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Re: Mobile Pro 880 Successes with 4.0

On Tue, 17 Feb 2009, Ben Hodgens wrote:

I seem to recall hearing that 5.0 is out; though I may be mistaken. :P

Time to fire up the ftp client then!

I never delved too much into that, but I might pull it out again and see if I can improve performance, just for the heck of it. I was largely deterred from trying to dig too much deeper by the fact that 32Mb would always still result in swapping on CF, and I didn't have a proper wireless card to make the machine useful for my purpose - just an old 2Mbit Wavelan (no WEP) which will only work when the APs I have are set to only allow connections at that speed.

Choice of CF card makes a big difference too. Some have horrible performance.

I tried that approach, actually. I ran into some very odd behavior where awk was returning incorrect values during the pkgsrc build process (no error from awk directly, just evaluating incorrectly resulting in the make to bust). I spent probably a week trying to track that problem down and eventually gave up. I tried it with both pmax (per the suggestion of the gxemul develper - great guy, very helpful!) and the hpcmips ports (briefly). How'd you go about gxemul - which port, etc.?

Can't say that I've seen the awk problem. The two things that I have run into are that unaligned accesses in the simulation hose the emulator, and I have sometimes run into some sort of timer/counter issue where the kernel clock stops. There are a handful of packages that explicitly test unaligned accesses and I have to go hack that test out before building those things. The NetBSD kernel is apparently well known to have some defects in timer handling that occasionally cause odd problems like having the system clock count backward. I think emulation brings some of those to the forefront. This of course can cause make to implode.

I have been using the hpcmips port with the generic kernel for my GXEMUL sessions. I did recently consider switching to PMAX or perfhaps the Cobalt port for that though as GXEMUL supports a virtual NIC device for those targets. That could make getting the build sources into the emulator much easier.

I ended up building natively on the MobilePro 780. I used an NFS mounted root and swap on my file server. It took a while, but I was in no rush - and I didn't have to worry about problems cropping up. :P

I did something like that way back in the Agenda VR3 days before I finally had a good cross build system working.

This MP 780 is a great device; I'm very tempted to get one of the StrongARM MP 900s - host and client USB, twice the RAM, and a faster processor, would make the device very useful, I think. Throw in wifi and ethernet cards and you've got a nice little pentesting/travel admin machine.

I really like the 880 for similar reasons. USB, PCMCIA and spare CF port, etc. Not to mention that decent sized touch screens are addictive over mice or other pointers. Recently, I was away from home for over a month, living out of hotels and flying around on airplanes. I took the 880 as my only computer. It served all my needs faithfully.


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