Back to Debian, at 133Mhz and 32Mb

By most accounts I am a fairly patient person. I do, however, occasionally get tired of repeating the same tasks, troubleshooting the same problems and performing the same acrobatics.

So after a second and third try at putting Crux 2.7 on the Pentium, and getting a perfect system … except this time for a lack of any network — I decided to go the short route.

I’ll admit that my first stop after Crux was to try the same stunt with Slitaz, console-only. And it worked well except for some reason, it too was having network problems.

I am willing to blame my router at this point, but just for a final troubleshooting effort, I used the Debian netboot CD and got a fully working system this morning.

I even went one step further and got my mysterious RT61-based PCMCIA card to link up nicely, with the firmware-ralink package out of Lenny-non-free installed.

The only other issue I have with using Debian on a Pentium, as a torrent slave and file host, is that rtorrent in Lenny is stuck at version 0.7.9 or something.

That’s pretty far back. I don’t think that even supports DHT. No matter, a quick surf and I came across this page which described a fairly simple way to bump rtorrent up to 0.8.6.

And with that and mc and htop and screen, along with the required nfs-kernel-server and dropbear packages (openssh-server seems to imply X11 stuff, which I would prefer avoid), the machine is more or less complete.

It’s not a picture-perfect replica of the machine I usually configure, and it takes a little longer to boot, but it sure took a lot less time to wrangle. Sometimes that’s a bonus. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Back to Debian, at 133Mhz and 32Mb

  1. Reacocard

    openssh-server only has X stuff in its recommends as far as i can see, so if you tell apt to skip the recommends when installing you should be able to avoid them. 🙂

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      You’re right; I should have tried that too. Dropbear was just a quick and easy solution. I am sometimes too lazy. 😦

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Well, to be honest, downloading three small packages out of squeeze, and installing them with dpkg -i is quicker and cleaner than dragging in all the source packages, toolchain and patches, then building everything at 133Mhz. … 😕

  2. Calvin

    The PC that ran Debian for me got upgraded 😀 – it now has 320 MB, won’t run out of memory again, ever. Plus I can test fatter distros. Plus it plays Red Alert smoothly. 🙂 (I use the native Windows build, blasphemous, but still fun)

    Processor is still a bottleneck. Trying to find a Slot 1 Coppermine….

  3. vespas

    i have been following your blog for a while and i have a challenge for you: can you run a (console based) desktop similar to the ones you are using now, but on a router running *-wrt? (think usb-vga adapter)

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      The first trick would be getting my hands on one. 🙂 The funny thing is, in the days before I started using Linux, I had a Linksys WRT54G, and didn’t know how the potential in it. 😐 Such is life.

      1. vespas

        well, ebay is your friend. people sell asus routers with ddwrt already installed (open source is a feature now!)


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