Gentoo on a GPD MicroPC

Introduction

This manual is intended to help user to configure Gentoo distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system for GPD MicroPC handheld. It’s supposed that user is skilled enough to install bare system from stage, compile kernel from source code, apply patches, etc.

This article and all information and products in it are provided on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Your use of this article is at your own risk.

Content

Hardware info

Brief hardware description from the manufacturer: GPD MicroPC – Shenzhen GPD Technology Co., Ltd..

Type Name
Technical info
CPU Intel(R) Celeron(R) N4100 (Gemini Lake) Base frequency: 1,1 GHz; Max frequency: 2.4 GHz; 4 cores, 4 threads; TDP: 6W (up to 10W in MicroPC); Features: x86-64, SSE4.2, AES, SHA, IVT; L2 cache: 4MB; Arch: Goldmont Plus. [1], [2]
RAM SK Hynix? 8GB single channel, LPDDR4; Bus clock: 2133 Mhz
Video Intel UHD Graphics 600 (Goldmont Plus) EU: 12, Clock speed: 200-700Mhz; GFLOPS:38.4 – 134.4; OpenGL support in Linux: 4.5; Vulcan support in Linux: 1.1; Multimedia codecs [3] : MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVC, VC-1, WMV9, HEVC, HEVC 10-bit, VP9, VP9 10-bit. Device id: 8086:3185 (rev 03); [4], [5], [6], [7]
Storage Original: Biwin G6327 Capacity: 128GB; Seq. R/W speed: 524/356 MB/s;
device Upgrade: Transcend TS256GMTS400S Capacity: 256GB; Seq. R/W speed: 545/473MB/s; MLC NAND flash; Terabytes Written (Max.): 1100 TB; [8]
Audio Realtek Semiconductor Co. ALC269VC 4 channels, 24-bit I/O; DAC max sample rate: 192kHz; EAX 1.0 & 2.0, Direct Sound 3D, A3D; Device id: 8086:3198 [9]
Ethernet Realtek Semiconductor Co. RTL8111/8168/8411 Speed: 10/100/1000 MB/s; Device id: 10ec:8168 (rev 15); [10]
WiFi & Bluetooth Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 Bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz; Protocols: 802.11b/g/n; Max speed: 433 Mbps; Bluetooth Version 4.2; PCI Device id: 8086:3165 (rev 79); USB Device id: 8087:0a2a; [11]
Card reader Realtek Semiconductor Co. Device id: 0bda:0316;

References

  1. Intel® Celeron® N4100 Processor
  2. Goldmont Plus – Microarchitectures – Intel – WikiChip
  3. Intel Launches New Pentium Silver and Celeron Atom Processors: Gemini Lake is Here
  4. Intel Graphics Technology – Wikipedia
  5. List of Intel graphics processing units – Wikipedia
  6. UHD Graphics 600 – Intel – WikiChip
  7. Intel UHD Graphics 600 Specs | TechPowerUp GPU Database
  8. SATA III M.2 Solid State DriveM.2 SSD 400S
  9. ALC269 HIGH DEFINITION AUDIO CODEC WITHE MBEDDED CLASS-D SPEAKER AMPLIFIER DATASHEET
  10. RTL8168 INTEGRATED GIGABIT ETHERNET CONTROLLER FOR PCI EXPRESS APPLICATIONS DATASHEET
  11. Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 Product Specifications

Logs

Linux support summary

Subsystem Feature Status
Input Keyboard Works perfectly
Touchpad Works perfectly
Video Integrated display Works perfectly
2D graphics Works perfectly
3D acceleration Works perfectly
Video decoding acceleration Works perfectly
HDMI output Minor issues
Audio Internal speaker Works perfectly
Microphone Works perfectly
Audio out jack Works perfectly
Headphones mute speaker Works perfectly
Networking Ethernet Works perfectly
WiFi Works perfectly
BlueTooth Untested
ACPI Lid button Works perfectly
Power button Works perfectly
Brightness control Works perfectly
AC and battery Works perfectly
Power management Suspend to RAM Works perfectly
Suspend to disk Works perfectly
CPU frequency scaling Works perfectly
Other microSD card reader Works perfectly

Kernel

The minimal kernel version recommended for MicroPC is 5.2, because it’s the first version, which supports the integrated in MicroPC display.

