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How to Install Linux on a 128MB CE.NET 4.2 Psion NetBook Pro

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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2011-04-05 4:38 AM
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From some other threads,
(which handle both the OEM WinCE and Linux versions of the Psion NBP),
I've gathered this:

1)- PARTITION a CF card with FAT16 and ext2 partitions.
Would FAT32 work also instead of FAT16?

2)- COPY NBP BOOT IMAGE TO CF, in FAT16 partition
"download = nBkProOs.img_cf
Once your CF card has been partitioned, copy the file from 1 above to the FAT16 partition.
RENAME IT “nBkProOs.img”. This is very important, or Linux won’t boot".

I could not find a working link.
Got this: nBkProOs.img
from: http://www.linuxtogo.org/~anonymous/
Is that the exact file that can be placed in the FAT16 partition?

3)- COPY LINUX DISTRO TO CF IN EXT2 PARTITION
Official original Psion LX version:
http://rapidshare.com/files/67872227/soho-image-netbook-pro-2005010...

What's a link for the best current distro?

This is not a hobby for me I really need to get my Psion working in Linux to use it for travel,
so I'd appreciate all help given before I spend a lot of experimentation time I don't have -
many thanks
Please do answer for the 128MB WinCE.NET 4.2 version of Psion NBP


Edited by Jacobi 2011-04-05 4:45 AM
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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2011-04-05 5:39 PM
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Hoping this thread could recapitulate and condense what has been done before RE Linux installation,
but in a way that focuses solely on the widely available 128MB version of the Psion NBP, to avoid any confusion,
and takes into accounts the limitations it may have, compared to the (rare) 254MB Psion-LX motherboard.
It would be great also to have the necessary files available for download in hpcf, especially the OEM image and LX files?
Credit is due certainly; it would take time to single out the writers that contributed how-to posts in a great, very large thread.
Hopefully someone will contribute to make the agreed-upon,
basic Linux install for 128MB Psion NBP available in a handy summarized way ,
here or as a solution provided in the hpcf support area?
Thanks for anyone caring to make the Linux conversion on these hpc's easier for newbies
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2011-04-06 3:22 AM
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I don't own this machine, but I applaud the endeavors. You make me want to buy one. From your first post, you appear to have enough downloaded material, etc. to fire it up. Did you try installing?

Jake
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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2011-04-06 5:41 AM
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Points to take care of:

1- OEM IMAGE FILE
The link from the hpcf post was broken so I had to get the file in step #1 above from somewhere else.
I need to make sure the image file I got is the right one, since it is not the same filename that was given in the prior hpcf instructions?
2- BOOT DEVICE
Does anybody know: can the Psion NBP boot from a SD card, not just from a CF card?
I'd much rather use an SD card if possible; the CF slot is so tight on my hpc.
Also I expect the SD slot uses less power than the CF card slot.
3- CAPACITY NEEDED
If I have to buy a CF card, what would be the minimum capacity needed:
--for the original Psion LX distro?
--for a better distro?
And again - very importantly - which is the best Linux distro for the Psion NBP ?
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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2011-04-24 6:33 AM
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I bought a 2GB CF card and loaded the software mentioned above:
the image copied to the FAT32 partition,
the Linux LX distro extracted into the ext2 partition.
Did a hard reset with a pin in the hole below the [enter] key,
got to the superuser screen,
where the only likely choice was #1, "run the main OS"

Was that correct?
It booted to WinCE...



BTW the nBkProOs.img I used (see link above) is only 3,325 KB in FAT32.
That is so small, does it look like it is the right file?
If it is a bad file, please give a working link to a proper image file?
(P.S. The link I had seen in the post
"Netbook Pro I've found a working linux distro!"
was obsolete.)

Please h-e-L-p




Edited by Jacobi 2011-04-24 6:55 AM
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jipe,france
jipe,france Page Icon Posted 2011-04-29 12:54 PM
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hello,
here is some help :

http://psionlinux.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-install-linux-on-psio...


see downer the page.
it worked for me, with an update of windows CE 4.2 and a 128 MB sd card (fat 16).
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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2011-05-03 1:13 AM
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I came to the forum with this topic after trying what was on that page.
Some of the links on that page are obsolete, so I expect I did not get the same original files that you were able to get.
As you can see in my first post, that was a question I asked.

Hoping someone can help on the specific problems I detailed in my last post...
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jipe,france
jipe,france Page Icon Posted 2011-05-03 9:55 AM
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I am going to try of my quoted and I hold you the courrant ! !
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jipe,france
jipe,france Page Icon Posted 2011-05-05 8:51 AM
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hello,
I think of holding(detaining) the good files, I have him(it) had downloaded one month ago behind. Yesterday I think of having succeeded has to format a sd card 256 MB (above it does not work) by using " gparted " under Linux " ubuntu ". I have just tried an image (soho nbkproos) it did not walk(work)! I think has a bad manipulation of my part. In any case the just alone psion boote by inserting the sd card since the boot. menu there I continue and I hold you the courrant!
-thank you reverso translation-
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jipe,france
jipe,france Page Icon Posted 2011-05-12 8:58 PM
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I am really sorry I do not arrive ! " nBkProOs.img " there seems to work but " soho " image does not dash! Cordially, jipe.
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psinix Page Icon Posted 2012-01-07 4:20 AM
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Jipe, did you untar the soho-*.tar.gz? to the 2nd partition of the CF card? With nBkProOs.img in the FAT16 and the unpacked root filesystem in the ext2 partition psion lx will boot. I must admit sometimes pressing the reset button and the ctrl-D-ESC keys in the right timing can be tricky, so don't give up.

