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Re: [nslu2-linux] Re: Linksys WMA11B

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  • Brian Wood
    Boy that s wierd, why would Linksys go to the expense of a PCMCIA interface and all that that entails when they could use the same integrated solution they use
    Message 1 of 24 , Dec 6, 2005
      Boy that's wierd, why would Linksys go to the expense of a PCMCIA
      interface and all that that entails when they could use the same
      integrated solution they use in the WRT? The original WRT had a mini
      PCI radio, but it is now on the mobo. At least the electrical PCI
      interface is there already (in the case of the slug for the USB
      chip)) and would only need a socket.

      The only advantage they would derive from a PCMCIA (sorry, PCCard)
      would be if they wanted the end user to be able to swap it out, is it
      accessible from the outside?

      Also, why would they use little-endian mode when the slug uses big-
      endian?

      Seems like one development group doesn't know what the other ones are
      doing. Who do they think they are, Microsoft?


      On Dec 6, 2005, at 7:46 AM, jkpeters_37 wrote:

      > Actually, the wireless card is of the PCMCIA PC CARD variety. I
      > don't think it's compatible with mini PCI. But, it should be
      > possible to put a suitable 802.11G PC CARD in it (though I've seen
      > some hint that it only support 3.3V). For those not interested in
      > wireless, it'd probably take other cards, too. (FLASH, microdrives,
      > ethernet, etc.)
    • Kolbjørn Barmen
      ... Who do you think you are, top poster :) -- Kolbjørn Barmen
      Message 2 of 24 , Dec 6, 2005
        On Tue, 6 Dec 2005, Brian Wood wrote:

        > Who do they think they are, Microsoft?

        Who do you think you are, top poster :)

        --
        Kolbjørn Barmen
      • John Bowler
        From: jkpeters_37 ... The problem with uClibc is that version changes do not remain API compatible (so 0.9.26, 0.9.27 and 0.9.28 should be expected to be
        Message 3 of 24 , Dec 6, 2005
          From: jkpeters_37
          >Good idea! It looks like it normally uses uClibc,

          The problem with uClibc is that version changes do not remain API
          compatible (so 0.9.26, 0.9.27 and 0.9.28 should be expected to be
          incompatible). slugos-ltu and slugos-lau are both on 0.9.28. It
          might be possible to install a second uclibc DLL with care (since the
          DLL is versioned) and that should, but may not, be enough to get
          something to run. slugos-ltu builds probably won't work though, because
          the kernel has to be compiled with thumb support.

          >but glibc is
          >available with wmamp, a replacement media player application
          >(http://www.turtlehead.co.uk/section/wma11b/)

          The slugos-bag (== openslug) glibc will probably work too, and if not
          the PXA builds should have one which does work.

          >http://www-jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/~acw43/projects/wma11b/

          Ah, good page.

          So the WMA11B has just a kernel an an initrd, then does a network
          boot in a manner very similar to the traditional diskless workstation.

          An OE PXA255 rootfs cramfs image built against the correct kernel
          (apparently 2.4.x) should, apparently, just work (using the wmaloader
          app on the above page to load it). The advantage to this is no
          hacking is required of the WMA (hardware or firmware)... Neat.

          John Bowler <jbowler@...>
        • John Bowler
          From: Brian Wood ... The slug has an IXP420, so far as I am aware the NSLU2 (slugos-l??) stuff is the only (widely available) OS which runs it little-endian.
          Message 4 of 24 , Dec 6, 2005
            From: Brian Wood
            >Also, why would they use little-endian mode when the slug uses big-
            >endian?

            The slug has an IXP420, so far as I am aware the NSLU2 (slugos-l??)
            stuff is the only (widely available) OS which runs it little-endian.

            The WMA11B has a PXA255, according to a recent posting on l-a-k no one
            has ever built an OS to run it big-endian. It may not even work, there
            is no requirement that a particular board *does* work with the opposite
            byte sex, though it is difficult to stop it working.

            John Bowler <jbowler@...>
          • jkpeters_37
            I think it s more a function of the Intel-made processor: the PXA- 255 in the WMA11B has a PCMCIA/PCCARD interface on the chip, it doesn t have a PCI interface
            Message 5 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
              I think it's more a function of the Intel-made processor: the PXA-
              255 in the WMA11B has a PCMCIA/PCCARD interface on the chip, it
              doesn't have a PCI interface like the IXP-420 or the processors used
              in the WRT's.

