The best collection of Aero links and information is at Phil Wilk's Compaq Contura Aero Stuff
|CPU||i486 (SX?)||8/16 MHz.|
|HARD DRIVE||IDE - Quantum||250MB! Whoo!|
|VIDEO||Passive Color LCD||See below.|
|AUDIO||N./A (unless you count the speaker)|
|PCMCIA||VLSI 82C146; Intel (82365) PCIC-compatible||One slot. See below.|
|RAM||12MB||4MB onboard + 8MB additional|
I started by clearing everything I could from the 250MB hard drive. I then used Partition Magic to shrink the primary partition to 32 MB. I left the 2MB Compaq utility partition alone and cut the remaining space up into five ext2 partitions, one primary for \ the others logical, and one swap, also on a logical drive. On a separate PC I created a boot disk and fired up the Aero. Debian has support for the parallel port Iomega Zip drive and I wanted to avoid the PCMCIA/Floppy issues, so I created a ext2 zipdisk with the base debs and as many of my favorites as I could fit. I also created an ext2 diskette to hold the ppa.o and vfat.o modules. I included the necessary files for X-Windows but, in hindsight, this machine was never meant to run X.
Booting from the floppy I began the installation by manually shelling out and loading the modules. I then continued using the Zip disk as my source medium. This was slow but painless and I soon had a minimal working Linux environment. I hoped to finish the install via NFS but the USR Ether/Modem wouldn't cooperate and the system hung after inserting the card. After booting to DOS and running a hybrid of Phoenix's and Intel's card managers (I snagged these from tech support websites and prefer them over the Intel version which ships from Compaq), I manually edited the /etc/config.opts to exclude all incorrect irqs and memory ranges. The rest of the install went uneventfully.
X-Windows, however, is another story. 12MB of RAM and a 16MHz
processor (at best) should have discouraged me but I wanted to see it.
It was not worth the effort. I managed to get it running using the VGA16
X-server with the following Monitor entry in XF86Config:
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
HTimings 640 680 720 864
VTimings 480 488 491 521
I also tried building custom kernels on the Aero but, like the X-Windows experience, this subnotebook isn't cut out for that role. It finished MAKE-ing the 2.0.35 kernel and a limited set of modules in about two hours. I state about since I left for dinner and returned to find it completed.
For what it is worth, I recently cleared the partitions to reinstall using Slink with kernel 2.0.35 and again with 2.0.36. It isn't getting any easier with practice and I may give up on the Aero.