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Everex_CloudBook_CE1200V

Contents

Introduction

The Everex CloudBook is a low-cost netbook, sold through WalMart's online store. It ships with an Ubuntu derivative called gOS, though (at time of release) Linux's support for the CloudBook hardware is iffy at best.

Hardware

There are caveats for just about every piece of hardware in this computer, under Linux. I'll go over them here.

Installation

These instructions are going to follow the chapters of Part 1 of the Gentoo Linux x86 Handbook. Special exceptions or considerations for the Cloudbook, in each step, will be noted here.

0: Prebuilding Binary Packages (optional)

The CloudBook is a slow computer. Building a full desktop environment could easily take weeks. I strongly recommended that you setup a chroot on a faster computer, and build your packages there. Instructions can be found in the article TIP Providing binary packages, although that article doesn't cover using a chroot for it.

Setting up a chroot for this purpose is pretty easy — it's a lot like a regular Gentoo install, except with fewer steps.

The host system should be running Linux (Gentoo isn't necessarily required). It should support all the SSE instruction sets the CloudBook does. There may be problems if the host is amd64 — I haven't tested that.

2: Choosing the Right Installation Medium

This is a bit tricky on the CloudBook, for several reasons. I'll try and go over the various options.

CD/DVD

The CloudBook has no optical drive, but reportedly USB CD/DVD drives work fine. If you have one, this will be your easiest option. I have not tried this myself.

USB stick

The simple way to explain this, is that the CloudBook won't boot from a USB stick with a valid partition table. A Gentoo LiveUSB will work under certain circumstances — the easiest being to forgo partitioning altogether and use the entire /dev/sdd (or whichever) device for the filesystem.

If GRUB is installed on the CloudBook's hard drive (with the default gOS installation, for example), you can use that to chainload a USB stick that the CloudBook otherwise wouldn't boot.

SD/MS card

I've never quite managed a successful boot from an SD card, but it may be possible.

Network boot

If you happen to have a PXE server on your network providing a bootable Linux live system, that should do the trick as well.

Probably the easiest way to make this happen is to boot up another computer with Knoppix and start its terminal server — but do NOT do this on a network that already has a DHCP server!

PXE works only over Ethernet, not WiFi.

3: Configuring your Network

The 2.6.24-r7 kernel used by the 2008.0 installer seems at first to support the WiFi adapter, but it will lose its connection frequently. Lowering the speed it runs at will lessen, but not entirely fix, the issue. To lower the speed, type iwconfig wlan0 rate 1M.

You're much better off using Ethernet until you can reboot into a 2.6.25 kernel.

4: Preparing the Disks

As mentioned above, the hard drive is /dev/hdc.

Warning: Certain partition layouts will make the CloudBook boot process disregard the hard drive.

In particular, having a small /boot partition at the beginning of the drive will render the hard drive unbootable.

It's easily fixed by repartitioning, but you won't find out this happened until Chapter 10, and you'll have to redo the whole installation.

If you need a separate partition for /boot, putting it at the end of the disk should work alright.

The hard drive included in the CloudBook is a fairly slow one, so you may want to use an ext2 filesystem.

5: Installing the Gentoo Installation Files

Naturally, you should use an x86 i686 stage3 here.

Some good CFLAGS for the C7-M: "-march=i686 -mmmx -msse -msse2 -msse3 -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"

7: Configuring the Kernel

You're going to want at least a 2.6.25 kernel, for sound and WiFi to work well.

Here are some good kernel options for the CloudBook hardware. Where I put M, unless there's a note otherwise, I mean it's (as far as I know, and probably untested) okay to have it as either a module or built-in. Personally, I find it's easier to build the drivers in, unless it's something I have to reload/reset fairly often. The proper IDE driver settings are a bit of a mystery to me right now — maybe someone else would have a better idea of them. These aren't all the options you'll need to have enabled; they're only the ones directly related to the CloudBook hardware. Also, you don't have to turn these all on if you're not going to use them (for example, the PadLock ACE driver, if you're not going to use kernel crypto)

Linux Kernel Configuration: Everex CloudBook
General setup  --->
  [*] Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers
Processor type and features  --->
  Subarchitecture Type (PC-compatible)  --->
  Processor family (Pentium-Pro)  --->
  High Memory Support (off)  --->
Power management options  --->
  [*] Power Management support
  [*] ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) Support  --->
    <M>   AC Adapter
    <M>   Battery
    <M>   Button
    <*>   Processor
    <*>     Thermal Zone
  CPU Frequency scaling  --->
    [*] CPU Frequency scaling
    <*>   VIA C7 Enhanced PowerSaver

Leaving the CPU scaling driver as a module will probably slow down booting.