The kernel config for version 5.2.1 is available here. Few notes regarding the kernel config:

  • It’s optimized for GPD MicroPC. Most options not required by this device are turned off. The total number of enabled options is 1043. You may need to enable additional options like filesystems or drivers for peripheral devices.
  • This config produces monolith kernel, which does not require any modules, firmwares or even a command line. But prior building this kernel you need install the firmware files, which are provided by these two packages:
    • sys-kernel/linux-firmware. In order to install only the firmware files which are relevant for MicroPC, enable these two USE flags: redistributable savedconfig and save this file as /etc/portage/savedconfig/sys-kernel/linux-firmware/linux-firmware.conf
    • net-wireless/wireless-regdb
  • Mitigation of Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities is disabled (CONFIG_PAGE_TABLE_ISOLATION). Consider for yourself what is more important for you: performance of security.
  • This config assumes that sda5 is the root partition and sda6 is the swap partition. If your partition layout is different, you will need to edit these parameters:
    • CONFIG_CMDLINE="root=/dev/sda5 fbcon=rotate:1 quiet"
    • CONFIG_PM_STD_PARTITION="/dev/sda6"

Booting the kernel

Since the described kernel does not require a command line, you can boot it directly from the EFI firmware. You no longer need to install and configure a bootloader.

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
mkdir /mnt/boot/EFI/Gentoo
cp arch/x86_64/boot/bzImage /mnt/boot/EFI/Gentoo/bzImage-5.2.1.efi
umount /mnt/boot
efibootmgr -c -L 'Gentoo' -l '\EFI\Gentoo\bzImage-5.2.1.efi'

After that you can make Gentoo the default boot option via editing BIOS setting Boot -> UEFI Hard Disk Drive BBS Priorities.

Input

There are various xorg input device drivers. libinput is one of them, and it’s the default driver in Gentoo. This driver works fine with MicroPC.

In order to use this driver, set the INPUT_DEVICES variable to ‘libinput’, see make.conf as example.

Keyboard

Down below you can see xorg.conf.d file for the keyboard.

10keyboard.conf

    Section "InputClass"
        Identifier          "keyboard-all"
        Driver              "libinput"
        Option              "XkbRules"                  "evdev"
        Option              "XkbModel"                  "pc105"
        Option              "XkbLayout"                 "us,ru"
        Option              "XkbVariant"                ",winkeys"
        Option              "XkbOptions"                "grp:alt_shift_toggle,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"
        MatchIsKeyboard     "on"
        MatchDevicePath     "/dev/input/event*"
    EndSection

Volume and Brightness up/down keys by default generate correct key symbols:

  • XF86AudioRaiseVolume and XF86AudioLowerVolume;
  • XF86MonBrightnessUp and XF86MonBrightnessDown;

One special keysymbol is added for the Power button – XF86Launch0. The button itself does not generate any keycode. It’s handled by ACPI subsystem, which generates proper key code for XF86Launch0. The .Xmodmap binds the special key code to XF86Launch0.

All we need to do is to assign proper actions to the symnames. The rc.xml is an example of such bindings. This configuration file has some additional key binding, which you may find interesting:

  • Alt+d– Toggles DPMS state of connected displays via xset. See dpms.sh for details.
  • Power shows an information dialog (tray.sh), which contains current time and date, battery status and level, brightness, CPU frequencies and governors, etc.

        16.08 Friday 18:40   
    MPD Stopped
    Battery: Discharging, 60%, 04:04:19 remaining
    Brightness: 100%
    Temp: CPU 46|46|46|46°C, SSD 39 C°C, WiFi 42°C
    Freq: 649MHz|1.44GHz|2.29GHz|2.29GHz, performance
    RAM: 92% free
    Network: wlan0, wireless is on

The fan switch is 100% hardware and does not generate a scancode, ACPI or udev event.
The keyboard backlit is also 100% hardware and does not require any software configurations.

Touchpad

Down below you can see xorg.conf.d file for the touchpad.

