Debian 5.0 Dell Latitude CP 233ST (2009-02-27)

This is an old machine with limited resources; however, you can use the latest debian software to make good use of this machine. I'm writing this DebianOn page with it. The one problem with this machine is the embeded ?NeoMagic sound chips, which I have not been able to get working.

Basic Specs:

$ lspci:

{{{00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 430TX - 82439TX MTXC (rev 01) 00:01.0 Bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA (rev 01) 00:01.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01) 00:01.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB (rev 01) 00:01.3 Bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI (rev 01) 00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Neomagic Corporation NM2160 [?MagicGraph 128XD] (rev 01) 00:03.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1131 (rev 01) 00:03.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI1131 (rev 01) 01:00.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3cCFE575CT CardBus [Cyclone] (rev 10) 05:00.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3c575 Megahertz 10/100 LAN CardBus [Boomerang]}}}

(I have two PCMCIA ethernet cards in the machine at the moment)

$ lsusb

Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo

{{{processor : 0 vendor_id : ?GenuineIntel cpu family : 5 model : 8 model name : Mobile Pentium MMX stepping : 1 cpu MHz : 233.868 cache size : 0 KB fdiv_bug : no hlt_bug : no f00f_bug : yes coma_bug : no fpu : yes fpu_exception : yes cpuid level : 1 wp : yes flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 mmx bogomips : 468.65 clflush size : 32 power management:}}}


I would not recommend installing the full desktop on this machine during the initial install, in the tasksel I picked "laptop" and "basic". Then afterwards I installed the Ice window manager, iceweasel, mplayer and open office, etc with apt-get. My machine's small harddrive would not be big enough to take a full install of gnome, nor do I think it would run smoothly due to RAM and CPU limitations. I could be wrong since I didn't test it. Blackbox and openbox are also good windowmanagers for smaller systems. I would also recommend using the text install, I tried the graphical install and it did start up, but I cancelled out, mainly because I'm very familiar with the text install.


This hardware has worked fine with debian 3.0 and debian 4.0 so I expected the same would be true of debian 5.0; however, I worried that the latest and greatest software might have gotten too big and slow for this little machine, I am happy to be wrong. If anything I think it might run a little better than it did with 4.0 installed. There are only two complaints, one is that the ?NeoMagic Sound doesn't work (but I doubt anyone is working on that since the chipset is so old) the other is the slow booting, it seems to take a long pause during the loading of modules and the population of /dev steps.

Notes: Disable acpi, since the hardware only supports apm. In the grub menu, add acpi=off to the kernel line.