              --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Brian Wood <beww@b...> wrote:
              >
              > Boy that's wierd, why would Linksys go to the expense of a PCMCIA
              > interface and all that that entails when they could use the same
              > integrated solution they use in the WRT? The original WRT had a
              mini
              > PCI radio, but it is now on the mobo. At least the electrical PCI
              > interface is there already (in the case of the slug for the USB
              > chip)) and would only need a socket.
              >
              > The only advantage they would derive from a PCMCIA (sorry,
              PCCard)
              > would be if they wanted the end user to be able to swap it out, is
              it
              > accessible from the outside?
              >
              > Also, why would they use little-endian mode when the slug uses big-

              > endian?
              >
              > Seems like one development group doesn't know what the other ones
              are
              > doing. Who do they think they are, Microsoft?
              >
              >
              > On Dec 6, 2005, at 7:46 AM, jkpeters_37 wrote:
              >
              > > Actually, the wireless card is of the PCMCIA PC CARD variety. I
              > > don't think it's compatible with mini PCI. But, it should be
              > > possible to put a suitable 802.11G PC CARD in it (though I've
              seen
              > > some hint that it only support 3.3V). For those not interested
              in
              > > wireless, it'd probably take other cards, too. (FLASH,
              microdrives,
              > > ethernet, etc.)
              >
            • Rod Whitby
              ... Big US companies like Linksys do not have local development teams. They buy designs from a number of different ODMs in Taiwan (NSLU2 is done by SerComm,
              Message 6 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                > Boy that's wierd, why would Linksys go to the expense of a PCMCIA
                > interface and all that that entails when they could use the same
                > integrated solution they use in the WRT?
                ...
                >
                > Also, why would they use little-endian mode when the slug uses big-
                > endian?
                >
                > Seems like one development group doesn't know what the other ones are
                > doing.

                Big US companies like Linksys do not have local development teams.
                They buy designs from a number of different ODMs in Taiwan (NSLU2 is
                done by SerComm, WRT is done by a different ODM), and the ODMs have no
                reason to do things in common. The normal consumer never finds out
                about this, cause it's all hidden inside the box or behind the web
                interface.

                This is also one of the reasons why these companies are slow to
                release source code for the first time. If they didn't think ahead to
                get it from the ODM in the first place, then they have to negotiate a
                new contract to get the source code so they can put it on the web for
                us to download ...

                -- Rod
              • Brian Wood
                ... Makes sense. I couldn t figure out why they wouldn t just go with one basic design, CPU etc. and modify it from there. Why go with PCI in one case, PCMCIA
                Message 7 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                  On Dec 7, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Rod Whitby wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Big US companies like Linksys do not have local development teams.
                  > They buy designs from a number of different ODMs in Taiwan (NSLU2 is
                  > done by SerComm, WRT is done by a different ODM), and the ODMs have no
                  > reason to do things in common. The normal consumer never finds out
                  > about this, cause it's all hidden inside the box or behind the web
                  > interface.

                  Makes sense. I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't just go with one
                  basic design, CPU etc. and modify it from there. Why go with PCI in
                  one case, PCMCIA in another and so on. Funny, but I was just speaking
                  with an in-law who works for Agilent and he told me my mistake was in
                  assuming that Cisco actually designed the stuff, and what you say
                  agrees with that quite well.

                  >
                  > This is also one of the reasons why these companies are slow to
                  > release source code for the first time. If they didn't think ahead to
                  > get it from the ODM in the first place, then they have to negotiate a
                  > new contract to get the source code so they can put it on the web for
                  > us to download ...

                  I had assumed it was just vestiges of the old proprietary software
                  mind set, but again what you say makes sense.

                  But we are getting way off-topic. Thanks for the insight tho.
                • Attila Csipa
                  ... Isn t the ODM bound by the same rules (GPL in the case of linux) as Linksys ? The ODM is distributing to them so it should release source to Linksys on
                  Message 8 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                    On Wednesday 07 December 2005 23:03, Rod Whitby wrote:
                    > This is also one of the reasons why these companies are slow to
                    > release source code for the first time. If they didn't think ahead to
                    > get it from the ODM in the first place, then they have to negotiate a
                    > new contract to get the source code so they can put it on the web for
                    > us to download ...