In the near future I think people will download the oe overlay on github (private oe overlay of tworaz, hope he doesn't mind geting mentioned ) for creating not only a 3.1 kernel and a rootfs but the nBkProOs.img too, in one run.
To test a little without the overlay one could find the homepage of tworaz on his github page and download nBkProOs.img_3.1-rc9.
This will boot (don't forget to rename it) into a rootshell. Now you can mount stuff (eg a CF or even a SD card works, both tested, ext2 on CF would be at /dev/sda2 now), best thing would be to have a useable rootfs on the ext2 partition you can chroot/pivot_root to . Stumbled upon this by pure luck.

Can't be too far a way to go from here

Edited by psinix 2012-01-07 4:26 AM
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Jacobi Page Icon Posted 2012-01-16 5:55 AM
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psinix - 2012-01-06 11:20 PM

Jipe, did you untar the soho-*.tar.gz? to the 2nd partition of the CF card? With nBkProOs.img in the FAT16 and the unpacked root filesystem in the ext2 partition psion lx will boot. :


Thanks for posting here!
I expect many users and readers in the other guru thread on Linux for the Psion NBP
are dealing with the 256MB RAM version, which may have other differences besides the RAM?
As you see from the title of this thread, here we are dealing specifically with the regular, 128MB version.
Please confirm, do the files you refer to in your whole post, work well on the 128MB NBP?

I'm a newbie as regards Linux, so your post was elusive for me in places,
please answer these questions so I could succeed in doing the basics to install Linux:

1- can you give me a working, current link to download the file nBkProOs.img?
Or can you upload it to hpcfactor and post the link?

2- can I use FAT32 instead of FAT16 for the CF?

3- please post the full filename and a link to the current best file compilation to unpack into the ext2 partition?

Quote
psinix - 2012-01-06 11:20 PM

I must admit sometimes pressing the reset button and the ctrl-D-ESC keys in the right timing can be tricky, so don't give up.

to make sure, please explicit the correct the sequence and correct timing?

Also, how to load the new Linux system?
The instructions I had read when I started this thread were for the original OEM Psion Linux distro,
and I had asked for a link to download that image but did not receive it...
It's been a long time.... so I would like now, to try the current distro that's out there,
but I need new step-by-step instructions, i.e. explicit for someone who does not know Linux.
Hope you won't mind to list the steps and the commands to type to install Linux booting from a CF card.
I recently hooked up a Dell USB keyboard to my NBP, and I really would like to use this great little HPC a lot more!

Edited by Jacobi 2012-01-16 5:58 AM
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psinix Page Icon Posted 2012-01-18 2:40 PM
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Jacobi - 2012-01-16 5:55 AM

Thanks for posting here!
I expect many users and readers in the other guru thread on Linux for the Psion NBP
are dealing with the 256MB RAM version, which may have other differences besides the RAM?
As you see from the title of this thread, here we are dealing specifically with the regular, 128MB version.
Please confirm, do the files you refer to in your whole post, work well on the 128MB NBP?

Hi there, nice to see there's still people out there with interest in useful equipment
All I was saying was about the nbp 128MB revision, none of the devs has a nbp 256MB so nothing was tested there (yet).
Quote

I'm a newbie as regards Linux, so your post was elusive for me in places,
please answer these questions so I could succeed in doing the basics to install Linux:

1- can you give me a working, current link to download the file nBkProOs.img?
Or can you upload it to hpcfactor and post the link?

At present there is only the above mentioned toolchain on openembedded. If hpcfactor has file storage facilities (didn't know that) I will try to upload a kernel image here, but the rootfs is about 100 to 120 MB, not sure if that is possible. If it is then somebody just say and I'll make a post with a 125MB attachement right here EDIT: just checked, max file size is 100KB, that's not enough for even the kernel.
Quote

2- can I use FAT32 instead of FAT16 for the CF?

short answer - Nope won't be possible (unless someone recodes the boost bootloader, which is rather unlikely to happen as the chances are good for obtaining a brick)
Quote

3- please post the full filename and a link to the current best file compilation to unpack into the ext2 partition?

The way to obtain that currently is by running a build with the openembedded toolchain. That is, I admit, by no means the way a normal user should get his kernel and rootfs, but at the moment it's the only way. As soon as there is an image that has enouh stuff working (eg []{} on kbd not working atm, no locales etc) I'm sure we will find a way to officially release it to the public. There is also work to have a different GUI than lxdm (eg gpe/qt4 and/or e17), and some programs are ported (eg emacs). I'll try to find a good way to have a download link for an unfinished image so people can try and see without having to learn oe.
Nevertheless you can try to do the build yourself, but be aware that this is no trivial procedure and will require a lot of reading and google searches.
I will give some links at the end of the post.
Quote

to make sure, please explicit the correct the sequence and correct timing?

