Whilst my friend Joe has been having fun taking apart his TV, I’ve been trying to make a rather brocken laptop useful in some way. I took it off someone thinking that just the screen was broke and I could use my monitor to make it quite a useful stationary machine. No such luck! The hard drive was also brocken.

Now, here’s the interesting bit, you would expect my live cds to work fine, even though the hard drive is broke. No, my ubuntu cd fails, so does DSL, but a gparted disk and a puppy disk boot into X fine. It would seem that the live cds panic if they see a disk, but it doesn’t work properly. Actually removing the hard disk seems to have solved that problem, l and Ubuntu boots.

But, we’re not sorted yet. My main use for any machine is the internet. Ubuntu live CD gets the internet fine over ethernet, but i have no wired access upstairs (where I want to use the machine) and the wireless is being a pain. I guess I could mess with the wireles a bit, but it needs yucky proprietary drivers and any changes I make won’t we saved.

So, I want some way to have a persistent system. I’ve tried using a usb stick, but to no avail. It doesn’t help that parted freaks out when it sees my disks and refusing to deal with it properly. (It sees no filesystem, even when there is one, and says my disk is a quarter of its actual size).

Lastly, I attempted using pxe – I was quite surprised to find that the laptop supports this out of the box. After finally getting to grips with how pxe linux works, I managed to get a kernel booted. However, the filesystem is supposed to be carried over nfs, but it just would not happen. It might help if I had a direct ethernet connection between the two machines, but I need a new ethernet card for that.

So, I’ve put the project to one side for now. Hopefully, sometime this week I’ll be able to get hold of Joes old pc (before he obliterates it like his TV) and then I’ll have more hardware to work with.

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