50touchpad.conf

    Section "InputClass"
      Identifier    "AMR-4630-XXX-0- 0-1023 USB KEYBOARD Mouse"
      Option        "AccelSpeed"             "1"
      Option        "ScrollMethod"           "button"
      Option        "ScrollButton"           "22"
      Option        "MiddleEmulation"        "on"
    EndSection

Using this config your can scroll by holding the middle mouse button.

Video

Kernel

The native orientation of the integrated display is portrait. Therefore the framebuffer console needs to be rotated. In order to configure correct orientation, add ‘fbcon=rotate:1’ to the kernel command line:

    CONFIG_CMDLINE="root=/dev/sda5 fbcon=rotate:1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.enable_psr=1 quiet"

The following options improve power saving: i915.lvds_downclock=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1 i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.enable_psr=1. I do not recommend enabling i915.enable_fbc or i915.enable_guc. The first one causes artifacts on the screen, the second one hangs the kernel.

portage configuration

The VIDEO_CARDS variable should be set to ‘intel i965’. The global USE should include ‘dri’, see make.conf as example.

Custom USE flags:

    x11-drivers/xf86-video-intel sna

xorg

Down below you can see xorg.conf.d files for Device and Monitor sections.

30device.conf

    Section "Device"
      Identifier    "Intel Graphics"
      Driver        "intel"
      Option        "AccelMethod"            "sna"
      Option        "TearFree"               "true"
      Option        "DRI"                    "3"
      Option        "Backlight"              "intel_backlight"
    EndSection

40monitor.conf

    Section "Monitor"
      Identifier    "DSI1"
      Option        "Rotate"                 "right"
      Option        "Primary"                "true"
      DisplaySize    75 133
    EndSection

    Section "Monitor"
      Identifier    "HDMI1"
      Option        "Disable"                 "true"
    EndSection

Few notes regarding these config files:

  • Backlight option is required to make the xbacklight utility work.
  • DisplaySize option sets correct DPI of the built-in LCD (245).
  • The external monitor is disabled by default, because the X-server incorrectly positions the external monitor during startup. This issue seems to be caused by the rotation of the internal monitor (X-server it sets the X-axis offset to 720 instead of 1280).

HDMI output

HDMI output is supported by intel driver. You can use video-out.sh utility to toggle the HDMI output (via xrandr). The utility installs the external screen to the right of built-in screen. See the source code of video-out.sh for details.

3D acceleration

DRI works fine with default parameters. glxgears shows approximately 2800 FPS.

The current driver xf86-video-intel-2.99.917 with mesa-19.0.8 supports OpenGL-4.5. See glxinfo for details.

Video decoding acceleration

Intel UHD Graphics 600 is able to decode a wide range of multimedia codecs [3]. The config parameters below describe how to enable hardware decoding via VA-API.

The global USE should include ‘vaapi’.

Custom USE flags:

    x11-libs/libva drm utils
    media-video/libva-utils drm

Unmask the following packages:

    x11-libs/libva ~amd64
    x11-libs/libva-intel-driver ~amd64
    media-video/libva-utils ~amd64

Besides libva, you need a media player, which supports VA-API. You can use ‘mpv’, which does the job pretty well. In this case, add the following config parameters to your mpv.conf

    vo=vaapi
    hwdec=vaapi-copy

You can check if hardware is configured properly by analyzing mpv output:

    Resuming playback. This behavior can be disabled with --no-resume-playback.
    Loading config '/home/vminko/.config/mpv/watch_later/302D20AF905DE13A6E3E80663E80F562'
    Playing: 28 panfilovtsev.mkv
     (+) Video --vid=1 (*) (h264 1920x804 24.000fps)
     (+) Audio --aid=1 --alang=rus (*) (dts 6ch 48000Hz)
    AO: [alsa] 48000Hz stereo 2ch float
    Using hardware decoding (vaapi-copy).                         <<<--- THIS
    VO: [vaapi] 1920x804 nv12
    AV: 00:56:36 / 02:00:38 (46%) A-V:  0.001
    Saving state.

or by viewing output of vainfo.

Sound

Supported by CONFIG_SND_HDA_INTEL. I recommend to compile alsa-lib with all plugins (ALSA_PCM_PLUGINS, see make.conf as example).

