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Re: [News] Syslinux is Coming

Roy Schestowitz wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> syslinux in momentum
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | At this year's FOSDEM we finally had H. Peter Anvin to come over and
> | discuss the syslinux project to a wider audience and I had been waiting
> | for that day for about 3 to 4 years. (Even though I sadly missed hpa on
> | one occasion before :-/)
> | 
> | It was great to see the project blossom again after some years of
> | diminished interest and getting some developers together (not me, I am
> | just a humble user) was very productive. One of the developers I enjoyed
> | talking to, Erwan Velu, out of the blue revealed he had some unfinished
> | work I was very interested to test.
> `----
> http://dag.wieers.com/blog/syslinux-in-momentum

The extension of syslinux is extlinux that boots Linux from EXT2 partitions.
Install Linux onto an EXT2 formatted flash disk and you can boot as
fast as hard disks from netbooks like the EEE.

Ubuntu 9.04 Dumbfoundationalism Experiences

I just don't believe it!

I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.04 on an Asus EEE.

It took me 17 minutes from clicking start of installation
to finishing installation, booting up
AND browsing first web page!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I am totally dumb founded!!

Ubuntu 9.04 is technically just astonishing!!

Nothing as powerful exists for the PC in the whole world.
And nothing as powerful as this has existed in the PC's entire history!!!

2Gb of software installed including open office, networking,
browser, user management, gimp, email, music/movie player,
DVD burner, synaptic, rsync, etc. etc.. etc..

To make matters 'worse', I didn't even install to the internal
disks, I installed to a 2.5" 40Gb external pocket drive
running off of a USB port!!!

Since I didn't believe the install time, I thought I must have
made a mistake with the mental note of time.
So I installed again!
And its 17 minutes again from pressing the install button to booting
up the new install and opening up firefox and then typing
google and getting first page up!!!

Since the EEE 1000 hasn't got an optical drive, I installed with
from the SD Card formatted to EXT2 (Micoshaft FAT format is a disaster
for an SD Card and won't work at these speeds)

Here below some pointers to how it all got done...

Using extlinux to convert a liveCD iso to bootable SD card

Converting an ISO file to a bootable USB stick or a bootable
SD Card for EEE is easy.

Without being able to convert a distro into a bootable USB flash /SD Card,
that distro can't be easily loaded into netbook like EEE
and stand to miss out on users installing it into netbooks.

So I would recommend all distro mainters look at their netbook
boot strategy and offer something to boot their distros
from USB flash and SD cards or miss out on users installing it into

Having done a few conversions, a pattern emerges that works well for 
most syslinux / isolinux / extlinux based distros.

1. Put your SD card or USB flash drive into your desktop Linux PC and
   then open a console and type dmesg
   You should see some line indicating your flash drive as
   being picked up and allocated with a comment like sdc / sdc1 etc..
   Remember both names - the first is /dev/sdc which is your
   device name, and the second is /dev/sdc1 which is your partition name.
   (Don't get confused between drive /dev/sdc and partition /dev/sdc1
   or your drive could become scrambled eggs later on. Also remember
   it may be called sdg or sdh etc depending what you see when you
   plug in device and type dmesg)

2. Install gparted on your machine using synaptic.
   To run it you can type
     sudo gparted
   in a console window and select on the right side the drive name allocated
   in step 1. Right click on the bar that represents the partition
   and click on manage flags.
   Enable the boot flag and click OK. This makes the SD Card / USB
   stick bootable.

3. Format the partition /dev/sdc1 to ext2 linux format.
   This format is not directly readable under WINDUMMY Osen, but there
   are free drivers for it - try for example www.fs-driver.org
   The ext2 format is many times faster than windummy FAT so
   ditching WINDUMMY file formats is advised.

