[sclug] Linux for really weird hardware?

Mike Mallett mm-lists at ntlworld.com
Tue Jan 26 20:13:35 UTC 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: sclug-bounces at sclug.org.uk [mailto:sclug-bounces at sclug.org.uk] On Behalf Of David Given
Sent: 26 January 2010 11:54
To: sclug at sclug.org.uk
Subject: [sclug] Linux for really weird hardware?

I've just discovered something in the back of a cupboard: a Canon
EX50CPU10. No, you won't find it on Google.

This is an ancient tablet computer wot I picked up somewhere. It's got
an odd-shaped greyscale screen, a 386ish processor, 8MB of RAM, an
unknown amount of internal storage, a PCMCIA slot, and a CF slot. Right
now it boots most of the way into MSDOS and stalls somewhere. There is
no keyboard.

I've discovered that if I hold down one of the two buttons on the case
when you power it up, it'll boot off fixed disk 1 instead of 0 --- which
means one of the card slots. Bingo! I can run a *real* OS on this thing.

What can I put on it?

Not having a keyboard, I need networking so I can ssh into it. I've got
some PCMCIA network cards. It's got bugger all memory, so it's got to be
lightweight. The biggest CF card I've got is 48MB, so that's the upper
limit to the size (hopefully once I've got ssh access I can do something
with the internal storage).

And just to make life more interesting, there appear to be very few
bootloaders that work out of the box on fixed disk 1. FreeBSDs, yes (but
the FreeBSD kernel won't fit in 8MB). LILO appears to get upset.

Does anyone know of a tiny Linux distro that's under 40MB, supports
PCMCIA networking, will automatically start an ssh shell, and doesn't
require me to type stuff in? Debian is just too damned big...

If I get it doing anything interesting I'll bring it along to a meeting
(it takes huge chunky Canon camcorder batteries) so you can play with it.

???? ?????????????? ????? http://www.cowlark.com ?????
? "Under communism, man exploits man. Under capitalism, it's just the
? opposite." --- John Kenneth Galbrith

I've not tried it recently but Minix may be worth a try


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