A cascading effect

My Thinkpad does not have a DVD burner. Nor does it have a CD writer for that matter, which is a fact I am comfortable with. It does mean, however, that I made an effort before boxing up my 600m to make sure I didn’t need anything burned to CD or DVD before it left the house.

The most conspicious items in that category are software installation CDs — so things like Clonezilla or the Crux installation CD or the freshest cooking version of Slitaz were all double-checked before the 600m went away. I can be sure now that I can reinstall the system on my Number One computer, if necessary.

My Pentium has no CDROM, a fact I am accustomed to — what with a long history of swapping out the drive whenever the software needed updated or a new system needed installed. However, that means I must make doubly sure that the CDs I needed to install the software on that one were also ready — so the past three versions of the Crux i586 CDs, plus any other distro that supports early Pentiums.

My Thinkpad 560e has no CDROM either, which doesn’t intimidate me even if swapping hard drives on that machine is very inconvenient. In fact, the only way I can physically connect to the 560e is by floppy drive — which the Fujitsu Pentium has, and which works quite well, thank you very much. The 560e can conceivably boot from a floppy drive, which means floppy-based distros or distros that can install from floppy are also viable candidates.

And so I have this weird trickle-down effect happening these days. The 600m burned the CDs that I might need to rebuild the Thinkpad. At the same time I need the Thinkpad for piggybacking the hard drive from the 120Mhz Pentium. With the Pentium, I can write to floppy and use those to boot, for example, the Debian Etch floppy install, and maybe get Debian running at 166Mhz.

Sometimes this place is so weird, I’m embarrassed to discuss it. … 😳

2 thoughts on “A cascading effect

  1. steve

    Haha don’t be embarrased πŸ˜€ your arrangement is very unusual and therefore interesting. This blog is a treasure-trove of ideas.

  2. Joseph

    Hi K! I have been your fan for a while now. Perhaps this might help you.

    While I was in Germany over Christmas/NY spending time with family that I hadn’t seen in a few years, I offered to help my cousins with their computer woes. My tactic was to wipe out windows and replace it with ubuntu netbook remix on his laptop. Though, my preferred flavour is debian, I opted for ubuntu as I was not conversant with that hardware. ubuntu detected everything cleanly.

    I prefer debian as I am a minimalist, everything I require fits within half-a-gig. I have an old 64M-ram laptop with X, firefox, etc. ubuntu needed a 3.5G partition just to complete its install.

    I didn’t have any writable CDs and all shops were closed for Christmas. My only option was to intall over the internet, which might be helpful to you too. I installed grub on his laptop, created a menu option for net-install, and dumped “linux” and “initrd.gz” into another (not root) partition from


    You could instead install debian from


    Replace the debian/ubuntu versions with your preferred ones.

    Now, it is a simple case of restarting and selecting net-install from grub. Voila… πŸ™‚


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