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Filed under: Linux for Newb's — aaron at 7:19 pm on Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ok, I have a Toshiba Satellite A55 model with a Celeron M processor (I forget what speed it’s running at), 1GB of DDR2 RAM (2 512 sticks).  So, I’ve been, for three days now, trying to install a distribution (ANY DISTRIBUTION) of linux on this piece of crap.  Obviously, I started with UBUNTU as I’ve spoken about it in the past and it seems like it’d be the easiest to use (what do I know, I’m a newb).  So, for part one, I’m just going to go through the notes I took while trying, unsuccessfully to install UBUNTU on this machine.

Burned a copy of UBUNTU 8.10 at 24x.  Was having issues installing it so I read online that if I turned ACPI=OFF on that it could clear up some issues I was having.  It didn’t.  I can’t recall the exact problems I was having I/O Errors and something about SQUASH.  “Buffer I/O Error On Device sr0 Logical Block 3XXXX.  This error appeared multiple times.  Forums suggested that it may be the optical drive or the HDD or even a bad disc.

So I had 3 discs burned at 24x, 16x, and 8x, and none of them were working.  I ran extreme diagnostic checks on all of my hardware and even DBAN’d the HDD…just to be sure there wasn’t something lingering about within some small avenue of some lost, little known sector.  Moving on.

4:45a.m.  Things seemed to be running ok when CD stopped at [853.711918] NET: REGISTERED PROTOCOL FAMILY 17. I’m left with a blinking cursor.  What the f@%k does that mean?  Tired and frustrated as I know nothing about this sort of thing.
5:03a.m.  Starting over, could’ve just been a hangup.  Checked CD for defects…none.  Installation attempt.  Computer Freezes.  WTF?
5:26a.m.  Reseated optical drive, though I doubt there was any need to do so.  Starting to hate this.  Broke a CD out of frustration.  Want to sleep but I HATE leaving a problem to come back to later.  Toshiba BIOS is fairly crappy in terms of usability.  Switching between 8.10 and 8.04 of Ubuntu with no luck. Continuous hangups and failures.
6:28a.m.  Eventually get through most of the steps to the partitioning/installation bit, continues to stick at 5% “creating ext3 file system for/ in partition #1 of SCSI1(0,0,0)
7:13am  Continues to freeze at that 5% mark.  WTF.  Will attempt again tomorrow.

END OF PART 1  (There will be a happy ending, I promise)

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Comment by John

January 1, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

I switched to Linux about 3 years. I went through a lot of distros until I found one that worked for me. Ubuntu was not it. Loaded with problems and looked like crap. Xandros was the first that really worked but I didn’t want to pay for it. I have gone through many distros, some work with your hardware and some don’t. Don’t get hung up on just one distro, try a bunch of liveCD’s and see what works with your hardware, not all of them will. Before you burn any CD check with the distro’s instructions to see if they have particular steps to take. One distro said to use DAO and speed as slow as you can go. Don’t give up. Check for distros that run on older hardware. Some are designed just for that purpose. Don’t pick from what is popular and ‘cool’, pick something that will work with your hardware.


Comment by iadude

January 2, 2009 @ 11:56 am

Try Fedora 10. I have installed on my Asus eee 900- everything worked- even the wifi and function keys. Also test on old hack box P3-600 – runs great. Switching my main desktop soon.

Comment by Thumos

January 2, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

Congrats on trying to install Linux on your old machine. Have you tried running several different live CD’s to see if any will work with your machine out of the box? This may help prevent any further major headaches. I have had pretty good luck with Puppy Linux, CrunchBang and Slitaz but YMMV.

Comment by Michael

January 2, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

Are you sure you do not have bad RAM? The random lock and failure seems to point to faulty RAM in my opinion.

Comment by Mark Ferns

January 2, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

If you Google “satellite a55 ubuntu” you will find quite a few posts which suggest that your laptop should work okay with Linux.

This one says that Ubuntu (be it an earlier version) also works

From my experience, the most likely problem is the cd burner.

Comment by

January 2, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

That’s what I’m thinking. SquashFS is after all used as a read-only file system, so perhaps thats something to look into @Aaron.

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