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I am attempting to install the smallest desktop environment possible on an IBM Lenovo T43 laptop with a 40 GiB HDD. Currently running Ubuntu/Xubuntu 18.04 for 32 bit with xfce4 GUI.

My goal was to install the Ubuntu minimal iso from a USB, wipe Ubuntu from Dev/mapping/ (because it's 37 GiB), then to sudo apt-get install xubuntu-core. However, none of that is relevant, because when I boot from USB, I'm led through a series of prompts to setup a network configuration. I'm being asked to enter data which I can only guess at: wap2/wep "passphrase", host name, ip adress, gateway, and domain name.

After getting through that, I'm offered a menu of mirros to choose from; though apparently none of them work (no matter which one I select): i receive an error message indicating either it's the wrong mirror or perhaps there is a connection problem (there's not, I've checked it multiple times now).

That is where the ride ends. I can't proceed with the install because I can't get passed this mirror issue. Again, though I'm in the United States, I've tried multiple mirrors, including the United States...without regard to proximity to the United States.

I'm using my home AT&T U-verse/broadband wifi as a connection. In order for this install to work, do I need to be hardwired into the router? I'm open to any and all troubleshooting tips, hacks, or solutions (with the exception of any involving installation of unstable PPAs). Thanks in advance for helping me think through this dilemma.

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    It is much easier to use the Ubuntu mini.iso with a wired connection, ethernet. But if you want things to be easier to manage, you can try Xubuntu Core via this unofficial link, created and uploaded by a member of the Xubuntu community. – sudodus Mar 22 at 5:45
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    Thanks for responding. However, I initially downloaded Xubuntu-core and converted it to bootable, using startup disk creator. That's where I first encountered the problem. Thinking it made a difference, I instead downloaded Ubuntu-mini. In either case: I'm offered a menu of mirros to choose from; though apparently none of them work (no matter which one I select). I don't understand why I need a mirror when I clearly already have the iso? When I skip to 'activate a shell' I wind up with a useless ASH shell which can't do much, because this computer doesn't have an OS. – Martial Mar 28 at 15:00
  • The mirrors are intended for future upgrades of the installed system (and in the mini.iso case also for the first download of the packages, that are not included in the mini.iso). - What happens if you 'activate a shell'? Maybe that is exactly what you need. - By the way, I have a similar IBM Thinkpad T42 laptop, I usually run Lubuntu 32-bit in it. – sudodus Mar 28 at 15:51
  • @sudodus..."When I skip to 'activate a shell' I wind up with a useless ASH shell which can't do much, because this computer doesn't have an OS." – Martial Mar 29 at 21:23
  • I don't understand. What do you mean by "this computer doesn't have an OS"? You are trying to install an OS, if I understand correctly. – sudodus Mar 29 at 21:44
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After much pain and searching of the internet, I think I've found the answer to my own question in a post I failed to discover until now: How do I do a minimal install without an internet connection?

Apparently, I've been attempting to get the Ubuntu-mini iso to do something it is not capable of doing; install over a WI-FI connection. If anyone else finds themselves confused by a similar situation, see the "Ubuntu-minimal" tag and compare it to the "Minimal Installation" tag. That cleared it up for me...I think. I'll try creating a Live USB with Xubuntu 18 Cosmic and see if using the Minimal Installation makes any difference. I'll update this answer with the result later.

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