                    Isn't the ODM bound by the same rules (GPL in the case of linux) as Linksys ?
                    The ODM is distributing to them so it should release source to Linksys on
                    request without any special contract or negotiation. Or am I just too
                    optimistic ? And it doesn't really make sense for the ODM to 'suddenly
                    discover' they should release source - after their first public linux-based
                    hardware project it should be pretty clear to them.
                  • Rick DeNatale
                    ... Because these boxes sell so well, controlling the hardware cost makes a big difference in profit. They don t even necessarily stick with the same
                    Message 9 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                      On 12/7/05, Brian Wood <beww@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > On Dec 7, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Rod Whitby wrote:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Big US companies like Linksys do not have local development teams.
                      > > They buy designs from a number of different ODMs in Taiwan (NSLU2 is
                      > > done by SerComm, WRT is done by a different ODM), and the ODMs have no
                      > > reason to do things in common. The normal consumer never finds out
                      > > about this, cause it's all hidden inside the box or behind the web
                      > > interface.
                      >
                      > Makes sense. I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't just go with one
                      > basic design, CPU etc. and modify it from there. Why go with PCI in
                      > one case, PCMCIA in another and so on. Funny, but I was just speaking
                      > with an in-law who works for Agilent and he told me my mistake was in
                      > assuming that Cisco actually designed the stuff, and what you say
                      > agrees with that quite well.

                      Because these boxes sell so well, controlling the hardware cost makes
                      a big difference in profit.

                      They don't even necessarily stick with the same hardware/software over
                      the life of the product name. Recently Linksys/Cisco switched the
                      WRT54G from Linux based software to VxWorks, and lowered the RAM and
                      flash on board.

                      At the volumes that these things sell, squeezing down the price of the
                      hardware can offset the cost of redevelopment.

                      When this switch was journalled in the geek blogs like Slashdot, there
                      was quite a commotion, but then it was announced that they would also
                      continue to sell a WRT54GL (which is the Linux based version) at a
                      somewhat higher price.

                      > >
                      > > This is also one of the reasons why these companies are slow to
                      > > release source code for the first time. If they didn't think ahead to
                      > > get it from the ODM in the first place, then they have to negotiate a
                      > > new contract to get the source code so they can put it on the web for
                      > > us to download ...
                      >
                      > I had assumed it was just vestiges of the old proprietary software
                      > mind set, but again what you say makes sense.

                      In the case of the WRT54G, the story I heard was that they (Linksys)
                      didn't even KNOW that the firmware was based on Linux or any other GPL
                      software until someone figured it out due to a bug in the web
                      interface which allowed code injection and exposed the fact.

                      How much friction the exposure caused between them and the supplier
                      causing a delay in publishing the source is unknown.

                      --
                      Rick DeNatale

                      Visit the Project Mercury Wiki Site
                      http://www.mercuryspacecraft.com/
                    • Gregg C Levine
                      Hello from Gregg C Levine I remember that issue coming up at last month s LUG meeting. The guests were from the local offices of Wind River. And it concerned
                      Message 10 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                        Hello from Gregg C Levine
                        I remember that issue coming up at last month's LUG meeting. The
                        guests were from the local offices of Wind River. And it concerned
                        Wind River's views on Linux. They had a chosen collection of devices
                        which ran Linux. One of them was the WRT54G, that idea of the company,
                        (Not Wind River), was discussed. They also displayed an NSLU2, and
                        confirmed it ran Linux.

                        While I didn't mention the group by name, I did mention that a group
                        of enthusiasts did succeed in creating their own Linux distribution
                        for it. Or perhaps something more appropriate would have been said. I
                        can't recall what I said.

                        However the group is indeed mentioned by name in the current issue of
                        Linux Journal. An individual wanted a simpler method of serving out
                        his media, and of course he followed the route chosen by several
                        members.
                        ---
                        Gregg C Levine hansolofalcon@...
                        ---
                        "Remember the Force will be with you. Always." Obi-Wan Kenobi

