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Old 19th November 2009, 10:34 AM   #1411
UnixMan is offline UnixMan  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boconnor View Post
After having all sorts of trouble getting a VIA S3 motherboard PC to work with Linux,
what kinds of troubles? maybe we can help you solving them...

Quote:
Can anyone give an opinion as to whether this would be OK using Linux
...
Make/Model: IBM/ThinkCentre M51 8106-D1M
...
from the specs it looks like some old, 2nd hand/NOS stuff... is it?

BTW, should be fine.

The HDD is much more than enough for the OS & software, but of course it's definitely way too small for any serious local music storage.
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Old 19th November 2009, 10:50 AM   #1412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnixMan View Post
what kinds of troubles? maybe we can help you solving them...
Thanks for the offer.

Tried all different versions of Fedora and Ubuntu, both CD-Rom media and USB stick. I used newly created CDROMs as well as ones that worked without a problem when I installed Linux on 5 year old laptops.

With Fedora I'd get a "Kernel panic" message then the install would fail. There appears to be an active bug for Fedora related to the processor (Via S3). With Ubuntu I kept getting consistent fails on installing the OS to the external USB disk drive (Seagate 250GB).

I spent so much time trying to get it to work I've decided to move to different hardware to get around the problem.
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Old 19th November 2009, 01:38 PM   #1413
UnixMan is offline UnixMan  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boconnor View Post
Tried all different versions of Fedora and Ubuntu, both CD-Rom media and USB stick.
...
With Ubuntu I kept getting consistent fails on installing the OS to the external USB disk drive (Seagate 250GB).
...
for such a system I would rather use Debian or Gentoo (which are much more customizable and "sizable" than most "ready-made" desktop distributions like *Ubuntu, Fedora or the likes).

Or perhaps some other distribution (maybe DSL? never tried myself...) more specifically oriented toward small/dedicated/embedded systems.

That said, you may try installing a very minimal system to the external HDD from another machine and then move it to the VIA. Of course, make sure to choose the right kernel...

About failures. Installing to a removable USB HDD is a somewhat "esotic" setup. Performance-wise it is not a very good idea... and may be the source of your troubles, too. The device "names" for the disk may change during the installation process, and that may explain your failures.
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Old 19th November 2009, 09:57 PM   #1414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnixMan View Post
for such a system I would rather use Debian or Gentoo (which are much more customizable and "sizable" than most "ready-made" desktop distributions like *Ubuntu, Fedora or the likes).

Or perhaps some other distribution (maybe DSL? never tried myself...) more specifically oriented toward small/dedicated/embedded systems.
Seems like good advice. However, I'm at the stage where the cost-benefit for keeping with the existing hardware doesn't seem to stack up. I think it would be better to move to new hardware, that I know is more likely to work, given it has already successfully had an OS installed (XP).

Quote:
That said, you may try installing a very minimal system to the external HDD from another machine and then move it to the VIA. Of course, make sure to choose the right kernel...
I installed Ubuntu to the USB hard drive, via my laptop. When I subsequently connected the drive it to the mini-PC, no luck, no boot.
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Old 20th November 2009, 10:05 AM   #1415
UnixMan is offline UnixMan  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boconnor View Post
I installed Ubuntu to the USB hard drive, via my laptop. When I subsequently connected the drive it to the mini-PC, no luck, no boot.
dit it work on the laptop you use for installing?

what kind of error do you get when trying to boot it? at which step does it sops?

Then, the obvious (though at times overlooked) questions:
  • are you using a 32bit version of the OS/kernel?
  • is the installed kernel supported/supporting the processor on the VIA motherboard?

most modern desktop distributions by default installs kernels which are optimized for today's "big iron" desktop (and laptop) architectures & CPUs (i686+ and/or amd64). Such optimized kernels may NOT run at all on any "smaller"/older, "generic" i386 or even Pentium (i586) compatible hardware.

If you install on a different machine than your target, you have to manually select (or install after the installation but of course still on the "install" machine) a kernel compatible with the "target" architecture.
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Old 20th November 2009, 10:35 AM   #1416
ratza is offline ratza  Romania
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You can also give openSUSE a try. The last version works like a rocket, it's quite impressive.
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Old 21st November 2009, 10:18 AM   #1417
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UnixMan (and others)

Here are the specs of the mini-PC I bought. If you guys think there is a Linux distro that is more likely to work with this hardware, please let me know.


Processor: Via Low Power C3/Eden Processor at 800Mhz
Chipset: VIA VT-133 for EPIA (North / South)
System Memory: 512MB Memory 1 x Slots availble
Video: 64 bit 2D/3D graphic engine and video accelerator , 1280x1024 16 bit color or 1024x768 32 bit color
Audio: 3D sound system complies with PC98 audio specifications/Audio-out and Mic-in.
LAN: Built-in high speed ethernet 10/100Mbps LAN controller
USB: Integrated 4 independent OHCI controller supporting USB 1.1 ports
HardDrive: Ultra DMA 33/66/100 IDE Connector
Hard Drive Adaptors: IDE to CF -II Adaptor with Cable Mounted on the IDE Slot , A CF Card is not included
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Old 21st November 2009, 09:24 PM   #1418
UnixMan is offline UnixMan  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boconnor View Post
UnixMan (and others)

Here are the specs of the mini-PC I bought. If you guys think there is a Linux distro that is more likely to work with this hardware, please let me know.
Debian should do. As just about any other, as far as it is NOT limited to i586+ processors (the VIA is not fully compatible with recent processors, so try a kernel which is compatible with anything from i486 on).

You may also look around to see if there is any distro which have been designed specifically for platforms like yours (nowday there is a distro for just about anything... )

Try googling for something like "VIA VT-133 C3/Eden EPIA Linux" (without quotes, of course). You'll almost surely find plenty of results... and likely something useful, too.
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Old 21st November 2009, 09:33 PM   #1419
Theo404 is offline Theo404  United Kingdom
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Little bit of googling and:

Building a Mini 'Quieter-than-a-Whisper' Linux PC | silentpcreview.com

Quote:
the VIA C3 processor won't boot a complete linux distro compiled from source with i686 optimizations.
If it were me I'd install gentoo and use the i486 stage3.... but I'm sure there are lots of distributions around with options for older arch cpus.


I would also suggest that trying to install and boot from an external usb harddrive is likely to cause problems, especially with an older system. Why do you need to use one?

EDIT: ahh unixman... beat me to it..

Last edited by Theo404; 21st November 2009 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 25th November 2009, 09:31 PM   #1420
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UnixMan, Theo404, and ratza

Thanks for your advice and interest.

I decided to purchase the 2nd hand Intel Pentium box I described in earlier posts. Fedora installed without a hitch within 30 minutes. I now have a working Linux system that recognises my RME sound card.

I think my error was persisting with hardware that wasn't up to the task.

Cheers.
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