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Old 09-11-2017, 11:00 AM   #1
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Trying to find a Linux to run on Wyse V90L (2008 vintage)

I have a Wyse V90L thin client from 2008. It's got 512 MB RAM and 512 MB flash memory (DOM; drive on module). It used to have a functioning installation of Windows XP Embedded but after trying to update the drivers for my Belkin Bluetooth adapter, it is no longer able to boot into Windows and my attempts to correct this have failed.

I've been trying to find Linux distributions that I can use (via Internet searches for my hardware) and have tried the following distributions with two different USB flash drives which sometimes give different results when booting:

Porteus-KDE-v3.2.2-i586 - crashes with an unmovable mouse cursor on a black background
AnitaOS4.31v1 - error on boot:
ISOLINUX 4.01 debian-20100714 ETCD Copyright (C) 1994-2010 H. Peter Anvin et al
No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!
boot: _
slax-English-UK-7.0.8-i486 - error on boot: flashing cursor top left of screen
CorePlus-current - works but cannot be installed to the DOM because it doesn't seem to see it.

I've been using PowerISO to write the bootable USB drives.

I would prefer to install to the internal flash memory.

The only thing I want to do with it is use this* teleprompter software, ideally with my Bluetooth remote control.

*Link removed because I don't yet have 15 posts.
Old 09-12-2017, 10:14 AM   #2
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Is this computer attached to a network via ethernet cable? If so, then I would recommend putting only /boot on the flash memory, and using it to boot off an nfs share on another computer (running linux or BSD or MacOS or something else *nix-like).

That way, you can use a full featured modern OS without worrying about running out of drive space, and it still doesn't use up one of your USB ports. Not worrying about running out of drive space is one less thing to worry about when it comes to getting that Bluetooth adapter working.

I have a simple how-to for doing this here:

You'll have to initially do a minimal install with /boot in the flash memory and the rest of / on a USB drive, because 512MB isn't quite enough for a default minimal Debian install (you can do it if you know what you're doing, but for your use it's probably more trouble than it's worth). But after you're done setting up /boot on the flash memory, you no longer need the USB drive install.

FWIW, I have had good luck with getting bluetooth working with Debian. I have a cheap Rocketfish brand USB bluetooth adapter, and internal bluetooth adapter "Cambridge Silicon Radio" on a Motion Computing J3500. In both cases, they worked fine. Well, as fine as bluetooth is on Linux in general...unfortunately bluetooth software on linux is a pain.
Old 09-12-2017, 06:44 PM   #3
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The computer is attached to a network via ethernet but I don't want to have to install Linux on my primary machine to make this work; I'd rather just buy a Raspberry Pi than do that! If 512 MB really isn't enough then I can use the internal USB header to leave a 1 GB USB flash drive hot glued inside the case.

I'm trying to install Debian at the moment but stuck at the following error:

 [!!] Configure the package manager

    The installer failed to access the mirror. This may be a problem with your network, or with the mirror. You can choose to retry the download, select a different mirror, or ignore the problem and continue without all the packages from this mirror.

    Downloading a file failed:

        Change mirror
Every mirror I try fails in the same way but it takes a while to do so. There seem to be hundreds of mirrors and I don't want to try everyone to find out which aren't dead. Is the error literally correct? Did downloading of a single file fail or did every file fail to download?

Setting up the network automatically via DHCP succeeded as did acquiring the time from the Internet so I believe my Internet connection is sound. No option to view an error log is presented.
Old 09-13-2017, 03:25 AM   #4
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If you're going to hack a USB drive internally, might as well make it a decent size - like 8GB or more - rather than 1GB.

It's not technically necessary to install Linux to have an nfs file server. But I have no experience with using a Windows nfs file server, so I don't know how much of a pain it is to get working.

It sounds like it's not a problem with the mirrors (since it takes a while), but rather that you're running out of disc space. This would definitely happen if you're trying to install onto a 512MB partition alone, or if you are doing anything other than a MINIMAL install onto a 1GB USB drive. For a minimal install, you want to deselect all software suites in the software suite selection menu before continuing.

It's definitely possible to do a minimal Debian 9 installation to a 1GB thumbdrive. I did that for my Mac Mini, and the result in the end took up about 700MB.
Old 09-13-2017, 03:36 AM   #5
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Now, if you know what you are doing, it's possible to cram a usable system into 512MB including all of the stuff required for your bluetooth remote. The basic strategy would be:

1) Do a minimal install to a comfortably large USB drive, perhaps onto a compressed btrfs partition.

2) Add stuff necessary to get your stuff working

apt-get install xorg xfce4 lightdm bluetooth pulseaudio-module-bluetooth
apt-get clean
<...other stuff to pair with the remote, install the teleprompter software, etc...>
3) Delete all sorts of stuff that isn't completely necessary to pare this sucker down to below 512MB...good luck with that! Here's where you really need linux experience and expertise to figure out what can go and what needs to stay.

4) Use a LiveCD/USB to shrink that partition to below 512MB and then clone it to the internal flash drive.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:50 AM   #6
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You could do a debootstrap minimal install, which is typcally < 400MB. But by the time you add X and a web browser you've crested 1GB on the install base. Perhaps you could chainload from the on board storage to offboard storage (PXE?) and have something usable.
Old 09-14-2017, 03:51 PM   #7
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Wonder what all is in this link. ?

Reports of linux here.

A better usb flash may be an option along with using a different method of placing the iso to a usb.

Testing your downloads may be of some help.

Testing with memtest may be a quick start. See if all supposed memory is there and tests OK>
Old 09-14-2017, 04:26 PM   #8
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It's a thin client, use it like one. PXE boot it with LTSP on a server and run it that way? Can't imagine good results any other way, it isn't designed for all that.

Last edited by jmgibson1981; 09-14-2017 at 04:28 PM.


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