> I've an old dell laptop that is barely adequate for
> Linux, and the pcmcia usb card doesn't seem to play
> in Debian etch.

So there is no fixed USB in that laptop, and the BIOS
probably does not support any USB. Modern BIOSes do
support USB keyboard, mouse and storage (flash, cdrom,
floppy, harddisk) connected via USB. Nice for DOS.
Maybe you can use a "lighter" version of Linux? Does
the laptop come with some sort of DOS pcmcia drivers?
Or does the pcmcia usb card come with DOS drivers?

> I was wondering if I would gain by just installing
> freedos. Then the question is, does Freedos on a
> laptop have drivers for the pcmcia, and usb?

You would not gain much. There are free but commercial
USB storage drivers from various vendors. I think all
PCMCIA drivers are nonfree. The Deskwork.de shareware
GUI has a bit of PCMCIA support, and IBM PC DOS and
maybe others have card drivers, too. We even have the
permission to use a code snippet from Deskwork if we
want to make our own PCMCIA drivers, but nobody has
started to work on this yet. The idea is to use this
code, some ramdisk source code, the kernel initdisk
source code, the udma PIO mode (no DMA in PCMCIA) and
some ISA PnP code, throw them together, and then have
a driver for PCMCIA CF disks and similar :-). There
is also a generic semi-commercial USB driver kit from
Georg Potthast. If you are good or if you can pay, it
might be a way to make a cam driver based on this kit
and an existing Linux cam driver. But then, the Linux
cam driver will be GPL / open source and the driver of
Georg is not, so licenses might be a problem here.


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