In general ALSA supports the Realtek ALC269 quite well: both internal speaker and mic work fine as well as headphones jacks. ALSA mutes the speaker when headphones jack is used.

Networking

Ethernet

Supported by CONFIG_R8169. Requires firmware rtl_nic/rtl8168h-2.fw. Configured via default gentoo net config. Here is an example of eth0 definition with static IP. See Gentoo Network Configuration for details.

ethtool may be used to detect whether ethernet cable is plugged or not.

WiFi

WiFi is also supported by kernel (CONFIG_IWLWIFI). The driver requires binary firmware iwlwifi-7265D-29.ucode.

WiFi connection can be configured via wpa_supplicant, here are config examples: wpa_supplicant.conf, net (preup function checks whether radio is enabled). See Wireless Networking for details.

The iwl driver supports power management, which is enabled by default. You can check whether power management is turned on using iwconfig:

    wlan0     IEEE 802.11  ESSID:"demo"
              Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.412 GHz  Access Point: AC:AF:B9:71:FB:1A   
              Bit Rate=72.2 Mb/s   Tx-Power=0 dBm   
              Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
              Power Management:on                                          <<<--- THIS
              Link Quality=51/70  Signal level=-59 dBm  
              Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
              Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:9   Missed beacon:0

This file provides the temperature of the WiFi chip:

    /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone1/hwmon1/temp1_input

rfkill

MicroPC does not have a hardware rfkill switch. But you can configure software button using the rfkill tool. See toggle_rfkill.sh as example. Software rfkill toggles WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

ACPI

In order to handle ACPI events, you need to install the ACPI daemon and add it to the boot runlevel:

emerge -av acpid
rc-update add acpid boot

All ACPI events are configured in the default.sh. Here is a short description of the ACPI events handled by default.sh:

  • Power - Generates keycode 192 (XF86Launch0) via acpi_fakekey, which shows the system info panel. You can uncomment one line in the script to turns the system off instead.
  • Lid - Suspends to RAM if the display is not turned off via locked via dpms.sh. See lid.sh for details.
  • AC plug in/out - Switches cpufreq governor to performance when AC gets connected and to powersave when AC gets disconnected.

Besides the events handled in default.sh, acpid also catches the following ones:

  • jack/headphone plug|unplug
  • button/volumedown
  • button/volumeup
  • video/brightnessup
  • video/brightnessdown

All multimedia keys generate scancode and are described in the Input section. However, you can write a handler for the respective keyboard events. The main advantage of ACPI hot keys is that they're not dependent on WM (which handles multimedia keys) and work even in console and SDL programs.

You can use the acpi command to monitor the AC and battery information, as well as the temperature of the SoC.

    #acpi -abit
    Battery 0: Discharging, 50%, 03:21:25 remaining
    Battery 0: design capacity 3100 mAh, last full capacity 3290 mAh = 100%
    Adapter 0: off-line
    Thermal 0: ok, 45.0 degrees C
    Thermal 0: trip point 0 switches to mode critical at temperature 95.0 degrees C
    Thermal 0: trip point 1 switches to mode passive at temperature 95.0 degrees C
    Thermal 0: trip point 2 switches to mode active at temperature 65.0 degrees C

ACPI does not provide any information about Fan and Cooling. It looks like the Fan can only be controlled by hardware.

CPU frequency scaling

Supported by CONFIG_X86_INTEL_PSTATE The default governor can be selected via options CONFIG_CPU_FREQ_DEFAULT_GOV_*.

Install sys-power/cpupower packages in order to monitor or control frequency scaling:

    # cpupower frequency-info
    analyzing CPU 0:
      driver: intel_pstate
      CPUs which run at the same hardware frequency: 0
      CPUs which need to have their frequency coordinated by software: 0
      maximum transition latency:  Cannot determine or is not supported.
      hardware limits: 800 MHz - 2.40 GHz
      available cpufreq governors: performance powersave
      current policy: frequency should be within 800 MHz and 2.40 GHz.
                      The governor "performance" may decide which speed to use
                      within this range.
      current CPU frequency: Unable to call hardware
      current CPU frequency: 1.27 GHz (asserted by call to kernel)
      boost state support:
        Supported: yes
        Active: yes

Suspending

Suspend-to-RAM

Suspend-to-RAM (aka sleep or ACPI S3 state) is supported by CONFIG_SUSPEND and works flawlessly.

