This howto is purely informative and I'm not responsible for any mistake that can append in the process.
Debian GNU/Linux is a complete GNU/Linux distribution that run on 14 different architectures, including MIPS. Emtec have choosen Mandriva, a well established french GNU/Linux distributor, to ship a GLinux os for their Gdium. You may want to switch to Debian GNU/Linux on this netbook, for wathever reasons. Just follow me.
Preparing the ground
The very first operation
First of all, you should get a free USB stick with at least 2GB free. Beware this is a minimum. Plug it in on your usual computer and create at least a 2GB partition using ([c]fdisk|(g|qt)parted). Then create a ext2 partition (you don't really need journaling on a system partition that leaves on a usb stick) using
mke2fs -L gdium /dev/usbstick1. You then need to install some tools, such debootstrap on your gdium, using
urpmi debootstrap as root. You then plug the key on your gdium, mount the partition in, let say,
/mnt/debian and then :
debootstrap --arch=mipsel sid /mnt/debian as root.
After a few minutes, you can chroot in your Debian system. Just before, be sure to copy your
/mnt/debian/etc/resolv.conf and to set the new host name :
echo MYHOSTNAME > /etc/hostname. You then just run
chroot /mnt/debian /bin/bash
Installing a kernelYou need to install a kernel. Alas, Debian do not yet provide Gdium kernels. Philippe Vachon provides us with a debian kernel with cpu frequence scaling. Just get it and install it :
wget http://lebesgue.cowpig.ca/~philippe/gdium/linux-2.6.24-gdium-1_2.6.24-gd... && dpkg -i linux-2.6.24-gdium-1_2.6.24-gdium-1_mipsel.deb.
I suggest you to install udev and some stuff such as lm_sensors for automatic recognition on first boot and to prevent overheat. Here comes
# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.
# Parameters can be specified after the module name.
set temp_over 60
set temp_hyst 55
Booting on Debian
Halt the Gdium, remove the G-Key and put your USB stick in the front slot. Most of the sticks should have enough space to fit in. Start the Gdium and hit Del to access the PROM prompt. Just type in :
g console=tty0 root=/dev/sda1 rootwait video=sm501fb:1024x600 init=/sbin/init
French user should note that PMON work with an US keyboard, so I provide here a key mapping :
- Numbers are on the same place, except in lowercase, so you must not use the Shift Modifier to get them
- @ is S-2
- / is !
- m is ,
- z is w
- . is :
- : is S-m
- a is q
- - is )
Installing Debian software on the Gdium
Bootstrap process just use the main repository. But you may want some non-free (in Debian terminology) packages such as the binary firmware for the wifi chip. Just add non-free to your
sources.list. One way to do it is
sed -i 's/main/main non-free/' /etc/apt/sources.list && aptitude update && aptitude install firmware-ralink.
One piece of software you will probably want is a nice graphical user interface. LXDE is quite popular among netbooks, so I recommend you to install it. Before, you will need a X driver for the siliconmotion chipset. Just grab the one made by Philippe and install it before LXDE. The best way to perform this operation is :
dpkg -i xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion_1.7.0-0_mipsel.deb
aptitude install xserver-xorg-input-kbd xserver-xorg-input-mouse
By now, you should have a functionnal debian powered netbook, so just use any Debian docs found on the net, which you feel comfortable with.