NetWinder DM Disk Image #13

This page describes new features and known bugs with build #13 of the DM disk image (the master for all other disk images). While there are few end-user visible changes in this build, under the hood there are some big changes that will cause troubles for people doing piecewise updates.

New RPM naming convention: Beginning with this build, we are using a new convention for naming our RPM's, so that they can be more easily distinguished from others' packages. Normally, the names are in the form "package-version-release" where the release number is an integer. If any changes had to be made to compile the package on the NetWinder, we will add a suffix of "nw1", "nw2", etc. to the release number. The changelog inside the spec file will also be updated.


  1. New firmware (2.0.6) with support for 128 MB ram, more video ram and other goodies. Also the way in which paramters are passed from the firmware to the main kernel has changed significantly - meaning that this new firmware won't work well with older kernels. See the compatibility page for more information.

  2. New kernel to match the changes in parameter passing structure. A couple of small changes in the kernel as well.

  3. Compiler and glibc updated. Still using glibc 2.0.94 - we have newer versions but they require all sorts of other things to be recompiled, so we are going to hold off on the newer libc.

  4. Binary updates for playmidi, xplaymidi, and the mixer program.

  5. New/updated RPMS's for lpr-0.33-1corel1 and samba-1.3.18-1corel1, gcal-2.40, ispell-3.1.20-11, lout-3.08-4, sox-12.14-2, stat-1.5-8, statserial-1.1-10, traceroute-1.4a5-7corel1, losetup-2.8a-2

  6. Old version of mount removed from /sbin

  7. Due to space constraints, Mike Montour's rescue filesystem is not inclueded in the firmware. We hope to have it back in again in the next build.

Known bugs

  1. This is not a bug, but we are going to get lots of reports of trouble if I don't say it: YOU MUST USE 2.0.6 FIRMWARE TOGETHER WITH THE 99011x KERNEL because otherwise the parameters passed from firmware to the main kernel won't work properly, and the kernel will fall back to compiled-in default values. When this happens, your NetWinder will report either 8 or 16 MB of RAM and it will try to boot off /dev/hda2 or /dev/hda1 depending on the version of the kernel. You might get lucky and be able to boot, or you might get "Unable to mount VFS on 03:02" or similar error.

    To avoid this problem, you must first intall the new kernel on your disk (in /boot/vmlinux) and then you should burn the new flash image. Mixing old and new firmware/kernels will not work reliably on all systems.

  2. Reportedly, there are problems with fdisk not working right, and the sound.o module having problems. I've not heard anything certain though.

Update: Oct 1st, 1999

We are now shipping build #13 on DM machines with firmware 2.1.7, mostly to circumvent some of the problems of keyboard detection on startup.

Ralph Siemsen /