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Puppy Linux on an $30 internet appliance (i-opener)
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mikeymckay

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Malawi

PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 02:18    Post subject:  Puppy Linux on an $30 internet appliance (i-opener)  

The i-opener is a relic from the dot com days. It has 32MB of memory, a builtin 16MB flash disk, and a 266MHz processor. You can buy them on ebay for $30. I am working on a project in Africa that uses these to guide health care workers through patient care in hospitals. We have hacked these to have touchscreens and a second swappable flash disk via an IDE controller. I have something called Midori Linux running on it, and it works okay. Ideally I would like to get a very small, lite and fast version of Linux with firefox running on it. So I am trying to use puppy at the moment, and I am hoping to get minimo (mini-mozilla) running alongside. Any chance I can do this on my 16MB flash disk (and therefore save a lot of money per unit by not needing the second flash disk). Has anybody done minimo on puppy? Please get in touch if you have ideas and or want to get involved. (apologies for the extra post, but I realized this post needed its own topic!)

Mike mikeymckay@gmail.com

Link for Midori Linux: http://m4i.homeip.net/
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 02:33    Post subject:  

how does minimo compare with dillo in terms of size, functionality etc?
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 04:31    Post subject: Re: Puppy Linux on an $30 internet appliance (i-opener)  

These are smaller resources than Puppy uses.
There was talk of a console based Puppy but it is undeveloped.
I do not think Puppy is suitable for what you are doing at the moment.
I believe that to survive Puppy needs to move into mobile devices - but next generation (and certainly cheaper than yesterdays $30 devices).
This is something I have mentioned many times and in time the need will arise.
I think you would be better looking at embedded Linux (as you have done). If you wish to develop a console based Puppy than this can be supported as there are many resources that have accumalated with such a possibility. I wish you luck with what you are doing but I do not think Puppy is what you require.

Maybe this Linux
http://www.2x.com/pxes/

which is mentioned here in reference to Puppy
http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/02/13/1854251

Hope that is honest.
Good luck

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mikeymckay

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Malawi

PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 11:22    Post subject: I still thnk it is possible  

Quote:
These are smaller resources than Puppy uses.
There was talk of a console based Puppy but it is undeveloped.
I do not think Puppy is suitable for what you are doing at the moment.
I believe that to survive Puppy needs to move into mobile devices - but next generation (and certainly cheaper than yesterdays $30 devices).
This is something I have mentioned many times and in time the need will arise.
I think you would be better looking at embedded Linux (as you have done). If you wish to develop a console based Puppy than this can be supported as there are many resources that have accumalated with such a possibility. I wish you luck with what you are doing but I do not think Puppy is what you require.


Thanks for your suggestion. Maybe this will change your mind though. Currently, we have a deployed system that boots Win98 Lite from a second flash disk that we have added on. Win98 Lite is basic windows with a bunch of cruft stripped out. The system then launches a VB application. At the very least I should be able to boot a simple Linux and then launch an application free of Windows. So I was sort of associating Puppy with Win98 Lite. Also, note the recent thread about running Puppy with less than 24MB of RAM.

Can you recommend a good (actively developed and supported) embedded Linux?
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mikeymckay

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Malawi

PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 11:34    Post subject: minimo vs dillo  

Minimo is basically a slimmed down firefox. Dillo is small and lite, but it can not do any CSS or Javascript and that is critical for our application.

Basically to prove the concept I need to be able do everything that a VB app does and just as quickly. With firefox and ajax I can do this - so I just need ot figure out how to get these capabilities onto our i-openers.
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 13:10    Post subject: Re: I still thnk it is possible  

mikeymckay wrote:

Can you recommend a good (actively developed and supported) embedded Linux?


No I am sorry. If you are working with firefox and Ajax
this would be good - but you still need a min OS
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/browsers/portable_firefox

Maybe someone else can advise?

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sunburnt


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 5043
Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 16:03    Post subject:  

To do it would require no ramdisk at all so apps. have room to run, as Lobster said, Puppy's not made that way.
With much modification like BladeRunners PXE boot version of Puppy that uses no ramdisk it could work.
I beleave the FULL H.D. install of Puppy (not poormans) uses no ramdisk, maybe not anymore, I'm not sure.
The post you refered to I think shows how to do it, or look for a distro that uses no ramdisk.
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Feb 2006, 19:18    Post subject:  

Personaly I woul look into cramming in an old Ebay 2GB or 3GB laptop HD (about $10) into one of those and do a "poor man's" install with 256MB set up as swap.
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mikeymckay

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Malawi

PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb 2006, 01:34    Post subject:  

Quote:
Personaly I woul look into cramming in an old Ebay 2GB or 3GB laptop HD (about $10) into one of those and do a "poor man's" install with 256MB set up as swap.