Suspend-to-disk

In order to use native Linux hibernator, you need to enable CONFIG_HIBERNATION and specify your swap partition either in CONFIG_PM_STD_PARTITION or in the resume kernel parameter.

ACPI subsystem in MicroPC does not generate an event when battery capacity changes. Therefore in order to perform automatic hibernation when battery capacity goes beyond critical level, we need a daemon monitoring the battery capacity level. One simple way to implement this is to use a cron daemon with a simple script checking the battery level.

You can use low_battery_handler.sh to check the battery level and hibernate when the battery level is less than or equal to 3%.

There are various cron implementations available in the Gentoo repository, which slightly differ in configuration. In case of dcron, do the following as root.

    emerge -av dcron
    rc-update add dcron boot
    crontab -e

Add the following line to opened cron configuration file:

    * * * * * /usr/local/bin/low_battery_handler.sh

That's it. Your MicroPC should now hibernate automatically on low battery.

Power Management Utilities

You can use pm-utils package (the power management utilities) in order to run user supplied scripts on suspend and resume. Additionally, you may be interested in the following:

Media card reader

Supported by CONFIG_MMC_SDHCI_PCI. The provided kernel config has also CONFIG_USB_STORAGE_REALTEK enabled, which implements additional power-saving features for Realtek card readers. However, it's not clear whether this driver supports the card reader from MicroPC (0bda:0316),

The benchmarks section contains some read/write tests of a microSD card.

Known issues

  • Kernel detects GPIO errors, which does not seem to affect any functions:

    [ 8629.303519] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 1 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.599707] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 5 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.720171] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 0 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.928897] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 0 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.933962] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 5 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.954162] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 5 request failed (-2)
    [ 8629.984600] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 5 request failed (-2)
    [ 8630.133609] [drm:0xffffffff81454303] *ERROR* GPIO index 1 request failed (-2)

Benchmarks

Here are few relevant benchmarks:

Test conditions Results
Bootup (from EFI boot menu to X11 WM) 10 sec
Suspend-to-disk aka hibernate (linux-5.2.1, only X11 WM, no apps running) 4 sec
Resume from suspend-to-disk (from EFI boot menu, linux-5.2.1) 6 sec
Suspend-to-RAM (linux-5.2.1) 2 sec
Resume from suspend-to-RAM (linux-5.2.1) 2 sec
SSD read speed (TS256GMTS400S, hdparm) 498 MB/s
SSD write speed (TS256GMTS400S, dd, bs=1M) 341 MB/s
MicroSD card read speed (SanDisk Ultra 128Gb, hdparm) 86 MB/s
MicroSD card write speed (SanDisk Ultra 128Gb, dd, bs=1M) 18 MB/s
Quake 3 (1280x720, high quality, xf86-video-intel-2.99.917, mesa-19.0.9) 114 fps
glxgears (linux-5.2.1, xf86-video-intel-2.99.917, mesa-19.0.8) 2801 fps
Idle consumption (10W TDP, 10% brightness, no wireless) 2.1 W

History of changes

Sep 18 2019
Enabled power saving of Intel HDA and i915.
Changed meaning of the power button (display system info instead of halting the system).

Aug 24 2019
First public release.

Gentoo on a Libretto 70CT

Disclaimer

This article and all information and products in it are provided on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Your use of this article is at your own risk.

Introduction

This article describes an attempt to install modern stable Gentoo on quite an ancient laptop (actually a netbook according to the modern naming convention) – Toshiba Libretto 70CT. The device is almost 18 year old now. It was released on 29 Oct 1997 (in Japan). The specs of the notebook can be found here. Let me mention some facts to describe how really ancient it is:

  • It does not have a PCI bus. Sound chip is connected via ISA. Video chip is connected via VLB. The PCMCIA slot supports only 16-bit cards (not CardBus).
  • BIOS does not support ACPI, only APM.

