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A working EPOC SDK under Linux

munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-17 1:30 AM
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I spent some hours getting ancient SDKs to work under Linux, and finally have something that works nicely enough to share. The PSION SDK was never intended to work under anything except windows (despite being based on gcc), but various people worked over time to get a nice system in place for Linux users. Unfortunately that was 15-20 years ago, and building gcc 3.0 is hard enough today (it doesn't compile on 64 bit systems for example), and the ER5 compilers also have many other changes on top. So here's some instructions and patches to share.

You need a few things:

1. Psion EPOC ER5 C++ SDK
https://web.archive.org/web/20121113212436if_/http://garethjmsaunder...

2. Improved psion GCC 3.0 source tarball, by Department of Software Engineering, University of Szeged
http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/projectdirs/symbian-gcc/dl.php?file=gcc-...

3. sdk2unix tool, by Rudolf K├Ânig, for converting psion SDK to unix
http://www.koeniglich.de/sdk2unix/sdk2unix-1.9.tar.gz

4. My gcc patch, gcc-3.0-psion-98r2-9-patch
This is based on:
a. Work by Jake Hamby for GnuPoc
b. Fixes for building old gcc versions on modern systems taken from an archive of Trevor Pounds blog https://web.archive.org/web/20120516030400/https://www.trevorpounds....
c. A backport of the _bfd_ar_spacepad fixes to binutils https://sourceware.org/legacy-ml/binutils/2005-03/msg00180.html
d. Various other misc fixes I found were needed

5. My patch to the various sdk2unix tools for 64 bit compatibility and support for modern compilers: sdk2unix-1.9-patch

6. My script for building the whole lot: do_it_now.sh

My script and patches are in the attached file.

Stick all six files in one directory, navigate to it in the command line, and run ./do_it_now.sh. At the end you will get a gcc-3.0-psion-98r2-9 directory with the compiler, binutils etc in it, and an epoc_er5_sdk directory with the SDK examples, documentation and tools in it. At this point you can delete or archive those six files, they are not needed again.

I need to check which packages are required to build this, certainly build-essential in debian based distros, maybe not much beyond that but I'll have to run it in a bare VM to be sure...



Edited by munchausen 2021-02-17 1:48 AM




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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-02-17 3:46 PM
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Perhaps you could spin up a shell script to automate it or even a HyperV/VMWare/KVM VM disk and host it somewhere to encourage people to try it out?
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-17 7:49 PM
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Wow, great work. On Linux, I've run Psion emulators (for Window) through WINE, and without complaint, but to have an actual SDK install ... that's very cool.

Are you working on any app/process in particular? (That would be for another thread, I imagine)

Thanks again,
Jake
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 2:45 PM
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Ive got a bluetooth module in my 5mx. It allows me to connect the psion to the internet via an android phone and also can act as an HID keyboard for the phone, which is quite cool because you can put the phone on the psion screen and use it as keyboard and phone stand.

I went for BT because the power consumption is tiny conpared to wifi, I worked out wifi would kill the batteries within a couple of hours even for something minimal like an ESP. Max power consumption for the module I'm using is 40ma and it is possible to turn it off completely. And since I always carry a phone anyway it makes sense to reuse its wifi/data connection.

So my next task is to write a GUI to configure the BT module from the psion and Id also like to turn the module off when the psion is off etc if I can. Will write more about this project elsewhere in any case.

Im still having some problems with the compiler and trying and changing things, but a docker image or something is a nice idea for distribution, thanks for the idea C:Amie, I dont think it would have occurred to me.

Edited by munchausen 2021-02-18 2:51 PM
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 3:38 PM
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Whoa, where did you find a bluetooth-capable 5mx? I thought they were legend only, like the bluetooth Mako.

Jake
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 3:51 PM
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I added the BT module, so this is a software and hardware project.

Although I do also have two of the BT revo pluses/makos (aka conans).
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 3:52 PM
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It's connected to the serial port (internally), although I did not disconnect the built in serial so its still possible to use it if the BT is turned off.

