Mounting /dev/hda1 on (/initrd)/mnt/dev/ro_1 ... done
Mntg pup_216.sfs off /dev/hda1 ... mounting on (/initrd)/pup_ro2... failed
Dumping last lines of /tmp/bootinit.log ...
expr: syntax error
[: -gt: argument expected
/mnt/dev_ro1/pup_216.sfs: No such file or directory
mount: mounting /dev/loop0 on /pup_ro2 failed
Dumping last lines of kernel log ...
<4>end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0
<3>Buffer I/O error on device fd0, logical block 0
<4>bio too big device loop0 (2 > 0)
<3>SQUASHFS error: sb_bread failed reading block 0x0
Pausing for 60 seconds ...



With that little ram, you'll probably need to do a full install for 2.0 puppy series to work. Notice the error "bio too big device loop0 (2 > 0)", my guess is the base sfs file is too big to mount.

If you wanted to to a pseudo frugal install maybe you could symbolically link (or bind) /pup_r02 to a folder where the base sfs (i.e. pup_216.sfs) is decompressed. This would however, require rewriting the init script.

Another idea might be to create a swap partition on the hard drive.

If none of these ideas work, then I guess puppy 1 will be your only option.
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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 19:07    Post subject:  

Many thanks, S243, Bgeee, and Bigpup. Unfortunately the 760EL has departed quite unexpectedly for laptop heaven, putting an abrupt end to the experiment. Sad

But all this was not for naught, since I also have a Pentium II Dell CPi that's only a few years newer (circa 1998). I'll sic the puppies on it next. Bwahaha.

PS - I did get a chance to try 1.08r1 before it died. No luck even there. I suspect that 48mb just isn't enough memory.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 10426
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Sun 06 May 2018, 22:44    Post subject:  

You can still use it.
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When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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Spielmops

Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon 07 May 2018, 13:37    Post subject:  

For this other computer: have a look at the thread with Thinkpad 570 in title. It's frome the same time with Pentium II/350

Spielmops
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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Tue 08 May 2018, 21:31    Post subject:  

> You can still use it.

But can it multitask? Smile

Seriously, I was sad to see it go, but 22 years? That's a pretty decent lifespan for a computer. Even more remarkable, it had its original lithium ion battery, still good for almost an hour of use.

Did some more checking and found that the Dell CPi was built in 2000, not 1998. I also have an early 2000s K6-3 desktop I'd like to try with Puppy, maybe also a K6-2 from around 1999, if I haven't sent it to the recyclers already. Maybe I'll post the results in one of the "what's the oldest computer you've gotten working with Puppy" threads.

Again, thanks to all for the ideas.
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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 4998
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Wed 09 May 2018, 05:07    Post subject:  

ahoppin wrote:
But all this was not for naught, since I also have a Pentium II Dell CPi that's only a few years newer (circa 1998). I'll sic the puppies on it next. Bwahaha.
I have the same model I think (not sure if it is a CPi or a CPt to be honest - unless i ressurect it from 3 feet deep in the back room...)

I recall that forum member starhawk (i miss him...) made good progress with the early Dells so look for posts from starhawk.

I seem to recall his biggest bugbear was Crystal audio drivers - but I have seen various solutions so don't give up. The display on these laptops was mint.

EDIT - just one thing to add - I recall there was some basic trick needed to get a 2 series pup to boot. It was something to do with devram syntax or similar. I will post back if I can find it. Ttuxxx probably knows it off by heart.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 3695
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Wed 09 May 2018, 18:32    Post subject:  

ahoppin wrote:
> You can still use it.

But can it multitask? Smile

Seriously, I was sad to see it go, but 22 years? That's a pretty decent lifespan for a computer. Even more remarkable, it had its original lithium ion battery, still good for almost an hour of use.

Did some more checking and found that the Dell CPi was built in 2000, not 1998. I also have an early 2000s K6-3 desktop I'd like to try with Puppy, maybe also a K6-2 from around 1999, if I haven't sent it to the recyclers already. Maybe I'll post the results in one of the "what's the oldest computer you've gotten working with Puppy" threads.

Again, thanks to all for the ideas.


Hi, ahoppin.

My old Dell lappie, with a P4, from 2002 (which has almost developed its own personality on these forums!), runs Xenialpup 7081 (along with Slacko 570 and Lucid 5287). Not fast.....but it does run.

But then it does have 1.5 GB RAM.....and the P4s did have the saving grace of at least the SSE2 instruction set. Very Happy: And it was one of the very first models Dell built which not only had the then-new USB 2.0 standard, but also supported booting from it...

