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#1 2011-11-30 07:33:00

i336
Member
Registered: 2011-01-08
Posts: 11

Decent base distro for i586

I have an old i586 AMD K6-2(3D) here I've upgraded from "surface for dust to sit on" to "interesting" and am messing around with at the moment; I'll likely boot DOS on it mostly but as par the course it's going to need a Linux install on it to be usable.

It's quite an interesting machine; somehow its entire PS/2 subsystem seems to have been fried, since the internal "button" mouse doesn't work - as far as CuteMouse for DOS is concerned, I don't have a PS/2 mouse installed, regardless of whether I have one connected or not - and in addition something seems to have happened to its memory controller, which I figured out after noting that it said it had 32MB of RAM... regardless of whether the 64MB SIMM it has had in its this whole time was installed or not. roll

To top it all off, it only has a serial port, which I (amazingly) managed to get working with DOS... only to discover that my shiny new connection's max speed was 14.4k lol... besides that it has a USB port but I'm not sure if/how I could get that working with my SpeedStream 6520 modem/router's USB port.

Sigh. I really like Arch... but... yeah. I'm looking for a distro that "gets out of my way" so I don't have to (re-)learn anything new... which, if you think about it, is exactly what Arch is. Meh.

So I think I need a utilitarian-style distro that one would use to "get by" on a system that will primarily run DOS. So... maybe X, if I want to fire up PPP over the serial port see how fast dialup used to be in 1995, but probably not. tongue Most likely I'll want cfdisk, resize2fs, calc, gcc, etc. Those kinds of things. And suffice to say that the CD-ROM drive is likely going to be the way I get packages into it, so a distro that has a balanced collection of utilities on one or two install CDs (I can give this distro at most 1.5GB) would be preferable.

I wonder what you'll reply. tongue

-i336

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#2 2011-11-30 09:37:34

tomk
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From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,835

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Slackware or Debian.

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#3 2011-11-30 09:48:48

i336
Member
Registered: 2011-01-08
Posts: 11

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Heh, I actually asked #debian (on FN) and they completely agreed too... but like, Debian is 52 ~650-700MB CDs hmm

As I earlier wrote:

...suffice to say that the CD-ROM drive is likely going to be the way I get packages into it, so a distro that has a balanced collection of utilities on one or two install CDs (I can give this distro at most 1.5GB) would be preferable.

Would Debian work out?

Thanks for replying.

-i336

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#4 2011-11-30 10:42:50

tomk
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From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,835

Re: Decent base distro for i586

I thought you could do a net install with Debian - maybe that's changed in the many many years since I used it. smile

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#5 2011-11-30 11:25:31

i336
Member
Registered: 2011-01-08
Posts: 11

Re: Decent base distro for i586

There is a netinstall CD, but like I said, I only have the serial port (!), a USB port I'm not sure how to connect to my modem, a CD-ROM drive, or another laptop with a dead screen that does have an Ethernet port I can plug the HDD into. If I use the HDD method and use the netinst CD that's not going to solve the problem of installing extra packages...

*sigh* I don't even want Debian, Slackware or another distro. Isn't there a semi-non-dead i586 Arch flavour out there? sad To be honest, Lowarch has been just enough to be usable, surprisingly - I really don't need it that much.

-i336

Last edited by i336 (2011-11-30 11:26:07)

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#6 2011-11-30 12:02:33

Gusar
Member
Registered: 2009-08-25
Posts: 3,399

Re: Decent base distro for i586

If the USB port works... buy an USB ethernet thingy. Or bluetooth, that's how I had internet many years ago, the computer in the next room was sharing it's connection via bluetooth. Or even an USB Wifi thingy, if they work on USB1.
Then there's cellphone tethering. Connect the phone via wifi to the router, and then share that connection over usb. I did that with my phone once, worked perfectly smile. You'll need an Android phone running CyanogenMod for that though smile

Edit: Or actually, use your modem directly over USB. The cdc-ether (or maybe rndis_host) driver should work. Weird machine though... it has usb, but not ethernet? Does it have a PCMCIA/Cardbus slot? If so, ethernet or wifi cards for that are also an option.

Then, for an i586 Arch flavor, I think ConnochaetOS is still active.

