Knoppix On An Aquapad

First off, far better instructions are at Knoppix's Site. I only have mine here to explain what I did, which was a bit more annoying since the Aquapad doesn't have any floppy disk.

Because the AquaPad certainly supports the 386 instruction set, and because I wanted to get something running on the pad as quickly as possible, I tried out Knoppix and wanted to get it booting off of the CF card. This is what I had to do.

It is highly probable that this will work with any Debian live CD distribution, and quite likely that it will work with others that also work on 386 computers. You want to get a lean, mean distro. Perhaps Timo's or Knoppix STD. Heck, build your own. I plan on releasing one that works better for me until I can get a system that can be 100% optimized for the tablet.

  1. Get a nice, big CF card. 512 bytes minimum (Knoppix is bigger, but you can get a stripped down distribution.
  2. If not done already, format the card. You can use a DOS style partition (vfat works well), and you can probably work with ext2 or ext3. Mount it to /mnt/cf or wherever. Non-Linux users need to find their own way of doing this – it is possible, but I have no knowledge of the tools (where they are, how to use, etc).
  3. Burn/extract the .iso so you have access to the files within.
  4. Copy everything to the CF card.
  5. Set up lilo
    • Download my Lilo Setup
    • Extract it on the CF card
    • Edit etc/lilo.conf to set it up for your system. Here's some notes:
      boot=/dev/sda * device in host system
      root=/dev/hdc1 * device in aquapad

      image=/boot/vmlinuz * relative to root of CF card
      root=/dev/hdc1 * device in aqupad
      append="lang=us 2 noeject" * additional parameters
    • Note that I moved the miniroot.gz and vmlinuz files to the boot directory. You can put them wherever you like.
    • You may need to make the target device node in /dev. You can either mount devfs to the CF's dev directory (mount -t devfs devfs /mnt/cf/dev) or copy a device file there (cp -a /dev/sda /mnt/cf/dev).
    • Time to get Lilo going.
      /sbin/lilo -r /mnt/cf -M /dev/sda
      /sbin/lilo -r /mnt/cf -i boot-text.b
    • If all goes well, the CF is ready to boot.
  6. Everything should be a-ok and ready to go. Stick in the card and boot. If you have problems, make sure that the lilo.conf is set up properly (make sure that you have all of the devices correct).

Feel free to experiment a bit. The worst case, you messing up the CF card, can be rectified by formatting and copying the CD again.

The same instructions should be usable for nearly any live CD version of Linux. You want one that is small, since you only have 128 megs of RAM to work with. Just change the miniroot.gz and vmlinuz files appropriately. A splash image can be used with the boot-bmp.b boot image, see the lilo documentation for more information.

You might find this page on Embedding Debian in 32MB CF an interesting read ... especially since we are trying to do about the same thing.

A cat's worst enemy is a closed door. Tyler Akins <>
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