The instructions I read led me to believe that ctrl-d-esc had to be pressed while the paperclip presses on reset. That's not the case:
1)press reset, and then release it
2)now hit ctrl-d and hold it down
3)hit esc and let all three go
that's all it takes. Just said that because I sometimes tried for minutes without turning it on again -.-
Quote

Also, how to load the new Linux system?
The instructions I had read when I started this thread were for the original OEM Psion Linux distro,

The instructions stayed the same: two partitions on CF, one FAT16 for nBkProOs.img and one ext2 for rootfs
Quote

and I had asked for a link to download that image but did not receive it...

OK I will give you this one link: http://rapidshare.com/files/67872227/soho-image-netbook-pro-2005010...
Be aware that it took me 30 secs to find that in google the day the netbook came to me (30.12.2012)
Quote

It's been a long time.... so I would like now, to try the current distro that's out there,
but I need new step-by-step instructions, i.e. explicit for someone who does not know Linux.

Well firstly, there is no distro. There is only images with more or less apps. For a real distro we'd need a maintainer and a repo, and I don't think someone has the time or the money.
The instructions stayed the same, it's normal booting from CF. WinCE is left untouched.
Quote

Hope you won't mind to list the steps and the commands to type to install Linux booting from a CF card.
I recently hooked up a Dell USB keyboard to my NBP, and I really would like to use this great little HPC a lot more!

As said, no extra steps needed:

nBkProOs.img on FAT16 (bootable)
rootfs on ext2

From running wince press reset with a paperclip, then do a ctrl-d esc and boost will come up.
Now insert the CF card and linux will boot.

some downloadable (though starting to initramfs shell!) kernel images and a rootfs (you will have to mount that manually and do pivot_root, then start lxdm)
http://www.tworaz.net/downloads/NetBookPro/
The rootfs is minimal, the kernel does not load it automatically as it was not designed to do that (there was no rootfs at build time of the kernel)

some useful links for people who want to try a build:
tworaz main git repo for building the rootfs, kernel and boost-wrapping of the kernel (meta-netbookpro and oe-tworaz are the interesting parts):
https://github.com/tworaz
openembedded core 'getting started' (yes, classic oe won't work here,we also need meta-oe):
https://wiki.yoctoproject.org/wiki/OpenEmbedded-Core
meta openembedded layer index:
http://www.openembedded.org/wiki/LayerIndex
OE irc people are helpful as long as you don't ask questions that are answered in the manual, faq or a quick google search.

tips:
at least ofono and virtual/libsdl need to be bitbaked by hand, if upower fails compiling add gobject-introspection-native to depends,
add COMMERCIAL_LICENSE = "" to your local.conf, edit bblayers to contain at least oe-core, oe-tworaz, meta-oe, meta-netbookpro, meta-lxde and meta-jlime,
kernel.org repo is failing frequently, so be prepared to search for suitable substitute repos for packages that can't be downloaded automatically.
/!\Remember: tips are only valid until a short time after this is written/!\ The repo and recipes update frequently and this may be out of date real quick.
If you are successful edit lxdm.conf in the rootfs for automatic login (otherwise you will only see a login screen ).
Suspend currently works by
echo mem > /sys/power/state
swapfile is a good idea (cf have builtin wear leveling), also activating iwmmxt in kernel config.
Manual and download link for working kernel+rootfs combos will follow as soon as we figured all that out

EDIT: forgot to mention: by some combination of broken ext2 and removing pcmcia cards while in suspend may pseudo-brick the nbp.
In that case it's enough to take out all batteries and re-insert them, the nbp will work as before (and start wince first -.-)

Edited by psinix 2012-01-18 3:02 PM
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psinix Page Icon Posted 2012-01-20 12:25 AM
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Here some pre-alpha test stuff to try out for everybody:
rootfs. unpack to 2nd partition (ext2)
http://www.linuxtogo.org/~florian/files/jlime-lxde-image-netbookpro...
wrapped Kernel. put on 1st partition (FAT32) and cut of everything behind .img in the name (nBkProOs.img, like before, nothing new here)
http://www.linuxtogo.org/~florian/files/nBkProOs.img_3.1.8-nbpro0-0...

Since those are not mine I can't tell much about what drivers are loaded. Anyways some kernels had a check for ubifs in em, if you get that UBIFS error don't panic, just wait until timeout and it will take the ext2 parition. Since I didn't load this one personally you will have to try. florian is currently building a new image with touchscreen calibration facilities (as a lil birdie told me).
Have fun!

Edited by psinix 2012-01-20 12:26 AM
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psinix Page Icon Posted 2012-01-20 1:49 PM
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More actual images can be found here (look from time to time)
http://www.linuxtogo.org/~florian/index.php?path=files/
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