NetWinder disk images
Last updated on Jan 27th, 2000 @ 8:33am

This page provides information on the various NetWinder disk images. For instructions on how to install a new disk image, please consult the Disk-Update-HOWTO and Rescue-HOWTO, available here. For details on a particular disk image, click on the name in the chart below.

DM Developer Machine
The base disk image, includes most everything we can distribute under GPL and similar licenses.
OS OfficeServer
An all-in-one solution for small office / home office, providing firewall, web, ftp and mail services to every desktop.
TC Thin Client
Not really a disk image, since the thin client has no hard disk.
GS GroupServer
Predecessor to the OfficeServer; no longer maintained.
WS WebServer
The first "web appliance" image; predates the GS.
RM Rack Mount
The image used on the first-generation rackmounts. Superceeded by the GS and OS.

As you can see, the current lineup consists of three software models, the DM, OS, and TC. While the latter has a special hardware configuration, the former two are available in either plastic or rack mount. So that's the NetWinder lineup in a nutshell.

Developer Machine (DM)

The various NetWinder models ship with slightly different disk images on them. The common ancestor for all models is the DM (development machine) which tries to be as close to a RedHat system as possible. The other models have the same base system with parts added and changes to the system configuration (like /etc/inetd.conf for example).

The DM images began with an assorted collection of binaries from the early days of the NetWinder, from Russell King and other people. As of DM build #9, we started building packages in RPM format and added those to the disk. Build #14 was the first image to be built completely from RPM's. It is a total rebuild from scratch, whereas previous images were cumulative.

dm-3.9-28.html Linux 2.2.17 (2001xxyy) 2.3.3 Unofficial pre-release
Jul 9, 2001. The main feature is that glibc is built with symbol versioning enabled; if you don't know what this is, you should probably just ignore this entry and skip on down to DM-3.1...
dm-3.1-15 Linux 2.2.13 (20000121) 2.1.24 The long-awaited "DM15"
Disk image released on Jan 27, 2000. This is a total rebuild of everything in RPM format, and includes virtually all of RedHat 6.1, along with gcc-2.95.1 and the most recent glibc. (Yes, the tarball and all the RPMS/SRPMS will be on the web site shortly)
dm-3.0-14 Linux 2.0.35 (990121) 2.0.8 Internal Release
The first image built "from scratch" with everything in RPM format. Used as the base for the OS-1.0-1 image, but we only tested those features used on the OS. In particular, there is a bug in libXt that causes xterms to crash.
dm-2.1-13 Linux 2.0.35 (990121) 2.0.6 Internal Release
Firmware support for 128M; Arg passing via param structure; numerous packages and binaries updated.
Production Release, Oct 1st 1999
Due to the delays in getting DM-15 ready, build #13 is now being shipped on DM models along with firmware 2.1.7.
dm-2.1-12 Linux 2.0.35 (981211a) 2.0.4a+rescue Minor bug-fix over build #11
sendmail disabled; proper kernel headers installed; updated nwconfig; updated ippfvadm; watchdog module loaded on startup; fixed; msdos modules added.
dm-2.1-11 Linux 2.0.35 (981210) 2.0.4+rescue Internal release (Corel only)
The first disk image with a 2.0.35 kernel. Major changes included: HUGE_VAL fixed in headers; png.h and zlib.h include files fixed; dhcp lease renewal patch; lpd.init service renamed to lpd and disabled by default; paride /dev nodes added; ispell libraries added; shutdown sound added; new RPMS for corel-util, mc, netatalk, rhs-printfiters, fileutils, binutils, gettext, procps, quota.
dm-2.0-10 Linux 2.0.31 (981029) 2.0.4 Small cleanup of build #9
Updated flash driver; /dev/hda3 mounted under /home by default; new nwflash and nwdebug drivers added; use PIO mode for disk by default; font path corrections; e2fsprogs-1.10-6; quota support; rescue kernel.
dm-2.0-9 2.0.31, ELF 2.0.1 Build #9 was the first ELF release. Almost all of Andrew's RPMS were installed (first the RPM database was nuked) to create this disk image. So essentially everything is new as compared to previous a.out disk images.
1.x 2.0.31, a.out 1.3pl4 These disks should be thrown out. The RPM format is incompatible, there are many bugs in the X server and because everything is a.out, programs dump core when they reach 11 MB in size. The development environment is not very stable and there are many known compiler bugs, that have been fixed in newer versions.

Office Server (OS)

The OfficeServer is aimed at small offices with an internal LAN. It allows each computer on the LAN to share the internet connection, receive e-mail, and share files and printers.

os-1.2-1 Linux 2.2.12 (tbd) 2.1.16 (tbd) In preparation
Update to fix up bugs in first release.
os-1.1-4 Linux 2.2.12 (19991213) 2.1.16 Released Dec 13, 1999
Kernel patch to fix "int 32" shutdown problem on rackmounts; kudzu package now enables DMA if supported by the 553 chip.
os-1.1-3 Linux 2.2.12 (19991118) 2.1.16b Internal release Nov 18, 1999
Rackmount support - no sound chip, startup delay.
os-1.1-2 Linux 2.2.12 (19991114) 2.1.16a Internal release Nov 17, 1999
Updated kernel and firmware to support Cyber2010 video.
os-1.1-1 Linux 2.2.12 (19991021) 2.1.16 Released Nov 3, 1999
Add SCSI support to the existing image. No new features.
os-1.0-2 Linux 2.2.9-3 (990902) 2.1.7 Released Sept 15, 1999
Minor fix, change copyright message in online help.
os-1.0-1 Linux 2.2.9-3 (990902) 2.1.7 Released Sept 7, 1999
Based on dm-3.0-14 with numerous items upgraded and patched.

