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Old 06-18-2005, 01:28 PM   #1
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Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Earth
Distribution: SuSE + Fedora + My own
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Getting linux to boot on embedded system


I'm trying to get "my own" linux to boot on an embedded system for a robot we're building.

Here's what I did:
I formatted the embedded system's hard drive as an MS-DOS FAT. It's a 512 MB CompactFlash, that goes right into the computer and the BIOS recognizes it as the secondary master drive. (/dev/hdc in linux) It's the exact same kind of flash memory that my digital camera uses. In fact, that's how I work with it; I put it in the camera, connect the USB cable, and windows+linux recognize it as a USB mass storage.

I installed a minimal SuSE on my own desktop computer. Then I copied everything to the little computer's flash memory. I also copied the kernel I built (which works fine on my desktop).

I installed the SYSLINUX bootloader so I could boot from the FAT filesystem.

But when I boot, the kernel says:
VFS: Mounted root (msdos filesystem) readonly.
Freeing unused kernel memory: 120K freed
Warning: unable tto open an initial console.
And then it does nothing.

Could this be because the filesystem is FAT? Can linux even run off a FAT? I've heard both ways.

Or maybe the /sbin/init isn't working?

Any help would be appreciated!
Old 06-18-2005, 01:56 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Poland
Distribution: Slack 10.1, Mandrake 10.1
Posts: 118

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This linux probably is working ! Look : this message is only warning ! But it cant write to output (what is that? does it have monitor ? How do you see this message?)

Does it have COM ? If yes :
Try configure this suse (on desktop) to write output to COM ( in /etc/inittab )
then run it on robot, end try using any normal machine connect to com port.
Old 06-18-2005, 04:49 PM   #3
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Yes, it has an onboard graphics card which we can connect a monitor to.

It says "Warning", but the system won't work! Even the keyboard stops responding (usually when linux is loading, you can still type as much as you want and it will display it on the screen!)

It has a COM port, but we'd have to build the cables+connectors for it. And I've never connected to another linux box through a COM port.. I don't know how to set it up.

Last edited by BleedingEdge; 06-18-2005 at 04:53 PM.
Old 06-19-2005, 06:36 AM   #4
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Poland
Distribution: Slack 10.1, Mandrake 10.1
Posts: 118

Rep: Reputation: 15
I think when kernel writes this warning, it stops to use monitor. Can you connect to it any other way ? Does it have ethernet ? If yes you can use ssh or telnet...

To set up console on COM1 :
Add to /etc/inittab :
 # Run agetty on COM1/ttyS0 and COM2/ttyS1
s0:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -L  9600 ttyS0 vt100
Then you need cable. It should be COM -> COM . Then connect it to COM on desktop and to COM on robot. On desktop run minicom. You should see console, as on monitor.

Or you can try to guess which modules is needed in kernel. Maybe , if you have some space on flash, try to compile in every graphic card ? What Motherboard is it ?


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