I’ve taken on a task for the end of summer.
The computers are Dell Inspiron 4000 laptops which have 128Mb of RAM in each machine. Windows Millennium Edition. That wasn’t going to cut it. I hope a version of Linux will solve the problem. Floppy drive module. Was able to swap the floppy for a CD drive from a Dell Latitude laptop (hooray for parts compatibility).
First try: Damn Small Linux. 4.4.10 – DSL specs say it works great with low resource hardware. It installed easily and fairly quickly. It recognized the wireless card, attached working driver software and connected to Google Docs, but the browser wasn’t new enough to handle the job. After about an hour, the mouse pointer started to wander and finally got “stuck” in a screen corner. Move on…
Next: Puppy Linux 5.25 – It installed with a bit more work, but didn’t connect with the wireless, even when I used the exact same driver that had worked with DSL. Move on…
I’m now searching for more RAM. Dell’s page says the machine maxes out at 512Mb, two sticks of 256Mb. The first two I found weren’t recognized by the laptop which shut down right after turning on.
Anybody got ideas?
Anybody have compatible memory (PC100, SDRAM CL=2, non parity, 3.3V according to the Crucial Site) who would be willing to donate it? (Couldn’t get a PC133 chip to work. Would a BIOS update matter?)
128Mb memory modules would be enough to make the system workable. As it is now, the 30 laptops will supply enough RAM to have 15 working units. Clearly it would be nice if all 30 could be deployed. Class sizes are big at the school.
I’ll report on progress.