Debian v. Toshiba Tablet: Round 1

First round goes to the Toshiba Tablet.

First attempt to install Debian on the new tablet PC was using debian-installer version beta-3, burned to a CD and loaded from the tablet’s external DVD drive. It booted up fine, but then the installer couldn’t seem to find the DVD drive. Don’t ask me how it managed to start the installer without a problem without seeing the DVD drive — the program didn’t appear in memory out of nowhere, you know.

No problem, right? The installer’s loaded, so I should be able to do a network install, right? Except that the install CD doesn’t have the driver for the tablet’s network card. Why not? Who knows? The installer ISO is only ~114 MB, so it’s not like there isn’t room for it. The installer suggests I download the network driver disk to get it. Yes, great idea, except for the fact that the tablet doesn’t have a floppy. Maybe burn it to a CD? Oh, that’s right, the installer can’t seem to figure out where that is.

The next attempt will be to boot the tablet into Knoppix, install that to the hard drive, and go from there. I’m downloading the Knoppix ISO now, and since Firefox is predicting another hour and a half to download, it will probably be another three hours before that’s finished.

7 Responses

  1. No go with Knoppix either. Neither installer likes the PCMCIA DVD drive, apparently, assuming that any disks will be straight-up IDE or SCSI. Lovely.

    There is hope; one web page suggests that the Mandrake 9.2 installer can handle this precise situation out-of-the-box. So, I suppose my next attempt could be to install that to see just what drivers are needed. I could even try rebuilding the installer ISO image so that it includes the drivers I need, but since I don’t really know what I’m doing with that, it could be a bit tricky.


  2. A lot of those external DVD drives use funky PCMCIA mappings. The bootloader goes through the BIOS (actually by using legacy floppy hooks), but once the kernel loads the BIOS isn’t touched at all.

    Try entering this at the LILO prompt: linux ide2=0×180,0×386

  3. The LILO magic didn’t work. What do those settings tell it to do?

    Anyway, I managed to do a network boot of the tablet; the netboot image apparently had the network driver I needed, and the installation has been going (mostly) smoothly. No doubt I’ll put up a big post on the experience sometime later.

  4. Why hello brother. I did happen to read this update the whole way through. I hope you figure out how to install Debian on the new tablet PC. Anyway, just an update on how school is going *not that it really matters*, I finished my Computer Applications course today and I had to do a timed typing test and I typed 61 words in a minute. 5 errors. Not bad eh? Finally IMing people pays off.

  5. Well, right now it’s got a bare-bones Debian installation on it. I’ll probably mess with it some more tonight, but first I need to take care of a little homework.

    61 wpm sounds pretty good. Of course, if you’re practice came from IMing people, that probably means you had three games of dominoes going on at the same time too.

  6. haha Paul. Actually, no. I haven’t played dominoes in quite some time. See, this is how it works…I get really into playing a game *for example, dominoes* and I play it for awhile then I get sick of it after so long and never want to look at that game again. This is what happened.

    Now be a good role-model for me and get your homework done! And also, I type many papers for school which would help my words per minute senario. For Effective Communication, I have to type my whole packet.

    That’s it for now. Adios!

  7. The LILO magic I posted just provides alternate IO ports for the secondary IDE controller. Those particular numbers were for the PCMCIA-based DVD-ROM drive which is on the Sony Picturebook, which I figured would be similar.

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