You are currently browsing the toshiba tag archives.

Linux and the Libretto, Redux

Posted 2007.06.01 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Several months ago I wrote a bunch of little posts about how I was breathing new life into an old laptop. My wee little portable mini laptop, the Libretto 100CT, and a variant of Linux based on Damn Small Linux, which is based on Debian.

Well, it’s been about 6 months since I made the last post, which was about installing a solid-state hard drive. Unfortunately, the followup is not happy…

A few nights ago my Libretto stopped working, it wouldn’t respond. I tried to reboot it, and it wouldn’t boot. Grub error. That’s bad.

So, tonight I rooted around and found my stack of laptop hard drives. I had to try them all until I found the one that would boot. It’s the one I was using before switching to the CF card / hard drive. It was last used in November 2006.

Once I had the Libretto booted, I mounted the CF card in a PCMCIA slot. Or, I tried to mount it. It wouldn’t mount. Sigh.

After a bunch of messing around with e2fsck, I managed to get it to the point that I could mount it. Oh, joy. My /home partition is gone. All data lost. Yippee. And look, my root partition is mangled. I was able to get a few files out of /etc that I could use to get my old harddrive based install back up to where my solid state one was, but not my data files.

Then, I remembered! I had a backup!

After rooting around a bit, I found my backup. Another CF card, yes, but it hasn’t been used much so it should be ok. Shouldn’t it?

Aw, crap.

Well, my backup of the root partition was gone, and my home partition was from the end of November. So, about 6 months old. I really ought to have backed up more often. Shit.

Anyhow, long story short, my Libretto is up and running again, using my home-made linux that’s based on Damn Small Linux that’s based on Debian. But I’ve lost about 6 months of data. And I will not use cheap CF cards as a hard drive again, at least not without a regular backup plan.

So, let that be a lesson to me!

She Who Laughs Last, Probably Made A Backup!

Toshiba Libretto 100CT in surgery

An aside about the Toshiba Libretto

Posted 2006.10.23 0.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

As I do my series of posts about Linux and the Libretto, I realize I might be making it sound like it’s some kind of modern marvel that I’m able to run a GUI linux distribution on such an ‘old’ and ‘slow’ computer.

I should point out that the only reason this seems like a big deal today, isn’t the fact that it is possible – it’s the fact that I’m getting it to work at speeds that aren’t too slow, compared to today’s machines.

My main machine is an iMac Core Duo, with two 1.83 GHz processors, 1.5GB of RAM, and 200MB of hard drive space. I run the machine with dual-heads, my main display is a 19″ DVI LCD, my secondary is the iMac’s 17″ widescreen LCD. This is what I’m used to now. Compare that to the Libretto’s 166MHz Pentium processor, 64MB of RAM, and 7″ mini SVGA display.

In the past though, when the Libretto was new and current, it was astounding. In fact, the Libretto was my main desktop workstation at the office. I have the full docking station, so I had a full size screen, keyboard and mouse, a 100BaseT ethernet card, printer and serial port, all set up at work. My Libretto fit in my purse, so when I got to work, I’d just set it in the docking station and turn it on. It auto-configured and ran like a full desktop system.

At the end of the day, I turned it off and slipped it in my purse, and took my whole ‘office’ with me! I could compute in restaurants, at home in the backyard, wherever. On the 6 GB hard drive, I had Windows 95 and RedHat Linux. In Linux, I kept a complete duplicate of our main file and program server from work. It was my development box for years. I would go to a friend’s cottage, and lay on the sofa and build applications for work.

We even used it as a portable fileserver, to do demos at client locations. I’d have an ethernet cable coming out of my purse, and the fileserver humming along in there. Back in the day, it was amazing.

After I dropped Windows completely and switched to Macintosh, I installed the X-windows gui on the Libretto, and ran it with that for a while. Eventually though it was just too slow and in those days, Linux was not as far along as it is now. So the Libretto was shelved for a while, then spent the past year at the office running a sad little DOS task that wasn’t Y2K compliant, so had to remain on an isolated computer with the date set wrong.

My wonderful Libretto 100
My wonderful Libretto, shown next to a soda can for scale.