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CT-PC89E - samsung 8.9in arm netbook - debian lenny successfully installed

ok, i have successfully installed debian/lenny with various things
removed such as a ton of locale files and /usr/share/doc.  some say
that it is wiser to use emdebian but i say nuts, i'm in a hurry, and
i'm happy with "actual" debian :)

by making use of the existing "firmware upgrade", which is a
combination of an already-bootstrapped u-boot (press-and-hold power
and both mouse-buttons), a specially-prepared zImage with an initrd
(we think), and a tarball named datang-epc.tar.gz it is quite simple
to repeatedly perform "upgrades" with impunity (as long as they don't
dare touch the NAND flash once booted).  this method was used to test
the theory (using an angstrom gpe root filesystem) and was then used
to blat a succession of failed debian root filesystems on, until one
of them worked.  further tweaks were then made (so that other people
could use it), and then the root filesystem was rsync'd back out and
.tar.gz'd back up.

so the mid-linux "firmware" is here:
http://lkcl.net/arm_systems/CT-PC89E/ct-pc89e-firmware.tgz - just
unpack that onto a FAT-formatted SDcard (of size less than 4gb).  if
you want to do a debian image instead, use
http://lkcl.net/arm_systems/CT-PC89E/rootfs.small.tgz but REMEMBER to
rename it to datang-epc.tar.gz on the SDcard.  please WAIT until
01:00hrs 27feb2010 GMT because the upload of rootfs.small.tgz is
expected to take another 25 mins.

the username is midfun, the password is mos2010, as is the root password.

you will get *nothing* on-screen until a successful X console, because
the kernel has been compiled without fbdev console support: only
serial console support, and that's on an unpopulated header on the CPU
SO-DIMM.  however by modifying various /etc/init.d/* scripts adding
echo foo > /dev/fb0, for debugging purposes, there should be a few
pixels changing in the top left hand corner: if you get a cyan line,
that means that networking succeeded: you should find that DHCP comes
up etc. and you should be able to ssh in.

you *may* find that you need to do a reboot two or three times: this
may be due to the fact that i rsync'd the files out of a running
system (because... well... how else are you supposed to do it, on a
system where the NAND flash - the root filesystem - is on the
SO-DIMM??).  one of the times required a hard reset.

once you log in, you'll see that i've installed xdm and matchbox,
along with some of gpe's applications.

i have NOT been able to fit a video player or a web browser on: there
is simply not enough room in the 450mb root partition, using
"standard" debian.  perhaps someone would like to be brave enough to
see what happens if you use parted to resize things, but... ahhh,
slight problem, damn we _really_ need to get that kernel source: ext3
isn't included in the running kernel (!!!).  well, that is the next

if you want to do your own debian rootfs or in fact any rootfs at all,
that's perfectly possible: you just have to remember that the target
partition is only 450mb, and yes, gnueabi works, and yes, debian armel
packages work.

that's all for now.


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