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Linux on a Tatung WebPAD / Neta 985 / Rugboard - HOW TO w/ instructions

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undefined Page Icon Posted 2006-05-09 11:44 AM
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Hello all.

I have a Tatung TWN-5213CU (also known as Neta 985, Rugboard, and probably several other monickers) that came with Windows CE.NET 4.0. What is strange is that the CE license sticker was for 4.2. At any rate, CE 4.0 does not support WPA, so therefore I can not use this on my home office wireless network as I do not use WEP. So... instead of downgrading to WEP, I decided to get Linux running on this thing.

Just to warn you, this is not complete. As of right now I have a functional Linux environment based on Slackware / SLAX that can be used for anything that does not require X. So far, getting a working xorg.conf is kicking my you know what. I've reached the point of desperation, and have even emailed Tatung and Goo-roo to see if they can provide one.

Ok. So you (maybe?) want to run Linux on your webpad? You are in luck! Getting Linux running on this thing is easy as can be. Make use of the following steps, or, if you feel like it, use a different distribution and post your results.

Notes: I chose to use a LiveCD based distribution because in the past I have had great luck getting them onto systems that lack CD-ROM or ethernet. It may sound strange to use a LiveCD on systems that totally lack CD, but it works for me.

Required Equipment:
WebPAD
CF >= 256MB
CompactFlash reader/writer
USB keyboard
Patience

1. Download SLAX 5.0.6 from http://slax.linux-live.org/
Notes: Do not be tempted by the newer versions. They do not work as well on this device.

2. Download the following modules from http://slax.linux-live.org/
A. wpa_supplicant
B. hostap

3. Expand the ISO image to your >=256MB compact flash card. If you are using windows you may want to download something like WinISO to do this with.

4. Copy the two modules you downloaded (.mo files) to the modules folder on your compact flash card.

5. Move initrd.gz and vmlinuz from the "boot" folder on the compact flash to the root folder of the compact flash (from /boot to /)

6. Rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg

7. Open syslinux.cfg in your favorite text editor. Do a find a replace on all references to "boot/" (replace with nothing, just remove it)

8. Change "prompt 1" to "prompt 0"

9. Save the file and close your editor.

10. Download Syslinux from kernel.org (http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/)

11. Expand the downloaded file. If you are using windows, the file you will need will be in /win32 in whatever folder you expanded the archive to. You need "syslinux.exe"

12. If you are in Windows, execute "syslinux.exe ?:" with ? representing the drive letter of your compactflash card. Please, ensure that you have the correct drive letter.

13. Take your WebPAD, turn it upside down, and remove the battery. With the battery compartment facing upwards, unscrew the compartment on the left hand side (about 2 inches wide, one screw) and remove the cover. You will find a compactflash card installed here. Press the button to remove the card and put it in a safe place. Or, if you feel real generous, use your compactflash reader on your desktop and grab the nk.bin file (that is the OS image) and send it to me (neta [at] therives [dot] net).

14. Install the compact flash card you put Linux on in the socket you just removed the original CF from. You do not need to screw the cover back on to test, so I recommend leaving it off.

15. Reinstall your battery and ensure the locking mechanism is engaged - the system will not boot otherwise.

16. Power on your new Linux WebPAD


Ok. This gets you a functioning Linux WebPAD, albeit you do not get X with this. If *anyone* can help on resolving the xorg issues I'm having (I get nothing but a white screen no matter what I try) I will build a custom SLAX image for these boxes that includes the soft keyboard and appropriate applications.

As it stands right now, this is little more useful than a remote terminal to monitor text based information. I apologise if you consider that a waste, but I'm still working on it and am at the point of enlisting the help of others.

Thanks for reading this.

If anyone is interested in this and feels like replying I'll be glad to post a howto on getting the wifi to work (and integrating it into the image). Just let me know if you prefer WEP or WPA, as I have a working WPA config but haven't messed with WEP much.

Edited by undefined 2006-05-09 12:03 PM
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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2006-05-09 1:33 PM
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wow so you just need an x86 webpad for this. wow, a livecd system on the neta, cool.
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undefined Page Icon Posted 2006-05-09 2:48 PM
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cmonex - 2006-05-09 12:33 PM

wow so you just need an x86 webpad for this. wow, a livecd system on the neta, cool.


Pretty much. I've used this to load Linux onto network appliances, old notebooks, industrial computers... LiveCD is nice because they are already designed for the maximum driver support in minimum space, and with syslinux you do not need to worry about connecting a CD-ROM or other installation media.
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cma371
cma371 Page Icon Posted 2006-05-10 1:06 PM
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What processors does this Linux support, MIPS?
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undefined Page Icon Posted 2006-05-10 2:50 PM
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x86 processor. The Tatung/Neta/Rugboard run an x86 National Semiconductor / AMD Geode SC3200.
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Will
Will Page Icon Posted 2006-10-01 12:38 AM
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You might find what you need to get x working on the following AMD page.

http://www.amd.com/us-en/ConnectivitySolutions/ProductInformation/0,,50_2330_9863_9899^11363,00.html

It has support for the SC3200 Geode processor which is in the Neta 985 Webpad. I have a Neta 985 that I use constantly for RDC to a XP box. It would be nice to be able to RDC from a linux box with wireless drivers that suppored WPA.

