Arch Linux isn’t the only thing I have installed or used on the Mebius, since I brought it home a week ago. I did a few trial runs with other distros and OSes, although not all of them were as successful as archlinux-i586.
- Debian, oddly enough, mentioned memory errors after a network installation, and refused to boot. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the exact error message, so I don’t recall exactly what the problem was. I plan on trying this again sometime in the near future, mostly because Debian is one of the best start-from-scratch, intermediate level distros out there, and it runs on old, old machines like this.
- Damn Small Linux in its last incarnation — 4.4.10 — worked perfectly, finding all the components and even getting online with help from the network configuration interface. I know it is long, long out of date, but it’s hard to argue with a complete, full color, native resolution desktop on the first try, on a machine that old. It’s still worth keeping around.
- I thought Tiny Core Linux would also hit a home run, but oddly I was left at a command prompt and didn’t get much farther than there. I blame the graphics card for that, which might sound strange. But I know this Trident-based card is VESA 1.2 only, and it might be that Tiny Core is going straight to the framebuffer, which it can’t do. Ironic though that DSL works where its successor doesn’t.
- KolibriOS, for the same reasons, was less than successful. While it booted and behaved more or less as expected, the video card was too outdated to make full use of that OS. Boot times from the floppy were about what I expected though, so there wasn’t much more to see than what I have already seen in the past.
- Slitaz wouldn’t boot, but that’s my fault. I only have the full 3.0 version on disc, and what I probably needed was the loram revision. Even something as light and speedy as Slitaz needs a little space to get started.
- Crux i586 has been the strongest contender yet, and amazingly I managed to put together a kernel that booted on the first try. I still have some issues to iron out — such as forcing the correct resolution to the framebuffer, because the kernel always jams 640×480 into it, and I want 800×600 — and memorywise it tells me it hasn’t got enough to build anything (which is possible). Your puzzle for today though, is to figure out how I get Crux onto it in the first place, since 32Mb is definitely not enough to load up the Crux i586 boot disc.
I still want to try Puppy Linux, the correct version of Slitaz and a few other lightweight operating systems. As always, if you have suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Next up is a small dose of heresy.