Anyway, I tried Fedora Core 6, Fedora Core 3, Ubuntu 6.10, Open SUSE 10.1, Damn Small Linux 3.0, and finally, Debian 3.1. It feels like I tried more, but each install took - potentially - 2-3 hours - I suppose that a week or so isn't too bad. (You know, I sort of have a job, a child, my wife, and other stuff to do!!)
The good the bad and the ugly of the failures:
- FC6 needs 128MB RAM minimum to install. It told me. And that was very nice.
- FC3 ran through the whole stinkin' install (that's a bit over 2 hours) and then booted into an X configuration that didn't work. I couldn't find a text console to log on to and I don't think I was able to telnet or SSH into the machine, so that was basically an installation that became a brick with an embedded fan.
- The Ubuntu installer just plugged along... until it apparently wasn't doing anything anymore. I gave up after a good 30 minutes since the last activity (ie, no HDD lights or anything).
- Open SUSE had an installer that looked great. But, it couldn't find the CD-ROM after booting from said CD-ROM!
- DSL booted and installed just fine. This would probably be the best bet for a non-X (or limited X) configuration. But, we wanted a GUI to work from. I just couldn't figure out how to tweak XFree86. And then I realized it used some tiny XFree86 server and didn't have the config file. Poking around, it looks like I could install the full XFree86 - if I wanted to invest more time.
- Debian (which I haven't used before) actually allowed a floppy-based network install. It booted, recognized the network card (as did the other Linux variants), and started chugging with the base install. After rebooting from the HDD, I realized I didn't have X. A couple of install sessions later, X was limping along (hint: Just install KDE or Gnome and I bet you have a better time than I had!!). It didn't really configure the optimum settings, and that took quite a bit of tinkering. I had multiple active XF86Config (??) files floating around. Once I figured that out and made it one, progress was made. I finally just commented out all the resolutions I didn't want and was able to get to 800x600 with 8 bits of color. (Not sure where that 16 bits of color went...)
Anyone else gotten a modern install on the ThinkPad 760XL? I'd like to know how to get the full 800x600 with 16 bits of color (64K colors). I'm sure there is some mojo I don't know about - I'm most definitely just a hack when it comes to X configurations. Modern hardware is a lot easier! I think that XFree86 4.3 is distributed with Debian 3.1.