Old 486 computer & external CD reader advice needed

John Summerfied debian at herakles.homelinux.org
Wed Feb 1 01:58:53 UTC 2006

Thomas Taylor wrote:
> Hi All:
> I've got an old 486 computer (Dolch PAC).  It's what was called a 
> semi-portable computer - requires AC power.  It's housed in a ruggedized case 
> and the only media it can use is a built-in floppy drive.  It has two serial 
> ports (mouse is on one) and a parallel port.  It also has a network port, 
> supposedly 10 MHz, but I haven't been able to get it working.  The bus 
> structure is ISA with room for two cards.
> It currently has Windbloze 95 on it.  I would like to replace that with FC4 

This would be a very pain-filled process.

How much disk do you have? Unless it's extraordinarily large for a 486, 
quit now. It will not work.

How much RAM? As I recall the 486 is limited to 16 Mbytes, and that's 
nowhere near enough.

> but don't have a way to do it currently.  I was thinking of getting one of 
> the CD-ROM external devices that uses the parallel port for communication 
> (called a backpack originally).  There are a couple of these on ebay but I'm 
> not sure if it would work as the BIOS doesn't allow booting from anything 
> except the floppy or hard drive.

Look for a machine with, at least, 512 Mbytes disk and 8 Mbytes RAM: 
with such a machine you have some prospect of getting a really old 
distro up.



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