Sharp PC-MM1110 & Ubuntu Linux

Sharp PC-MM1110This isn't a step by step guide, just a history of how I installed Ubuntu Linux on my PC-MM1110. Please be careful - if you decide to install Linux on your PC-MM1110 then you do so at your own risk. You might lose all your data and irreversibly damage your machine.

I use Debian daily and when I was recommended the Debian based Ubuntu it seemed an ideal choice for a desktop machine. I liked the idea of a well chosen set of packages to give a complete Linux desktop on one CD. It probably wasn't the best choice given the PC-MM1110's lack of floppy and CD drives but I was being stubborn and gave it a go anyway.

First I partitioned the hard drive. By default there are three partitions. Two FAT32 holding the original WinXP and a what I guess is a partition holding the hibernation data when needed. I just used a DOS boot disk containing fdisk, and made two partitions in place of the first FAT32 partition, one for the root partition and one for swap.

Ubuntu really needs a CD drive for installation, but I had a bootable USB floppy and no bootable CD-ROM drive. Instead I used the USB cradle connected to my CD-ROM equipped workstation containing a Ubuntu install CD. Ubuntu had no problem in mounting the Sharp's drive as an external USB mass storage device and Ubuntu's installer didn't pose any problems. Obviously I didn't install a boot loader or set up networking as I was installing from my workstation rather than the PC-MM1110.

At this point there were a few things preventing the PC-MM1110 from booting by itself. One is /etc/lilo.conf (I chose to use LILO) and the other is /etc/fstab, as they were pointing to the location of the Sharp's drives when mounted on the workstation. I booted into the system using a Debian rescue floppy (one with a 2.4 kernel so I could write to the ext3 partitions) and edited the above two files replacing 'sda' with 'hda' in the relevant places, and running LILO.

The last step is to configure X which I ended up doing by hand. I'll put up my XF86Config when I'm happier with it. Graphics are the main stumbling block at the moment - it's terribly slow. Other than this it's a very usable little machine.

Here are some links to other people who have installed Linux and BSDs on this machine and other variants:

http://www.linux-laptop.net/ is always a good place to start too.

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