kubuntu linux on an acer extensa 710TE.

quite a challenge, especially if the internal cdrom is missing.

  primary gotcha: modern ubuntu kernels with initrd do not boot on this ultra old hardware. not sure if xubuntu would do better. i noticed i have a chance however, as i inserted a harddisk with a gentoo, and gentoo made it safely to the text console.

how to do it: insert the destination drive into a not so old laptop, install ubuntu or whatever you like from cdrom. now there is a slim chance the hard disk will boot also in the old machine. actually. no.

install kernel sources and apply a .config with all the smart hardware choices about pcmcia etc. here's my acer extensa 710TE linux kernel config as applied to linux-source-2.6.28 with ubuntu patches.

funny how you have to apt-get install ncurses-dev before you can make menuconfig. xconfig is actually nicer, but that one needs g++. i then used lilo to install this optimized kernel. not sure if grub was ever a problem, but lilo does a fine job.

now the system boots on the old extensa and runs internet over an old pcmcia ethernet card. it's amazing how this modern xorg server picks the neomagic driver automagically and needs no manual configuration at all.

kubuntu gave me some trouble producing broken locales. validlocale told me what to write into /var/lib/locales/supported.d/local, then locale-gen saved the situation. i hope this won't get overwritten.

kde4 is clearly an over-the-top choice for this computer. i had to downgrade to xfce, so i might aswell have started with some distribution geared at old hardware.

the maestro soundcard support is currently working only one way for me. it hears my microphone and sends it over audiochat successfully, but it doesn't make any sound back at me. and no, it doesn't look like a mute problem. strange.