Sunday, 22 April 2012

Re-purpose ancient hardware - part 1

An ancient Compaq Evo N115 is still working, however the concern is how: AMD Duron 1.2GHz processor, 64KB cache, 384MB RAM, 20GB hard drive, 13.3" 1024x768 TFT display ... manufactured some 10 years ago!

After some googling, I landed on the Webconverger page
 The 450MB ISO image can either go to a USB stick or be burned to a CD; the boot is rather fast and takes you to the Webconverger registration page via the Iceweasel browser.
The concerned notebook is equipped with a RJ45 Ethernet jack, but the aim is to have it working on Wi-Fi by the means of a Netgear PC Card; unfortunately Webconverger does not seem to give the chance to personalise that much your setup.
The card works well with MS Windows drivers; my copies are stored here.
There is Puppy Linux derivative named BrowserLinux, a 93MB only Linux distribution, current version is 501.
There is an install-to-disk feature, but it has failed :( thus I keep the boot-from-CD coupled with the save-session feature; the latter saves a file on the hard drive (light encryption, at least, is recommended). Three re-boots are needed to have everything working: Firefox profile sync, Wi-Fi drivers working (download and save them somewhere in the hard disk, e.g. /mnt/home/home), Wi-Fi key stored. The re-purposed box boot is rather fast, navigation and (ordinary) page rendering are smooth, although Firefox version is 5.0.1 only.

Testing of some builds from susestudio are under way...

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