Seeing as how I haven’t really had a computer challenge really since I came to Japan, when my friend asked for help getting an OS on an old laptop, I jumped at the opportunity to help. She said she wanted to put Linux on it since her old laptop, which was having charging problems from blunt force trauma, so naturally, I was like “Oh yea, this’ll be easy and awesome!” Boy, was I wrong! This is why I’m convinced that Linux is the devil…
So this whole shea-bang started when I got the DELL Inspiron 2600 started and needed to install a copy of Mint 11 that she already had downloaded for me. This didn’t really go far. I’d boot the system into the LiveCD, but it would only move at a crawl at best. I could hear the HD cranking every now and then, but the light wouldn’t be doing anything. I tried being patient, but after a half-hour, there wasn’t really much I could do about it. So I decided to get another distro all together. I remembered using Puppy at my old job for really old computers, so that was my first choice candidate.
Well, Puppy would install on the laptop after I figured out that I needed to turn ACPI support off, but the video card drivers would NOT recognize properly… at all! I was stuck in VESA mode at 640×480 pixels with 16 colors. After scrounging the net some more, I determined that the issue had to be something with the BIOS being out of date. This laptop though is easily 10 years old though, so it still had a floppy drive on it (blah…). I tried looking up some xorg.conf tweaks and hacks to get the video to display, but it started to get late and I needed to call it a night. We left it at the fact that we needed a floppy disk to update the BIOS.
Two days later, I was back at my friend’s place for round two. I didn’t have a floppy drive, but I was determined to at least get videos to work on the machine or get YouTube playback. Well, that was a waste of time. Either the resolution was too low or the Flash Player wasn’t installed properly. I tried tweaking things on the laptop some more, but eventually I had to concede for the night. Instead, I opted to take the laptop home with me so I could work on it at my leisure.
Another big mistake. So I have this tendancy (an obsession what have you) with seeing computer problems through to the end, no matter what. There is rarely a computer issue that I will concede to, so naturally, I wasn’t going to give up when I felt that I was getting so close. Puppy wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I decided to try another build of Linux. I had read online that Peppermint Linux was a good, low end build that has some focus on Cloud Computing. I also figured Ubuntu was worth a shot too since it probably has the most compatibility. Ubuntu wouldn’t boot properly on the computer, not even to the GRUB menu. Peppermint would boot on the computer and install, but at a ridiculously slow pace. Seriously, it would take an hour to boot the computer or run the LiveCD. Once it ran though, it was solid, but it was just the matter of getting the computer to that point. I knew this hour boot time wasn’t going to cut it so I looked into another build. I had also heard that Lubuntu was a good low end machines as well, so I figured it was worth a shot. Eventually, I was able to get Lubuntu to LiveCD boot with the ACPI = off. The next problem though came from the fact that Lubuntu’s slideshow video makes the installer crash about 75% of the way through, EVERY TIME. Luckily, I was able to find a guide on how to remove the video using Synaptic Package Manager.
Eventually, I was able to get the laptop to play movies. Mind you, this thing doesn’t play movies great, but with the totem movie player, it was managing them very well. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll be able to manage a much better Linux install. Anyways, here are all the links to the sites that I had to access to get the laptop up and going, ranging from GRUB editing to Software Management. Whomever comes across this page in need of help, がんばって下さい。
How-to Install Lucid on Inspiron 2600 Laptop
Re: Dell inspiron 2600 graphics problem
Dell Inspiron 2600 working with Lubuntu
add in grub2 acpi=off as default after installation?
Ubiquity 2.10.16: Lubuntu 12.04 Install Crash on slideshow