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VIA Eden - 2.0

2003-07-16 18:19:53.188626+00 by ebradway 24 comments

I got my VIA Eden 5000 motherboard and a Casetronic ITX-2677 case from KnowledgeMicro. Their prices were incredible. I picked up a 512MB DIMM for $55 and a 512MB CF card for $95. I'm still waiting on my IDE-CF adapter. For now, I'm setting up the OS (trying Debian first) on a hard drive. You really can't imagine how quiet this thing is. No fans, no hum, nothing. I even found a clockspeed jumper and have it cranked down to 266Mhz! I wonder if it draws less power at that speed... I don't need fast, just cool and low power... More to come on the lab's server.

[ related topics: Free Software Interactive Drama Open Source Law Embedded Devices - Via Eden ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-07-16 22:23:28.250788+00 by: ebradway

So I've tried installing Debian twice. Either something doesn't like the ethernet or there is some flakiness in dselect. First time around, I kept getting 'eth0 timed out' errors and kept having to reboot. Then I got corruptions in dpkg's script files. Should I try to fix these? Right now, I'm getting "field name 'Maintainer;' must be followed by a colon" when I run dpkg --configure -a...

#Comment made: 2003-07-16 23:16:54.01641+00 by: dws

I'm running RH8 on an earlier VIA board (the Epia 800). From what I recall of the research I did before going with RH8, prior kernels didn't have the right drivers for the ethernet chip.

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 00:08:26.131943+00 by: John Anderson

From the sound of it, something is Not Right -- I don't think you should be calling 'dpkg --configure' by hand during the install, for one thing.

I haven't used Debian for a while, but I assume the installer is still the "hey, you'll only use it once, so as long as it works" piece of joy that it used to be. Is there any sort of community around you that you can reach out to? This sounds a lot like something that'll be easy to fix from in front of the machine, and a PITA to do remotely.

(Hey, if you're around the metro DC area at all, *I* can help...)

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 00:34:47.906866+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yep, Eric, it sounds like you're getting corrupt files, and if you're doing a network install I'd blame the ethernet drivers. Thought about maybe plugging in a separate ethernet board for the sake of getting the install up, you can put a later kernel on it once everything's running?

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 03:29:32.538725+00 by: baylink

Overall pricing? I'm looking for a VNC terminal alternative to the NIC, which is dead. Close to $250 I can sell...

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 05:30:40.321229+00 by: dws

Or plug a CD reader to do the install.

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 19:09:38.824915+00 by: ebradway

Red Hat: Can't do. I need to pare this baby back so the entire system runs comfortably in less 512MB of disk space. Don't need X or an kind of UI other than bash and joe. Will be running Gphoto2 (need solid USB support) and apache.

dpkg by hand: That's what dselect told me to do. And after running it three times from scratch, it keep stalling in the same place. It looks like someone botched the text description of one of the packages I'm trying to install. Instead of entering 'maintainer: name' they put 'maintainer; name'. I'm trying get details, but the line is 40K lines into the status file and my vi skills aren't good enough negotiate that kind of file effectively (and I really don't want vi skills that good). I'll try another install and get joe on right away... (see the comment about concerning Red Hat to see why emacs wasn't mentioned).

I do have a full set of CDs here but I may try GenToo first. I'm also considering FreeBSD. But I was pretty thrilled with the way Debian was going onto the machine though...

#Comment made: 2003-07-17 19:36:08.810946+00 by: Brian

I'd stick with Debian, and use a CD drive for the install. That's how I did my Eden box.

Another approach is to set up the HD (or compact flash) on a different system, installing the debian base system and the packages you need into a chroot, then copying that over to the target disk (and doing some lilo magic to make it bootable). Then move the disk/CF into the Eden box.

I haven't figured out the magic necessary to do this part yet, though. I think it'd be ideal for a minimal system that still preserves the .deb dependency information.. adding binaries by hand (using ldd to figure out the necessary libraries) is an option, but will take a long time if you want more than one or two applications on the box.

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 14:15:50.324858+00 by: pharm [edit history]

vi skills wise. Um keys in sequence:

:/maintainer;<return> f;r:

should do the job.



to write & quit vi

Phil (non vi hacker, but that should do)

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 14:40:20.556291+00 by: ebradway

Brian: I'm attempting another install just from CD. Is there a known issue with the ethernet controller on this motherboard? More important, is there a known fix?

pharm: Thanks... but I think I really need something along the lines being able to replace 'maintainer;' with 'maintainer:'. The file is around 100K lines with 'maintainer' being a common occuring string. I'm going to retry the install from CD this time...

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 16:17:07.349817+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... Different error this time. Got a corrupted filesystem tarfile on locales_2.2.5-11.5_all.deb...

I'm going to try again. This is annoying. I sure hope it isn't my cheap RAM...

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 16:54:30.682729+00 by: ebradway

I'm going to try to a different stick of RAM and see if things improve...

