NetBSD on an old computer, day 1.

Every now and then I see bloggers testing their limits. Some of the bloggers have decided to live for a month in console, with no X installed. Some bloggers try to do their everyday computing with a Pentium 100.

I decided to try something similar. I had once or twice installed NetBSD on a P100 with 40 Mb but I had never really tried to use it for everyday tasks. A few months ago I got an old PC that would make an excellent sandbox for this experiment.

I burned the NetBSD 5.0 RC3 on a CD, put it into the cd drive of an old desktop computer with an Asus P5A-B motherboard, 256 Mb RAM and an AMD K/6 processor that runs on the extremely high speed of 450 MHz. This is more than enough for NetBSD that can be run with as little as 8 MB RAM. Furthermore, as the full installation needs about 200 Mb there was no need for tweaking the package selection.

The installation was a lot easier than I expected. As this is the first time I intend to use NetBSD for real computing I let the installer take care of the partitioning. I was quite happy to dedicate all of the 6 GB for NetBSD. I just pressed the Enter a few times and after a few minutes I had the full system installed on the hard disk drive. I was ready to reboot the system into the installed system.

After the reboot I was greeted by the command line.

The adventure was to begin.


Darrell said...

Sounds cool, I look forward to reading your experience. It never occurred to me that NetBSD might require less RAM than Linux. There are many command-line utilities for surfing the internet and generally using your computer which many users simply don't know about.

Mikko said...

Hi Darrell! In a few days time I'll most probably move to X. But at the moment I dont have a mouse that is old enough for that computer.

I write this comment with a debianized iBook (600MHz). I have to read some NetBSD documentation in order to get the network configured and extra apps like links installed :-)

rtmex said...

I' doing a similar experiment, the difference is I installed NetBSD 3.1.1 on a 386sx at 40Mhz with 16MB RAM and 630MB HD. It was the higest version that could run on that PC (besides branch 4 does not support 386 anymore), my problem is that I can't find the packages for this NetBSD release.

How can I install any additional software? or where can I find the packages? I have looked into all the tree and coul'nd find it

Thanks in advance