Damn Small Linux (DSL) Forums

Damn Small Linux => User Feedback => Topic started by: Veeshush on October 23, 2014, 09:00:48 PM



Title: Welp, DSL is the ONLY distro I could get going on a 486 rig (socket 3)
Post by: Veeshush on October 23, 2014, 09:00:48 PM
Specs: It's a AST Advantage Adventure 6066d. So 1992, or 1993 manufactured. It's been upgraded since it was first bought, but the mainboard (some AST made thing) is still original. Then I think it was back in 2009 or so I bought up a bunch of parts while I could still find them easy enough (250 watt PSU, rounded IDE cables, a ISA Ethernet card to get online, etc).

CPU: Pentium Overdrive 83Mhz which is a 586 made to fit socket 3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_OverDrive
HD: 540mb (but because of the old 528mb BIOS bug limit, I can't use the full drive, see http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html )
Ram: 36mb EDO (maxed out as far as what the mainboard will take)
GPU: ATI MACH64
ISA Ethernet card

Did most of the final upgrades back in 2009, which was when I had actually first put DSL on it to try out. The biggest hassle was partitioning the drive while not knowing about the BIOS hard drive limit, and that the old cd-rom drive wasn't cut out for reading Linux live cds (which I just swapped out with a faster cdrom). Played around with it for a week or so, then decided to stick on the Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack for nostalgia (which is a community made, mostly dead project that was aimed to get the most out of an End of Life Win98).

Long story short, the rig just sat around for a few more years powered off, and only lately decided again to get Linux going on it after being more comfortable having swapped most my other computers to a Linux distro of some sort.

Looked over: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightweight_Linux_distribution
Most if not all of them are aimed at mid-late 90s rigs at a bare minimum, wanting at least a few hundred mb of ram.  Tried TinyCore, but it wanted "at least 46 MB of RAM" and I came up a bit short.

Also tried https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KolibriOS which isn't Linux but an open source OS "written completely in assembly". Wouldn't load and I don't blame it at all (I think my rig may just be too old)

So I just came back to DSL, grabbed the 4.11.rc2, threw it on a cd, booted it with a floppy (cause no cd boot on old mainboards) and it loaded right up. Install it to the hard drive, done. Browses the web with Dillo a thousand times faster than Win98 with IE.


I don't know. Just thought I'd share it with you guys to, at the very least, still show there's people around that would rather hold onto old rigs they grew up on than to bin them at a e-waste recycling center or something. Over spoiled today with SSDs, multi-cores clocked over 5ghz, high end ATI/nvidia graphic cards- people forget what these old machines can do. Not to say I don't use a "gaming" rig as my main everyday system, but I love playing around all types of systems. Anyway, yeah, DSL is the only available life support for my old system.  :D It just didn't mind how little ram I have and it runs pretty great.


Title: Re: Welp, DSL is the ONLY distro I could get going on a 486 rig (socket 3)
Post by: AE7XQ on October 24, 2014, 04:19:00 AM
Glad to see that you got it running. I am running DSL 4.11.rc2 on a Dell laptop. I have some stuff I plan to install to soon using MyDSL. My plan is to use it for some of my amateur radio stuff. In particular, I am going to use it for 2 meter packet and running a 440 MHz repeater (though I've considered looking into modifying the transmit and receive boards and setting it up for the 222 MHz band). What are your plans for your system? I'd like to know. DSL is really an awesome OS. I used to like Puppy, but it has gotten to bloated for me in terms of a mini-distro. I use a Ubuntu hack for my HF/MF stuff. I think DSL is more appropriate for VHF/UHF work. I would love to see DSL for ARM devices, then I'd load it into an SD for my Raspberry Pi.


Title: Re: Welp, DSL is the ONLY distro I could get going on a 486 rig (socket 3)
Post by: Veeshush on October 25, 2014, 11:24:46 PM
My plan is to use it for some of my amateur radio stuff. In particular, I am going to use it for 2 meter packet and running a 440 MHz repeater (though I've considered looking into modifying the transmit and receive boards and setting it up for the 222 MHz band).

Ah neat. You should stick some videos on Youtube of it.

What are your plans for your system? I'd like to know. DSL is really an awesome OS.

Pretty much just to keep it running. I want to pick up that DSL book on Amazon give that a look over. Personally, I just started really swapping over all my systems (except for my main, I need to get some SSDs to duel boot) with Linux cause of the post Snowden stuff. That, I'm just so tired of babysitting Windows installs, tracking down all the updates, etc. Scrubbed XP off an old box and threw Debian on once XP went End of Life. Then I got thinking about this system, I was just "why am I keeping a Win98 install?" so I threw DSL on it.

I used to like Puppy, but it has gotten to bloated for me in terms of a mini-distro.

Yeah, I could never get into Puppy.


Title: Re: Welp, DSL is the ONLY distro I could get going on a 486 rig (socket 3)
Post by: fatmac on October 26, 2014, 10:11:16 AM
Don't forget that you can make up for difficient ram by using a swap partition.:)


Title: Re: Welp, DSL is the ONLY distro I could get going on a 486 rig (socket 3)
Post by: AE7XQ on October 27, 2014, 02:26:33 AM
I bought the book. It was a great investment. I am going to get into shell scripting soon so that I can write my own script for controlling the repeater. Yes, I have plans to put a video on youtube once the station is setup. I will post when the video is up, but that is still a couple of months down the road.


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