Last edited by Gusar (2011-11-30 12:46:22)

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#7 2011-11-30 16:39:59

tomk
Forum Fellow
From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,835

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Sorry.... completely missed your lack of ethernet. smile

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#8 2011-12-01 23:44:24

i336
Member
Registered: 2011-01-08
Posts: 11

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Gusar wrote:

If the USB port works... buy an USB ethernet thingy. Or bluetooth, that's how I had internet many years ago, the computer in the next room was sharing it's connection via bluetooth. Or even an USB Wifi thingy, if they work on USB1.
Then there's cellphone tethering. Connect the phone via wifi to the router, and then share that connection over usb. I did that with my phone once, worked perfectly smile. You'll need an Android phone running CyanogenMod for that though smile

Edit: Or actually, use your modem directly over USB. The cdc-ether (or maybe rndis_host) driver should work. Weird machine though... it has usb, but not ethernet? Does it have a PCMCIA/Cardbus slot? If so, ethernet or wifi cards for that are also an option.

I am considering looking for an old PCMCIA card, since if I find a good (read: really old) one, I'll likely be able to get it working in pure DOS, which would be great. I'll see how I go. Oh, I don't think I mentioned this... it's a Toshiba 2450CDS, if anyone wants to know tongue

And fascinating use of Android cool

Gusar wrote:

Then, for an i586 Arch flavor, I think ConnochaetOS is still active.

Ooh, I never noticed the recentness of the release date... or, for that matter, the "last modified" date on the page... I was too distracted noticing the last-modified time xD

I do believe I'll try ConnochaetOS after all.

There is, however, one problem: I haven't burned a CD in such a long time (years... I simply haven't needed to) that... I forgot that I have no blank CDs! And that's just about done it. I'm reinstalling DOS now, I think...

I was hoping to set Linux up first but I'm trying to use the thing with the Win98 DOS 7.1 kernel since the partition with the DOS 6.22 kernel went kaput after the... interesting mix of DOS FDISK, FreeDOS FDISK and cfdisk that I used produced the partition time bomb I'm dealing with here. Not only do I not have DOS 6.22 and can't run Win 3.1, one of the partitions (I think F:... no, it's E:) is also full of, well, the only word for it is "data", since the FAT entries for a few directories and files mysteriously disappeared, but the "free space" count on the disk was never updated. Suffice to say that I'll copy off what I've worked on since I imaged all the partitions (dd | gzip | nc && md5sum ftw!!1), wipe and repartition the disk using a minimum of utilities, and creating only 3 partitions!!11!, reinstall DOS, and install Linux - ConnochaetOS looks pretty good - later when I have some blank CDs. Oh, fun. big_smile

Now to figure out EVERYTHING I've changed... and I don't think I've changed much, but that's the problem...

-i336

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#9 2011-12-02 00:21:58

Gusar
Member
Registered: 2009-08-25
Posts: 3,399

Re: Decent base distro for i586

i336 wrote:

Oh, fun. big_smile

I'll say. Playing with DOS, that is awesome. I wish I had an old machine like that to play with in this way.

For the ultimate fun, try to get the USB port running in DOS. I have a floppy image, created in Win98, that I've put USB drivers on. Used it to flash the BIOS on a laptop. Did that because the flasher and bios were too large to put directly into the image, so I had them on an USB stick. Was cool because this way I was able to backup the old bios onto the stick.

Too bad about your 6.22 partition, but you know, there's ways to get 6.22 images... *whistles*. Edit: Err, wait, do I understand that correctly, there was Win3.1 on that partition too? Damn...

Edit2: Googling for that Toshiba, I found this, which contains a link to https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php … 81#p438281. Any connection here? smile

Last edited by Gusar (2011-12-02 00:44:47)

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#10 2011-12-02 05:25:58

i336
Member
Registered: 2011-01-08
Posts: 11

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Gusar wrote:
i336 wrote:

Oh, fun. big_smile

I'll say. Playing with DOS, that is awesome.