Thin Client (TC)

Scott is responsible for these images. There are apparently two variants, an X-server terminal and a Citrix terminal. In both cases, the image is tftp loaded from a server. The NetWinder has only one ethernet interface, and no hard disk. A special version of the Firmware is used on the thin client, which gives more options for DHCP booting.

I hope to put up some more information here when I get it.

Group Server (GS)

The GroupServer is an update to the WebServer with several new features, including discussion groups. The features have been incorporated into the OfficeServer.

GS build #1 2.0.35 2.0.4 Offering the same services as the earlier GS images, but based on a fully-ELF build #12 disk image with the 2.0.35 kernel, this image also includes a much more feature-rich WebFront admin tool.

Web Server (WS)

The WebServer image provides Apache and a web-based remote administration tool called WebFront. This product has been superceeded by the OfficeServer.

WS build #8 2.0.35 (981210) 2.0.4 This is a quick update to fix the known problems with KeepAlive and the HTTP 1.1 support. The kernel is not suitable for development work or doing much other than serving web pages. The disk image is unchanged, only the kernel and firmware have been updated. Note in particular that all of the binaries on the disk are still a.out. This image will be supplanted by the GS disks, which are based on DM build #12.
WS build #7 2.0.31, a.out 1.3pl4 This is the original WS disk image, inherited from the pre-2.0 DM disks. It does not have X on it, and the services other than web and FTP are disabled. The original version of WebFront admin package is installed here.

Rack Mount (RM)

This image, if it actually did ever exist, was virtually identical to the GS and WS images. Rack mounts are currently shipping with either the DM or GS images on them, and will be offered with the OS image in the future.

Disk image installation

To actually get a disk image onto your NetWinder requires a bit of magic, since you can't just pop in a CDROM and click the "setup" icon (yet!). This topic is covered in detail in the Disk-Update-HOWTO. Beginning with the OfficeServer, a simpler recovery process has been introduced, and that is covered in the Rescue-HOWTO.

For those `experts' who can't be bothered to read the nice HOWTO's, here is the executive summary of the process. While there are several differnent ways you can go about the installation process, in all cases the common theme is to obtain (via FTP, cdrom, whatever) one of the disk images in tarball form, and then to untarr that image onto your local disk. Of course you can't just unpack it over top of the existing filesystem and expect everything to work. So there are a couple of strategies to avoiding this.

The "traditional" way to handle updates has been to make use of the NetWinder's ability to boot "diskless" via the network. For this to work you need a second machine (an x86 running Linux is ideal) which will act as the server from which the NetWinder boots. The server must support tftp which is the protocol used to fetch the kernel, and nfs which is used to provide the root filesystem. Basically in the firmware you would issue the command "boot diskless", and once you've managed to get that to work, then you can happily format the local hard disk, mount it, and untar the new disk image onto it. I'm being purposely vague here because it is a non-trivial operation and to properly cover all of the possible complications, I'd have to write a book.

Another option (although it's not "officially blessed") is to open up the NetWinder, take the hard disk out, and put it into another computer as the slave drive (of course, if you plan to do this on a normal PC then you need an adapter since the NetWinder uses laptop-sized hard disks with the small connector). Then it's a simple matter of formatting the slave drive and untarring the image onto it. Keep in mind that the /etc/fstab needs to be adjusted to match the way you setup the disk.


Two partitioning schemes are in common use on the NetWinder. You are of course free to partition as you wish, but be advised that things might not work right (especially with the older images). The WS, GS, and DM images up to #13 used a the following partition scheme:

/dev/hda1 / 50% of remaining space
/dev/hda2 swap 64 Mb
/dev/hda3 /home 50% of remaining space
/dev/hda4   unused

The OfficeServer and DM-15 place use a different compromise. It is now possible to mount /usr read-only for added protection. Thus we put everything that needs to be writable, on the root filesystem. Yes, we could have done it a million other ways, but after a lot of fiddling, this seems to work pretty well and its simple. So here's the new scheme.

/dev/hda1 / All remaining space
/dev/hda2 swap 64 Mb
/dev/hda3 /usr 1 GB (plus a bit more on large drives)
/dev/hda4 not mounted normally 10MB (Rescue filesystem)

Coping with small hard disks

Those of you with 750 and 880 MB disk drives will be pleased to know that you can update your disks after all. The dm-2.1-12 tarball is about 630 MB when uncompressed, and that will fit nicely on your disk even when you subtract 64 Mb for a swap partition. The OS and later DM images won't fit, but there is a DM "Base" image that can be used.

Ralph Siemsen /