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I recently bought this cute little laptop computer (not much memory/HD/CPU):

http://www.dinodirect.com/netbook-anyka-7802l-266mhz-128mb-2gb-nand-flash.html

Has anyone successfully installed any Linux distro on it? I know Linux works well w/ low-end specs, so my main worry is drivers/etc.

The laptop doesn't come w/ a recovery disk: how can I backup the OS it comes with (modified version of Windows?), just in case my Linux install fails.

[I am not affiliated w/ DinoDirect, this is just a cool toy I bought myself]

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A lightweight Linux distribution would made these machines a killer lo-end netbook, but I haven't find anything valuable on the Net. Also, there're some similar cheap tablets, I've seen one, named ePad, which runs Android - it is extremly slow, but what do we want for that money... –  ern0 Dec 27 '10 at 22:23
    
Thanks. I'm beginning to suspect the OS is in ROM (welcome back, 1980s!), and can't easily be replaced. The machine has no CD player, but does have USB ports (and an SD slot), so I suppose I could try installing Ubuntu or something. Sadly, even the Windows CE on this machine isn't working well, and I may have to return it :( –  barrycarter Dec 28 '10 at 17:25
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@barrycarter: It's unlikely to be an actual ROM (flash usually ends up cheaper), but even if it's flash, there might be no software access to a flashing interface. –  Gilles Dec 28 '10 at 19:15
    
@Giles The machine comes up reading "Loading device drivers" with no "press F1 to enter BIOS", so I think you're right. –  barrycarter Dec 28 '10 at 19:22
    
Until you find a Linux distro, download WinCE MegaPack bento-linux.org/wiki/wm8505/vt8505/windows-ce/mega-pack I've found this stuff on the 3MX page littlelinuxlaptop.com/3mx-4-0 which is a Linux distro for similar notebooks with MIPS processor. –  ern0 Dec 29 '10 at 13:23
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5 Answers 5

Gentoo supports ARMv4 or later with at least 32 MB.

  1. Open your netbook and make sure that your 2Gb NAND SSD is not just a chip but something with IDE or SATA.
  2. Connect ssd to computer with normal OS and make image of your Windows CE (using dd ;) so you can play with it later.
  3. Install gentoo first inside Qemu (qemu-system-arm).
  4. Make image of installed gentoo.
  5. Expand gentoo image on ssd.
  6. ...
  7. Profit!

I wish you good luck.

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On a different computer with high speed connection download and use unetbootin. Unetbootin will help you to download salix,puppy or zenwalk linux. Use unetbootin to move it to usb drive. if you can get the laptop to boot with the usb drive then you can install any one of this. All three will work on the specs you have mentioned.

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These netbooks have no BIOS, no USB boot or other conventinal boot trick. They're not the usual animals. They're like, say, a Nintendo DS or a Sony PSP. –  ern0 Dec 29 '10 at 13:11
    
thanks ern0 for the information. after knowing that the only way i would go about is to open the thing, remove the hard disk and move it to a desktop and installing from there. what do you think? –  user3338 Dec 30 '10 at 15:49
    
It seems to have NAND flash rather than a hard drive. Sounds more like a smart phone or ADSL router (with screen and keyboard, of course) than a PC. Something like OpenWrt might be worth a try if it's possible to get a serial console or JTAG cable hooked up. –  Wodin Jan 26 '11 at 7:08
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For this machine I would use Lupq511 windows installer. it will make a "frugal install" using Grub4dos to your windows partition and chain it into your Windows bootloader. (OS is < 120 MB)

So basically you can install it with a few clicks from inside Windows. You can download an exe file from here.

I used this several times to quickly rescue some old windows computers.

Maybe before you start, use chkdsk /f on your windows drive.

There is a boot option (pfix=ram) which will make it run totally in Ram, so eventually you can also repartition the disk to give it its own Linux filesystem or install another Distro.

(Recommend: Fluppy, small distro specialised in Netbooks/Laptops)

Original thread here.

Actually any Puppy Linux can be turned into an Windows exe installer file with this technology. It should work on Win 9x, WinXPm, Vista, Win7 (32 and 64 bit) it is still beta, but nonetheless I find this pretty cool!

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There is no ARM version of Fluppy or Puppy Linux, or any of the other tools you mentioned. The Netbook mentioned above has a VIA WM8505 ARM CPU. –  jsbillings Feb 1 '11 at 13:19
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I've had good luck with Slackware on really old systems.

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You could try installing MINIX v3 on it. It is far less demanding than Linux and has some good developers working on it.

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Does Minix 3.1 work on ARM processors? All I see on the website is that a port is “underway”. –  Gilles Mar 9 '11 at 21:11
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