I agree... I'm actually writing a fun little beep program in QB 4.5 on it at the moment, and using BWSB to play tracked audio files in the background... tracked audio FTW, and TSR music players FTW!!1 big_smile big_smile

And so far I've downloaded, err, *checks*... MEEEP 1174MB OF...random...things... for it. Oh...kay... I seem to have gotten a bit carried away. hmm Well I've always wanted Wipeout for DOS and I finally managed to find an ISO... yay. Only problem is the unit's LCD; I forgot long ago what kind it was, but it's the kind that simply cannot handle anything except a static image - moving text, animation, etc produce a relatively illegible picture. I'll most likely hook the laptop up to this LCD to play it. Or... install Wipeout onto a spare partition on this PC. I'm not sure. roll

Gusar wrote:

For the ultimate fun, try to get the USB port running in DOS.

I actually did that a long time ago... I'm currently trying to get "DUSE" working, which is hotpluggable DOS USB stack (!!!)... so far my only successes are with basic USBASPI.SYS+DI1000DD.SYS combinations, but yea.

Gusar wrote:

Too bad about your 6.22 partition, but you know, there's ways to get 6.22 images... *whistles*. Edit: Err, wait, do I understand that correctly, there was Win3.1 on that partition too?

Both might've been gotten using suggested methods... yea. tongue And I have the archives here somewhere. smile

Gusar wrote:

Edit2: Googling for that Toshiba, I found this, which contains a link to https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php … 81#p438281. Any connection here? smile

Hah, I completely forgot I wrote that! Yea, I started using i336 because... well, I liked what it meant (for personal reasons) and also because I needed to use IRC for help with the computer after a long time of not being online and I didn't want to get distracted with 1000 questions from people as to why I'd been gone... and I just started using it elsewhere. I might fire dav7 back up sometime, I don't know smile

And... my brain doesn't run updatedb often enough tongue I read earlier yesterday (and completely forgot when I read/wrote this last night) that you can use grub's map command to map an ISO file to an image on the HDD (yea, wow). So I'll try putting the HDD back into the aforementioned laptop with the kaput screen and copying the Connectochaos... err, ConnochaetOS ISO onto the HDD, and see if that works. big_smile When I muster the courage up to figure out what I changed. . o O ( Why am I stalling? )

-i336... or maybe not? lol

Last edited by i336 (2011-12-02 05:32:39)

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#11 2011-12-02 05:35:00

dav7
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-02-08
Posts: 674

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Oh, so *that's* what my password was. *whew* my own-domain-based-email address died long ago so "Forgot password?" kinda wouldn't have worked... eep

Just proving dav7 == i336 tongue

Hm, and I need to figure out a new signature.

And... since I wanted to mention this but you can't edit your post unless it's the last post in a thread, I'll add this here: probably the weirdest thing I've found yet is CYLON.COM, a... weird cursor TSR (!). *tries to disassemble it*

And I've been trying to remember the exception to that "I before E except after C" rule for ages, and I finally found it: "weirdest" tongue

-i3--dav7

Last edited by dav7 (2011-12-02 05:44:06)


Windows was made for looking at success from a distance through a wall of oversimplicity. Linux removes the wall, so you can just walk up to success and make it your own.
--
Reinventing the wheel is fun. You get to redefine pi.

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#12 2011-12-02 09:43:57

Gusar
Member
Registered: 2009-08-25
Posts: 3,399

Re: Decent base distro for i586

i336 wrote:

tracked audio FTW

Yep, I had a few of those. I had them playing out of the PC Speaker. I kid you not. Then, remember Pinball Fantasies? It used .mod files for it's audio. And it was quite something hearing "f-f-f-f-five million!!" coming out of the PC Speaker!

i336 wrote:

Well I've always wanted Wipeout for DOS

Wipeout for DOS? Holy eff, I just checked, it really exists. Then again, not that crazy, there are other PSX games that run in DOS. I even have one, The Need For Speed (yeah, the first one had a "The" in the title, the later ones don't).

i336 wrote:

I actually did that a long time ago... I'm currently trying to get "DUSE" working, which is hotpluggable DOS USB stack (!!!)... so far my only successes are with basic USBASPI.SYS+DI1000DD.SYS combinations, but yea.

