It’s still running a terrfically slimmed-down version of Crux 2.4, but I’ve made a little progress in the audio department. Once I found a data page that mentioned compatibility with the SoundBlaster Pro card, I could whittle down the list of necessary drivers to get started.
Unfortunately, working with ISA hardware is completely alien to me; I am too comfortable allowing plug-and-play technology to take over. I understand there is an isapnptools package out there, and it may (or may not) be useful. I rarely set these things up on my own though, so I might have to make a couple of detours into other distros to get it working.
Which is the real impediment to the entire process. Building a working system isn’t that big a deal, but swapping the drive out every time I need to make a hardware configuration change … that’s time consuming. And mentally wearisome. So I put it off, and put it off. …
But otherwise, the hardware seems to be in great shape. The internal clock is keeping good time, and so long as I don’t overstress the machine I find that I can synchronize the clock with ntpdate once every few days, and lose only a few seconds off the correct time. Much better than the other machine was doing.
It seems to exhibit some sort of absolute pointing behavior — I don’t know what else to call that. If I press the touchpad, the pointer moves to the position on the screen that corresponds to that position on the touchpad. If I try to “stroke” the arrow further into a corner without moving my finger into that corner, it jumps back toward the center and repeats the same action.
It’s difficult to explain, so I’ll stop. It’s working great and I have no complaints, but the few times I move the mouse always alarm me. No harm done, but I think I’ll stick with an external mouse. (Hmm. Perhaps there’s a setting in xorg.conf that will control that. … Hmm. …)
Aside from that, I could only wish for proper framebuffer support. Xorg 7.3 is okay, but if I could actually get 800×600 in the framebuffer, it would be a dream come true. …
In fact, I may be a glutton for punishment, but just about the only thing I dislike about this machine is that it is terrifically heavy — relatively speaking, of course. Both the Inspiron and the Thinkpad are probably heavier than this one, but the footprint of the Pentium is easily a full 3 cm less in each direction than the Inspiron, for example, and the difference in weight doesn’t seem to be much. I’ll have to check the actual mass of all the laptops; perhaps my internal scale is wacky. But it seems like a rock.
I still want to find a working 32Mb stick of PC66 and see how fast it will fly without relying on swap space. I see none in my immediate area, but I am a patient person. If those are still out there, I’ll find one.
Altogether this is working out extremely well. I use this reguarly, on a daily basis for everything from blogging to e-mailing to chatting to keeping my daily calendar for work and home, and there’s no sign of it quitting or becoming overwhelmed.
And so long as the hardware holds out, I intend to keep using it.