Will
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undefined Page Icon Posted 2006-10-06 10:03 AM
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It's been several months since I posted here, or even thought about the Webpad....

A nice fellow in Canada did manage to reverse engineer the touchscreen and write X drivers allowing for its use as an input device. Unfortunately, I have yet to get a copy of the drivers for testing. We both got X running (sans touchscreen). At this point I doubt that I will be going back to finish the project, as I haven't had time to address this is too long. The Webpad will probably be going back on eBay so someone else can enjoy it.

Sorry to leave everyone hanging, but since I never got a copy of the X driver I cannot exactly share it - If I get a copy of the driver I'll throw up a site with detailed instructions on how to get Linux + X + Touchscreen + WPA working (I had all but the touchscreen going before I stopped).

If anyone is looking for a webpad you're welcome to email me, it'll probably be more than a week before I put this on the bay.
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Chad
Chad Page Icon Posted 2006-10-14 1:23 AM
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I also have several of these units that I would like to convert to Linux (14 to be exact).
If someone does get it working I would be willing to pay for you to ship me a working compact flash card.
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Chad
Chad Page Icon Posted 2006-10-14 1:23 AM
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I also have several of these units that I would like to convert to Linux (14 to be exact).
If someone does get it working I would be willing to pay for you to ship me a working compact flash card.
Chad
ccolumbu at hotmail dot com
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cmonex Page Icon Posted 2006-10-14 11:15 AM
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undefined - 2006-10-06 4:03 PM

It's been several months since I posted here, or even thought about the Webpad....

A nice fellow in Canada did manage to reverse engineer the touchscreen and write X drivers allowing for its use as an input device. Unfortunately, I have yet to get a copy of the drivers for testing. We both got X running (sans touchscreen). At this point I doubt that I will be going back to finish the project, as I haven't had time to address this is too long. The Webpad will probably be going back on eBay so someone else can enjoy it.

Sorry to leave everyone hanging, but since I never got a copy of the X driver I cannot exactly share it - If I get a copy of the driver I'll throw up a site with detailed instructions on how to get Linux + X + Touchscreen + WPA working (I had all but the touchscreen going before I stopped).

If anyone is looking for a webpad you're welcome to email me, it'll probably be more than a week before I put this on the bay.


why not ask the nice canadian fellow to send that x driver asap?
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Chad
Chad Page Icon Posted 2006-10-19 4:29 AM
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I found a company in Germany that has a full linux install for these units.
I have e-mailed them to see if I can buy it. If so I will pass on the info to all of you so yo can buy it too.
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geek-fr
geek-fr Page Icon Posted 2006-10-20 6:26 AM
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Hi,

I have had the project to install linux on my tatung webpad for some times and just found this post. I have started a project page here: http://www.geek-fr.com/doku.php?id=projects:linuxontatungwebpad in order to keep all the informations related to running Linux on the Tatung.

Chad: could you post the name of the German company?

I'll keep you informed about my progress to run an http://www.openembedded.org based distro on the Tatung.

Regards.
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Chad
Chad Page Icon Posted 2006-10-22 2:37 AM
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http://www.go-gooroo.com/
go-gooroo dot com
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Chad
Chad Page Icon Posted 2006-10-26 5:30 PM
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Ok, go-gooroo wants $162 + shipping US for a CF with linux installed.
Ask for GoWeb application.
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geek-fr
geek-fr Page Icon Posted 2006-10-27 11:31 AM
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Eeeek!!

Moreover I fear they are talking about another webpad, which is not the TWN-5213CU / Neta985 / ... I looked at their docs and the webpad they are talking about (the one with linux) has a Transmeta CPU.

I am starting doing some tests installing Grub on a CF and booting on the webpad. I had some problems yesterday due to my main computer not being able to create correctly a partition on the CF. I will dig tonight.

BTW as the only BIG problem is the touchscreen, I wonder if anyone has already made pics of the inside of the webpad? I guess it uses a common touchscreen, but I need to know which one in order to search for some linux support. Anyway while surfing Tatung website I found this:

ftp://207.215.188.219/TOUCHSCREEN/
Directory: 3M_MICROTCH_DRIVER
Directory: ELOTOUCH_DRIVER
Directory: PRECISIONTOUCH_DRIVER

Maybe the webpad is using one of these...
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