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Jornada 6xx/7xx running NetBSD

ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 3:46 PM
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I'm new here, but I've been using my Jornada with NetBSD since 2013 or so. I chose NetBSD because at the time, jLime and Debian installs I could find hadn't been updated in more than 5 years, while NetBSD is in active development and the base install has supported certain HPCs consistently for years, going back to at least 2006. I wanted a modern kernel and userland for some projects, and at the time, there were a great many 3rd party packages available for NetBSD. Not so much now for modern versions, however.

Preparing your Jornada for NetBSD is much like preparing it for jLime or Devuan. You must make at least 2 partitions on a compact flash card. This is most easily done on an existing Linux or BSD computer, or booting from a Live CD such as gParted. Note that the gParted program itself does not know about NetBSD partitions, so you will likely have to use the command-line fdisk tool to change the NetBSD partition to type A9.

Partition #1 will be a FAT32 partition (type 0B). It should be at the very least big enough for the NetBSD booter (~200kb), kernel (~2.5mb) and installer (~4mb). If you plan on installing over the network, you do not have to download all of the binary sets to the CF card. You may wish to leave extra room on the FAT32 partition for files you wish to share between NetBSD and Windows CE, or as a place to keep your Windows CE backups as well. I used a 16GB CF card and allocated 2GB of it to FAT32.

Partition #2 will be a NetBSD partition (type A9). This should fill the rest of the CF card.

You likely want to first back up your device with the backup/restore utility, because booting NetBSD wipes the internal storage. If you have enough room on the FAT32 partition of your NetBSD CF card, that's a great spot to keep your backups.

The NetBSD FTP site is typically structured by version (e.g. NetBSD-9.2) followed by the various supported architectures. The Jornada 720 is "hpcarm" and the 680 is "hpcsh". And then there are "installation" and "binary" directories under each, with some additional structure inside.

ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/

NetBSD-9.2
- hpcarm
- - binary
- - - kernel
- - - - [ kernel files]
- - - sets
- - - - [ tar files ]
- - installation
- - - [ installation files ]
- hpcsh
. . .


You will want to download, at a minimum:
from binary/kernel:
* netbsd-JORNADA720.gz (or netbsd.gz for the 680, from the hpcsh folder) - save it as "netbsd.gz" on the root of the CF card's FAT32 partition
from installation:
* netbsd-JORNADA720.gz - save it as "install.gz" on the root of the CF card's FAT32 partition
* netbsd-JORNADA720.symbols.gz - save it as "install.symbols.gz" on the root of the CF card's FAT32 partition
* hpcboot.exe

Insert the CF card into the Jornada. You can now run hpcboot.exe.
For kernel, you'll want to start off with "\Storage Card\install.gz" - The rest of the defaults should be fine. Click the "boot" button and you should see the progress bar go. Sometimes, it'll hang and you need to press "boot" one more time. Once the screen goes black and starts booting NetBSD, you should end up in the NetBSD installer. You can insert a network card to do an installation over the network. I've had good luck with 3Com 589 10/100 NICs. You can also use a Prism2 Wi-Fi card, but you will need an OPEN network (not WEP or WPA) to get online for the install.

The installer is menu-driven and is reasonably self-explanatory. You will want to set up your filesystems on the NetBSD partition. You need to create a root filesystem at a bare minimum, and you may wish to create a SWAP filesystem as well. NetBSD uses a scheme called "disklabel" and which some other BSDs call "slices" where multiple filesystems are created within one MBR partition -- the NetBSD partition we created earlier. The installer will also assist you in obtaining an IP address and fetching the actual NetBSD operating system from the network and installing it. Don't forget to set a root password, and perhaps add a user account for yourself.

Once you've installed NetBSD, you'll have to reboot. This always involves a complete power cycle of the Jornada -- popping out the battery and removing the power cord if attached. When you boot back up, you'll be in the Windows CE setup wizard. You can bypass this wizard, but be forewarned that the touch screen hasn't been configured yet. You can go through the touch screen configuration, which is at the beginning of the wizard, or you can rely solely on keyboard navigation. To escape the wizard, press [Win]+R to pull up the "run" menu, then hit alt-b to browse. From there, you can navigate to "\Storage Card" and launch hpcboot.exe again. Change the kernel to "\Storage Card\netbsd.gz" and boot the kernel. This will load the normal NetBSD kernel from the CF card, then boot into your new NetBSD install. If you opt to navigate hpcboot.exe with only the keyboard, note that:
[tab] advances the selected option to the next item on the screen
[shift]+[tab] moves to the previous selected option on the screen
[space] or [enter] clicks the currently highlighted item on the screen
NO amount of hitting [tab] will get you back to the "boot" item on the screen for some reason. There are folder tabs on the left side of the hpcboot program. If you select one of those, then hit [shift]+[tab] it will usually get your cursor back to the "boot" button. As a general rule, if I know I need to change stuff in hpcboot, I go through the touch screen calibration before hitting [Win]+R to launch hpcboot. Otherwise, I just launch hpcboot then hit [space] to boot NetBSD.

