Netbook Pro I've found a working linux distro!
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stolk
Posted 2007-11-13 3:00 PM
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oldman - 2007-11-13 3:41 AM

Puh... folks.. ok, once again:



As far as I know, I did'n mixup files.
Indeed tried both procedures: trying to run linux from the CF card and with the other set of file flashing the NBP.
Unfortunately neither worked so far.

think I go back to the basics tomorrow, formatting the CF and restart all over again..

grt, Ill keep you posted

leo

PS read somewhere that people in the UK who developed the LX for Psion Teklogix were not properly paid or treated.
Could mean that some may find themselves co-owner of the source-code.
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w_m0zart
Posted 2007-11-13 4:07 PM
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To make a few things clear about the LX project:
From one of the developers I heard that the only reason why the LX project was not continued, was just a lack of performance of the NBP hardware. This is of course true if you try to run a full set of 'demanding' software (Starting Firefox would take about 60 seconds, which is way too much). (So money was not an issue.)
The only chance to make the NBP a workable device, is to use certain applications which are adopted to the performance of the NBP.

The discussion about sources which are password protected, has just something to do with files which one of the developers of LX restricted for releasing. If we follow acid snoop his suggestion to use a kind of non disclosure agreement, we can be on the safe site. This way development can continue and the Linux LX sources themselves can be opensource. What will not be released to the public -as acid snoop told us- will be some documentation with personal details. I think it will be the task of the 'nda-ers' to rewrite this information in such a way that it can become public domain.

Edited by w_m0zart 2007-11-13 4:10 PM
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salmonito
Posted 2007-11-13 9:18 PM
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mrkrupa - 2007-11-09 11:46 AM

Eddie, I've been looking at microdrives and did a little research. IBM developed them and Hitachi bought IBM's drive business. Seagate has been the late comer to the game but they produce a range of drives too.

I'm talking about the CF form factor here.

Also there has been a rash of chinese clones that apparently suffer from quality issues.

I found a wide range of pricing too which made me somewhat anxious as I don't want to over pay but on the other hand and more importantly I don't want to buy a piece of junk.

The interesting discrepancy is the 2gb units. At amazon they retail at over 100 dollars while others can be had for as low as about 30 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!

Seagate produces a unit with 2 MB cache while the Hitachi units seem to standardize on 128k. I'd be curious to see some testing comparing the two in real applications.

I think I will buy a 30 dollar unit and set up a swap file.

Power consumption has been commented as being similar to cf drives marginally greater. I read some numbers but don't recall them now.

Get Hitachi or Seagate. Also, apparently you can salvage units from some mp3 players that go on ebay for cheap!

Paul Krupa


Hi guys, just thought to let you know that Seagate microdrive ST1 5gb did not work the first time i tried to boot from it, it seems to be unrecognized. I took it off my girlfriend's Rave Mp, don't ask me how I did it I had first partition 70 Mb as FAT16, and put a nBkProOs.img, second partition was 4,4 Gb EX2 linux, both primary. third 110 Mb was Linux Swap ( there is a command in LX make swap). So.... Any Ideas why Netbook Pro did not recognize the microdrive? Is it too big?
Did anyone have success compiling natively (of course after installing gcc etc.)? Any new programs you have installed?

All this legal stuff, can we cut out the personal stuff in documentation?...

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Intrepid-Eddie
Posted 2007-11-13 10:30 PM
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Maris, don't know what to tell you about the microdrive... I tried a similar thing today -- cabbaged a microdrive from a trashed MP3 player. Didn't work for me, either; but I think in my case it was simply that the microdrive was busted. Good question, though, regarding the size. What is the largest CF microdrive (or even regular CF) that anyone has been able to use with the NBP?
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mrkrupa
Posted 2007-11-14 9:55 AM
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My understanding is the limitation is at the partition level as the fat system can only address so much given a block size. There does seem to be a four partition scope that is displayed while booting, ie, hda: hda1 hda2 hda3 hda4.

Also, the cf cards have built in hardware that makes them appear as hard drives so they should present without any problem (you would think) as compared to the system nand m

emory which is also flash but is "managed" by the os or the bios. Hence the requirement to erase and block the device on boot.

Someone pointed out earlier that some salvaged drives are locked into ide mode which may make them unusable. However, if you can partition and format them (I assume in another computer) they are probably cf devices.

Now all of this is only what I have been reading since I have recently become very curious about flash memory and its limitations and in pursuit of setting up a swap space.

On that front, it seems opinion has been changing regarding the suitability for reading AND writing a lot. Since the card has firmware that manages the use of the blocks some believe they can pretty much read and write as much as they like. So if I can figure out where to turn on a swap file, I will see what that does.

Paul Krupa
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salmonito
Posted 2007-11-14 11:00 AM
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mrkrupa - 2007-11-14 9:55 AM

My understanding is the limitation is at the partition level as the fat system can only address so much given a block size. There does seem to be a four partition scope that is displayed while booting, ie, hda: hda1 hda2 hda3 hda4.

Also, the cf cards have built in hardware that makes them appear as hard drives so they should present without any problem (you would think) as compared to the system nand m

emory which is also flash but is "managed" by the os or the bios. Hence the requirement to erase and block the device on boot.

Someone pointed out earlier that some salvaged drives are locked into ide mode which may make them unusable. However, if you can partition and format them (I assume in another computer) they are probably cf devices.

