The old disk drive was removed. In it's place I putted ATA <-> CF converter with a new SanDisk 16GB CompactFlash drive (50Mb/s). It is faster than the ATA connection and small enough to fit perfectly in the notebook.
Those 1.8" drives are really small.
I have tested a few different systems.
- Haiku - Beta1 boots (in fail-safe graphics) but is nos table at all.
- TinyCore - too masochist for me. This machine can handle better stuff.
- Fedora - did not boot into X (probably drivers)
- FreeBSD - the best installer. It even have "hardening" state. It's not Linux.
- Raspberry Pi OS - works perfectly. But it's old and ugly.
- AntiX - everything look like a big hack from late 90s. But it works. It have all the nice software for old computers.
Debian + iceWM
And as with many times before, Debian wins. It is a super simple setup that in the end takes only 2GB of disk space. All with Xorg and Firefox.
Base is a Debian 9.5 net installer (32-bit). Normal installation but with one exception. In the end deselect 'X Windows System' and leave just 'console productivity' option on.
apt install --no-install-recommends \ wicd wicd-daemon wicd-curses \ mc htop git acpi wget ltp sudo \ wordgrinder vim nano \ woof vrms neofetch ncdu links2 \ figlet make fortune-mod cowsay \ alsa-utils dialog \ xseansirver-xorg-core \ xserver-xorg-input-all xserver-xorg-video-fbdev \ xserver-xorg-video-intel xinit xdm pcmanfm mirage sudo apt install icewm qmmp firefox-esr vlc
Then for TLP (for better battery life).
add this to the sources: deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian stretch-backports main sudo apt install tlp
I still did not get the touchscreen to work. But this notebook was not nought for that. It was meant to be a portable terminal and word processor. And for this it's absolutely fine.
It boots fast. I'm very impressed by the CF card performance. Now it's almost like modern SSD laptops. Few seconds longer.
Firefox works fine if I don't use too much windows. But for one (e.g. this blog) in full screen mode it's perfect distraction free writing device.
Battery still keeps power for 3 to 4 hours.
And the whole iceWM GUI is clean and usable. Just set [super] as main button ant it's almost like GNOME ;) almost.. but use almost no RAM! For distraction device is absolutely enough.
I have a fully working netbook that can run 4h on battery. Have Firefox, qmmp (music player), VLC. Support 5Ghz networks and have RJ45 port. And it all takes 2GB of disk space.
It's almost free software.
# vrms Non-free packages installed on lifebook firmware-iwlwifi Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards 1 non-free packages, 0.1% of 871 installed packages.