This is the old version of this document, along with a list of errata.

Linux on a Fujitsu 280dx

The Fujitsu Lifebook 280dx is a 233 MHz MMX Pentium with 32M (upgradeable to 96), a 3.2G hard drive, and a 12" passive display. It has an internal K56Flex modem (yeah, I know, not V.90 but they promise an upgrade) but I had to use a PCMCIA Ethernet card to connect to the net at work. The 270dx is a 200 MHz machine with only a 2.1G hard drive.

The machine has two bays, a small bay and a large bay. The small bay can hold a battery, a floppy drive, or a zip drive. The large bay can hold a CD player, a second 3.2G hard disk, or any small bay device using a plastic size-adaptor.

I thought it was a pretty good deal: $1500 including the zip drive.

I decided to install the Debian version of the Linux operating system. Since the 3.2G disk was formatted with the new Fat32 filesystem and I also wanted to maintain the existing Windows environment, I used the fips15c tool to split the single existing DOS partition into two 1.6G DOS partitions, then used the cfdisk tool to delete the second DOS partition and created a Linux swap partition and a Linux filespace partition Note that the fips15c documentation recommends deleting the windows swap file before partitioning. For instructions on how to do this see Removing Win95 swap file in my Windows Hacker area.. Note also that there is no "cylinder 1023" problem here since the hard disk reports its geometry as 128 heads and 787 cylinders.

Initial Linux installation

I did the first installation totally from the net, but CheapBytes sells the CDs so cheap, I have now bought and installed both 2.0 and 2.1 and have a 2.2 disk set that I installed on a Gateway at work. Plans for this machine include upgrade of the hard disk from 3GB to 30GB, installation of Windows 98, and installation of Debian 2.2 when I get around to it.

This still needs the Tecra boot version, but the second Debian CD is setup for this, so all that must be remembered is to boot the second binary disk instead of the first.

Boot selection with LILO

This turned out to be really easy. To recap, I split the initial big fat32 partition into two equal size partitions with fips15c, then deleted the second partition and created a linux swap partition and a linux filesystem partition. So /dev/hda1 is Windows and /dev/hda3 is Linux. This very simple lilo.conf asks me at boot time which to load:


This causes it to wait and ask which system to load. See /usr/doc/lilo if you want it to behave differently.

Another interesting point about this particular LILO setup is that LILO is installed to the boot record for partition /dev/hda3 rather than the MBR of the hda disk. The default x86 MBR searches the partition table, and boots from the first partition marked active (bootable, executable). By leaving the default MBR in place, we can easily switch between Windows booting and LILO booting by manipulating the active flags using fdisk. When the first partition (hda1) is marked active, boot is directly into Windows without any deviation through LILO. When the third partition (hda3) is marked active, the default MBR runs LILO which can then select between Windows and Linux.


The PCMCIA card I bought (a Linksys EtherFast 10/100) is supported by Linux, so this was quite easy. The minimal set of things needed to make it work were to run these commands
/sbin/ifconfig eth0 netmask broadcast
/sbin/route add -net
/sbin/route add default gw metric 1
(I'm manually running them from a script just now) and create the file /etc/resolv.conf containing the IP addresses of our campus nameservers:
nameserver 128.8.xx.yy
nameserver 128.8.pp.qq
Note that I have obscured the actual addresses. You want to substitute the IP addresses of your campus nameservers.

Note the strange network mask. Our 129.2 network is split 7/9, that is, there are 128 subnets each with 512 nodes. That is why the broadcast address got rounded from 8 up to 9.


As intimated before, it is much less work to just use the X package that is configured for Debian. Be careful, the packaging has changed between the various Debian releases. The 2.1 release made a fairly nice XF86Config file, which I (document what changes were made manually).

ZIP drive

This is recognized by the kernel so it should just work. Initially I was able to mount a MSDOS ZIP media by using:
mount -t msdos /dev/hdb4 /mnt
By creating a /zip mount point and putting the fourth line in the /etc/fstab file
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
/dev/hda3	/		ext2	defaults,errors=remount-ro   0      1
/dev/hda2       none            swap    sw                           0      0
proc            /proc           proc    defaults                     0      0
/dev/hdb4	/zip		auto	defaults,user
I made it possible for users (as opposed to just root) to mount and unmount zip media using
mount /zip
umount /zip
commands. But the kernel grumbles at me if there is no media installed at bootup, so I may have something wrong in here. Also, there doesn't seem to be any automatic way to eject the media.

There does appear to be some kind of interlock. If you push the eject button when the media is mounted, nothing happens, but then when you unmount the media it is ejected. Alternatively you can unmount the media, then push the eject button. There was some information on the web about configuring SCSI emulation for ATAPI then using some SCSIEJECT ioctl but this will have to wait until I try building my own kernel. For now manually ejecting seems to be workable. After all, it is the same paradigm as the floppy :-)

To format a zip media in unix mode:

fdisk /dev/hdb
I did a p to show the current partition table but there wasn't one. I did a n to create a new partition, answering p for primary and 4 for the partition number (to be compatable with the fstab entry). I answered 1 for the start cylinder and 96 for the end cylinder. Then I used w to write the partition table to the media and q to quit.

Then I did

mke2fs /dev/hdb4
This put the zip disk into a state where it could be mounted via the fstab entry above. Note that initially there is only a lost+found directory present.


I never did get printing working.

Watch this space for progress...

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