new to netwinder

Ralph Siemsen ralphs at
Sat Jul 28 12:56:06 EDT 2007

On Sat, Jul 28, 2007 at 11:11:10AM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> My netwinder has 128M of RAM.  As I understand it, that is a lot, but
> the limit is 256M.  My impression is that Fedora 7 needs more RAM to
> be comfortable.  Perhaps the same could be said of CPU crunch.

Most of the packages in Fedora assume a reasonably modern system with
a multi-gigahertz processor and a gig of ram.  Trying to run Gnome
desktop, firefox, or any of the "productivity suites" on smaller 
machines results in continuous swapping to disk and a fair bit of
end-user fustration.  At least that's my finding.

> Having said that, I'd be interested to know what sorts problems you
> encounter when you try to port packages.

On the Fedora side, it is a mixture between:
 - SRPMs that have %exclusivearch or %ifarch sections listing
   everything but ARM targets, so one has to fiddle
 - Things that just plain don't work, eg. Java, NPTL.
 - Tangled dependency chains- gcc depends on firefox (really!)
 - If you're interested,
   shows status and build logs.

> I've never tried it, but I would guess that distcc would make
> rebuilding a distro more manageable.  Do you use distcc?

Both distcc and ccache are handy, I did not find much improvement, since 
my build environment is rather bandwidth-limited by a single netwinder
as the main NFS server.  In turn, I had to architect it this way because
the netwinder's little 4GB hard drives could not hold all of FC6 packages,
headers, etc with room to actually compile any of the larger packages.

> I read somewhere that there is a 30G limit on hard drive size.  Where
> does this come from?  Is this changed by newer firmware?  (I'm tempted
> by a local deal for a 120G notebook drive.)

There are a number of limits actually.  A couple near 8 GB, then there 
is another one just over 30G, and yet another limit somewhere over 130G.
Further details see
The netwinder firmware is based on a 2.0 linux kernel and at that
time of course larger disks didn't exist.  So later firmware versions
have backported support for larger IDE disks from newer kernels.
The support for >33GB was done in nettrom 2.3.3.

I have tried up to 120GB successfull.  Havent heard from anyone,
positive or negative, regarding >130GB though.  I suspect there
will be issues there.


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