Well, I did it! Instead of buying a new laptop for $1000 or more, I decided to upgrade mine. Since the display is in good shape, and I know the machine is reliable (and I was comfortable with it), I decided that spending a couple hundred (about $250) for a new hard drive and more memory was the way to go. Of course, it's still a P-133, but this isn't my home computer and I'm not doing heavy-duty work on it anyway. Now, the machine has 48 megs of RAM and a 6 gig Toshiba hard disk (which is the same brand as the original, incidentally). Next upgrade for it: new battery. Mine's shot.
I'm really happy that I did! One of the things I wanted to do was to be able to run a database system under Linux. I use MySQL, which I like a lot, and I access via PHP and Apache. Naturally, this requires some resources to work properly, especially when I'm also running X and Netscape. While this still isn't a speed demon and certainly couldn't handle more than a light load of requests, it does the job on trips. Nicely. Of course, it helps to get rid of everything you don't need. In my case, I removed some extra "agettys" since I rarely use more than three. I don't think I start inetd at all. Look carefully, you'll find things to get rid of, too.
Info on the install: The 6 gig drive is 4 gigs for Linux and 2 for Win98, if I remember correctly. I have the Linux section broken up in my "standard" installation:
I realize there are probably more efficient ways to do this...but it seems to be what I always end up with when I do an install no matter how I try to do something different.
I have noticed that if KDE suspends the computer (using a program that monitors the battery status), it will lock up and you won't be able to un-suspend. Suspending it manually or allowing the BIOS (I guess) to handle it works fine.
Another quirk: since I upped to Slackware 7, I haven't been able to run X in more than 8 bit mode... I'm still working on why that would be.
Try the Fujitsu 420D pages for the X server. http://www.publiccom.com/web/mikey/lifebooklinux.html covers the Fujitsu 420D, and http://www.mnsinc.com/js/Neomagic.html has links to the X server you need.
Other notes: The PCMCIA driver is cool. I can switch between two ethernets just by moving the card from one slot to the other...without even rebooting. Try THAT in Windows. Ha!
The APM daemon has a nasty habit of warning me the battery is getting low AFTER the notebook's built-in alarm goes off (at which point you have about 10 seconds before it's too late). I've tried setting the warning threshold higher but it seems the battery shoots right past those levels without stopping so the APM daemon doesn't know it's that bad yet.
As it stands now, I usually run the laptop in Linux; boots to Win95 are very rare! It's extremely stable even through multiple suspend/resume cycles (Does anyone else's CD drive indicator light up after a resume and stay lit? Mine does this in both OS's.)
If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.