Yeah, usbaspi+di1000dd is in my floppy image. I have duse as well, 4.4 and 4.9, but I couldn't get them running. Not even usbaspi+di1000dd works everywhere, it doesn't on my netbook for example.
And it's quite cumbersome playing around with this stuff, because you have to reboot all the time.

i336 wrote:
Gusar wrote:

Edit2: Googling for that Toshiba, I found this, which contains a link to https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php … 81#p438281. Any connection here? smile

Hah, I completely forgot I wrote that!

LOOOOOL. Cool though.

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#13 2011-12-05 08:09:01

dav7
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-02-08
Posts: 674

Re: Decent base distro for i586

Gusar wrote:
i336 wrote:

tracked audio FTW

Yep, I had a few of those. I had them playing out of the PC Speaker. I kid you not. Then, remember Pinball Fantasies? It used .mod files for it's audio. And it was quite something hearing "f-f-f-f-five million!!" coming out of the PC Speaker!

PC speaker audio drivers are cool. I found one for Win 3.1. DING.WAV was a little glitchy, but it played. Then... Windows started locking up. tongue Thankfully I found real audio drivers (for W3.1!!)
And BWSB is particularly cool because it doesn't require the 8259 (timer) to go very fast in order to work. For example, the JUDAS2 sound system produces significantly higher quality audio (BWSB handles HQ audio... interestingly), but has to reprogram the 8259 to go super-fast in order to work. So when I fire up QuickBASIC or a similar program which "makes itself at home" with the 8259 and... who knows what else... the audio goes icky. tongue Actually, I can check what else big_smile *examines MS-DOS 6.00 source code* ...oh, that only has QBasic 1.1 in it, meh.

Gusar wrote:

Not even usbaspi+di1000dd works everywhere, it doesn't on my netbook for example.
And it's quite cumbersome playing around with this stuff, because you have to reboot all the time.

After quite a bit of scratching around to re-find Panasonic's USBASPI driver since I lost it and was using a less... full-featured driver, I also found this DOS boot CD ([> direct .ISO file link <]) with 5 different versions of USBASPI.SYS. Perhaps this could help? smile http://bretjohnson.us also has an EHCI only set of DOS USB drivers, but these don't work for me since my controller is OHCI. This page contains some interesting references, including a reverse-engineered option/switch summary for the Panasonic USB driver (which is why I was trying to find that one!); and the Plop bootloader includes a read-only USB boot mode option, which basically makes any PC USB-bootable: using the INT 19h "hot-boot" interrupt, Plop can load the USB support then perform a hot-boot, re-triggering the BIOS boot sequence with the USB stack still in memory cool *boggles* THAT should do it lol - in other words, with Plop on say a CD and a flashdrive inserted, Plop loads into memory, CD is removed, USB boot mode is run, flashdrive is loaded! At least that's what the site suggests... I haven't tried this method.

Reinstalling has certainly been interesting. On the one hand not having to remember that BWSB was in D:\, Windows 3.11 was in F:\,  FreeDOS was in E:\, Corel WordPerfect 6.2 was in C:\ and G:\ had my Windows swapfile on it is nice smile but not having all the things that were on the disk before has been a bit of a blocker here and there. (oh, Windows 3.11 was what was on it before but since the the network stuff was just being annoying I put 3.1 on it now.) *Ooh, remembers to grab unrar*
This laptop certainly is weird, not having an Ethernet port, and only having USB 1.1 (<-- + flash drive = !!!). It just wasn't designed for [network] connectivity, I guess - that's why they put a floppy disk drive in it (yea...).
And... I might've copied everything off properly... except my QB45 folder... so I lost all the changes since I backed my music program thingy up, heheh. A rewrite actually sounds a little fun though, since I haven't been working on it long, and it wasn't big smile (I think either my new ext3 partition overwrote the old FAT16 partition QB45\ was in, or I ran 'dd if=/dev/zero'  for too many seconds tongue)

* i336 wonders where this topic is going... maybe to "Try this?" *gets topic confusion*

-i336

Last edited by dav7 (2011-12-05 08:35:26)


Windows was made for looking at success from a distance through a wall of oversimplicity. Linux removes the wall, so you can just walk up to success and make it your own.
--
Reinventing the wheel is fun. You get to redefine pi.

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