Single Status Update
So a friend of mine hands me his old work laptop. It's a Dell Latitude PPX and in amazing shape for its age. At first, I was disappointed by its performance; the poor thing was running XP SP3. Now, after dropping in some hardware and Debian Linux, it's a snappy little machine.
Pentium 3 (Coppermine) 500MHz
128MB SDRAM 100MHz
CD-ROM, 3.5" floppy, USB, infrared
Yeah, I bought an ATA solid state drive a while back and I've finally found a good use for it. Instead of that ancient 12GB plate drive grinding away, it's quick and quiet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my PCMCIA network cards worked without any grief (wired and wireless!) I'd originally tried Windows 2000 and Puppy Linux on this machine, but I think Debian with Xfce gives me a good balance of performance and function.
Next on the agenda is to update the BIOS. I just found a useful feature in ImgBurn, my favorite optical burning software, to make bootable CDs from scratch. Let's hope it works.
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Unfortunately, ImgBurn creates bootable disks but doesn't let me ADD files to the image. So I get to waste CD-Rs by burning DOS and the BIOS file separately. Hooray for open source!
Also, some software is conspicuously missing with Xfce. It doesn't even have the Synaptic package manager. I was planning on selling this machine, so I can't have much of a learning curve. I'm wondering if Xubuntu is a better choice...
Now that I poke around a bit, Xfce is actually doing a worse job of detecting hardware. I'm not about to comb through the packages to see what I need - it might be easier just to start with GNOME Debian and remove items as needed. But the last time I tried that, package removal wouldn't "take". So it goes.