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5. Parallel port

It's possible to update or reinstall a NetWinder disk image via a parallel-port device, such as the Backpack CD-ROM. Its pretty slow and therefore not recommended in general, but if you happen to have a suitable drive, and don't mind waiting, then this method is for you.

5.1 Requirements

There are two variations on the parallel port method. One way is to use the parallel port device simply as a storage place for the diskimage tar file. In this case, the NetWinder must have enough room on a spare partition to hold the uncompressed disk image. You'll also need to make or obtain a CDROM (or tape or disk, as the case may be) containing the image tar file.

Alternatively, it is possible to boot off the parallel port device (at least, San made it work a long time ago). In this case, the NetWinder's hard disk could theoretically be reformatted and the new image installed over top. Therefore you would not need a "spare partition" to hold the new image. The difficulty with this method is that you need a bootable CDROM, and unfortunately I can't tell you how to make/obtain one. If anyone has experience, please let me know.

5.2 Preparation

A partition should be freed up to make room for the uncompressed image. The process is described in sections 2.2 and 4.3 (read both if in doubt). It will be assumed in the following that /dev/hda3 has been freed and is mounted on /mnt/hda3.

Next, the parallel port device needs to be made available. Ensure that it's plugged in and powered on. Most likely the device will be a CD-ROM player, since zip drives are not large enough to hold the disk image. So the example listed here will assume a Backpack CDROM. This happens to be a device that I have tested. For other parallel devices, consult for the appropriate commands.

        insmod nls
        insmod isofs
        insmod paride
        insmod bpck
        insmod pcd
        mount -o ro /dev/pcd0 /mnt/cdrom

To verify that it's working right, issue the command ls /mnt/cdrom and you should see the diskimage tarball in the listing.

5.3 Image installation

As in the other install methods, the disk image should now be untarred to the free disk partition. The command sequence will be similar to

        cd /mnt/hda3
        tar zxpf /mnt/cdrom/YourImage.tar.gz

Naturally you have to substitute the appropriate name for YourImage. The process could take quite a long time, since the transfer over the parallel port is rather slow. It also uses a lot of CPU power, so the computer may be very slow to respond if you try and do anything else while the image is uncompressing.

5.4 Post installation

Be sure to fixup the etc/fstab file in the newly installed image before shutting down, and adjust the firmware parameters upon reboot. Please refer to sections 2.4 and 2.5 for the details on how to do this.

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