Subject: Re: Current status (was Reliable network cards? CF cards?)
To: Todd Vierling <>
From: Andy Ruhl <>
List: port-hpcmips
Date: 01/04/2005 07:22:11
Thanks Todd, you've been a big help so far.

> Most 802.11b (11Mbit) cards are still 16-bit PCMCIA, from what I've seen (of
> cards that are not Windows-binary-only, Winmodem-like el cheapo wireless
> cards).
> Most 10baseT and 100baseTX cards are also 16-bit.  If you want something
> that works with NetBSD but takes almost no power, watch eBay or look for a
> cheap deal on the LP-E (or CF-E, works in a CF type 1 to PCMCIA adapter)
> card.  It is only 10baseT, but only uses 5-10mA of power compared to a
> typical wired card's 100mA and wireless card's 250mA.

That's great advice. I did a little digging and found that the CF
based wireless ethernet card still draws 250ma, so those are of no
gain. But I did find a few of those LP-E CF cards. I may end up with

But for now, a friend of mine lent me this card:

ep0 at pcmcia1 function 0pcic0: port 0x14000410-0x1400041f
: 3Com 3c589 10Mbps Ethernet
ep0: address 00:10:4b:de:7c:75, 8KB byte-wide FIFO, 5:3 Rx:Tx split
ep0: 10baseT, 10base5, 10base2 (default 10baseT)

This is a 3Com 3C589D-TP. This is the one I used to have. Works good. 

I found a Xircom credit card 10/100 56k modem combo card. It kept
getting device timeouts. Don't know if it was a bad card or what.

> > Ugh. That makes it a lot less useable.
> Well, I doubt it'll affect you.  I dropped *my* unit on the floor from five
> feet.  8-)

(Note to self: Don't do that if at all possible :)

> You said you had a Cobalt box.  That is mipsel, as is hpcmips, so you should
> have no problem building binary packages on the cobalt to use on the
> hpcmips.  They're both little endian.

Yeah, I've been installing packages from the Cobalt. I'm starting to
build up a little kit of them if anyone's interested. I just started
building stuff at 2.0. I had some stuff at 1.6-release but I'm
starting over now.

> WinCE uses fdisked drives.  You might want to try the following:
> * boot NetBSD INSTALL kernel
> * exit sysinst and run fdisk from the command line:
>   $ fdisk -au
> * make partition 0 type 6 (16-bit FAT), and make it big enough to hold
>   hpcboot.exe, a gzipped INSTALL kernel, a real kernel, and perhaps some
>   work area for other kernels and/or storing WinCE data
> * make partition 1 type 169 (NetBSD), sized for the rest of the disk
> Write down the absolute start sector number and raw sector count of the
> 16-bit FAT partition.  Then:
> $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/wd0d bs=512 seek=START count=20
> where START is the starting sector of the FAT partition -- this will prompt
> WinCE to reformat it.  Then reboot into WinCE and tell it Yes to format the
> now-shrunken FAT partition.  (WinCE 2.1/2.11 has some kind of oddness in its
> FAT implementation; it's best to let it format a repartitioned card.)
> When you boot back into NetBSD, you'll have the ability to use the
> NetBSD-fdisk'ed partition completely isolated from the FAT side.  You can
> use the absolute sector start and count of the FAT partition in a customized
> disklabel to get access to that partition from the NetBSD side.
> > I formatted the CF card in Windows, put on pbsdboot.exe and the kernel and
> > left it. I was itching to buy one of these little USB storage devices
> > anyway, so I found one for $24 after rebate and bought it. It's 256 megs.
> > That's enough to get me started.
> It'll be much slower than CF, but it should work fine.  (You may need to
> plug it in at NetBSD boot time; I don't know if a known problem with umass*
> buffer allocation is fixed yet in 2.0.)

I plug it in while booting CE and it works fine. It's kind of awkward
sticking out of the back of the machine though. And yes, it is slow.
Slower than netbooting.

> > But I can hang the thing up hard anytime I try to mount or fsck the
> > msdos partition on the CF card. I can read the disklabel and fdisk,
> > but nothing more than that. Ugh.
> I'm suspicious that it's an overlap problem between the NetBSD disklabel and
> the FAT partition.

About to test this.

> > Also, I extracted xbase, xserver and xetc. I was messing around with
> > the binary X and somehow hung the entire machine again. Don't know
> > what happened.
> It's a little touchy if not run properly.  I can't entirely remember what
> the issue was, though.  It may have to do with using /dev/console vs.
> /dev/ttyE0 as the "on" entry in /etc/ttys.

After netbooting an entire distribution, I just ran "startx" as root
and it worked. The touch screen is a little hokey but sort of works.
But it's sloooow. I'm not even sure that it's useable. I'm building
blackbox because that's about the lightest desktop I can use and still
feel like I'm getting something done. I'll see how it goes.

Current status:

Netbooting an entire distro is WAY faster than using the USB storage
device. I started building some stuff but it's really slow. I'm going
to leave building to my Cobalt, which is only slightly faster. This
thing is quite useable as a terminal, but I'm not sure about X. It was

Testing the new partioning scheme of the CF card. I'm a little worried
about that because if I can't use a partitioned CF card then the
useability of this thing is not so good for me.

Can't get audio working. I made a small try at it. It would be mono
anyway, which isn't too good.

Overall I'm not sure that this thing is going to suit me, but it's fun
to play with.