SSD on the Netwinder

Ralph Siemsen ralphs at
Mon Apr 1 19:43:26 PDT 2019

On Mon, Apr 01, 2019 at 09:52:29PM +0100, Jon Bradbury wrote:
>1. The boot partition is normal sized (that is, 1GB). I noted a problem formatting anything more than say 4GB with the makefs.ext2 program under the standard kernel.

That's very likely related to the LFS (large filesystem support) lacking 
in both the old kernel and userspace. The version in dm-3.9 image 
however should be fine with files larger than 2^32 = 4GB.

>2. I think the lock ups are IRQ timeouts (but there is nothing 
>on-screen) but I see several other errors.
>3. The SSD + SATA bridge both work fine when connected to my laptop, 
>which has Ubuntu Linux (at least 5 years old). I’ve done all sorts of 
>things (like, partition, format, copy whole systems across, delete, 
>read) with zero errors. So I think the bridge, while being of 
>questionable providence, is OK.

Can't really conclude much from this.

>4. I think what I really need is a later kernel. Or some other boot 
>images / tarballs to try. Does anyone have any? (esp. Debian)

I looked around in my home directory for later kernels, because I know 
that I did build them maybe 5 years ago. But the only files I can see 
end at 2.4.19. Sorry!

>5. I set up the partition table using what gparted calls “DOS” type. 
>Have also tried GPT but the ROM does not recognise it.

That's to be expected, the GPT scheme came along later, I don't think we 
ever supported it on netwinder.

>6. On bootup it says NWLILO is not installed. How to install this? 
>Maybe a boot manager started from a smaller partition can work better 
>than the ROM?

You can safely ignore this -- nwlilo is more of an optimization, instead 
of parsing a filesystem (ext2 for example), nwlilo just uses a sequence 
of raw disk blocks. The executable is available on the website in RPM 
form, and probably also raw ELF version as well.

>7. Can we pivot_root on this Linux? Just thinking that a bootable 
>partition plus root on another partition (with a different format / 
>kernel) might work.

Fairly sure that also came along later, there was another scheme before 
pivot_root, though I've forgotten its name. Anyhow you can put the 
rootfs whereever you like, and use the netrrom setting "rootconfig" and 

>SSDs are supposed to use less current, but maybe not. I have a 12v PSU 
>rated at 2A (which runs the HDD fine). Maybe more current is needed...

I've used two hard drives simultaneously, without problem, on the stock 
12V PSU. So I doubt this would be the issue. I would also expect the SSD 
to consume less power than a HDD.


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