Topic: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Hello everyone,

I purchased a Toshiba Portege 610CT for around $35 with the intent of installing a free OS onto it. The hard drive is around 700MB. I tried to install Debian GNU/Linux via the net but I need 32mb of RAM and I only have 24MB. I was able to install Tiny Linux, but was a little dissappointed with the functionality. I figured BSD would give me much more power and be smaller. It really doesn't matter which version of BSD i get, I just want one that will perhaps do the following:
Fit on the HDD
Allow me to do useful things (program in python, Fortran, view pdf's, txt files, perhaps light web browsing)
use the sound chip
perhaps dual boot with Linux or other BSD so be pretty  small (around 100-300 MB?)
It needs to install via floppy somehow. I CANNOT detach HDD and use adapter to connect to desktop. There is no optical drive so floppy is the ONLY way. Whether that is via network or many floppies ( I have at least 40 blanks) is irrelevant to me right now.

The thing had Win95 and I'm counting on the Open Source software community to ensure that the decision to wipe Windows was not a bad or foolish one. Hopefully I'll get better battery life or better performance or something...

TIA smile

PS: If i need to read any documentation, then please just link me to it. I'm not a baby, but would like your guidance.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Well, let me offer the FreeBSD option: here are your floppy images: ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/relea … /floppies/
And here's the handbook explaining how to use them (see chapter 2.3.7): http://www.freebsd.org/handbook . If at all possible, once you're in the installer, I'd go with a network install.

Now, you can fit a basic FreeBSD installation in 200MB I think (and even free up some of that when you delete nonessentials), but once you add a couple of applications you'll easily reach more than 300MB. Seeing how your disk space is quite limited, I'd forget dual booting for now. You can always try it again later.

As for your tasks: python programming should work just fine, especially if you stick to terminal editors like vim. Fortran... wait, is anyone really still creating new programs in fortran? PDF viewing.... might me more difficult. It implies a graphical environment, which eats a decent amount of your 32MB of RAM, and then there's the memory required for the PDF file itself... I'd say you're going to see swapping here, how much depends on the size and complexity of the PDF files.

Webbrowsing is possible if you don't use the mainstream browsers but some of the lightweight ones like links or dillo. Of course, this means having quite a bit less functionality and not being able to use many sites, but at least its something. Email will work well on the machine if you use mutt and an IMAP server.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Excellent! Is this the latest FreeBSD release? Is it better/faster/nicer/? than the other BSD's? As for Fortran, I found an introductory book at Barnes&Noble for $1 including CD (clearance) on Fortran. I do plan to use console editors if for nothing else, to learn and master them. vim sounds very good from what I hear/read. So is there a way to get any type of Xwindows system on this little thing? Perhaps a tiny WM like IceWM or dwm...As for browsing, that would be rare- I love dillo so that would go on there. Any idea if sound will work? I think the ability to run the most recent release of any BSD would make it better than running Win95, which is well over a decade old. Once I get everything connected inside the laptop (I hope I do this right), I'll give the floppies a try. Thanks a lot.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Yes, 7.0 is at the moment the latest FreeBSD release. Whether it's better/faster/nicer than the other BSDs is mostly a matter of personal taste and how exactly you use it. Yes, Xorg with a lightweight window manager will probably work just fine, the question is which applications will then fit into your RAM. My guess is that after loading X and, say, windowmaker, you'll have 10MB or less RAM left. And no, I don't know whether sound will work.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

For now, I don't think it will matter as I think in reconnecting everything the power cable to the sound chip busted. I'm not sure how to fix it, so it may just stay that way forever.

Can I write those floppies from a Debian box? Which command would I use, the 'dd' command?

Everything else reconnected except that now the led light indicator panel does not work (eg hdd light, battery light, caps lock light)

maybe i can find a manual and read it or something.

as it is a project PC i really don't care; i just want a good OS on there!

