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Fatdog64 630rc2 (24 December 2013) [CLOSED]
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4797
Location: GB

PostPosted: Mon 10 Feb 2014, 13:36    Post_subject:  

Got to learn to live without the devil's OS - at all! After that, how about removing the HD, mount it in any old PC and install whatever flavour of Linux you prefer together with your favourite bootloader. Part dismantle the unit to enable severing the fingerprint detector and any other garbage. Re-assemble, maybe , and try a BIOS file from a similar earlier model - don't believe the hype about BIOS specificity - as long as you select an Award flash file for an Award BIOS and American Megatrends for ditto, it'll probably boot most of the basic functions to get it running. If you want to be uber-picky you can use a third-party BIOS utility to switch things ON/OFF and generally play tunes till you're happy or fed-up.
In this business nothing is sacrosanct - any HW can be modified with a suitable screwdriver, soldering iron, etc. If you get a bad flash there's a guy in Cardiff?Newport(Mons)? or somewhere over there that'll sell you another/reflash/w.h.y.
Broken record dept. : never buy a laptop - you heard it from me first.
After that it's just the eternal battle with SW - not my department, but I know a man who can.
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Ted Dog


Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 2368
Location: Heart of Texas

PostPosted: Mon 10 Feb 2014, 16:15    Post_subject:  

You could still boot a small initrd off DVD but copy fatdog sfs to harddrive (leave it out of DVD) it will search for it on HD and load from there. Should use a rewrite DVD for experiments. I have none this on accident.. Embarassed
Also the updated syslinux has a EFI boot method that allows 64bit EFI loader to boot 32bit which GRUB does not do.. Playing with the no touch EFI boot loader idea (currently can Quad boot, with a mix of syslinux and grub where syslinux boots 32bit Quirky and EFI grub boots FatDog64 from one Flashdrive. Just change my laptops boot loader from BIOS to EFI or back.
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Mon 10 Feb 2014, 17:33    Post_subject:  

Easy Sage! I'm not doubting that I can brute force this, all I have to do to disable the fingerprint reader is to not install the software. This is where I've left it at the moment. I wouldn't mind using it to say it is really me booting whatever, either, if that is possible.

Ted Dog has a closer idea of what I'm looking for, a tiny OS that does nothing except chain to the one on the disk partition.

I have Android systems that act the way I want on a Nook HD+. To boot normally I just remove the microSD card. To boot the Cyanogenmod system I simply power down and insert the card, which takes control at the next boot. This leaves me with an unmodified system I can still sell, while letting me do my worst with a system on microSD card.

Unfortunately, N2A cards has started requiring Windoze to write their downloaded versions to the microSD card. (This seriously damages the convenience of paying them to configure a system. I have not installed their Android 4.4 "Kitkat" version because of this.)

Friends of mine have to keep running Windoze at home because their jobs are tied to organizations that assume everybody runs it. (Just try to change public school system IT. They are barely able to keep anything running. I found a problem where their support people were installing shortcut links so first graders wouldn't have to type long, complicated sequences of instructions, and then every night a security scan would remove these links as dangerous. This had been a deep mystery for support.) I keep one machine that will run W7 to deal with such problems. I don't intend to keep fighting with XP after it goes off life support.

Added: this problem with the laptop security is more of a challenge than anything else. From the material I have read it looks like they could offer really strong security by encrypting hard drives and requiring both a special smartcard key and biometric ID.

From omissions in available material, I'm guessing this depends on "security through obscurity". To use the smart card, they would need to turn control over to a program which would run the fingerprint scanner, etc. The BIOS must be looking for some special secret code which tells it to trust the SD card. They couldn't do this with CD/DVDs because standards for them were already set, so it is still simple to bypass the entire system, so long as you can boot common CDs/DVDs.

Oh, BTW, I got this machine cheap, because it defeated others who didn't get as far as I have already. So far, everything in the hardware works fine.

Still later: part of my confusion comes from not considering what they meant by "smartcard". It now appears they may have been talking about a custom card which fits in the expressbus 54 mm slot. This is in addition to the built in MMC/SD card slot on the front.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4797
Location: GB

PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 03:18    Post_subject:  

There are easier solutions. Change job, send 'the boys' over to Redmond, dynamite, etc. Lost count of the number of 'free gift' laptops I've declined this last decade - poison chalice in sheep's clothing! An HW solution is always best; seem to have omitted hammer from essential toolkit.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4368
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 03:44    Post_subject:  

Hi @Prehistoric. On my PC, my DVD boots faster than my SD boots. Dont know exactly why, but it does. Once PUP reaches desktop, SD seems faster.

FYI

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 13:12    Post_subject:  

@Sage, glad to see that age has not mellowed you. (BTW: Would you advise my teacher friends in the Florida public school system, not British "public schools", to take jobs at a religious school? These are about the only alternatives.)

gcmartin wrote:
Hi @Prehistoric. On my PC, my DVD boots faster than my SD boots. Dont know exactly why, but it does. Once PUP reaches desktop, SD seems faster.

