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Installing Linux on an NEC Versa 550D Laptop



Preface

Linux runs very well on this laptop and suspend-to-RAM and suspend-to-disk works very good. But the installation can be very hard because of the very low RAM of the computer. Here are some technical data of the NEC Versa 550D:

Processor:   Cyrix 5x86 100 MHz
RAM:         8MB
Extendable:  4, 8 or 16 MB but there is only one slot \
             for additional RAM and the RAM can be very expensive.
Video RAM:   1MB
Harddisk:    540 MB exchangable, my Versa has got a 1.2 GB harddisk
Floppy:      normal 1.44 mb disk floppy is included
PCMCIA:      two type II PCMCIA card slots
Mouse:       trackball

Installation

The installation works very well, but you have to choose the right distribution to let it work. Debian Woody doesn't run, because of the low memory but Debian Potato (2.2) runs very well. Because there is no cdrom drive in the laptop you have to install Linux with 10 floppy images.

Potato isn't up to date so you don't find the images for the floppy on the Debian FTP servers. The best way is to find somebody who's got the Debian Potato installation cdrom. On the cdrom there is a directory named dists/stable/main/disks-i386/ There you find several images you have to copy on the floppies. You need the images rescue.bin root.bin and the images base-1-10.bin. You put it on the floppy by using dd. The syntax is:

	dd if=filename of=/dev/fd0

If you have done this with all images, the next thing you have to do is do put the floppy with the rescue image in your floppy drive and boot the computer. Then if the order appears on screen, put the root image in the floppy drive.

After it a the installation dialogs come on the screen and you have to insert the installation floppies.

After you have done all these steps you have a running Linux system on your computer.

Some hints for the installation:

The mouse runs as an ordinary PS/2 mouse on /dev/psaux
PCMCIA chip: i82365
Graphik chip: Chips&Tech 65545

Tips and Tricks

Some sensible programs for slow cpu's:

Textutils: vim,less, more, sed etc.
Webbrowsing: lynx, links, w3m
Email: mutt, pine
Programming: gcc, g++, as86 etc.
Games: nethack and other text games
Windowmanagers, if you want to run X: xfce, twm
Slides: MagicPoint, TextView (Development isn't finished. Please help.)

Have fun...

This report is a courtesy of Nico Golde.








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© Werner Heuser 1997-2013 · http://tuxmobil.org/nec_versa_550d.html · last change Mon Nov 12 2007