                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com
                        [mailto:nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com] On
                        > Behalf Of Rick DeNatale
                        > Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 6:32 PM
                        > To: nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: [nslu2-linux] Re: Re: Linksys WMA11B
                        >
                        > On 12/7/05, Brian Wood <beww@...> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > On Dec 7, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Rod Whitby wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Big US companies like Linksys do not have local development
                        teams.
                        > > > They buy designs from a number of different ODMs in Taiwan
                        (NSLU2 is
                        > > > done by SerComm, WRT is done by a different ODM), and the ODMs
                        have no
                        > > > reason to do things in common. The normal consumer never finds
                        out
                        > > > about this, cause it's all hidden inside the box or behind the
                        web
                        > > > interface.
                        > >
                        > > Makes sense. I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't just go with
                        one
                        > > basic design, CPU etc. and modify it from there. Why go with PCI
                        in
                        > > one case, PCMCIA in another and so on. Funny, but I was just
                        speaking
                        > > with an in-law who works for Agilent and he told me my mistake
                        was in
                        > > assuming that Cisco actually designed the stuff, and what you say
                        > > agrees with that quite well.
                        >
                        > Because these boxes sell so well, controlling the hardware cost
                        makes
                        > a big difference in profit.
                        >
                        > They don't even necessarily stick with the same hardware/software
                        over
                        > the life of the product name. Recently Linksys/Cisco switched the
                        > WRT54G from Linux based software to VxWorks, and lowered the RAM and
                        > flash on board.
                        >
                        > At the volumes that these things sell, squeezing down the price of
                        the
                        > hardware can offset the cost of redevelopment.
                        >
                        > When this switch was journalled in the geek blogs like Slashdot,
                        there
                        > was quite a commotion, but then it was announced that they would
                        also
                        > continue to sell a WRT54GL (which is the Linux based version) at a
                        > somewhat higher price.
                        >
                        > > >
                        > > > This is also one of the reasons why these companies are slow to
                        > > > release source code for the first time. If they didn't think
                        ahead to
                        > > > get it from the ODM in the first place, then they have to
                        negotiate a
                        > > > new contract to get the source code so they can put it on the
                        web for
                        > > > us to download ...
                        > >
                        > > I had assumed it was just vestiges of the old proprietary
                        software
                        > > mind set, but again what you say makes sense.
                        >
                        > In the case of the WRT54G, the story I heard was that they (Linksys)
                        > didn't even KNOW that the firmware was based on Linux or any other
                        GPL
                        > software until someone figured it out due to a bug in the web
                        > interface which allowed code injection and exposed the fact.
                        >
                        > How much friction the exposure caused between them and the supplier
                        > causing a delay in publishing the source is unknown.
                        >
                        > --
                        > Rick DeNatale
                        >
                        > Visit the Project Mercury Wiki Site
                        > http://www.mercuryspacecraft.com/
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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                        > AIDS in India: A "lurking bomb." Click and help stop AIDS now.
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                      • Attila Csipa
                        ... That was REALLY REALLY nasty. I found that out the hard way very early after the launch of the V5, unfortunately some 200km from the store where I bought
                        Message 11 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                          On Thursday 08 December 2005 00:32, Rick DeNatale wrote:
                          > They don't even necessarily stick with the same hardware/software over
                          > the life of the product name. Recently Linksys/Cisco switched the
                          > WRT54G from Linux based software to VxWorks, and lowered the RAM and
                          > flash on board.
                          > continue to sell a WRT54GL (which is the Linux based version) at a
                          > somewhat higher price.

                          That was REALLY REALLY nasty. I found that out the hard way very early after
                          the launch of the V5, unfortunately some 200km from the store where I bought
                          that WRT, my third (and likely last) one at that :( I understand that nobody
                          guaranteed the hardware specs will be the same, but still felt a bit cheated
                          - not because I couldn't install custom firmware (that was merely
                          disappointing), but because they took a successful product and started acting
                          like the 'regular' edition is something extra (so you have to pay the GS
                          premium to get what you previously had with the G). Oh, and I did not
                          encounter a single GL yet :( Let's hope they don't repeat this with the
                          NSLU2.

                          > In the case of the WRT54G, the story I heard was that they (Linksys)
                          > didn't even KNOW that the firmware was based on Linux or any other GPL
                          > software until someone figured it out due to a bug in the web
                          > interface which allowed code injection and exposed the fact.

                          This I cannot believe. How would they want to do tech support (which AFAIK IS
                          done by linksys and not the original manufacturer) if they would not know the
                          details of the product ? That would be like being a mechanic for a car that
                          you don't know what type of engine it uses. Then again, I never used Linksys
                          tech support...
                        • Brian Wood
                          I was very pleased to see that article on the slug in LJ. Not perfect of course, it mentioned the 133Mhz. clock speed, but I guess they didn t want to mention
                          Message 12 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                            I was very pleased to see that article on the slug in LJ. Not perfect
                            of course, it mentioned the 133Mhz. clock speed, but I guess they
                            didn't want to mention de-underclocking so they wouldn't get sued by
                            folks who had destroyed their slugs.