Its a good idea, but we want to stay away from moving parts. We are talking hundreds if not thousands of machines deployed to some very rough environments. So no moving parts and each hardware is an added cost to a very tight budget.
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4798
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb 2006, 21:30    Post subject: Good project  

Have you tried the "links" browser, a console-based software?

Caution: The following post talks mostly about Puppy - pls be patient, we have the same need for a tiny PC that runs a sophisticated browser.

Anyway, it's really nice to hear about your project. The best chance you have is to run EmptyCrust from the Flash disk, plus your choice of browser. That will need 64 MB of primary storage, as EmptyCrust is already 40+ MB. Therefore, you might just use the standard Puppy, which is a little over 60 MB.

Note that Flash disks are not designed for intensive read-save operation, and additional memory is important. So you would need to expand memory to 64 MB as well Sad

To use limited memory, you might install Puppy to storage, and this will expand the files to 160+ MB, so you would probably need 256 MB flash, part of this will be for swapping (which based on the last point above is not advisable for flash drives). (Hey, I have read somewhere that 50 MB mini-drives are made available for WinXP embedded - this could be useful as swap if adding memory is not possible.)

Now, there was also a mention of that fully-capable IDE adapter (no moving parts) in this Forum, though I cant locate it now. I had it saved somewhere, though...

Will be back as soon as I find the link. Cheers to your project!
-----------------
Hi, sorry for the late post, I was travelling all day yesterday and there was that coup threat (Philippines) that hugged my attention all day last Friday Smile (today is Sunday)
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sunburnt


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
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Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon 27 Feb 2006, 05:28    Post subject:  

oooops... double post
Last edited by sunburnt on Mon 27 Feb 2006, 05:35; edited 1 time in total
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sunburnt


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PostPosted: Mon 27 Feb 2006, 05:31    Post subject:  

EmptyCrust only has the Dillo browser, not what I'd call sophisticated...
A new usr_cram.fs file needed that's less than 24MB (size of the flash drive - 8MB user space).
Don't load the usr_cram.fs file into memory to keep as much as possable free for apps. to run in.
EmptyCrust has a 18MB image.gz file (expanded) + 2MB for kernel, so it'll fit in 32MB with 12MB to spare.
Probably not enough for FireFox or Mozilla, but Opera might be smaller, I don't know.
BUT... if the most of the image.gz were put into the usr_cram file file, more memory would be free.
A tight squeeze at best, more memory would definately help, & more flash wouldn't be bad either.
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mikeymckay

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Malawi

PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar 2006, 14:50    Post subject:  

Quote:

EmptyCrust has a 18MB image.gz file (expanded) + 2MB for kernel, so it'll fit in 32MB with 12MB to spare.
Probably not enough for FireFox or Mozilla, but Opera might be smaller, I don't know.
BUT... if the most of the image.gz were put into the usr_cram file file, more memory would be free.
A tight squeeze at best, more memory would definately help, & more flash wouldn't be bad either.


This sounds really good. But I don't quite know how to do that. Any hints?
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sunburnt


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 5043
Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri 03 Mar 2006, 01:15    Post subject:  

Looking at your original post you want to run a heavy weight browser & another light weight one also.
There are small linux distros (Browsix is one I think) that are made to be portable web OSs.
But I'm guessing that even they are at least 30MB to 40MB in size with the big browsers in them.
Linux + Xwin + a small browser might fit under 20MB, but 16MB even if it fit would leave no room for user files.

I saw a distro with 1-2 floppys for Linux & 1 with bare bones Xwin, with Opera at ~5MB it might fit in ~10MB.
Rearranging Linux (Puppy) isn't easy, it's what I'm doing now with LanPuppy.
I suggest you look for premade distros (you probably have), I'll fiddle with it a little bit & we'll post back here .
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Mar 2006, 06:35    Post subject:  

I have mentioned this elsewhere - maybe Rules Linux is what you require Cool
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