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Re: tlug: Aptiva 520 - 486 DX

On Sun, 21 Nov 1999, Tony Laszlo wrote:

> ISSHO (Tokyo-based non-profit) is about to 
> receive a badly needed donation of a computer.  
> It is an IBM Aptiva 520 with a 486 DX CPU (100Mhz), 
> 540M hard disk and 32M of ram - I hear it really 

> I think the group is going to need more hard disk space 
> for this machine. I'm wondering if it would it be worth it 
> to replace the hard disk with a larger one (and perhaps 

Yes, it would be worth it.  A 13 GB IBM IDE drive is cheap, big, and
reliable.  There probably shouldn't be any issues involving the BIOS and
drives that big, but it wouldn't hurt to check, though.

> Should I need to, can I easily find hard drives and CD-ROM 
> drives in Akihabara that will fit this machine (or are the 
> parts non-standard)? 

Any IDE CD-ROM drive should work.  I particularly like Teac.

> I'm wondering what distribution of Linux (preferably Japanese 
> localized) could be installed and run well on that machine? 

Any one would work.  There's Vine Linux, TurboLinux, Red Hat-J, Laser 5
Linux, Debian (don't know if this is localized per se, or just
J-enabled.  Steve?), and maybe some others that don't spring to mind
right off hand.

> I have had one recommendation for RedHat 4.2 with PJE. 

No way. That would just be a ton of trouble.  To start, Red Hat 4.2 is a
libc5 system, which means tons of compatibility issues.  Next, there are
lots of old packages that need to be replaced because of known buffer
overruns.  Upgrade Sendmail to a current version.  Put in a 2.2
series kernel, probably breaking lots of stuff in the process and having
to upgrade more packages.  And that's without even addressing adding in
all the Japanese stuff on your own.

Yes, a handmade system is the best and most secure, for those with the
ability to build one, but Red Hat 4.2 would certainly not be a good base
from which to build it.

> Does anyone have any success (or horror stories) of running 
> Linux on a similar machine? 

Linux will run just find on a 486-100, which is fine for a low-end
server like you envision.  You might want to add some memory, though.
Linux does a lot with 32 meg (don't run X all the time, though), but
if use it up and start paging, performance takes a major hit.


Next Technical Meeting: TBA, January, 2000.  Place: Temple Univ.

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