Installing Linux on Toshiba Portege 3480CT Notebook

Tomasz Grzegurzko tomasz89 at
Mon Jul 16 13:09:30 CST 2012


>> > Quite recently I have acquired from a friend (and this unit might end up
>> > getting sold in due course) a Toshiba Portege 3480CT Notebook, and is
>> > certainly by no means a very modern unit.  It is a Pentium 3 600MHz,
>> > with 128MB SDRAM (Supports a max memory of 192MB), HDD size is unknown
>> > at this point in time.  The unit has an external port replicator for
>> > plugging in external devices, and also accepts 2 PCMCIA cards, one of
>> > them being a network card with dongle, and the other I've plugged in for
>> > an external Port Noteworthy DVD-Rom Drive.

I'd agree with the other comments about creating a floppy based
installer. I've had to do so for environments where we installed the
software from USB stick, but of course your era computer didn't
support it, so I ended up putting a trim kernel on one floppy, the
initrd on the second floppy, then proceeding to boot the OS from CD.

A custom kernel tailed to your computer (only) should fit nicely on a
1.44MB floppy with a simple boot loader.
The initrd and any extra modules would then be your second floppy; I
recall GRUB could prompt for this so you could get time to physically
replace the media.
Having your OS filesystem on something else (USB stick, formatted to
ext2 for example) would make for a full featured runnable OS that you
could then partition, format and install an OS on your HDD with (using
debootstrap for example).

This is assuming you're familiar and comfortable with doing all the
above. You'd need a good understanding of the boot process, the system
hardware.... Another way may be to create a basic OS image and use an
imaging solution that boots from floppy and restores that image over
the network to your HDD.

Does your network card support PXE? That is another way of getting an
environment suitable for installation running quickly and easily, a
lot of Linux distros have kernels/initrds that can enable a network


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