The results of this attempt are described below. You will also find there the customized rootfs archive available for downloading.

Hardware support

  • linux kernel version 4.0.5 supports almost all the Libretto hardware: keyboard, pointing stick, display, IDE storage device, PCMCIA controller and so on. The rootfs contains both the kernel sources and the config file in /usr/src/linux.
  • There was a small issue with APM support, related to switching CPU from real mode to virtual mode. First of all, in case of using GRUB2 bootloader, the kernel must be loaded via linux16 command instead of linux. Besides that, I had to patch the kernel in order to make it detect APM support in BIOS. After that apm started working. Use apm to see the battery status. Use command apm --suspend to hibernate the device via built-in hibernate feature.
  • __hostap_cs__ driver provides support for WiFi cards. Even WPA2-networks are supported. Tested with Zonet ZCF1100.
  • libapm program allows to configure BIOS settings like brightness of the LCD, standby time, power-on time, volume of beep sound, etc. In order to compile it with gcc-4, the following patch must be applied: patch.
  • dispswitch program allows to enable external display connected via docking station. In order to compile it with gcc-4, the following patch must be applied: patch.
  • ALSA supports the audio chip Yamaha OPL3-SA3 without any problems. The only thing that I had to configure was the kernel module parameters.
  • X-server is installed and configured. It was quite tricky to make it work on the Libretto. First of all, VLB support was removed in xorg-server-1.8.2. My attempt to ‘frontport’ it to modern xorg failed, because I figured out, that VLB support was based on other subsystems, which were also removed long ago. That’s why I decided to compile X11R6.9 statically. It still works fine with modern client application, because the protocol is very stable.

The only thing I could not make work is the fullscreen 320x240 graphics mode. The driver for CT F65550 from X11R6.9 does not support it. Besides that, all the hardware I tried to configure works fine with modern GNU/Linux.

Not tested hardware

I haven’t tried to configure the hardware listed below. Therefore I can’t say whether this hardware is supported on modern Linux.

  • IrDa port.

What packages are installed

Here is the full list of installed packages (equery l). It includes the following ones:

vim gcc gdb urxvt mplayer mpc mpd geeqie gftp pidgin openbox claws-mail netsurf stardict prboom 

How to install

The rootfs tarball requires at least 4Gb of storage. The default HDD from Libretto 70CT is not enough. Besides that, it’s not trivial to connect an IDE HDD to modern computer. That’s why I recommend to use an IDE-to-CF adapter with 8Gb CF card. The instruction below assumes that a CF card with adapter is used.

  1. Remove CF card with IDE adapter from Libretto and connect the CF card to some other Linux computer, which will be used as a host environment for Gentoo installation.
  2. Create MBR partition table on your CF card. After that create two partitions on it. The second partition will be used for swap (I use 100Mb for swap). So let the first partition fill all the available space except swap. Format the first partition of your SD card as ext2 and the second one as swap.
    This manual from gentoo wiki explains how to create partition table and partitions.
  3. Download the rootfs tarball: gentoo-rootfs-20170316.tar.bz2 (1.4 Gb).
  4. Extract the rootfs to the first partition:
    tar xvpf gentoo-rootfs-20170316.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/<your-mnt-dir>
  5. Use this manual from gentoo wiki to chroot to the rootfs:
    /mnt/<your-mnt-dir>.
  6. Install GRUB2 bootloader on the CF card using this manual from
    gentoo wiki.
  7. Leave chroot environment and unmount rootfs partition from the host system.
  8. Insert the CF card with the adapter into your Libretto and reboot the machine.

The root password is 1.

Gentoo on a Zaurus PDA

Introduction

This is a Gentoo rootfs archive customized for SL-C1000 models. It may also be useful for owners of the C3x00, but some adjustments will probably be necessary to make it work on these models (like kernel recompilation).

This article and all information and products in it are provided on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Your use of this article is at your own risk.