Now all of this is only what I have been reading since I have recently become very curious about flash memory and its limitations and in pursuit of setting up a swap space.

On that front, it seems opinion has been changing regarding the suitability for reading AND writing a lot. Since the card has firmware that manages the use of the blocks some believe they can pretty much read and write as much as they like. So if I can figure out where to turn on a swap file, I will see what that does.

Paul Krupa

I turned on a swap file on mine yesterday don't know how to tell it is being used or not mkswap or makeswap /dev/hda3 no errors. It was on my IDE locked CF card. Gotta login as root to get all good commands or go to sbin and run them from there. I think the microdrive is not in IDE mode.,, first partition oon it is 70MB Fat16 so there should be no problem with being too large... I dream to make it work! 2Mb cache. 3600 rpm O how, how, how? Or why?
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chiark
Posted 2007-11-14 12:21 PM
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I don't understand why firefox would take 60 seconds to start - on a similar architecture (Zaurus) it doesn't take nearly as long.

This suggests we've got something wrong, perhaps in the kernel - my guess would be around the access to flash, maybe?

I've been thinking about the source issue. Was this *ever* distributed, because if it was, it should have been distributed under the GPL otherwise it was in contradiction to GPL licensing.

I do wonder if we should upset the applecart and get in discussion with Psion, but we might not like the answer...
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Intrepid-Eddie
Posted 2007-11-14 1:08 PM
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chiark - 2007-11-14 11:21 AM

I don't understand why firefox would take 60 seconds to start - on a similar architecture (Zaurus) it doesn't take nearly as long.

This suggests we've got something wrong, perhaps in the kernel - my guess would be around the access to flash, maybe?

I've been thinking about the source issue. Was this *ever* distributed, because if it was, it should have been distributed under the GPL otherwise it was in contradiction to GPL licensing.

I do wonder if we should upset the applecart and get in discussion with Psion, but we might not like the answer...


Well, I contacted Psion about this several weeks ago (also contacted them about this a few YEARS ago). They claim to have no info on their attempt at putting Linux on the NBP. They didn't say they wouldn't release the info -- they said they didn't even HAVE any to release.

That right there speaks volumes to me. That, and the GPL. Personally, I don't see where there would be an issue releasing the source. If there is any concern about some developers' personal info, then by all means, scrub it out.
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salmonito
Posted 2007-11-15 8:39 AM
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Returning back to microdrives of large volume. After booting from CF I inserted the microdrive of 5GB into PCMCIA slot usinf adapter. IN control panel, PCMCIA settings window recognized the drive, loades ide_cs and makes it /dev/hdc.
when i try to mount it says not valid block device... cardctl info recognizes the disk as Seagate function: 4 fixed. Is it a problem with boost? Too big of a drive for it to recognize and boot from...? Thanks
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chiark
Posted 2007-11-15 8:53 AM
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Just conjecture, but this *could* be due to the PCON driver that needs more work on it. PCON - peripheral control?
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salmonito
Posted 2007-11-16 3:56 PM
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Well I have just found out, the Seagate 5GB microdrives got physically modified so that people could not get them out of mp3 players and use them. "Embedded application only"...
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Intrepid-Eddie
Posted 2007-11-16 7:03 PM
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Hmmm... bummer about the scavenged microdrive. Wonder if that's true for all, or just certain mp3 players?

Going to try something different tonight. I have 2 128MB CF cards. Here's my plan:

1. format card "A" as FAT16 (one partition) and put the LX nBkProOs.img on it.
2. format card "B" as ext2 (one partition) and put the LX rootfs on it.
3. put card B in a PCMCIA adapter.
4. Boot card A and plug in card B a few seconds later.

My hope is, this way I'll be able to get more of the LX filesystem than I did when I had to cram everyone onto just one 128MB card.
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mrkrupa
Posted 2007-11-17 10:12 PM
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has anyone tried to read/write an sd card? My system doesn't let me even though there appears to be some recognition in the dmesg output.

I haven't been able to "see" my cf card in my pcmcia adapter either.

Paul Krupa

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mrkrupa
Posted 2007-11-17 10:20 PM
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I've been on the road for the past week but I took my unit with me. I didn't have the serial cable so I didn't have the most reliable feedback. I've been exploring the file system and trying to understand the configuration.

It appears most utilities are symlinked to busybox and don't seem to have much in the way of conf files.

I created a swap file on my 3rd partition on my flash card and it's been acting a little flaky. I kept opening apps until I saw some consumption reported by the "free" utility. Then when I tried to put it to sleep it hung requiring hard boot. Not sure if it was necessary but I waited some time.

The window manager is matchbox a minimal setup designed for resource limited devices.

I haven't had much luck installing any new apps although I haven't tried too hard.

I don't know why I need Samba running. As long as I can see my file server (debian).

Paul Krupa
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mrkrupa
Posted 2007-11-17 10:25 PM
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I turned on swap by creating a fstab entry and running swapon -a from root shell. Swapon/Swapoff is in /sbin and requires explicit path to run, ie, /sbin/swapon -a. Run the command "free" to see the usage.

Paul Krupa

I loaded almost everything (at least it seemed that way) and it didn't touch the swap file until I was at the end of all the big apps. Since I suspect it causing disruption, I may not use it as it doesn't appear to boost performance.

Paul Krupa
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