Bus options (PCI etc.)  --->
  [*] PCI support
Networking  --->
  [*] Networking support
  Wireless  --->
    <M> Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack (mac80211)
Device Drivers  --->
  <M> Connector - unified userspace <-> kernelspace linker  --->

Connector is needed for uvesafb.

  <*> ATA/ATAPI/MFM/RLL support  --->
    <*>   Enhanced IDE/MFM/RLL disk/cdrom/tape/floppy support
    <*>     Include IDE/ATA-2 DISK support
    <*>     generic/default IDE chipset support
    <*>     Generic PCI IDE Chipset Support
    <*>     VIA82CXXX chipset support
  SCSI device support  --->
    <M> SCSI disk support
  [*] Network device support
    [*]   Ethernet (10 or 100Mbit)  --->
      [*]   EISA, VLB, PCI and on board controllers
      <M>   RealTek RTL-8129/8130/8139 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter support
    Wireless LAN  --->
      [*] Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11)
      <M>   Realtek 8187 USB support
  Input device support  --->
    <M>   Event interface
    [*]   Mice  --->
      <M>   PS/2 mouse
  Character devices  --->
    <M> Hardware Random Number Generator Core support
    <M>   VIA HW Random Number Generator support
  Graphics support  --->
    <M> Support for frame buffer devices  --->
      <M>   Userspace VESA VGA graphics support

uvesafb this will only work as a module, unless you use an initramfs.

    Console display driver support  --->
      <M> Framebuffer Console support
  Sound  --->
    Advanced Linux Sound Architecture  --->
      <M> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
      PCI devices  --->
        <M> Intel HD Audio
        [*]   Build VIA HD-audio codec support
  [*] USB support  --->
    <M>   Support for Host-side USB
    <M>     EHCI HCD (USB 2.0) support
    <M>     UHCI HCD (most Intel and VIA) support
    <M>   USB Mass Storage support
<M> Cryptographic API  --->
  [*]   Hardware crypto devices  --->
    <M>   Support for VIA PadLock ACE
    <M>     PadLock driver for AES algorithm
    <M>     PadLock driver for SHA1 and SHA256 algorithms

10: Configuring the Bootloader

You may need to add "irqpoll" to your kernel command line, to prevent it from wasting three minutes during bootup trying to get the SD slot working.

Post-install configuration

Video

The 800x480 native resolution of the display is an uncommon one, and the software will need a bit of assistance in using it. Luckily, this is one of the few systems that make the proper display mode available via VBE. Note that the mode description for 800x480 that I'm providing here is one of many that will work.

Kernel framebuffer

The original vesafb seems to be unable to use the 800x480 widescreen mode, but uvesafb seems to handle it without trouble. You'll need this in your /etc/fb.modes file:

Code: /etc/fb.modes
mode "800x480"
  geometry   800 480   1024 2984   8
  timings    25000   72 8   3 81   128 4
  hsync low
  vsync low
endmode

X11

As of this writing, the stable version of the openchrome driver does not support the chipset in the CloudBook. You'll need to either build your own copy of openchrome from their svn, or just use vesa for now.

The modeline you'll need is

Code: 800x480 Modeline
Modeline "800x480" 40.00 800 808 936 1008 480 561 565 568 -hsync -vsync

You can put that in the Monitor section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Audio

The ALSA mixer channels for this hardware are unusual. You'll need to turn up the volume on Master Front and Front to hear sound.

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Last modified: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 06:17:00 +0000 Hits: 850