Thursday, May 28, 2009

Installing Puppy Linux 4.2 in Spanish - WRONG APPROACH

A Spanish Linux distribution on OLD laptops (P2 or 3 with 128 Mb Ram or less)

FAILED INSTALL: Spanish language localization files were incomplete or not available.

Goal: To convert donated old laptops into a machine that can be used by University students in Honduras.

Hardware used:
Thinkpad iSeries 1161-210
500 MHz, 96 Mb Ram

Base distribution: Puppy 2.4
I tried my favorite Spanish Language end user small distro, TinyMe 2008.0, but had problems with the video and couldn't get it to work well. When I put a Puppy disk I found that Puppy had no problem with the video, so I downloaded the latest version which has a lot more functionality than the one I was using. I noticed that it even had some Spanish support available so decided to give it a go. Perhaps I will change favorites!

Preparing the Hard drive: I found that by preparing the hard drive ahead of time, the Install went smoother with less messing around. I booted with SystemRescueCD and loaded GParted which is a great option for newbies because of the nice polished user interface. I kept a swap partition and wiped the first partition, so there was unused space in its stead. I could have also successsfully wiped the swap partition, but had no need to do so.

I then booted Puppy. Since there was no media for it to mount it did not do so. I opened GParted in Puppy and formatted the free space to ext3, the current Linux default. Now I have 5.3 GB in ext3 and 267 MB in linux swap (arguably too much), so we are ready to install.

Installing: Puppy 2.4
Installing Puppy is done from the menu after loading Puppy. I followed the great tutorial found here:
The only deviation from the above was that you do not need to manually comment out the "Other bootable partition" information in the menu.lst file. This is because of not having a mountable partition available to Puppy when it loaded. Much easier!

Networking: Network Wizard
I forgot to have the network pcmcia card in during the initial install, so I enter the Setup/Network Wizard. The D-ling PCMCIA card I have is not listed, so I choose the NE2000 compatible network module which works. Save configuration on exit.

Enter Setup/Puppy Control Panel and select the Country button. Choose keyboard la-latin1. For choose your local, set fetch at the bottom of the screen. This opens a wget session to pull locales packages. (What a nifty addition.) After the download, I was able to select among quite a few locales and chose es_ES from the selection menu. This forces a restart of the Xsession (after a friendly notice giving me a chance to close open apps). I had to then restart the puppy country tool to set the time zone. Upon reboot of the X session, I was a bit disapointed that nothing changed into Spanish. So lets try something else.

New Programs:
Open Setup/Puppy Package Manager (PET) and install the following packages.
TkHearts card game - nice game, low resources
flash-chess game - nice game, low resources

Download Language Files:
Puppy does not upgrade using the traditional apt package management programs so I cannot easily download typical localization files. There are no localization files available in the Puppy Package Manager, but puppy allows for installing user created PET files. A search for Spanish language localization files uncovered language localization for version 2.13. (login required)
The package retrieved was a .pup, which is an older Puppy linux package standard, so I needed to first install the "dotpuphandler" package found in the Puppy Package Manager. Since this package was created for an older version of Puppy I cross my fingers while installing the following .pup files. All you need to do is click on the files to install.
During the installation of the second, I was asked to choose a different localization, so I chose es_HN being that I am in Honduras. When the windows manager restarted, I found that some of the system was in Spanish, but most was still in English including Abiword and Gnumeric.

This is not good enough.

Additional Download Sites:
fyi, some major puppy download sites are located here:
and here:

Custom Spanish Distributions:
In searching for localization files, I discovered a full Spanish language version of Puppy 2.17 here: These derivative works are called "puplets". I downloaded and tested. Works great out of the box.

I more recently found information about BOBY, which is a Spanish language puplet for Puppy 4.2. Info here:
with Openoffice:
download here:
or here:
(with openoffice)