Description

The distribution is originally based on stage3-armv5tel-20090623.tar.bz2. The following is configured:

  • Added spitz keyboard layout (calendar key toggles langugage).
  • All packages are recompiled with -O2 instead of Os.
  • USB network.
  • WiFi network.
  • BlueTooth network (via ppp).
  • IrDa network (via ppp).
  • The kernel 2.6.24 is compiled with appropriate patches and config.
  • The mail led indicates SD card activity.
  • Locale is set to ru_RU.UTF-8.
  • Timezone is set to GMT +3 (Moscow).
  • procps is recompiled with the Debian patches, which fix the ‘Unknown HZ value’ error.

There are two ways to load the kernel: directly (without a bootloader) or via kexecboot. In the first case you need to flash the kernel (see the manual below). Both versions use the first partition of SD card as root.

The following packages are installed:

alsa-utils bluez-utils dhcpcd elinks (with the Debian patches) zgv gentoo-sources gentoolkit mpc mpd mutt pcmciautils pidgin ppp sdcv syslog-ng vim wireless-tools

Here is a complete list of packages (equery l).

Notes:

  • There’s no Xorg, because Zaurus is too slow for running it in my opinion.
  • The system works quite stable, but optimization for iwmmxt is disabled because of the kernel issue.
  • /usr/portage is removed from the tarball in order to reduce its size. You can download it from here.
  • The tarball contains the kernel sources with all the patches applied and the config file (in the /usr/src/linux directory).

How to install

Kernel (skip this part if you use the kexec bootloader).

  1. Format a CF or SD card with mkfs.msdos -t vfat -F 16 /dev/<your-dev-name>.
  2. Put the following files into the root directory of the card:
  3. Turn your Zaurus off using halt.
  4. Connect the Zaurus to A/C power.
  5. Hold the ‘OK’ button and press the power on/off button.
  6. You should see a menu. Select the option #4 and then either 1 or 2 depending on your flash card type. Confirm the kernel installation by selecting Y.
  7. Wait till your Zaurus reboots and displays the error Unable to mount root fs.

Rootfs

  1. Download the rootfs tarball: gentoo-rootfs-20100627.tar.bz2 (206 Mb).
  2. Format the first partition of your SD card as ext2 or ext3.
  3. Extract the rootfs to this partition (tar xvpf gentoo-rootfs-20100627.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/<your-mnt-dir>).
  4. Insert the SD card into the Zaurus and reboot the machine.

WPA2

The rootfs provided above uses the orinoco driver for Prism-based WiFi cards. I recently figured out, that the kernel 2.6.24 already contains a better one – hostap. This driver support WPA2 and the Master mode (for making WiFi AP).

So I recommend to disable CONFIG_HERMES and enable CONFIG_HOSTAP instead. This will be done in any future rootfs release.

Besides the hostap driver, WPA2 support also requires relatively new firmware. If your Prism-based WiFi card has too firmware version, you will need to update it. Here is a very detailed manual describing how to reflash Prism chipset. The utilities and the new firmware (version 1.8.2) can be downloaded from here.
WARNING: I haven’t tested flashing by myself. I use Zonet ZCF1100 with the firmware 1.8.0, and WPA2 works fine. Please read the manual very carefully and think twice before flashing.

Mirrors

Zaurus-dedicated websites are slowly dying. Therefore I decided to make a local mirror of some information I considered useful:

Isses/ToDo

  • Cpufreq – apply the cpufreq patch for pxa27x to enable frequency scaling.
  • QVGA – pdafb supports QVGA mode, try to configure it (may be useful for games).
  • Touchscreen jittering – the problem seems to be caused by invalid hsync length received by the touchscreen driver from pxafb. Need to investigate it.
  • Netsurf seems to be the most powerful web browser for framebuffer. Try it.

Changelog

  • 16 Feb 2015
    Added local mirrors.
    Added note about WPA2.
    Added ToDo/Issue list.
  • 27 Jun 2010
    Packages are updated to the current date.
    Returned from moc back to mpd, switched from ALSA to OSS to avoid freezing of the daemon.
    fim is removed, because zgv is much faster.
  • 10 Jan 2010
    Installed a simple drawing tool called zketcher.
    Installed another image viewer called fim.
    The kernel is slightly modified in order to block handling of the power key when lid is closed and make touch screen work a bit cleaner.
  • 04 Oct 2009
    Packages are updated to the current date (including glibc).
    GPM is installed, works through tslib, useful in elinks.
    SDL is patched with the screen rotation support (via SDL_VIDEO_FBCON_ROTATION).
    fbi is replaced with zgv, which is faster, can zoom, etc.
  • 24 Jul 2009
    First public release.