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Okay, after trying Debian, I am ready to install one version of BSD. The laptop previously had Windows 95, so I'm looking for similar system requirements to parallel or surpass performance. Debian requires 40 MB, and I've tried it out; It's almost unbearably slow. I read the NetBSD Guide and saw that you need 4 MB RAM minimum with 8 being better, which is almost exactly like Win95. For the installation I will be transferring the HDD to an NEC Versa 6230 as it has a CD-ROM drive, working PCMCIA, and floppy. Which version would best suit this application? I am new to BSD, I'm not sure if any one is easier than the other... What modifications to system files would I have to make to transfer the HDD back to the Toshiba? The NEC has a screen res of 1024x768 while the Toshiba is limited to only 640x480. The sound chip worked under Debian, but I'm not sure if that means it will under *BSD. Would it be best to install via floppy/network, or download and burn a CD? The HDD is 2.1GB.

Thank you again.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

I tried to install Debian GNU/Linux via the net but I need 32mb of RAM and I only have 24MB. I was able to install Tiny Linux, but was a little dissappointed with the functionality. I figured BSD would give me much more power and be smaller. It really doesn't matter which version of BSD i get, I just want one that will perhaps do the following:
Fit on the HDD
Allow me to do useful things (program in python, Fortran, view pdf's, txt files, perhaps light web browsing)
use the sound chip
perhaps dual boot with Linux or other BSD so be pretty  small (around 100-300 MB?)

The HDD is 2.1GB.

The biggest limitation you face is the severely limited amount of memory present.  There was a thread recently on OpenBSD's misc@ mailing list discussing what constitutes the least amount of RAM needed & although there were a few people claiming that they could run a bare minimum system in 24MB RAM in 24MB, they were using their systems as firewalls.  In general, 32MB is considered the minimum for OpenBSD.

24MB RAM may be sufficient to install NetBSD, but X is a memory pig.  I would not recommend anyone to consider running a graphical interface on such a system.  The amount of swapping to disk will likely make the system so sluggish that the overall system will be unusable.  And if X isn't an issue, browsers such as Firefox are even worse when it comes to memory utilization.  You may need to resign yourself to using a text-based browser such as Lynx.  In my opinion, viewing PDF's with this environment will be difficult at best.

If you can increase the amount of memory in this system, I would highly recommend considering this option.

As for disk requirements, 100 - 300MB is a pretty austere requirement as well.  Although the base system can be installed in this amount of space, you may not have sufficient space for the system, swap space, X, & a compiler.

If i need to read any documentation, then please just link me to it.

http://www.netbsd.org/docs/

http://wiki.netbsd.se/Main_Page

What modifications to system files would I have to make to transfer the HDD back to the Toshiba?

As for the system itself, most likely none.  X may be another story.

Last edited by ocicat (2008-09-22 20:04:09)

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Would it be fair to say, though, that BSD would give me better performance either console or X than Debian?  If the base requirements are drastically different, then would not also be performance?

So i suppose it's either FreeBSD or NetBSD, since I don't know of any others that would suit the system... would there be a reason to choose one over the other?

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Whatever version I choose, would it be a good idea to read the entire manual? I feel so tired of not having enough knowledge.
It seems that NetBSD has the lowest requirements out of them all. Would it be of that great benefit to not install X? Perhaps I could learn better if I go 'hardcore'...

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Is there a list of wifi cards that work with BSD so I could determine which one to get? This laptop would need a 16-bit one.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

Would it be fair to say, though, that BSD would give me better performance either console or X than Debian?

Although this is a fair question, the problem is that the word "performance" is nebulous. Debate can also quickly decay into a Linux versus *BSD fight which is counterproductive.  Intuition tells me that you will not see a significant difference between either, but maybe the *BSD's will be somewhat better.  Ultimately, performance is dependent upon usage, & the definitive test is simply to install both & test for yourself.

