Tag Archive: wyse s30

Since I’m suspecting the problems I have been experiencing booting ArchLinux on a WYSE S30 are related to the bootloader, I have created two bootable USB sticks with ArchLinux on it. One with a legacy GRUB, and the other with LILO. Both are available in AUR.

My original bootable USB stick was made on an 1 GB stick, which is rather small for the purpose. Therefore I’ve dd’d the content of the stick to a 4 GB stick, deleted and re-created the partition, and ran resize2fs on it.

After arch-chrooting (available in the arch-install-scripts package) into the partition, I’ve added the archlinux-fr repository to the pacman configuration and installed yaourt, so I can install stuff from AUR.

Installing grub-legacy appeared to go fine, but, the fact my host system is x86_64 caused a minor problem. The stage 1.5 and stage2 files got installed in /usr/lib/grub/x86_64-unknown in stead of /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc. After adding a symlink, the grub-install script works fine.

After that, I’ve dd’ed the content of the 4 GB stick to an 8 GB one. I have not adjusted the partitions, causing the following issue, and hence the -P ignore while installing LILP

sh-4.2# lilo -C /boot/lilo.conf -b /dev/sde1 -P ignore
Warning: Ignoring entry 'boot'
Warning: /dev/sde1 is not on the first disk
Warning: Device 0x0840: Inconsistent partition table, 1st entry
  CHS address in PT:  1:18:21  -->  LBA (8700)
  LBA address in PT:  2048  -->  CHS (0:33:3)
Warning: The partition table is *NOT* being adjusted.
Added Arch  +  *
Added Arch-wyse  +
4 warnings were issued.

The result, leading to two more-or-less bootable USB sticks. There are just little modification required, depending on how the BIOS of the WYSE S30 will identify the sticks to the bootloader. I am also suspecting this BIOS is what is causing the issues with GRUB2 and SYSLINUX.

Anyhow, the WYSE S30 is at Stack, so I cannot test any of these assumptions yet. Just working a little ahead, doing some preparations. What can I say? I do useful things while procrastinating… one trés importante exam coming up. I really need to pass that Discrete Structures exam, and then I can start my master’s project. And I must admit, it feels a little strange, thinking about it. Thinking about doing research, writing a paper. I mean… things are getting serious now, but, more then that. Thinking about people actually being interested in what I am going to do. The idea of what I am about to do is important. I mean… thinking it really matters…. it’s just weird you know.

The WYSE S30 is a thin client. It’s CPU is an AMD Geode GX500. (It identifies itself as National Semiconductor). It’s based on an CPU design by Cyrix. Anyhow, the default kernel doesn’t boot on this CPU. I’ve tried to run the installation image on this machine. In this situation, the kernel gives a message about an unknown CPU manufacturer and says the system might be unstable. After this, the system hangs. The bootable ArchLinux installation I’ve just created, it gets stuck in a reboot loop.

I have tried to compile a kernel optimised for this specific CPU, but I still get inside this reboot loop. I am wondering if the problem is caused by the bootloader. As said, I’ve been using SYSLINUX. In stead I’ve tried GRUB2, but that doesn’t even display the menu. Seeing these symptoms, it appears there are some more incompatibilities about this particular device.

Looking at the CPU, from what I’ve read, it’s basically an 686-class CPU with some AMD extentions such as 3dnow! However, it is lacking one i686 instruction. However, as I’ve created a custom kernel, that should not be the problem. Therefore I am blaming the bootloader now. So… I might have to look at some alternative boot loaders. But…. not today…. been working at this for hours. It’s enough for today.