Linux on Libretto 50CT
Libretto 50CT is a very small laptop computer with 16 MB of RAM and
75MHz Pentium CPU and a small, 6 inch display. It can run Windows 95
5.0. Since the keyboard is a little bit tiny, I think it is good for
small children. In particular my motivation for installing Linux on the
Libretto is to teach my son Linux and shell programming. Another usage
might be writing while travelling (it is less than a kilogram, really
the maximum ideal weight for a portable computer).
Problems in installing RedHat 5.0
I heard that RedHat 5.0 is the
smallest Linux that fits into Libretto 50CT and I had a full fledged
RedHat 5.0 distribution with boot floopy disks, cdroms and the book. So
I went for it.
My Libretto 50CT had an external
floppy drive and an external CD-ROM drive connected through PCMCIA.
can boot either from hard disk or floppy drive but not from the CD-ROM
5.0 has the PCMCIA connection utilities on the second floppy disk. So
one can not
continue the installation process through what Libretto allows and
RedHat installation provides. Installing through the PLIP is the
one solution  one can use. Another solution, having both Windows and
RedHat 5.0 partitions on the disk is explained in  although I am not
sure if Libretto 50's 800MB hard disk can accomodate both.
I had a more direct approach. I took the harddrive of the Libretto
out, attached it on a Linux box as the primary hard disk and installed
RedHat 5.0 on the the Libretto's tiny hard disk.
Configuration of the X server
The remaining part was configuration of the X, which I managed through
[1,2] and Vaughan Pratt's XF86Config files. One very important thing is
that calling 'Xmetro' directly does not work. You should
use 'startx' to start the X server which runs Xmetro.
The X configuration file
which you may find
useful. It should be under /etc/X11.
Adding PCMCIA support
Now we have a nicely running Linux but communication with the outer
world requires PCMCIA connection to work. First one has the start the
cardmanager, 'cardmgr'. This deamon writes messages to
/var/log/messages when the PCMCIA card is plugged into the Libretto's
1. Alan Jeffrey, "Linux on the
2. George B. Moody, "Linux on the Toshiba Libretto 70",