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 17:22:34.457832+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

Grrr... And to think, this is a lesson I learned years ago: Never buy cheap RAM. Now I have a supposed 512MB Non-registered PC133 SIMM that is know, at least in my VIA Eden motherboard, to cause general flakiness and major annoyances...

I put a pair of 64MB SIMMs I had laying around in the system and reinstalled via FTP. No problem whatsoever. Installed like a dream. When will I learn...

And Debian is VERY nice for building a minimal system. dselect blows away anything I'd used with Dead Rat. Now, let's see how it does with software from a cvs tree!

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-21 06:16:16.754686+00 by: dws [edit history]

I don't know about the Eden 5000, but the 800 is very particular about RAM. It'll take 4x up to 32x chips, but not 64x chips, which rules out most 512Mb SIMMs. (256Mb SIMMs all seem to be 32x.) You can find some details by digging around at http://www.linitx.org/forum/. The failure mode is that the 800 only sees half of a 512Mb SIMM.

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-21 14:22:15.441458+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... It reported the entire 512MB stick and made a real stab at working - just seemed flaky.

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-22 19:23:03.620656+00 by: ebradway

Odd... The system runs with the 512MB stick in it, but installations crap out. I tried memtest and go no errors. I hate marginal hardware...

After getting Debian installed and working, I tried gphoto2 - but it wasn't recognizing my camera. A little more digging revealed that I have no /proc/bus/usb... Not good. I flipped every bit I could find in the BIOS to make sure it was working. No luck. I couldn't find a kernel-usb patch either. Did a quick install on my laptop and got the same results... Mumble, grumble...

Now the C3 is compiling the kernel for Gentoo... It's been at it for a few hours now. Not the fastest box in the world, but it sure is quiet!

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-22 19:39:08.551755+00 by: Dan Lyke

Do you just need to do a MAKEDEV for those device files?

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-22 22:26:05.765411+00 by: dws

The C3 chips don't implement the full i586 instruction set (google for "C3 CMOV"). I installed an i386 kernel, and have had no problems (on the 800). I *might* be working off of old information, but it's worth trying if you're having install problems.

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-23 00:38:13.122413+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... The kernel seemed stable enough - just missing USB support. I know it's not a CPU issue because my laptop (Genuine Intel P3) does the same thing. I'm going to try the MAKEDEV thing to see what comes of it.

I've been trying to get Gentoo running all day. Or rather, it's been compiling all day. But even the Stage1 tarball includes alot of crap I don't care about. Pretty aggravating. If I can get USB working under Debin, I'll be a happy camper (and I can reinstall in a matter of minutes).

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-23 02:19:59.661139+00 by: ebradway

More hmmm... I've been playing with Debian on the laptop while the Eden recompiles Gentoo. I think I may get Debian working before Gentoo even compiles...

So I upgraded to the 2.4.18 kernel (the Woody default is 2.2.20). And then I added some modules to /etc/modules:

usb-storage usb-uhci sd_mod scsi_mod

Now I get /proc/bus/usb and the kernel hiccups everytime I connect the camera - but gphoto2 still doesn't recognize it...

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-23 02:34:04.696102+00 by: ebradway

Success! Turns out that the fstab line:

usbfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs defaults 0 0

Should have been:

usbdevfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs defaults 0 0

Now to see if I can recompile gphoto2 to get capture support for the Canon...

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-23 03:53:03.125771+00 by: ebradway

A few more hours pass...

Somehow the kernel upgrade lost eth0... Much gnashing of the teeth and many, many reboots later... I found that I could get the i386 2.4.18 kernel working with the appropriate pcmcia modules. I still had to add eepro100 to /etc/modules. The 2.2.20 kernel managed to figure this out on it's own. Oh well... I guess that's the price of progress... Now back to that cvs tree for gphoto2...

Oh yeah, gentoo is still compiling its kernel on the Eden box.

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-23 14:47:08.201591+00 by: ebradway

Didn't get to try out the rebuilt gphoto2 but I am reinstalling Debian on the Eden box. GenToo is outahere. Anything that requires 1.5GB of disk space to install ain't gonna work for me...

#Comment Re: VIA Eden - 2.0 made: 2003-07-29 04:36:06.183105+00 by: ebradway

Finally got gphoto2 rebuilt from the CVS tree and talking to the USB port (I've been camping for the past five days). Unfortuantely, the rebuilt libgphoto2 and gphoto2 segfaults when I try a gphoto2 --auto-detect --capture-image. It does make the camera shoot a picture but gphoto2 segfaults and the camera shuts down afterward. More playing to come. I may just buy a new digital camera that gphoto2 likes better.

Oh yeah, I got the IDE-CF adapter and hooked it up. I didn't realize how loud that hard drive was! Remember the space scenes in 2001? We are talking no sound. The CD-ROM drive sounds like a jet airplane taking off!