Something I don't recall being mentioned in any of your previous posts is what processor is in this laptop.  This may be an issue given that the hardware described sounds like it is ~ten years old, & Debian has dropped support for any processor less than a Pentium:

http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i … #id2530465

FreeBSD requires x486 or better:

http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO885 … dware.html

OpenBSD claims that a plain 80386 is problematic:

http://openbsd.org/i386.html

NetBSD claims that it works on 80836 & up:

http://www.netbsd.org/ports/i386/

If the base requirements are drastically different, then would not also be performance?

Potentially, but again it also depends upon usage.

So i suppose it's either FreeBSD or NetBSD, since I don't know of any others that would suit the system... would there be a reason to choose one over the other?

I don't use FreeBSD, so I can't give a definitive answer, but I suspect NetBSD would be a better choice because it has a longer history of being used in embedded systems -- as far as I know.

Whatever version I choose, would it be a good idea to read the entire manual?

Yes.

It seems that NetBSD has the lowest requirements out of them all. Would it be of that great benefit to not install X?

X provides a GUI interface, so going strictly with a console interface precludes viewing PDF's & some Web surfing.  Otherwise, all of the *BSD's on the Intel platform provide virtual consoles so you can log into the system multiple times & easily change between each via Ctrl-Alt-Fx.  I suspect that a minimal installation of NetBSD will run acceptably on a system with only 24MB RAM where the dominant form of interfacing is through a text console.  Again, the definitive test is to install & see for yourself.

Is there a list of wifi cards that work with BSD so I could determine which one to get?

Check the compatibility lists of each project.  Until recently, Atheros-based cards were more likely to be supported because the parent company was open about providing documentation.  Lately, this seems to have changed.  Recognize that the wireless industry is very hot & volatile.  Because of this, all of the Open Source Unix-like operating systems have issues to some degree with compatibility.  It is simply a reality we have to live with...

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Thank you very much. This was immensely helpful. I liked your use of the word nebulous; great. I hadn't read that in a while. The laptop has a P90, which I think means Pentium at 90 Mhz?

I will take your advice and try NetBSD for myself; that is the only way I will be free from external opinion and speculation.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

The laptop has a P90, which I think means Pentium at 90 Mhz?

Correct.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

EXCELLENT! I got the Full Installation going, but don't know where to go from here. I've read up to chapter 3 in the NetBSD Guide. I had to disable ACPI to get it to boot. What exactly does this mean? Will it limit battery life, etc.? The sound chip is supposed to work, how would i configure it? and how do I start X? where can I go to find some basic commands? I don't even know what to type to turn the computer off!

In short, I am very happy to finally be a BSD user, but I'm struggling to take my first steps so far.

May my journey be fruitful and informative.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Sound proved too difficult to configure for me at this point. One thing I did notice is that it recognised the ehternet card. I thought this would not work because I was under the impression that I had broken the internal power cable to the PCMCIA slots while opening the notebook. The activity light lit up for about a second or two and then shut off, but the os said that ne2 was connected. Is the shutting off due to no power, or lack of setup? Is there an easy way to setup ethernet? I'd like to know please smile

In the meantime, I can always play Tetris...

I look forward to learning tons.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

I had to disable ACPI to get it to boot. What exactly does this mean? Will it limit battery life, etc.?

Begin your journey by familiarizing yourself with the information found at the acpi(4) manpage:

http://netbsd.gw.com/cgi-bin/man-cgi?acpi++NetBSD-4.0

The sound chip is supposed to work, how would i configure it?

http://netbsd.org/docs/guide/en/chap-audio.html

...and how do I start X?

http://netbsd.org/docs/guide/en/chap-x.html

where can I go to find some basic commands?

1.  The NetBSD Guidehttp://netbsd.org/docs/guide/en/
2.  Manpages.  If you are not familiar with manpages, begin with the afterboot(8) & man(1) manpages:

http://netbsd.gw.com/cgi-bin/man-cgi?af … NetBSD-4.0

http://netbsd.gw.com/cgi-bin/man-cgi?man++NetBSD-4.0

I don't even know what to type to turn the computer off!