Edited by munchausen 2021-02-18 3:52 PM
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 6:28 PM
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Amazing. Well, well done. I've always wanted a bluetooth Mako. I can't believe that you tracked down two of them. What's their battery condition?

Jake
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 7:27 PM
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They are different models, one looks more or less like a revo, and says revo on the case, but has a bulge on the lid where the BT module lives. The battery doesnt work on that one. Years later I was able to get a later prototype, a black one with conan branding and newer software, from an ex psion employee, and the battery works on that one. Both have hand written labels with serial number/software version on them. I have various other psion prototypes as well, perhaps I should make a post a thread with photos if it would be of interest?
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 9:25 PM
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If you have time, that would be great. I've always heard about these prototypes, but never seen up-close pix. You, by chance, never did the Revo backlight mod, did you? Or seen it?

Jake
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 9:53 PM
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I've never heard of a backlight mod for the revo, has it ever been done?

There was a rumour that on some versions of the revo ROM if you pressed fn+spacebar when the battery was low it would show a "battery too low for backlight" message, as the 5/5mx do. The rumour further went that there was unpopulated space for a backlight inverter on the revo motherboard. I've upgraded the RAM on a revo and I haven't seen any evidence for this. I think perhaps there was just a hangover in the ROM from the 5mx, but I've not even seen the message....

Having said that, if the revo does toggle the backlight GPIO when you press fn+space it would be possible to retrofit one if you could find space for an inverter board. EL backlights can be cut to size with scissors

To be honest, I used a revo as my main driver for a while and although I loved the size of it, I lost my data a few times and the keyboard is just really sub par compared to the 5mx. If they could have got a proper keyboard with decent travel into that footprint, and a micro SD slot, it would have been epic.

The conan does have a backlight (a blue one)!

My other prototypes are a psion 5 with transparent case, a bright green prototype 5mx (a lime), and Roger Nolan's prototype 5mx (which is bright yellow - a banana). I also have developer motherboards for the 7/netbook/netbook pro. I have other rare machines too; an original organiser with all accessories and most software, the acorn clones, ericsson MC218, MC400, wood effect 3a... I think that's it off the top of my head. I am missing some things like a linecker 5mx, some of the 3a special editions, transparent organiser 2, MC200, MC400, and perhaps the rarest of all, the white psion netbook pro LX (linux version). I've been collecting for 25+ years and to be honest it's gotten a little out of hand... I've had to stop myself collecting more for a while now !

Edited by munchausen 2021-02-18 9:55 PM
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 11:14 PM
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Wow, the Conan had a backlight? Too much. Never let go of that one

Yeah, there was a Korean gentleman in the early 2000's who did the Revo backlight mod. His teardown was intense and he would do it for others for $50usd plus parts. Which is quite reasonable if you think about it.

His name might've been Ruey Loon, or maybe Ruey Loon was just famous for his detailed teardown.

What a collection you have. I hadn't heard of the Psion Netbook pro LX with Linux. Can that do security past WEP?

Jake
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-19 8:23 AM
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Oh I know the name Ruey Loon but cant place it! Great info, thanks!

The netbook pro supports a pretty recent linux, 3.x or 4.x I think, so it can do anything. The lx versions are the same as CE ones but double the RAM, and at least one came in a white case. But they never made it past prototyping, and I've only seen one picture of one, from a collector in Russia.

Edited by munchausen 2021-02-19 8:47 AM




(psion lx.smaller.jpg)



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Jake Page Icon Posted 2021-02-21 8:08 PM
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Wouldn't that be fun to play with...

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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-21 11:53 PM
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I found the revo backlight page and realised I have seen it before. But I do not know if it is the same person who offered it as a service previously. http://web.archive.org/web/20030511050720/http://www.kpsiug.net/plu...

I also found another page where someone built an LED backlight for a revo, and discovered that the revo really does toggle the backlight IO pin when you press FN+space. http://igorkov.org/psion-led

It should be possible to combine those two approaches to have an EL backlight that is toggled using FN+space, which would be quite cool!

I have got the SDK working really nicely now and have tidied it up too. I will upload it somewhere and post an update soon.
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