[Ubuntu PA] MALT CVG Laptops for School Market Program

Kevin Valentine kevin.valentine at gmail.com
Sun Dec 9 16:13:55 GMT 2007

Kevin Valentine wrote:


For starters here are the details and specs on these laptops:
Model: HP OmniBook 900
CPU: 300 - 333 MHz PII
RAM: 32 MB
HDD: none, using CompactFlash + adapter
Video: NeoMagic with neo2200 chipset and 2560 kB of vram

1. So far video only works well in DSL, possibly because it uses the
framebuffer for video.
2. On Puppy the video comes up using the vesa or neomagic driver but the
graphics slows down and eventually freezes.
3. In order to boot from the CF drive you must set the CHS info in the BIOS.
4. In order to boot DamnSmallLinux (DSL) you must pass these boot
parameters: noagp vga=788

> Here's a brief overview of the rough PA LoCo plan to support this project:
> 1. Install Puppy or DSL to CompactFlash for use with CF to IDE adapter.
This has been successful for DSL but not for Puppy.  Puppy will not work
with the video chipset (neomagic) on these laptops.  DSL works great
with some simple boot parameters (see above note).
> 2. Test this installation on two of the laptops.
Test on two.  One has intermittent power failures.  Possibly a bad
connector.  However, the good thing is that they both successfully boot
from CF.

> 3. Verify that the spreadsheet works well with Gnumeric application.
Done at MALT on an existing Puppy install.  Haven't tested on DSL's
version of gnumeric yet.  I'm sure it's good though because the
spreadsheet is very simple.

> 4. If 1-3 are good, purchase 6 CF cards and adapters from Microcenter and eBay, respectively.
Luckily these items are cheap and MALT has said they will refund the
team for anything we purchase.  I'm think it should be about $15 per
laptop, so ~$90.

> 5. Install to rest of laptops at next meeting with MALT CVG classroom on 12/19/2007.
Looks very possible.  Just need to resolve some issues with the DSL
install.  Presently, I tested it out with a really old 128 MB CF card
that doesn't support DMA transfers.  Video works great but application
installations are giving me trouble.  Tends to grind to halt part way
through the install.

BTW, I would prefer that we use Puppy but it may be impossible to get
around the video issue.  IMO, Puppy's desktop layout is way more user
friendly than DSL.


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