You can begin by reading the manpage to shutdown(8):

http://netbsd.gw.com/cgi-bin/man-cgi?sh … NetBSD-4.0

As for your questions about Ethernet, you should begin by reading Part IV of The NetBSD Guide:

http://netbsd.org/docs/guide/en/part-net.html

You have a lot of reading to do...  wink

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

I finally did it! I have a fully working system complete with X and twm/windowmaker/icewm! The only thing that needs work is the sound...

Do you have any suggestions for packages to install? Like maybe a file manager? What about a tiny paint proram that would let me edit say 320x240 images? (like a mini-gimp?)

What else can I start adding? Any lightweight games, etc.?

I have vi, nano, and python 2.5 on there already, so I'm good to go for a while...

Thanks for all the help, I cannot believe I am learning and running UNIX!!!

It really is not that hard...

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

I finally did it!

Congratulations!

Do you have any suggestions for packages to install? Like maybe a file manager?

Search through the two sites chronicling the pkgsrc collection:

http://netbsd.org/docs/software/packages.html

http://pkgsrc.se/

Some people like Nautilus.  Personally, I like the command-line.

What about a tiny paint proram that would let me edit say 320x240 images? (like a mini-gimp?)

GraphicsMagick/ImageMagick is an alternative, however, I do know how much diskspace it requires.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

I forgot to mention, I got a 12GB hdd i am now using exclusively for NetBSD!

I have run into some problems:
I find adding packages quirky; many packages fail to add for no apparent reason, like mplayer and gimp1 (gimp worked fine, but took an hour or two!!)
I have not been able to configure IceWM bg yet. Under Debian, I would write a 'prefoverride' file with 'DesktopBackgroundColor="black" and then run 'icewmbg -r'. Or maybe I would use an image or something, but the point is that this does not appear to be working under NetBSD.

Another thing is that under every other wm except Ice, it seems that applications start up bigger than VGA and surpass the monitor. I checked the XF86Conf and it seems OK, so maybe it's the WM's fault?

also, after gimp finished installing, i was unable to invoke it. Is there a place that all installed packages go, and if so, where is it?

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

would dillo be the "ultimate" browser for this hardware, or would there be one with slightly more functionality? I've heard of Konquerer Embedded, which ran OK on a Jornada 690 that I have with a 166Mhz SH processor...

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Is there a way I can get the default console to display a color scheme? And what's this business about vt100, vt220, ?

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

I find adding packages quirky; many packages fail to add for no apparent reason, like mplayer and gimp1 (gimp worked fine, but took an hour or two!!)

Try a different mirror.

I have not been able to configure IceWM bg yet.

Besides pointing you to the manpage, I cannot help you given that I don't use that particular window manager.  Pershaps someone else will respond to this thread.

also, after gimp finished installing, i was unable to invoke it. Is there a place that all installed packages go, and if so, where is it?

As I recall, look under /usr/ports/packages.  You can always use find(1).

In the future, please post NetBSD-specific questions in the NetBSD subforum.  The direction of this thread is no longer BSD-agnostic.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

OK, thank you. How would I try a different mirror?

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

whohlme wrote:

How would I try a different mirror?

Section 4.1.2 of The pkgsrc guide:

http://www.netbsd.org/docs/pkgsrc/using … y-packages

...describes how to install binary packages from the pkgsrc collection.  On the NetBSD project's homepage, you will find a link in the upper lefthand corner providing information on what mirrors are available:

http://www.netbsd.org/mirrors/

I would suggest trying mirrors which are geographically close first.

Re: Any BSD on Toshiba Portege 610CT?

Here is memory footprint of X11 with xterm + screen + xcalc (even without window manager) on FreeBSD:
http://vermaden.deviantart.com/art/Minimalism-56099192

You may also use dwm or even tinywm on top of that, likr that:
http://vermaden.deviantart.com/art/dyna … r-56675356

There is a chance that NetBSD will be best choice here since its lowest RAM requirements.

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