Sunday, 4 November 2018

Getting AROS Up And Running Part 1

I've been wanting to get AROS working on a laptop for some time now due to my great need for an Amiga laptop.

Considering the number of old laptops I have it seemed possible that one of them would be capable of running one distribution or another.

Which combination to choose though, I have a Medion, Acers, Asus, Fujitsu Siemens, Toshiba and a couple of Samsungs.

Laptop size was not a consideration at this point, I just wanted one that booted and ran. The only thing I wanted it to do to start with was boot from the hard drive.

Which Distribution?

I downloaded Icaros, for no particular reason and I brought down, from under the bed, a small selection of old laptops, A Medion, a couple of Acers (2 of the same model, Aspire 5920), a Fujitsu Siemens and a Toshiba.

Considering the age of some of them they had been butchered and were in various states, some had memory removed, 1 had no hard drive.

I first tried the two Acers only to find one had no hard drive or memory and the others screen didn't work, so I took the hard drive and memory out of one and put it in the other making one complete Acer laptop.

I thought I would do a little bit of research for compatible hardware on to see which hardware would be compatible but it seems that compatibility can be a bit hit and miss so I thought I'd just dive in and try each one until I found one that booted.

I decided I'd make a major effort and use the Acer that now had a hard drive and memory, I created a boot CD of Icaros and easily booted the Acer Aspire 5920 into AROS from the CD and this was nice to see, but could I install it and boot from the hard drive?

I was able to use the Install AROS application to wipe the hard drive then restart and install Icaros and finally boot from the hard drive but none of the software worked, were my hopes of an AROS machine dashed?

Then it dawned on me that AspireOS was a distribution that should work on Acers but would it work on an Acer 5920? I guess I'll give it a go and see. Again I had issues, this time earlier on, I was able to boot from the AspireOS CD and it looked more Amiga like than Icaros which pleased me but on running the Install AROS software I was unable to wipe the hard drive, again, was I dashed?

Icaros can wipe the hard drive but doesn't install properly and AspireOS wouldn't wipe the hard drive, what to do? Well, lets use Icaros to wipe the hard drive and then swap the CD and install from AspireOS, this, surprisingly worked a treat.

I took out the CD and restarted the Acer and it booted into AspireOS, it's a start. Would any of the software that comes with AspireOS work? Yes, woohoo.

There seemed to be a lot less software on AspireOS than on Icaros, for one Audio Evolution, my thought, can I copy Audio Evolution from the Icaros boot CD to my newly installed AspireOS laptop? Yes, another woohoo. Does it run from the hard drive? Yes, woohoo.

I'd like to get the Acer 5920 online but not sure if the Ethernet, Broadcom BCM5787M or the wireless, Intel 3945ABG work under AROS and even if they do I am unsure how the networking software works.

It has taken 2 days on and off, for me to get to this point and am quite happy with my progress. My ultimate goal it to get online, install Mason icons and make it more Amiga looking, install Hollywood and Hollywood Designer.

I intend following up this post with future information on my progress. Could this be the Amiga laptop that I have longed for? I have a MorphOS PowerBook, my E.M.M.A. project and hopefully my AROS machine. If I can get all three working then I can do a comparison of all the systems.

If anyone has any information on my next step then please let me know in the comments below.

Michael Holmes

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