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Old 13th April 2009
insomniadmx insomniadmx is offline
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Default Adding apps to an obscure OpenBSD based distro


My friend gave me a banged up old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S253 laptop. The battery was long dead and the hard drive was constantly corrupting OSes installed onto it. I decided to make it my dedicated workshop machine. All I want it to do is play MP3s and have applications for a calculator and text editor. I didn't want to buy a new HDD or boot from a CD or flash drive, so I thought I'd use a floppy (or two if I absolutely have to).

I thought at first I'd make a MSDOS boot disk (as I'm pretty familiar with DOS) and put a sound driver with applications that met my needs. As it turned out, there are no drivers for this laptop's sound card for DOS, so DOS on a floppy was ruled out.

I knew that I'd never get a version of Windows on a floppy that could use the Windows drivers for the laptop, plus I just don't want Windows on this thing anyway, so none of that.

Next, I looked around for a distro of Linux that fits on a floppy. I couldn't really find what I was looking for, all of the ones I found either wouldn't detect my sound card or were meant for things like turning old PCs into firewalls or raid drives or whatnot.

I was starting to get frustrated until I found a OpenBSD 4.1 based distro that fits on a floppy...


It detected my sound card and played MP3s flawlessly with MPG123, so I decided to go with it. I then went hunting for the calculator and text editor, since they weren't included (I think it has "ed" in it, but I need more luxury than that ). The calculator app that seemed to offer the most power within the smallest filesize that I could find was Calcoo, which I guess is a port of a Gentoo Linux app. Finding the right text editor was a bit harder though, as I wanted something as similar as possible to MSDOS's "edit.exe". I decided to go with easy editor or "ee" which I've heard is only for FreeBSD, but hey. I found precompiled versions of both of these on in a file index of OpenBSD 4.1 apps on the web. I threw them both on a FAT16 formatted floppy (for convenience, because I usually use Windows) which I successfully mounted after booting up KarmaBSD. They would not run, however.

Calcoo gives me a nondescript error message "Abort trap" and ee gives me a bunch of jumbled letters. I have a feeling I shouldn't put only the binaries on the disk, but the entire package...

I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what I'm doing wrong, or give me any tips or anything, or any suggestions of different apps other than the ones I've chosen. Perhaps I should be worrying about prerequisites (and if that's the case, then I doubt I can fit these all on one disk), and perhaps the apps are screwing up because the disk is being mounted to "/mnt" which I think might be a read only directory. I can maneuver around in a unix shell well enough, but I'm not extremely competent either, so any help is appreciated.

Also, I want to know how to check the space left on a floppy disk. I'm hoping that I can put the two apps on the same floppy as the OS and mpg123, but as they weigh a little under 300 kb altogether, I'm starting to doubt it. I don't really mind using two floppies though.

I'm just eager to play music in my shop so I can distract myself at the table saw and cut my fingers off.

Last edited by insomniadmx; 13th April 2009 at 08:28 PM.
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