Gentoo on a Pandora

Introduction

This article describes a Gentoo rootfs archive customized for the Pandora handheld device.

This article and all information and products in it are provided on an "as is" basis, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Your use of this article is at your own risk.

What is configured

  • All packages are recompiled with OMAP3-preferable flags.
  • Added the Pandora keyboard layout. It’s a bit different from the official layout. Here‘s what it looks like.
  • WiFi network. There is one annoying bug in the wl1251 modules described here. Fixed in a quite brutal way.
  • The kernel is compiled with appropriate patches and config. The tarball contains both the kernel sources and the config file in /usr/src/linux.
  • X.Org with all the relevant drivers: omapfb, keyboard (including DPad and power switch), touchscreen, nubs, external keyboard and mouse.
  • OpenBox (a window manager). The key shortcuts include these two:
    • Pandora_key shows menu
    • Fn+Pandora_key shows status information
  • Added few Pandora-related scripts: to control brightness, to change CPU clock, to reset nub, to emulate low power mode, etc.
  • Added few eyecandies: wallpaper, cursor and themes.
  • Locale is set to ru_RU.UTF-8.
  • Timezone is set to GMT +3 (Moscow).
  • The maximum CPU OPP is set to 5 by default.
  • The default user is vminko, no password. The root password is 1.

What packages are installed

Here is the full list of installed packages (equery l). It includes the following ones:

vim urxvt midori pidgin sylpheed gftp mpd gimmix mplayer gpicview xournal stardict
epdfview xrick supertux numptyphysics

The local overlay includes the following packages:

  • games-action/openlierox – Differs from the default package in that the cursor drifting is fixed.
  • games-arcade/supertux – Differs from the default package in that 800×480 resolution support is added.
  • games-arcade/xrick – Differs from the default package in that joystick support is added, incorrect fullscreen mode and freezing on exit are fixed. See this bug for details.
  • games-puzzle/numptyphysics – A drawing puzzle game (new package).
  • media-video/mplayer – An mplayer package based on the source code from the Maemo repository. It works much better than the default one: plays everything (mp4/theora-vorbis/h264/flv) and does not crash.
  • media-video/omap3-sgx-modules – Kernel drivers for the PowerVR SGX chipset (new package).
  • net-wireless/pandora-firmware – Binary firmware for the Bluetooth and WiFi modules on the Pandora (new package).
  • net-wireless/wl1251-modules – Kernel drivers for the TI WL1251 WiFi chip found on the Pandora (new package).
  • sys-kernel/pandora-sources – Pandora kernel sources (new package).
  • sys-process/procps – Differs from the default package in that the annoying ‘Unknown HZ value!’ error is fixed. See this bug for details.
  • x11-base/xorg-drivers – Differs from the default package in that the omapfb video driver is added.
  • x11-drivers/xf86-video-omapfb – X.Org driver for TI OMAP framebuffers (new package).

What does not work

DSP since it requires the kernel version 2.6.32+, but we’re currently stuck at 2.6.27.

PowerVR chip since the only driver we have is closed source and I decided not to use it. However, the appropriate ebuilds are available here.

How to install

  1. Download the rootfs tarball: gentoo-rootfs-20110115.tar.bz2 (317 Mb).
  2. Format the first partition of your SD card as ext2. The SD card capacity should be at least 4Gb.
  3. Extract the rootfs to this partition (tar xvpf gentoo-rootfs-20110115.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/<your-mnt-dir>).
  4. Insert the SD card into the Pandora and reboot the machine.

/usr/portage is removed from the tarball in order to reduce its size. The latest portage snapshot is available here (37 Mb).

Useful links

  • If you are not familiar with the distribution, you may want find this helpful: Gentoo ARM handbook.
  • Here is a video demonstration of Gentoo running on the Pandora.
  • Neuvoo – a project focused on adaptation of the Gentoo to various OMAP3-based platforms including Pandora.

Screenshots