                            Still, it was good publicity.

                            I wonder if there's any way to find out what percentage of slugs sold
                            are being "upgraded" in any way. Availability is strange as well. My
                            local Circuit City carries almost every Linksys product, but not
                            slugs, whereas Walmart carries only 3 or 4 Linksys products, but the
                            slug is one of them.

                            It would seem that our little group is a good deal for Linksys, they
                            sell a product but don't have to worry about supporting or warranting
                            it.


                            On Dec 7, 2005, at 4:58 PM, Gregg C Levine wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > However the group is indeed mentioned by name in the current issue of
                            > Linux Journal. An individual wanted a simpler method of serving out
                            > his media, and of course he followed the route chosen by several
                            > members.
                          • Gregg C Levine
                            Hello from Gregg C Levine My problem Brian is the reverse. Every place I visit physically has the slug available. I think I even saw it for sale at J&R. Even
                            Message 13 of 24 , Dec 7, 2005
                              Hello from Gregg C Levine
                              My problem Brian is the reverse. Every place I visit physically has
                              the slug available. I think I even saw it for sale at J&R. Even
                              sometimes those characters at Radio Shack. I might even be obtaining
                              one soon. Now I'm just offering advice regarding the behavior of
                              Linux.
                              --
                              Gregg C Levine hansolofalcon@...
                              ---
                              "Remember the Force will be with you. Always." Obi-Wan Kenobi

                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com
                              [mailto:nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com] On
                              > Behalf Of Brian Wood
                              > Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 8:47 PM
                              > To: nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: [nslu2-linux] LJ slug article, was: Linksys WMA11B
                              >
                              > I was very pleased to see that article on the slug in LJ. Not
                              perfect
                              > of course, it mentioned the 133Mhz. clock speed, but I guess they
                              > didn't want to mention de-underclocking so they wouldn't get sued by
                              > folks who had destroyed their slugs.
                              >
                              > Still, it was good publicity.
                              >
                              > I wonder if there's any way to find out what percentage of slugs
                              sold
                              > are being "upgraded" in any way. Availability is strange as well. My
                              > local Circuit City carries almost every Linksys product, but not
                              > slugs, whereas Walmart carries only 3 or 4 Linksys products, but the
                              > slug is one of them.
                              >
                              > It would seem that our little group is a good deal for Linksys, they
                              > sell a product but don't have to worry about supporting or
                              warranting
                              > it.
                              >
                              >
                              > On Dec 7, 2005, at 4:58 PM, Gregg C Levine wrote:
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > However the group is indeed mentioned by name in the current issue
                              of
                              > > Linux Journal. An individual wanted a simpler method of serving
                              out
                              > > his media, and of course he followed the route chosen by several
                              > > members.
                              >
                              >
                            • jkpeters_37
                              ... Well, almost. The cramfs that gets downloaded is loop-mounted on /guava and /guava/rio is executed, which normally runs the main app. However, it turns
                              Message 14 of 24 , Dec 8, 2005
                                --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, John Bowler <jbowler@a...> wrote:
                                > >http://www-jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/~acw43/projects/wma11b/
                                >
                                > Ah, good page.
                                >
                                > So the WMA11B has just a kernel an an initrd, then does a network
                                > boot in a manner very similar to the traditional diskless workstation.
                                >
                                > An OE PXA255 rootfs cramfs image built against the correct kernel
                                > (apparently 2.4.x) should, apparently, just work (using the wmaloader
                                > app on the above page to load it). The advantage to this is no
                                > hacking is required of the WMA (hardware or firmware)... Neat.

                                Well, almost. The cramfs that gets downloaded is loop-mounted
                                on /guava and /guava/rio is executed, which normally runs the main app.
                                However, it turns out that they run all of their startup from /linuxrc,
                                running /bin/ash (on the serial port) at the end of that script. So,
                                it should be possible from the /guava/rio script to, say, setup a nfs-
                                mounted filesystem (from a slug, of course) for / and then kill
                                the /bin/ash process (and anything else with ties to the old root fs)
                                so that the kernel switches to the new root fs.

                                Not pretty, but I think it would work. Oh, and since all the kernel
                                sources they used are available it shouldn't be too difficult to
                                compile modules for it.

                                jkp
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