Netbook Pro I've found a working linux distro!
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Maris
Posted 2007-10-07 12:14 AM
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Hi,
I was searching the web about Angstrom distro for my Netbook Pro, and on one IRC channel log where Koen from Angstrom hangs out (he had linux running on NB and he is an Embedded Linux guru) was mentioned a working linux distro with images for Boost, filesystem, INSTRUCTIONS! etc. I am still trying to make it work, I can get my NB to boot into black screen with flashing cursor in top left corner. If anyone wants to try it out it is here:
http://www.linuxtogo.org/~anonymous/
and the quote from readme file:" The Boost bootloader needs several specific files in order to get a Linux
kernel running from the internal NAND flash. Each file needs to have a
binary header that tells Boost what to do with this file. To install Linux
you need four files:
nBkPro.img: The bootloader script that does the flash partitioning.
NBLXLoad.sh: A shell script called from the initrd to write the root
filesystem to flash.
nBkProOs.img: A combined kernel and initrd image bootable by Boost." all those files are provided (so far I am using them without much of modification)....

Actually this post is a search for fellow NB owners looking to port linux onto it and for some advice if the whole thing makes sence and if anyone has an idea to get that particular distro running on NB . There was linux on the Pro and hopefully I will repeat that. Too bad there are no instructions on how to install linux on NB, for instance Angstorm distro, those unstable images... nothing... u-boot, redboot? go figure:
http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/unstable/images/netbook-pro/ if someone can share them with me it would be great. Thanks
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deusexaethera
Posted 2007-10-09 12:56 AM
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I don't know how much effort here was put into running Linux on the NBP before I piped up, but going from "maybe it's possible, go figure it out" to "here's a distro that's supposed to work" in a week and a half is definitely progress.
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cmonex
Posted 2007-10-09 5:17 AM
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dont think that's progress - nothing happened in that 1.5 weeks, someone just discovered an existing distro

well it is progress that it's been found.
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chiark
Posted 2007-10-09 6:33 AM
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Aye, it's cracking news! And there's instructions in there on how to build something boost will recognise... All good stuff!

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cmonex
Posted 2007-10-09 1:46 PM
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chiark: i did not see detailed instructions on that. did you ?

all it mentions is using raw zlib - i tried that that method ages ago for decompressing, never worked. so more details would be needed
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chiark
Posted 2007-10-09 2:37 PM
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It's in the netbook booting document? How to calculate headers, checksums etc...
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cmonex
Posted 2007-10-09 2:59 PM
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nooo noo. the headers is nothing to worry about.

i am talking about the compression of the OS image. it is based on zlib, is all i know. not enough details. anywhere.
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deusexaethera
Posted 2007-10-10 5:17 AM
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Does it matter if a custom ROM is compressed the same as the stock ROM? Doesn't the extraction utility have to be included anyway?
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Maris
Posted 2007-10-10 1:23 PM
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Great to see some movement! I am going to try to find the guy who created the stuff, I found that link on IRC chat log... I guess I am too limited in my knowledge of embedded Linux.... Anyone already tried this? cmonex this is the Netbook that I was to give you a RAM dump from... Unfortunately you found it somewhere else faster Looks like it will be a year long task to put linux on NB.... No info in the world...
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cmonex
Posted 2007-10-10 10:53 PM
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Quote
deusexaethera - 2007-10-10 11:17 AM

Does it matter if a custom ROM is compressed the same as the stock ROM? Doesn't the extraction utility have to be included anyway?



the "extraction utility" is the bootloader.

so yes it does matter.



Quote
Maris - 2007-10-10 7:23 PM

Great to see some movement! I am going to try to find the guy who created the stuff, I found that link on IRC chat log... I guess I am too limited in my knowledge of embedded Linux.... Anyone already tried this? cmonex this is the Netbook that I was to give you a RAM dump from... Unfortunately you found it somewhere else faster Looks like it will be a year long task to put linux on NB.... No info in the world...


ah i remember you now it is OK, no worries

if you could find the guy and get the compression utility it'd be great!

Edited by cmonex 2007-10-10 10:54 PM
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Eddie
Posted 2007-10-11 11:51 PM
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Quote
Maris - 2007-10-07 12:14 AM
...
I am still trying to make it work, I can get my NB to boot into black screen with flashing cursor in top left corner.
...


Maris, I tried this out and got the same result. If you go back into the boot menu, it will show this bit of text before the menu:

nBkProOs.img image info: size=3403850
NETBOOKPRO Linux26

Promising, but still doesn't work. I noticed in the netbook-booting.txt file this bit of info:

Quote
Where boost script file contains the commands to be run by boost. For LX prototype this should be:
nand -ignore erase 18 ee8
nand partition e8

For a normal NBP the correct value should be 7e8 instead of e8.


Just for giggles, I tried changing the value in the nBkPro.img file to 7e8, but when I try loading it on the NBP, it gives me this error:

Quote
Load error, bad header CRC!


So, it appears that if you change the file, you have to recalculate the header checksum (duh). Unfortunately, the system I'm working from doesn't provide me with checksum utility -- that, and I really wouldn't know what I was doing anyway. The header calculations are bit much for my level of experience.

Anyone else have any luck with this?
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Eddie
Posted 2007-10-12 12:24 AM
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One more thing... looks like someone either got it working or is in possession of one of the limited number of actual Linux netBook Pros.

http://linuxtogo.org/~koen/index.php?path=screenshots/

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Eddie
Posted 2007-10-12 12:49 AM
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From what I found out (apologies for the multiple posts), the brains behind the screenshots is Koen Kooi:

http://www.openzaurus.org/wordpress/2006/08/09/openzaurus-on-non-za...

I'm trying to get in touch with Koen to see if I can get any more details on the installation process.
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chiark
Posted 2007-10-12 4:31 AM
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Good luck - that's excellent news! I remember the name from the OpenZaurus days - he's certainly was very active and I guess he still will be. That does look very promising.

The screenshots are of OpenZaurus, which suggests that they're Koen's build rather than the official Psion skunkworks ones...

All the same, to see it working is superb! Good luck contacting him - have you looked on oesf?
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chiark
Posted 2007-10-12 4:52 AM
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bit more digging...

It looks like Koen definitely had a working image for the Psion Netbook Pro, and he was the machine mentor however he's dropped that. It looks a bit like Jon Bradbury is picking up where he left off.

I'll try to contact Jon and Koen to see if anything's moving, and to see if we can help... I'd really like to see Linux on the NBP happen - whack a large CF card in there and you've got a superb machine.

Bit more digging again...

OpenEmbedded supoprts the Netbook pro in its build environment, apparently. Whether this includes building the image, I don't know but it's a start. There's also another contact name from OE - Florian Boor.

http://linuxtogo.org/gowiki/LinuxDevices
http://linuxtogo.org/gowiki/NetBook

I've signed up to the angstrom devel list and will see where I get from there. All we need is one person who knows how to build the NBP image to share the info.

This is all looking very exciting
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