NetWinder DM Disk Image #11

The assembly of disk image #11 started 98/12/11 right after a stable 2.0.35 linux kernel was built. The major features of build #11 are the 2.0.35 kernel, bug-fixes for a large number of things, more RPM packages, etc.

The image was completed and released for internal testing 98/12/14. If all goes well it will go up on the ftp site in a few days (just in case any major problems are found).


These are open issues that are not yet resolved:

  1. Under X, the problem of updates not happening until there is an input event (like moving the mouse) seems to have become particularly prevalent. It is most noticeable when the video capture demo is running (/usr/diag/vidcap/xvideum), the live picture almost completely stops unless you actively move the mouse around. Actually it doesn't happen all the time, so it is not clear exactly what is going on.

  2. We need to decide what services should or should not be started by default when the system boots. There are a couple of services that have special considerations at the moment:

  3. The getgroups test program posted by Anthony David to the devel list still indicates there is a problem with this call. Need to look into it (had hoped that 2.0.35 would cure it, but alas...)

  4. The kernel module for msdos filesystem support were forgotten. Either build the kernel yourself, or wait for the next release.

  5. Although modprobe now works, depmod (which builds the list of dependencies for modprobe) isn't generating the right stuff for all modules. So autoloading still doesn't work quite right.

  6. The initial directories for mc are incorrect, and lead to an ugly error message the first time it is run. Easy to fix, but forgotten.

New features

This section discusses what's new in this build, along with links to more information about the use of the new stuff. They are not in any particular order.

  1. The linux-2.0.35 kernel has so many things changed that it deserves its own page (coming soon). Most notably you should know that the long-standing problems with keepalives in Apache are fixed, that the system is stable under high loads (again), and that a number of device drivers have been renamed and have moved to different major,minor numbers.

  2. nwbutton driver, thanks to Alex Holden, which allows useful functionality to be added to the orange "reset" button on the top of the NetWinder. By default if you click it twice, the machine will now do a proper shutdown and reboot (useful if your keyboard stops working, for example). Alex's documentation can be found in the kernel sources in the file Documentation/nwbutton.c (or you can grab a live copy from our CVS tree here).

  3. Parallel port device support is now on the disk image. To use a parallel port device, you need only insmod the appropriate kernel modules for your device, and possibly the modules for any exotic filesystems (like iso9660 for CD-ROMs). A whopping three requests for more detailed information have been received so here is a step-by-step guide for how to use these drivers.

  4. nwconfig is a utility program that makes it easy to set up your network settings and set the time/date on your NetWinder. Just log in as root and type nwconfig to run it. This program replaces the earlier netconfig utility that shipped on build #10 (but thanks to a symbolic link you can still call it by its old name).

  5. A shutdown sound has been added. This is useful in conjuction with the nwbutton driver described above. A brief sound is played a moment before the system reboots. When you hear the sound, it is safe to unplug the power supply. If you don't like this feature you can disable it near the end of /etc/rc.d/init.d/halt script. Or you can change the sound that is played by replacing /etc/

  6. modprobe is now working so that loading a series inter-dependent kernel modules is much easier. Unfortunately, the depmod program that builds the list of dependencies is not working quite right. As a result, for example, modprobe isofs works, but modprobe ppa doesn't.

  7. Font paths under X are cleaned up, and a pile of new fonts for latin2-encoding were added (thanks to Woody).

  8. The corel-util package of useful NetWinder utilities is now included. This includes the newest version of the lowlevel debugger ("man debug"), the fan/thermostat control tools ("man set_therm", "man fan_ctrl"), and watchdog timer support ("man start_wdog").

  9. The tulip driver (for the 10/100 ethernet) has undergone some major changes. For one, it is no longer possible to set the hardware MAC address by passing a command line argument. A separate driver, tulip_upgd, has been written to set the address and should automatically be done on the production server when the disk image is made. Of course it hasn't been widely tested yet.

  10. The disk image contains 2.0.4 firmware with Mike Montour's rescue filesystem included in the flash. It can be booted with the Nettrom command setenv rootconfig flash.

  11. A slightly hacked version of mc is installed. The error message about pty's should be gone now, and the CTRL-O function should work again.

  12. The RedHat printtools package is installed, along with fixes to the printerdb and smbprint file, so you should be able to configure printers with the control panel and have them work.

Ralph Siemsen /