My usual keyboard sequence when starting NetBSD is:
[Win]+R (run)
[Alt]+B (browse)
[Tab] [Tab] (select the file browser window)
[arrow keys] and [enter] (navigate to Storage Card and launch hpcboot.exe)
[space] (boot NetBSD)

Log in with the user account or root account you set up during the installation process and you'll find yourself at a shell prompt. Happy Hacking!

Edited by ax0n 2021-06-08 3:47 PM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 4:48 PM
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Great intro write up, thanks! I'll have to give it a try. What are the minimum Ram requirements, is it slow or more like WinCe speed?
Joval
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 5:03 PM
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I wonder if Stefan's 128MB hack for the Jornada 720 will also work with NetBSD. This would be ultra cool! Also, how is X running on the Jornada in NetBSD? It is usable?
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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 7:46 PM
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It's honestly slower than jLime. Slower to boot, slower in X, the whole nine yards. I shot this video back in 2013. I'd say booting NetBSD 9.2 (which just came out 3 weeks ago) takes about as long. Perhaps a custom-compiled kernel could boot faster? I don't know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7ICp8Ywjjo

I don't mind the slower bootup time, because I typically just leave it running in NetBSD. Although it won't actually "suspend" the screen backlight turns off when you hit the power key and it'll go 18 hours or so without a charge in that state, so I usually just use it all day then dock it to charge. It's not uncommon for it to stay running NetBSD for months on end.

I end up using NetBSD (with minicom) as a serial console for my Sun machines, with the Adaptec SCSI PCMCIA card to partition SCSI drives for other projects (like reviving my Mac SE/30s), as a quick text console for IRC sessions (I was active on FreeNode, I moved to Libera after the recent hostile takeover) and I always have projects that involve SSHing to stuff or wrangling AWS or Google Cloud stuff, programming microcontrollers, etc. I am pretty happy living in text mode a lot of the time, to be honest.
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_dev-null Page Icon Posted 2021-06-08 9:04 PM
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Hello!
I made an attempt to recompile the bootloader. I was not successfull compiling it with the NetBSD 8 sources. I had to use some old NetBSD 6.5? sources with additions from newer sources to compile that darn WinCE application. Took me a whole week. After that I gave up and switched to Linux ...

However I got NetBSD 8 on my Jornada with 64MB RAM working before I started experimenting with Linux - speed was almost the same as with Devuan ...


Regards
Stefan

Edited by _dev-null 2021-06-08 9:06 PM
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2021-06-09 8:52 PM
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Anyone have any links to running NetBSD on a Jornada 820? I keep seeing hints as to the possibility on the web but no actual working installs. I'm currently playing with Debian booted with hpcboot.exe and an 820 kernel that pivot roots into a 720 userland. I used fdisk on it today to partition an extra cf-card for NetBSD.
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ax0n Page Icon Posted 2021-06-10 4:24 AM
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Mjolnir - 2021-06-09 2:52 PM

Anyone have any links to running NetBSD on a Jornada 820?


The model shows as supported on NetBSD/hpcarm but there's no word on whether the PCMCIA is supported. The instructions I posted might get you part of the way there. It's the same CPU family as the Jornada 720. This is one of those things where I'd just try it. If you want, I could maybe dd one of my CF cards and you could try to clone it and boot from it.
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2021-06-10 11:04 AM
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ax0n - 2021-06-10 4:24 AM

Quote
Mjolnir - 2021-06-09 2:52 PM

Anyone have any links to running NetBSD on a Jornada 820?


The model shows as supported on NetBSD/hpcarm but there's no word on whether the PCMCIA is supported. The instructions I posted might get you part of the way there. It's the same CPU family as the Jornada 720. This is one of those things where I'd just try it. If you want, I could maybe dd one of my CF cards and you could try to clone it and boot from it.
Thanks - I've already partitioned a card - I'll see if I can populate it with some of the 'sets' and kernel I down loaded yesterday and try a boot from that set-up. If I don't have any success at that I'll take you up on your generous offer. Again, thanks.
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2021-06-10 5:10 PM
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No joy - it tries to boot on my 32 meg 820 and immediately freezes up. Have to pull the power and battery, then reboots to win ce with no problem. I first tried on a 16 meg 820 and, as I half-way expected, hpcboot gave a "Can't allocate memory" notification.



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