Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Computer Reuse Through Linux

One day I found a laptop dumped in recycle bin at my office. It is Toshiba Tecra 8100 with Pentium3 450 MHz, 64-MB RAM and 12 MB harddisk. It had Windows NT in it. I took it home, reformatted it with my SuSE Linux 9.2. Well, the memory seemed not enough, so I went to and found somebody was selling the 128 RAM SIMM100 for around 20 bucks. Not bad, I though. So I bought it and installed it on the laptop.

I got 192 MB now so I could run the GUI (I use KDE, but also added many GNOME libraries to run GNOME-based applications). I then downloaded the latest kernel available at that time (2.6.10). I also bought Cisco Linksys PCMCIA WLAN card (WPC54 SpeedBooster). Unfortunately, Linksys has not provided the driver for Linux yet, but luckily there is ndiswrapper downloadable somewhere. So I copied the driver for Windows to my Linux, run the ndiswrapper and ...voila, the wireless card worked. Well, still had problem here. Apparently, there was a conflict between ndiswrapper and ndiswrapper. I rebuilt the kernel and disabled sound drivers, but still sporadically the ndiswrapper did work very well (sometimes, the WLAN lost connection). For your info, I rebuilt them with specific processor criterias enabled, such as mcpu=pentium3 -msse and mfpmath=sse.

A few days I go, I gave a try to use kernel I even rebuilt Krolltech's QT and many libraries. After many days of recompiling, I successfuly made the wireless work with sound drivers. I was one of the happiest days in my life making reuse the old laptop. I have been using the laptop for many of my daily activities, including browsing, reading emails and even a lightweight server. Yes, it is a server. Imagine if I use Windows for this purpose, I might have burned the laptop to the hell for its slowiness.

The laptop has SSH server, FTP, Telnet and many other services. I even also connect my external USB harddrive, thus I got additional 12 GB of space for storage. Not bad at all.

At work, I also partition my other laptop (it is IBM T30 with 512 MB RAM and 40 GB of total space). I parition 6 GB for Linux, and the rest for Windows 2000. You know what? I ended up using Linux for my work activities almost everyday. Linux is really cool, and I have learned a lot about many things because of opensource applications and tools available from the internet.

I really thank people outthere who have developed such great operating systems, applications and tools.

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