Archive for April, 2009

Kernel Update Kills Raq

April 25th, 2009 No comments

A week or so ago, I started playing about with the Raq in the hopes of being able to quickly get it doing something (and preferably hidden in a cupboard and not on the desk next to the bed).

I quickly got ahead of myself, and in the process of trying to update it managed to completely screw it to the point where all it would do is display Kernel Panic on the LCD Screen. Turns out that by updating the kernel on the eeprom, it can no longer boot its OS.

If I understand correctly, then the boot sequence for the Raq3 goes like this (when booting from the hard disk).

  1. Decompress + Load Stage 1 kernel from the eeprom.
  2. Initialise the LCD Screen and buttons.
  3. Allow the HDD to spin up and stabilise.
  4. <Boot Menu (if triggered)>
  5. Decompress + Load Stage 2 kernel (from specified boot partition)
  6. Continue standard bootup…

There are some interesting things to note about this. For a start there is no bootloader (eg lilo or grub) as you would need on most hardware as it is built into the eeprom. The eeprom on a Raq3 is limited to 1024k making it quite hard to fit a modern kernel on it, which leads to some interesting issues.

The Raq3’s built in OS uses a customised version of RedHat and boots a linux-2.2 (iirc) kernel which is completely obsolete and has been for quite some time (we are currently at 2.6.29-r1, see this for some idea of context), which then passes off to a linux-2.2 stage 2 kernel on the hard drive.

The latest possible kernel for the eeprom is a linux-2.4.24 kernel, which is still obsolete in terms of current features, but has the power to let us do something clever. There is a sourceforge project you can get this latest cobalt-rom (2.10.3) release (containing the afformentioned 2.4 kernel) but bear in mind the project was last touched in 2003.

When I updated the eeprom to the 2.4 kernel, its quite obvious that it would freak out when trying to load the 2.2 kernel (stage 2). -Or is it the 2.2 freaking out at being loaded by a 2.4?

It was at this point it got shelved for a couple of weeks whilst I flailed about the great intertubes trying to find a fix.

One thing became clear; The only way out is up!

Categories: Cobalt Raq3 Tags:

The Raq3 -an introduction

April 23rd, 2009 No comments

So I got gifted a Sun Cobalt Raq 3, and before I had the chance to see it, I thought I was onto a winner.

Cobalt sounds cool, and hey, its a 1u Sun box, surely its gotta be ace!

Turns out to be a 498mhz K6-2 (apparently it was a 300 as default), a very strange boot sequence and a bodged version of redhat 2 (iirc) which I don’t care for.

Anyway, after trying to update the firmware and managing to brick it, I’m in the process of trying to get gentoo on it.

Annoyingly, there are no k6-2 stage 3 builds, so I’m currently creating a recent one and am hoping to post it shortly.

I was looking at nagios (ah, gcc has just re-built itself. That took long enough) which is what set me off on wanting a proper server, and I only want nagios as I got gifted a cisco 2900 to play with.

So, its been busy recently. And I’ve been trying to teach myself protools and re-wire a studio. Too much smoke, not enough sleep :)

Categories: Gentoo Tags:

Updating udev

April 23rd, 2009 No comments

After fudging with partitions, sometimes the computer will make me reboot before I get dev nodes.

There has to be a way of forcing udev to rescan the partition layout. I need to find out how.

Categories: Gentoo Tags: , ,

iPod Boot Codes

April 15th, 2009 No comments

After showing off my G1, a friend of mine came round with an iPod Touch (8GB) that he got to play with.

It seems its already been jailbroken, but to be honest we have no idea whats going on with it. One thing that is evident, is that the battery indicator shows whatever it feels like at the time.

I figured the device would have a diagnostic menu that might shed some light on what the battery is actually feeling, but after much googling, it seems that there isn’t a Diagnostic Menu on the new iPods at all. :-(

For those of you with an older ipod (with buttons on it) there is a fantastic boot-menu key sequence over at which is well worth bookmarking.

Categories: Apple Tags: , ,

still alive…

April 11th, 2009 No comments

but sadly not eating cake.

Sorry i’ve not posted in a while. Been a little busy with some php stuff and also I got myself a HTC-Dream running Android.

I love the thing, completely and utterly (except for the lack of ram and crappy battery).

I would have posted about it sooner, but 1,000 words into my description of the user experience -written on the G1 whilst in the bath- I managed to hit cancel, and it kinda fucked me off.

But hopefully I should get round to posting something soon.

Categories: Random Blogging Tags: