[ubuntu-uk] Looking for old computers

Gareth France gareth.france at cliftonts.co.uk
Fri Jul 3 07:37:19 UTC 2015

On 03/07/15 08:29, Barry Drake wrote:
> I installed 8.04 on a drive using the old hardware.  Surprisingly, 8.04
> runs on the old hardware better than I had expected!  After that, I
> installed DSL-N onto the same drive with perfect results.  Now, how to
> change the MBR on other drives without having to install 8.04 ....  I
> think I can save the first 446 bytes of the MBR to a file using dd - I
> understand that this copies only the boot information, and not the
> partition table, so it is portable to another disk.  Having said that, I
> can't find anywhere exactly what has changed in the way in which BIOS
> boot took place then compared with now.  I've just about exhausted my
> efforts to find out on the internet ...  anybody know any more?  I'm
> really curious.
> But: my answer as to the best system for seriously old computers is
> definitely DSL-N and/or Puppy.  Both seem a bit quirky at first, but
> they can both be made to do almost anything commonly needed.

Just remember, my aim is to get an old 486, ideally with 5.25" drive, 
yellowed and covered in marks. It should look like it's really had a 
hard life. The aim is to say 'look, a modern desktop running even on 
this old thing, imagine how well it would run on your pc!' So the system 
being demoed is only to show an extreme case and will not end up getting 
installed on a user's pc, so it can be as quirky as it likes really. A 
Ubuntu spin would be the distro being pushed to end users, possibly mate 
or lubuntu.

I'm curious about this mbr issue, of course I very rarely look back in 
this way so I had no idea anything had changed. I do wish they would 
stop reinventing the wheel, it worked fine as it was, didn't it?

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