FYI
I have seen the same thing on some machines, on others the SD card is better than the DVD. It may have to do with seek time on DVDs versus the maximum read rate on SD cards. There are wide variations in read rates on SD cards, even with the same reader. There can also be bottlenecks on the USB interface. Adapters that use the Expressbus or PCIe rather than the USB port may have much better performance.

I believe the faster rates once you have Puppy running are due to better drivers. Bootloaders tend to use simple drivers which are designed to work (slowly) even when you have worst-case performance.

About the problem in chaining to Fatdog, I've tried several live DVDs on that machine, and all worked, but this is not the latest and most restrictive BIOS. After convincing myself that 64-bit Linux Mint 16 seemed to know what it was doing with dual-booting W7, I threw caution to the winds and let it install itself to free space on the primary disk I created by resizing the W7 partition. It now works with both systems. (There may be handy code you can borrow from Linux Mint. I've almost given up trying to make sense of what Ubuntu is doing to install for dual booting. I think they really don't want many people to know too much about it.)

Linux Mint 16 uses grub2, and actually boots W7, (when asked,) by chainloading to sda1. I'll try to see what it takes to boot Puppy from this, but first I have to familiarize myself with their make scripts for custom entries. (There are warnings about editing grub.cfg.)

If anyone has experience with adding an entry to a system using grub2 to boot Fatdog I would like to see the code. My current system uses grub1. I'm hoping I'll be able not just to boot Fatdog from the internal hard disk, but also to chainload any system mounted on an SD card with its own bootloader on the card. If the card is not present this will fail, but I'm hoping I will be able to pull this trick without modifying the chainloader code on the primary disk for each distinct system on SD card.

This is probably not a general solution for EFI BIOSes. I'm still thinking about a specific Fatdog rescue disk that will boot a small system allowing it to look through basic hard disks and equivalents to find a Fatdog system that looks compatible. This would allow you to restore using a system which is already configured for a machine.

We could start with a separate tool, then integrate it after it is tested.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4368
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 20:40    Post_subject:  

prehistoric wrote:
... If anyone has experience with adding an entry to a system using grub2 to boot Fatdog I would like to ...
Don't know if I'm accurate on this, but I seem to remember that either @Rcrsn51 or @JamesBond have had experience with this Bootmanager (BM).

There was a thread opened months ago wondering if it was the right time in Puppyland to evaluate a bootmanager that may be closer to keeping up with the times (filesystems, connection technologies, setup of BM, etc.)

There are many that are in play since LILO started. And, as is already indicated here in this thread, there are reasons why some of the BM have been ruled out.

As development moves forward in the 64bit (and 32bit on EFI) there may be expected changes afoot, not just here in Puppyland, but also Unix/Linux-wide.

Hope this helps

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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 20:44    Post_subject:  

... We could start with a separate tool, then integrate it after it is tested.Maybe a menu option at boot time is a manner to do this.

In fact, although it not coded as such, this may already be there.

Hope this help

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Tue 11 Feb 2014, 22:49    Post_subject:  

@gcmartin, I didn't understand you exactly, but I intend to follow those leads. I'm running 630 final from grub1 on this machine, and intend to do some experiments with grub2 configuration where the consequences are not serious. I see there is a Fatdog tool for this, my problem is getting it into the W7+Linux Mint multiboot w/o having the whole house of cards collapse.

I want to be careful with that laptop because the W7 appears to be a legal upgrade, but I am still left with the original Vista COA on the case. I have no intention of buying W7 all over again, I bought the laptop to avoid this. I will replace that hard disk with an SSD I have anyway, so it will then become a backup. Moving a legal system from hard drive to SSD the same size is a standard procedure, and the SSD manufacturers supply software tools.

At present it is easy to get expresscard adapters for USB 3.0, eSata and Firewire, or even parallel printer or RS232 serial ports. Just make sure you can get appropriate drivers.

I'm still finding interesting things about the machine. It seems to have belonged to a government contractor who used a DoD standard smartcard reader, as supplied by this company. Now, if I wanted to use this, where would I get an ISO 7816 smartcard?

Another surprise: when I opened the lid for the Wifi card, there was nothing attached to the antenna wires. So, how am I connecting to the wireless? This leaves me with a mini-PCIe slot. Who knows what could go there.

@Sage, since you are so down on laptops, what opinion do you have about tablets with touchscreens? Shocked
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4797
Location: GB

PostPosted: Wed 12 Feb 2014, 09:44    Post_subject:  

Quote:
what opinion ... about tablets with touchscreens

Love 'em. They're Android {or, in rare cases when they're not, easier to destroy by standing on them}. ARM, too.
Furthermore, a little 4x USB hub can connect k/b and mouse, micro hdmi and you can display on a 52" TV.
Judging by the further detail you describe, it won't be much longer before you come round to my viewpoint on laptops, gained from more grief than any other device including our old Ferranti Pegasus Autocode-powered valve machine.
Any more questions?!
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Wed 12 Feb 2014, 15:19    Post_subject:  

Sorry Sage, I've actually repaired a number of laptops that went on to give good service. My preference is to pick up SSDs when these are cheap, and replace the hard drive. This made such a dramatic difference in several cases that people avoided buying a new machine. I've also replaced keyboards, which can be tricky. In one case, I even plastic welded the hinge supports back together, and this held in use. I've tried to avoid the real cheapies.

