This page is currently a work-in-progress
My two units arrived early February 2010, one with Puppy 4.3.1 pre-installed, the other with WattOS.
I did some testing and identified various problems with both, see my blog report:
I have started to fix the problems...
Updating the Flash BIOS
The date of the BIOS in my unit with Puppy 4.3.1 was July 27, 2009.
There is a later version (Jan 31, 2010) posted on the Internet that
fixes a bug with APM.
This is where you can get the latest BIOS image file:
...the zip file contains two files, 'spiflash.exe' and 'edu.rom', the former is a MSDOS utility, the second the BIOS image.
But, how to execute a MSDOS program in the Gecko with Linux installed?
Not so easy. A DOS emulator won't do (I tried). It is necessary to boot
up MSDOS or Windows on the Gecko.
In fact, I wanted a permanent solution, so decided to install a
dual-boot with FreeDOS and Puppy. Here are the basic steps to achieve
the first part, booting FreeDOS:
Note, sys-freedos is not in Puppy, you have to download it from the
developer. But, I plan to put it into my next release of Quirky (007).
- Boot Quirky 006 on USB stick
Quirky is my latest variant of Puppy, see my blog:
...though, any Puppy from 4.3.1 onward will do.
- Repartition internal SD card
I ran Gparted and chose to repartition /dev/sda, which is the internal
8GB card. I wiped all partitions, then recreated sda1 fat32 256MB, sda2
ext3 6GB+, and left over about 500MB in case I wanted something else. I
set the 'boot' flag on sda1.
'ms-sys' is a utility that is in Quirky, that works like the MSDOS 'sys' utility. This is how I used it:
# ms-sys -w /dev/sda ...actually,
that second step is really designed for booting MSDOS, although there
are commandline options to boot FreeDOS -- but I couldn't make them
work and ended up using the 'sys-freedos' utility*:
DOS/Windows NT master boot record successfully written to /dev/sda
# ms-sys -w /dev/sda1
FAT32 DOS boot record successfully written to /dev/sda1
# ./sys-freedos.pl --disk=/dev/sda1 --heads=255 --sectors=63 --offset=63 --drive=128
- Install files to sda1
I had the 'spiflash.exe' and 'edu.rom' files on the Flash stick, copied
them to sda1. I had also earlier downloaded FreeDOS 1.0 live-CD and
extracted 'KERNEL.SYS' and 'COMMAND.COM', that I also copied to sda1.
Puppy has GRUB4DOS in the System menu. I ran that and installed it to
sda1 (it also installs to the MBR). I edited 'menu.lst' with this:
title Boot FreeDOS 1.0 in sda1
I shutdown, removed the USB stick, booted up the Gecko and got a FreeDOS prompt. I then ran this:
c:\> spiflash u edu.rom
...this updated the Flash BIOS ROM.
To create a small image file of the SD card, I went through the whole process again, but slightly differently:
- I plugged the SD card into another computer running Puppy Linux. In my case it showed up as /dev/sdc.
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc
# ms-sys -w /dev/sdc
- Created the partitions with Gparted, as described above.
# ./sys-freedos.pl --disk=/dev/sdc1 --heads=255 --sectors=63 --offset=63 --drive=128
- Installed files to /dev/sdc1 as in step 4 above.
- Installed GRUB4DOS to /dev/sdc1 as in step 5 above.
Here is the 'menu.lst file:
# menu.lst produced by grb4dosconf
...this also needs to go in the fat32 partition in the SD card.
color white/blue black/cyan white/black cyan/black
title Puppy Linux 4.3.2
kernel /vmlinuz pmedia=atahd nosmp acpi=off
title FreeDOS 1.0 (for experts only)
title Grub4Dos commandline (for experts only)
title Reboot computer
title Halt computer
SD image file
I created the image file like this:
# dd if=/dev/sdc | gzip - > gecko-grub4dos-freedos.img.gz
To go the other way, to write the image file to the SD card, do this:
# gunzip -c gecko-grub4dos-freedos.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sdc
...be prepared for each of these operations to take awhile.
Download my SD card image file (for 8GB card only) from here:
Dual booting FreeDOS and Puppy Linux
After you have setup the SD card with GRUB4DOS and FreeDOS, by
following the step-by-step instructions above, or just by copying my
ready-made SD image file (for 8GB card only), then it is a very simple
matter to install Puppy.
Download these files:
...and place them at /dev/sdc2, that is, in the ext3 partition of the SD card.
That's it, place the SD card in the Gecko and boot up.
Suggestions for first boot:
- Choose Xvesa X server, and 1024x600 resolution.
- At shutdown, choose to save to the entire 'sda2' partition. This will give you 6.8GB of personal storage.
- If any flash-enabled web-sites ask you to install the Adobe Flash player, decline.