How much RAM does your Dell possess? They've always been pretty good with Linux (especially if it's Intel-based).

I'll bet you pounds to peanuts it's the old SDRAM. Which you can still find, here & there.....but it'll cost you an arm and a leg..!

(If you're going to try the K6s, don't forget they're SSE-only. No SSE2s.....which makes using a vaguely up-to-date browser something of a challenge. I believe Walter Dnes has done an SSE-only build of PaleMoon, though.)

You may find this recent post from Walter helpful:-

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=991148#991148

In all seriousness, PaleMoon is going to be your best bet for anything without SSE2s...

(EDIT:- Correction, my bad. No K6 came with anything other than MMX instructions. Even the very last K6-3s only added AMD's 3DNow! tech to that.....and even that's now obsolete...

Which being the case, I don't know how you're going to be able to run any kind of browser on there. AFAIK, even Dillo needs at least SSEs to function...)


------------------------------------------------------------------------

greengeek wrote:
I recall that forum member starhawk (i miss him...) made good progress with the early Dells so look for posts from starhawk.


Yeah, I miss him too. There was a guy who was an absolute fount of knowledge about old hardware. Knew it like the back of his hand...

A lot of his later knowledge came about through messing around with those old 'thin clients', IIRC.


Mike. Wink

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ahoppin

Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 155

PostPosted: Fri 11 May 2018, 22:23    Post subject:  

This Dell CPi has 128mb of memory. The service manual spec page says that's all, folks. It's not even SDRAM, it's old 60ns EDO memory.

I'm not yet ready to reformat and/or partition the disk, so I'm doing my testing much as I did with the Thinkpad, using grub4dos to load from directories on the existing FAT32 disk.

The results so far:

First, every version I've tried has taken a fairly long time to boot - anywhere from around 2 minutes for Wary 5.11 with a savefile, to almost 10 minutes for Tahr.

That Tahr even booted was a nice surprise. Unfortunately it's stuck at 800x600 resolution on a 1024x768 lcd screen (ewww). Xorgwizard acts like it's changing the resolution to 1024x768. I even read 1024x768 in the conf file. But when xwin restarts, it's still at 800x600.

Precise 5.7.1 retro has exactly the same problem. On both of these Pups, xorgwizard throws an error but doesn't crash. Right after "probing video hardware" they say "/usr/sbin/xorgwizard-cli: line 345: 14425 aborted e > /tmp/xorgprobe.txt 2>&1"

Wary 5.5 mostly works. Its xorgwizard works properly. It crashes on shutdown, however. It created a savefile, but IIRC it didn't load it on the next boot.

Wary 5.11 with kernel (I think) 2.6.31.14 worked pretty well. Xorgwizard ran through its prompts and got the video right. The audio played 16 bit PCM, though it couldn't handle Puppy's 8-bit barks. The menu was fairly responsive.

The downside is that it has Seamonkey 2.0.11 from 2010, which doesn't work with an increasing number of websites. I haven't been able to find an updated browser that works with Wary.

My compromise Seamonkey (2.33.1) says "XPCOMGlueLoad error for file /initrd/mnt/dev_save/lbin/seamonkey/libxul.so: libdbus-glib-1.so.2: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory. Couldn't load XPCOM." I don't know how to find libdbus-glib.so.2 for it.

A couple of Firefox pets exited silently, and Opera threw a bus error.

Any other suggestions?

Puppy 4.3.1 was surprisingly snappy and responsive. Xorgwizard did fine. However, it had the same browser problem as Wary 5.11. It also couldn't figure out what to do with the Dell's Crystal 4237B audio chip, so this dog won't bark.

Lucid 5.2.8.7 loaded, but was so slow it was hopeless. It found the audio chip, but couldn't play an MP3 clip without stuttering. I haven't tried 5.2.8 yet.

Legacy 2017 wouldn't even load. "ERROR, cannot find Puppy on idehd boot media. PUPMODE=1 PDEV1="

Lucid 5.2.5 was on speaking terms with Seamonkey 2.33.1, and it had outstanding audio through mplayer (though it couldn't play Puppy's barks either).

But it was quite a bit slower than Wary 5.11 and 4.3.1. Click the menu button and it takes close to 10 seconds for the menu to display. Starting Seamonkey takes forever, and loading a website of any complexity would try a Buddhist monk's patience.

Maybe Lucid would hustle a bit more if it were run from a full installation on an ext2 formatted disk, but I suspect the main problem is the lack of RAM.

Of the ones I've tested so far, only Wary 5.11 and Lucid 5.2.5 are on the short list. I'll keep trying.
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