Charity, I beg thee

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

The resurrection of the aforementioned charitable case has gone well, with only a few minor glitches.

First and foremost, that motherboard has no onboard clues as to what plug goes where. So a certain measure of trial-and-error was necessary, particularly with the case lights and reset switches. I was left with a 2×8 array of pins and a wiring connector with only two sockets, and I wasn’t keen on trying each of the 22 or so combinations just to get the hard drive light on.

So in the end, it has no working reset switch or hard drive indicator light, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from using it. I mean, it’s easy to figure out if the thing is running — it sounds like a hair dryer when it’s turned on.

Installing Ubuntu took about an hour and a half, although in retrospect I’m not sure why. It’s a 550Mhz machine and so it seems like it would do better than that. Perhaps my hired help was lacking.

I had some graphics problems. I trumped the onboard SiS530 with a Matrox Millenium II PCI card, but Ubuntu’s mga driver is a no-go. I tried a lot of different combinations and a lot of different color depths, but the only thing that was working was vesa. Hmm.

Along those same lines, the boot and run times seem sluggish. Maybe it’s just been a while since I put together a machine this slow, but I put 96Mb of memory in it and used FVWM-Crystal, and so the profile should be less than 64Mb even after reaching the desktop. I guess the hard drive is an old 6Gb 5400rpm clunker, so that’s not helping.

But still, my mom’s 300Mhz Pentium II boots faster than this. I think I shall tinker a little longer and see if I can come up with a remedy. Ultimately it’s not worth wringing my hands over, since whoever gets it will probably overwrite Ubuntu with Windows, but it would ease my conscience a little.


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