[E3-hacking] GPE up and running (sort of)

David Given dg at cowlark.com
Mon Apr 3 11:03:32 BST 2006

Hash: SHA1

After spending *far* too long playing over the weekend, I've finally
managed to get Familiar Linux up and running on the E3.

The good news: it actually seems to work, as far as I've managed
(Familiar really doesn't like running on the 2.6 kernel; it relies
heavily on devfs, which is now deprecated, and all sorts of things
require foul hacking to make run at all).

The bad news: at idle it seems to eat nearly all the available memory
(with under a megabyte utilised in buffers, too, so most of that is
actual real code). Bootup is very, very slow, too (several minutes); but
I'm not yet sure whether this is intrinsic or due to the USB 1 storage
device crippling it. Once the shell has actually started up, it seems to
be reasonably usable. Oh, yeah, as expected the screen doesn't play nice
with the mouse pointer, which pretty much vanishes completely while moving.

Things I need to try: another look to see if there are any device nodes
missing, in an attempt to get the rest of the applications going (a lot
of them fail to start with 'Unable to find entropy collection module'
- --- missing /dev/random, perhaps?); seeing if I can backport the E3
patches to the last 2.6 kernel with devfs (dammit, why did they
deprecate devfs? It's so *useful*); joining the Familiar mailing list
and asking about udev support...

Incidentally, I also got full Debian running. The ARM etch netinst
images basically Just Work (you need to use etch because of the 2.6
kernel). The installer runs reasonably happily, despite complaining
about low RAM, but is very, very slow. A number of times while
validating packages I thought it had hung, but it came back to life
again a few minutes later. Once installed, shell access is reasonably
snappy and it idles with a reasonable amount of free memory. Aptitude in
full-on graphical mode is only just usable. I'll try this again once I
get an ethernet adaptor --- the most difficult bit was trying to
shoehorn the CD image onto the same CF card as the installation filesystem.

...what's the current status of compressed writable filesystems on
Linux? Do I have to resort to such aberrations as jffs2 over blkmtd, or
is there anything better? Even with the E3's slow number-crunching
abilities, I suspect that may still be faster than pushing uncompressed
data of the USB link.

- --
+- David Given --McQ-+
|  dg at cowlark.com    | "Those that repeat truisms, are also forced to
| (dg at tao-group.com) | repeat them." --- Anonymous from Slashdot
+- www.cowlark.com --+
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