4. Identify that you have syslinux or isolinux in your liveCD by
   opening the .ISO file in archive manager and checking that it has
   isolinux or syslinux directory somewhere in the liveCD.
   In ubuntu, the root directory of /dev/sdc1 will not be writeable
   unless you are in super user mode.
   You can run
        sudo file-roller
   to open iso files like xubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso in super user
   mode and extract all the files in the iso file
   to the /dev/sdc1 partition.

5. Go to the flash drive and locate the syslinux (or isolinux) directory.
   rename it to extlinux. Inside the now renamed extlinux directory will
   a file such as syslinux.cfg or isolinux.cfg. Rename that to
6. Get syslinux - this is a boot loader and menu system for FAT based
   file systems. Download the latest version from here...
   Unzip it and go to the extlinux directory.
   On my machine path is something like this....../syslinux/extlinux
   Run the program there by typing this - (note this command is updating
   the partition /dev/sdc1)

   ./extlinux --install /dev/sdc1/extlinux 

   This puts a new file into your SD card / USB flash disk

7. from the extlinux directory change to the mbr directory
   cd ../mbr
   and then run this - again note this time its updating the device by
   writing data to the first sector as opposed to the first partition.

   sudo cat mbr.bin > /dev/sdc

   (Note at this stage you may need to do some of the sudo commands after
   entering super user mode to make it work properly.
   So the above command would have been done as follows in Ubuntu.

   sudo -s
   cat mbr.bin > /dev/sdc

   This makes the card bootable and useable in an Asus EEE and many other
   PCs with SD card or USB flash disk boot facility.

This method tested and works for

1. Ubuntu
2. Slax
3. Knoppix
4. Puppy
5. DSL
6. GParted
7. gOS
8. Dynabolic
9. MoonOS Kachana
10. Xubuntu
11. TinyOS (incredible distro!)

(Note the method does not work for .ISO files built with grub bootloader - 
 need a different install method with grub boot loader instead of syslinux.)

Try installing something powerful like Ubuntu on to a netbook
and see it take netbooks to new heights.

3D Translucent Cube Desktop

The latest EEE1000 has fast enough graphics for translucent
3D desktops. An easy way to do all this with Ubuntu is:

Install Ubuntu on EEE (compiz itself
appears to be installed by default in the default install),
then install compiz settings manager using Synaptic
which allows compiz to be fully 'exercised'.
And then do the following to get the 3D cube desktop

 Go to General > Display Settings > Lighting and turned it off
 Enable Desktop Cube and then Desktop Cube > Transparent Cube and set the
 two opacity  settings to 30%
 then Desktop Cube > Skydome and check the skydome check mark
 Enable Rotate Cube
 Enable Enhanced Zoom Desktop
 Right click the virtual workspaces panel and increase the number
 of colums to 8.

And hey presto - 100% 3D translucent desktop with 8 screens!!!!!!!!!!

 [Some shortcuts for the 3D screen
  ctrl + alt + left or right arrow to spin cube
  ctrl + alt + down arrow and then left or right arrow for a ring switcher
  super + E for yet another switcher
  super + mouse wheel scroll to zoom in and out of the 3D desktop.

Reducing Font Sizes And Turning ON Sub Pixel Rendering

The EEE can be astonishingly good to look at once the
font size is reduced to about 8 and sub pixel rendering
is turned ON. It is still absolutely
readable and everything appeared like a 'full screen' miniature
desktop equivalent of a big desktop PC.
System > Appearance > Fonts get to the font settings
in Ubuntu. On software like firefox and some other applications,
need to also to set local use of fonts ( Edit > Preferences > Content 
will have font settings for firefox that also need to be changed). 

Yes! VirtualBox can run on Ubutu set up with 3D translucent desktop.

Install virtual box and then install programs like windopws XP and run
it pretty much at it would run on a normal netbook. Its hard to tell
if the netbook is running Linux or the WINDUMMY OSen when the software
is run full screen becaue the speed and responsiveness is about
the same between a real windummy OSen install and a virtual box
virtual machine running it all in Linux.


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