My Personal Project: Installation of Linux on Libretto SS1000

1. Intro
2. H/W Spec
3. Install
4. Notes
5. Reference

A. Rev. History

Linux on Libretto SS1000

Masanori Omote <>
Kanagawa, JAPAN

version 1.1

NOTE: Use this page at your own risk.


1. Introduction
2. Hardware Description
3. Installation of Plamo Linux 1.3.0
3.1 Installation Strategy
3.2 Preparation on another Linux PC
3.3 Preparation on Network for Libretto
3.4 Re-partitioning the Libretto's Hard Drive
3.5 Booting Linux from MS-DOS
3.6 Setting Up Linux via NFS
4. Notes for Installation of Other Distribution
5. References

A. Revision History of This Page

1. Introduction

These are the procedures to install Linux into the Libretto SS1000 which is one of the smallest model of Libretto by Toshiba. I installed Slackare-based Japanized distribution Plamo Linux in SS1000 via network from my full-tower PC which Red Hat 4.2 and 5.2 are already installed.

2. Hardware Description

Unless English page is available, each link shows a Japanese page.
Libretto SS1000 / Toshiba
MMX Pentium@166MHz, 32MB memory, 2.1GB hard drive, Windows 95 pre-installed.
"SS" stands for Slim Shock. As they say so, it's 24.5mm thin and weighs 820g. Its keyboard pitch is 15mm so it is not so hard for touch typing. As far as I know, Libretto SS1000 is available only in Japan. Unless you live in Japan, you can buy it for your souvenir when you come to Japan.

I/O Adapter for Libretto SS1000 / Toshiba
1 serial, 1 paralell, 1 VGA, 1 USB, 1 PS/2.
Most makes call this a port replicator, but Toshiba doesn't for SS1000. They call their docking bay as port replicator.

SuperSocket RE450T / Telecom Device
10Base-T PCMCIA Card, NE2000 compatible, supported both on Windows 95 and pcmcia-cs (3.0.3 or later).

3. Installation of Plamo Linux 1.3.0

3.1 Installation Strategy

I took network installation for the Libretto. The Libretto SS1000 comes with no floppy drive nor CD-ROM drive. Even the port replicator is an optional part. I didn't want to spend more except goods necessary, so I bought a PCMCIA LAN card and an I/O adapter, but a floppy drive.

For network installation, the installation kernel is loaded from MS-DOS using loadlin.exe. To install loadlin, vmlinuz and the initial root image, the driver for LAN card should be installed in advance. To do that, at least one of these things is needed: a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive (if you have CD-R writer) or a I/O adapter to make a PPP connection to copy the device driver file on Windows 95.

So, my installation procedure was:

  1. Set up PPP on Windows 95.
  2. Attach a modem via I/O adapter, and copy the driver file via ISP.
  3. Install LAN card on Windows 95.
  4. Copy some files to DOS filesystem to boot up a Linux installation kernel.
  5. Installation stage of Linux.

3.2 Preparation on another Linux PC

Linux CD-ROM should be mounted on the base PC.

% mount -t cdrom /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

And export that CD-ROM so that it can be used via NFS.

% echo "/mnt/cdrom" >> /etc/exports
% exportfs -a

3.3 Preparation on Libretto

I configured dial-up network on Windows 95 to transfer the driver file of the LAN card. I used I/O adapter to connect to my modem and get the driver related files from ISP, which I had transfered from the PC in advance. Once the driver file for the LAN card is installed, the rest of the utilites for the LAN card can be copied via network.

Next, I copied fips.exe, loadlin.exe, vmlinuz and initrd.gz on Windows 95 from the PC via network.

a tool to truncate Windows partition.

a Linux loader from native DOS mode.

gzipped Linux kernel file.

gzipped root disk image initially mounted to /.
I changed the card bay mode to PCIC before installation. SS1000 has a CardBus/PCMCIA (type II) card slot and the mode is set to automatic as the default. In my case, that caused misrecognition of the LAN card to anonymous memory card. So, I changed to PCIC mode for the compatibility of PCMCIA and the LAN card has been correctly recognized.

3.4 Re-partitioning the Libretto's Hard Drive

Libretto has a 2.1GB hard drive with Windows 95 pre-installed. It has at first two partitions. One was 2GB-sized primary partition for Windows 95 C:. The other was 16MB rather small empty expanded partition for Windows 95 D:. I tried to remove D: partition to make sure that hybernation didn't depend on that partition. I removed that partition but Windows 95 was able to hybernate itself. So I simply removed D: to get Linux partition larger (after).

Then, I used fips.exe to truncate hda1 partition to make room for Linux. Before doing that, I did scandisk and defrag. I read the manual for fips carefully and re-partitioned the first partition to 750MB.

3.5 Booting Linux from MS-DOS

Linux can be booted from DOS mode using loadlin.exe with two files, vmlinuz and initrd.gz. To go into DOS mode, shutdown Windows 95 with the menu for rebooting DOS mode or boot Libretto with pressing F8 and select #6 of the boot menu.

Then invoke:

C:> loadlin vmlinuz initrd=initrd.gz
or something like that. Please consult the documents from your CD because you may have to add some other parameters like root=/dev/ram. This initrd is a gzip'ed disk image for root (/) which contains base programs and utilities to set up Linux. Make sure that your root image supports non-floppy installation. As for Libretto, it has basically no floppy drive. Even if it is available via PCMCIA card, it won't work for 2nd supplement floppy disk to support PCMCIA because it is not recognized before PCMCIA support becomes available (of course!!).

3.6 Setting Up Linux via NFS

Because I chose Slackware-based Japanized distribution "Plamo Linux", I logged in as root from the first login prompt and invoked setup command, then followed instruction on the screen.

After re-partitioning the disk with fdisk, the table becomes as follows:

Disk /dev/hda: 128 heads, 63 sectors, 525 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 8064 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot   Begin    Start      End   Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *        1        1      192   774112+   6  DOS 16-bit >=32M
/dev/hda2          193      193      420   919296   83  Linux native
/dev/hda3          421      421      437    68544   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda4          438      438      524   350784   83  Linux native

4. Notes for Installation of Other Distribution

At first I tried to install Red Hat 5.2 with initrd52.gz. Before and after the cofiguration of the PCMCIA slot to PCIC mode, I got two beeps at the beginning of cardmgr, which were a high tone and a low one. I didn't research why it failed.

5. References

[1] Kenneth E. Harker, Linux on Laptops, last modified 04NOV1998.
[2] George B. Moody, Linux on the Libretto 70, v1.5a, 20JUN1998.
[3] Mitsuhiro Kojima, Plamo Linux Home Page, last modified 10DEC1998, in Japanese.
[4] Koji Hiramoto, Linux Install & Setup, last update 30NOV1998, in Japanese.
[5] Victor Gvirtsman, initrd52.gz .


A. Revision History of This Page

[v1.1] 10DEC1998
The first anyway version of this page was created for Plamo Linux installation.

Masanori Omote

Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 1998
Contact: Masanori Omote <>