Compaq Portable III from 1987 wants to be freed!

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Compaq Portable III from 1987 wants to be freed!

Postby Oyster » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:32 am

It's got 6Mb RAM, 20Mb HDD (possibly 40Mb), a 5.25 Floppy drive and a sexy orange monochrome screen.
There is also an expansion box for two ISA cards which I will use to get this old girl onto the internet with an ethernet card.

http://oldcomputers.net/compaqiii.html

I can plug in a 3.5 drive temporarily to install linux but am looking for recommendations from any old-timers who have installed on ancient gear.

mulinux looks like a candidate.

I hope to post in this forum from lynx browser on a working linux install to finish off this thread.

Help free this crusty old granny from her shackles :)
Last edited by Oyster on Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Oyster » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:19 am

Hmmm, it's a 286 (from 1987) which is pre-linux (1991 announced).

Doh!

Anyone heard of a kernel running on a 286?
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Postby dandnsmith » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:49 am

AFAIR we were running SCO Unix and one other on small portables in that era.

Even at 40MB HDD, I think you'd be pushing it for modern distros.

My first trial would be Tom's Root n Boot, which runs on pretty basic hardware, and doesn't have fancy graphics requirements.
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Postby Oyster » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:06 am

dandnsmith,

Thanks for the advice, I'll have a look for that.

I am hoping to go with a preferably free OS and would like to install it to HDD rather than a floppy-booted OS.

My research on linux for 286 has so far come up with nothing.

Meanwhile, granny's (she needs a name) guts are open to the elements.

The search continues.....
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Postby towy71 » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:25 am

I think you'll find that there is no Linux kernel that can run on that hardware, it is possible that minix might but I doubt it!



ps I have just such a box but with a 3.5 floppy built in and I haven't managed to get anything to work on it :cry:
still looking for that door into summer
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Postby Oyster » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:57 am

Hey towy71

I found ELKS which sounds like a 286 branch of an old linux kernel

http://elks.sourceforge.net/FAQ-English.html

It has a root and a boot floppy (the root floppy content can be copied to HDD) whicih are used in tandem to get the machine going.
I'm not that keen on pursuing that though as it would mean I'd need to leave the machine open as the 3.5" drive is not included in the box.

It does support 286 though so you might be able to do it with your configuration.
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Postby Bazza » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:15 am

Hi towy71...

You could try MikeOS... ;oD

I`ve checked the source and it doesn`t use any non `286
assembly code although Mike intended it for `386 minimum
running in 16 bit mode...

GO ON, have a bit of light hearted fun and give it a try
using the floppy version. You might just get hooked.

The highly restricted environment is stretching my mind
for a change and I`m luvvin it... :D
73...

Bazza, G0LCU...

Team AMIGA...
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