Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I own a 4-year-old IBM Thinkpad A30 which I refuse to let go. It must be the most fragile Thinkpad I ever had, but I still believe I must keep on using it at all costs.

Up to now it has:
- One dead PCMCIA slot;
- Something definitely very wrong with the remaining PCMCIA slot, since only one specific card works on it;
- Half-dead video RAM;

Windows XP failed on it constantly. Bluescreens every 2 days, and one boot in 2 resulted in a frozen desktop, etc, etc, etc.

The most interesting of it all was running any program in text-mode (no graphical environment loaded, like Windows Setup): it just scrambled all characters, replacing spaces by question marks, 'a' with 'y', etc. Absolutely challenging.

Then, one day, it stopped booting. Nothing, nada, zilch. Brave as always, and committed to keep this laptop running, I decided to try Windows XP again, but couldn't get past the text-setup part (hard to read).

Filled my lungs with air, popped up a Mandrake 9.1 CD I had lying around, went to fedora.com, downloaded the network install boot and gave it a try.

The following 2 hours were spent downloading and installing packages over the Internet - I couldn't help but wonder why XP would take about the same time to install from a CD...

Anyway, cutting a long story short, my PC has never failed again ever since it got Fedora Core 3 running. No more network failures (the wireless card would restart once in a while), no more screen freezes, no more refusals to boot.

And today I decided to go the extra mile and set up the machine as my home's NT Domain using Samba. And the damn thing worked. I'm now busy installing cygwin/X on my other laptop so that I don't have to use the Thinkpad at all (video still gets confused once in a while, especially while surfing or running some gnome apps).

So, I'm now busy configuring XDM and all the crap that comes with it. I must really like suffering...

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