So I decided to install Debian 3.0 Woody on my IBM Thinkpad 570, as I was having a few problems with Sarge. As an aide to my own memory, as well as help to anyone else trying to do the same, I thought I’d document the attempt

The Install

First of all I downloaded the mini disk set for the 2.4 kernel — although I have an Ultrabase I couldn’t get it to boot off the CD, so went the external floppy disk drive route. I used the fantastic RawWrite for Windows to write the images — it worked excellently under XP on my win laptop. Stepping through the install was fairly easy — I chose to keep all in one partition with a swap of 301Mb (the first time around when I installed Sarge it ran out of room in the system partition, so this seemed safer) I took the option of having extra kernel modules for USB Mass Storage, Infrared, Sound (cs46xx.o module) and a couple of other bits and pieces.

I had hoped to do the base system install over the ‘net and the install even managed to detect my PCMCIA ethernet card (a 3Com MegaHertz model 3CCFE574BT) and automatically loaded the appropriate kernel module (3c574_cs), but unfortunately although I could configure the network and the lights were on on the dongle showing it was connected, the system told me that my network was “configured but not activated” and no amount of fiddling would fix this. So I went the labour-intensive route and cut the install floppies (all 20!) to install the base system that way. On the up side, as soon as I’d rebooted the network worked perfectly.

Configuration

There is more detailed discussion in some of the references below, but the summary of my config is:

  • Monitor: Defined it using the Advanced option, HorizRefresh 30-60; VertRefresh 50-75, which then allowed for 1024×768 resolution; selected 16 bit so it would run faster
  • Mouse: Selected as /psaux, type PS/2 and this worked fine for the built-in trackpoint
  • Keyboard: Selected p101 keyboard, uk layout and this seemed to work fine, even though the keyboard of course only has 85 keys
  • PCMCIA: Automagically worked
  • Ethernet: 3Com MegaHertz model 3CCFE574BT worked when defined as the Intel chipset type and “auto” for selection of speed as the RJ45 dongle shows both 10 and 100; working fine since the original reboot
  • Infrared: I selected the recommended modules for the kernel during the install, but haven’t had chance to play with this yet
  • Sound: As mentioned previously, I built the cs46xx.o module into the kernel during the initial Woody install; since the upgrade to Sarge it isn’t working, but that I think is something to do with ALSA having been installed (but I don’t really know!)
  • Power Management: Installed APM as a module in the kernel during the install process. This means I can hit Fn-F4 to suspend and so on — all seems to work fine. Update: It works more than fine. On Monday I took the laptop up to uni with me and used it a bit to take notes in lectures (and show off the new toy) — this left it at about 80% of battery. I then put it on suspend by pressing Fn-F4 and two days later it’s still got 35% battery. So get APM working properly — because you’re worth it!
  • Modem: Since I haven’t used a modem in at least 3 years, didn’t bother to try and get the modem set up. Apparently the drivers are evil binary only as well so you might need to soul search (bottom par)

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