NetWinder information resources
Last updated Dec 31, 2003
This page is maintained by Ralph Siemsen and provides information on
NetWinder kernels, firmware, disk images and related matters.
The NetWinder has 1 MB of flash memory which contains bootstrap code
as well as a stripped-down Linux kernel (the "minikernel"). A real kernel
can then be loaded from disk or via the network, and the full boot follows.
It is also possible to put a small ramdisk in the flash memory.
- News: we've been forced to remove all firmware from the netwinder.org
site, because we are unable to comply with the GPL requirement of providing
source code. We'd like to, but until the Copyright holder grants us the
necessary permission, we are in a holding pattern.
- Stable versions of the firmware can be found in the
- For StrongARM the recommended version of firmware is
- Installation and usage are described in the
- Firmware/kernel compatibility guide and
- Always update the firmware first when upgrading an old machine.
The 2.2 and 2.4 linux kernel series are know to work well on NetWinder.
The 2.6 series is still "experimental" at this time. In the past, our
kernels were named 2.x.y-YYYYMMDD (in other words, we used date stamp).
Since th 2.4 era we use RPM packages with a "release" number that goes
up by one as necessary, etc. 2.4.19-8 is the eigth release of 2.4.19 kernel.
To determine the kernel version on a NetWinder, use the
uname -a command (or, equivalently, cat
/proc/version also works).
- Official kernels are available in
pub/netwinder/kernel. Be sure to read the
README file in that directory.
- Development versions can be found in
- The latest official kernel is version 2.4.19-rmk7-nw3 (package
name is 2.4.19-8), and contains fixes for both the ptrace and do_brk
- Please see the Kernel-HOWTO for
information on building and installing the kernel.
NetWinders currently ship with a RedHat linux system preinstalled, and
possibily other things added (such as KDE, WordPerfect, etc). There are
separate disk images for each of the NetWinder models, though they are all
based on a common master (the DM model). Disk images can be identified by
looking at the /etc/redhat-release file and noting the model and
build number. The contents of this file are also displayed at the login
- Disk images can be obtained in the
- We support rsync for downloading the images. Please see http://samba.anu.edu.au/rsync/ for
- Details on the various disk images is available on the disk images page.
- The Disk-Update-HOWTO provides
suggestions on how to get a new image onto your system. It covers
network-booting in various forms, and is aimed at the more advanced
- The Rescue-HOWTO is a covers the
use of the OfficeServer rescue system. This is the simple, straightforward
method of re-imaging a system back to its factory condition using the
built-in recovery software. All units shiped since Jan 2000 have this
Here are some other tidbits of documentation that I have assembled that
might be of interest to NetWinder owners:
Links to other resources
These links point off to information resources that are maintained by
other people, and contain additional helpful information about NetWinder
hardware and software.
- The NetWinder
FAQ, maintained by Eric LaForest and Jim Tittsler, is probably the best
collection of NetWinder information around.
Ralph Siemsen /
email@example.com - Status