My problem with tablets is with separate keyboards, etc. though maybe a bluetooth keyboard and a large-screen display will do, if I ever get a TV. I need close to a 60" screen to work from across the room. I can use a laptop lying in bed, which unfortunately, I have to do a lot of the time. Managing several separate components in that situation has been a problem.

I actually have two Android tablets, one for low-light environments, and one with epaper for reading outdoors.

Someday people won't be tied to Windoze for business purposes, but I keep running into too many who still are. I've provided bluetooth keyboards for a couple people with iPhones and iPads, but they still keep going back to use PCs for desk work. The displays and keyboards seem to be essential, as is a workstation area with office supplies, scanners and printers.

Where I can I still push Puppy, either Fatdog, now 630, or Lupu 5.2.8.6.
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Sage

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 4797
Location: GB

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb 2014, 03:23    Post_subject:  

Quote:
..replaced keyboards, which can be tricky. In one case, I even plastic welded the hinge supports..

Most interesting. I never found k/b replacement tricky (the keys keep falling off/getting lost/breaking/character lost) - plenty for sale cheap on eBay. The hinges are a massive problem, however - they are too stiff because the screen has to stay up. I've tried solvent weld, Araldite and fibregalss reinforment but still they crack. The other problem is the hidden securing tabs; very difficult to release all of them without a few breaking off. Then there's the screens that are broken or the lcd layer 'runs'. When this happens it cost 50-100 quid for Chinese replacement from HK, a ten week delivery wait or twice the cost of the entire item from the authorised agent. Folks lose the power adapter most of which are ~18V+/- @ ^5A switched mode being pricey.
No, I'm afraid I've had my fill of these appalling monstrosities. Using them in bed is generally inadvisable because of the heat and danger of blocking the air outlet(s). Furthermore, young folk, in particular, should never use them on their lap for fairly obvious reasons!
As for tablets, I've found that an external mouse is the most valuable adjunct because it can also be used to hit the on-screen k/b display - especially important with smart mobiles and 7" tablets.
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb 2014, 10:11    Post_subject:  

Sage wrote:
...Using them in bed is generally inadvisable because of the heat and danger of blocking the air outlet(s). Furthermore, young folk, in particular, should never use them on their lap for fairly obvious reasons!..
A lap desk is my simple solution, which is more comfortable than trying to balance the bare machine. Most people will use them at a desk/table, which means they are really portables rather than laptops. I have a special problem of not being able to sit up for too long. Tablets are OK for reading, but I really need to touch type for output. I have not been satisfied with most separate tablet keyboards, and don't know how I'm supposed to keep separate mouse, display and keyboard in usable positions if I'm recumbent.

I was talking about replacing entire keyboards, not just single keys or mechanisms. I've seen several which failed when they had something spilled on them. The first time I tried, I never got the ribbon cable lined up properly. (That was OK because the machine was already a write-off.) It helps to work under a magnifier, but you need steady hands.

BTW: I don't do screen replacements either. To get at everything needed you practically have to strip the machine to bare metal/plastic.

Incidentally, there is a distinct problem with many available development tools for Android being tied to Windoze. I need one right now for my tablet experiments. I'm looking for alternatives like the ones Fatdog developers are building, but I have to admit I can't just grab these off the Internet and go.

This is the second reason I keep one Windoze machine going, besides being able to reproduce problems my friends who can't cut the MS apron strings report.

Of course there is another aspect, I just like being able to fiddle around with the hardware, and discover things the manufacturers didn't tell anyone. I'm afraid the handwriting is on the wall with ARM-based devices. I can already see hacking hardware becoming more difficult. Manufacturers keep trying to turn us all into obligate consumers, with no potential to create products or modify devices we buy.
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joaomcteixeira

Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 34
Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb 2014, 10:21    Post_subject:  

Hi there!

I just installed FatDog! It looks like a great work! Congratz!!

I am having some trouble though.

I am trying to run dropbox, for instance:

Code:
# cd /usr/share/dropbox/       
# ls
dropbox
# ./dropbox
sh: ./dropbox: No such file or directory
#


it happened the same for firefox. (later I installed nighty from repos
any clues why??

thank you!

p.s. - why not dropbox in repos? Wink
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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1301

PostPosted: Thu 13 Feb 2014, 10:33    Post_subject:  

joaomcteixeira wrote:
Hi there!
I just installed FatDog! It looks like a great work! Congratz!!...
You probably want to post this in the Fatdog 630 final topic. Sage and I have just been talking off-topic about things that arose while using the 630 rc 2. Sorry if this confused people.
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