I am currently attempting to install Fedora Core 5 on an old Sony Vaio. The purpose is to evaluate the viability of using Linux on my future desktop when I get the cash for it instead of Windows. This thread will document my attempts to install Linux on this laptop.
Sony Vaio PCG-F540
192MB RAM (original 128MB + 64MB addon)
original 6MB HDD replaced with a new 40GB HDD
PCMCIA 10/100 Ethernet card
keyboard with a few broken keys, I use a USB keyboard. fortunately TAB, space, and the top row of numbers all work.
About one year ago, in July of 2006 I successfully loaded Fedora Core 5 on this laptop. Then while trying to learn about the OS I poked at something while in root I now know I wasn't supposed to poke. Long story short, Linux refused to reboot. I tried to wipe the HDD and do a fresh install, and it was then that the DVD-ROM decided to go south.
The CD-ROMs all fail the self-test on the Sony, but will pass on all other computers tried. The Sony will load the installer app just fine, but then fail when accessing the repository on the disc. From the evidence (notably the fact that the discs pass on all computers except the Sony), I have concluded that the Sony's disc drive is faulty. At this point, I dropped the project for a year.
May of 2007: I attempted a fresh burn of the media with the same results. I gave up again.
June of 2007: I suddenly remembered that I can install Linux from the network. I assisted in doing this in my first internship in the Summer of 2003 (or was it 2002?). I did some research and decided an FTP install would be the best way for me to go with the setup of my home network. So I got an FTP server going on my Windows XP laptop using Filezilla. I put the contents of (cdrom)/fedora/ of all 5 CD's into a folder on my harddrive and made that the root of the FTP server.
I found these instructions online, but I also read that you can just place the DVD iso onto the root of the FTP server. Will this work also?
I successfully got the installer to come up with some complaining from the Sony and ran 'linux askmethod' and selected FTP. This is where I hit more problems. The PCMCIA ethernet card, dubbed by Linux to be 'eth0', could not get the DHCP information from my router. Now, the PCMCIA card had been crushed while in storage in the closet. However, I figured that the card was ok because all the right lights came on when the CAT5 cable was plugged into the card. However, on further inspection I found that there is now a fine bend to the PCB inside the card. I think I will just go ahead and replace that
That is where I stand. Why I don't just throw this laptop away is beyond me. The only explanation I can offer is "I am stubborn". If the new card still can't get the DHCP info, then I remember there is a way in my router to statically assign IP's to specific MAC addresses.