I blogged about the server last month. We actually decided just to replace the dud HD and see how that goes. The machine isn’t fantastically specified – 433MHz Celeron processor, 128MB RAM (would be 256 but one of the modules seems to be dud) and a 32MB Nvidia TNT2 graphics card but it works, and now has 120GB of HD to play with (£55 from a computer fair).
Of course, the system needs an OS. We had two CDs – one for Windows 2000 and the other for 98SE. Alas, the Windows 2000 disc has suffered too many scratches and so was unusable, so I had to resort to Windows 98. And boy do I not miss this OS.
98 has its fans, especially 98SE, but I just found the networking and hardware aspects annoying to the extreme. Hardware because with 98 you have to install drivers for almost everything – great if you have the original CDs or know what devices are in there, but not so great if you don’t. If it weren’t for Google I’d have given up – typing in the product numbers on the PCI cards got me somewhere, but I’m still unable to get a driver for the onboard sound. Now this is mostly due to 98’s age – you can’t expect a 6-year-old OS to have drivers for all the latest and greatest hardware, I suppose.
Networking was the other issue. I’m used to XP’s somewhat more user-friendly approach to network configuration, and just found 98’s options immensely confusing. The machine has two network cards and will have the USB ADSL modem hooked up to it – although I installed the drivers for all 3 with no problems getting them to actually do anything has been a challenge to which I’ve yet to overcome.
I’m strongly considering sticking a Linux distro on there – I have SuSE 9.1 on DVD (a freebie from Novell) but the machine doesn’t have a DVD-ROM drive, so I’ll have to use either Mandrake 9.2 or get busy downloading some ISOs. The ADSL modem has official downloadable drivers for Linux so it’s a worthy contender. Presumably Samba can provide file and print sharing.