Sven Utcke's Olivetti Quaderno

The Olivetti Quaderno is a 1992 sub-miniature notebook. To my knowledge at least 3 different versions were released:
  1. Olivetti Quaderno (PT-XT-20)
  2. Olivetti Quaderno 33 (PT-AT-60)
  3. Olivetti Quaderno 33/J

This page describes the Quaderno 33 (PT-AT-60). Note that I also have a page on the original Quaderno (PT-XT-20).

In Germany, the original Quadernos were also sold by Vobis under the name Highscreen Laptalk. Is this also true for the Quaderno 33?


Size: 21cm x 15cm x 4.3cm (A5 footprint) at ????g.
Screen: ??cm x ??cm (??") ?????? LCD-display, VGA (640 x 480 at 16 greylevels).
Keyboard: 14mm pitch (yes, this is small! Your keyboard at home is 19mm).
HDD: This computer originally came with a 60MB drive. However, the previous owner replaced the HDD with a Toshiba MK0501MAT, 477MB w/128kB Cache, 970/16/63, Ser. no. Y6J30398
FDC: 8272A
Processor: Supposedly an 386-variant at 20MHz
Norton: The Norton Utilities identify this as a 80386 running at 20MHz. It also identifies a VGA with at least 256kB of memory, a PS/2 mouse (the builtin trackball), a 485MB HDD (but see below) and an ISA-bus. Speed relative to the original IBM XT with its 8086 (8088?) running at 4.77MHz:
High speed (20MHz): 11.4
Low speed (10MHz): ??
Byte (2.2): Performance relative to Toshiba T2200SX (Notebook Class):
CPU: 0.92
Disk: 1.39
Video: 0.52
SST: This Test identifies the processor as an 80386 running at 17.26MHz.
CPU: 3200 Dhrystones
Math: 21k Whetstones
Video: 4500 CPS
Linux: BogoMiPS: 2.72
HDD: Toshiba MK0501MAT, 477MB w/128kB Cache, 970/16/63, Ser. no. Y6J30398
Bios: ????
PCMCIA: One Type II slot. Supposedly Version 2.0, but I have so far been unable to use my IBM External PCMCIA 4X CD-ROM Drive with either DOS (I can not install the drivers as they do not detect the card) nor Linux (which correctly detects the drive after some tweaking, but then tells me
get dev info on socket 0 failed: m
But yes, Linux might run on this little critter!

Also interesting: one can supposedly use an SRAM card in that slot increase system RAM. That way, it might even be possible to run Linux with X.

Linux on the Quaderno 33

Well, I've only had this for a couple of days, but here is what I have found out so far:

tomsrtbt 1.7.118:
It does boot, but fails on the fact that the Quaderno comes with only 4MB of memory:
UH-OH! No RAM for /usr, Runlevel 4!
Bare minimum, Good luck. Remove floppy.
SuSE Linux 6.0:
Using the normal EIDE boot-floppy one can boot no problem. However, I can not currently use my IBM External PCMCIA 4X CD-ROM Drive - SuSE correctly detects the drive (after some tweaking), but then tells me
get dev info on socket 0 failed: m
When autoprobing for modules, SuSE loads the module NCR 53c8xx - anybody knows what this is for?
Xdenu HdX 2.1.2:
This boots directly out of a directory on the normal DOS HDD, using loadlin. What can I say: it runs. Linux on the Quaderno! Yeah baby! But not all is perfect yet:
SmallLinux 0.7.2:
This boots from either two disks (a boot and a root disk) or from its own HDD-partition.
Monkey Linux 0.6
Alows real users with real passwords, but X doesn't run out of the box (try a dotclock of 35.4). There's only an English keymap. It claimes my video-card to be an ct65545+ with 512kB and a TFT (which, of course, it isn't) and dies when the mouse is used (in and out of X).
µLinux 10r3:
I can not get this to install due to insufficient RAM. Shame - this really is a nice distribution.
CCLinux 1.5:
This stops booting, telling me:
Checking if this processor honours the WP bit even in supervisor mode... No.
Kernel panic: This Kernel doesn't support CPU's with broken WP. Recompile it for a 386!
In swapper task - not syncing

Tips and Tricks

An instruction how to dissassemble the Quaderno. Use at your own risk.


Sites dedicated to the Quaderno

Olivetti page by Holger Lorenz (in English)
German version of the manual as WinWord 6.0 document, the original PA-software in several languages, several utilities, FAQ, guestbook, usenet-news
Olivetti page by Holger Lorenz (in German)
Olivetti page by Hans Olav Elsebø (in English)
Specs of the Olivetti Quaderno, software and utilities
Olivetti page by Denis Faivre (in French)
Specs of the Olivetti

Sites that mention the Quaderno

Computerwoche Nr. 21 vom 22.05.1992 (in German)
Article on the occasion of the Quaderno's introduction
Guardian 21/7/94 (in English)
Terry Pratchett used (?) to have a Quaderno. Yes, that's right, the famous author of the Discworld-Series.
Quaderno 33 Technical Features (in Japanese)
Well, I don't know any Japanese, so what can I say...
Olivetti Ouaderno, ein Erfahrungsbericht (in German)
Here's a report from someone who recently aquired a used Quaderno and has so far changed the disc and replaced the batteries.
List of old computers (in German)
Technical specifications of old and obsolete computers.
List of Palmtop, Pen or Small Computers (in English)
Technical specifications.

Sven Utcke
last modified: 27-Oct-2000