1. Started 10 year with Debian

    Today I talked with Dodji Seketeli about misc things and noticed that I started 10 year of using Debian GNU/Linux.

    First attempts were on my Amiga 1200 equipped with Apollo 1240/40 expansion board (I had 32/48/64MB of RAM on it) and Fast-ATA controller. After installation of “slink” I was playing with system and then moved to “potato”. In Polish Amiga magazine “eXec” I put my article about installing Debian on Amiga systems and also updated “potato” official installation guide. Those were crazy times. All I had was VGA mono text console because running X11 on AGA graphics chipset resulted in very slow display so it was unusable for any serious use. But I learnt lot of things which I was not able to learn on my user accounts on misc x86 Linux boxes. For example with my friend we connected his Commodore 128D via serial line and used to do email/www/irc from it (via serial->ssh connection).

    It was also first time when I used cross-compiler — I used PentiumII based Linux machine to build Amiga (m68k) kernels. It gave nice speedup (also due to much faster harddisk interface).

    In 2001 I sold my Amiga system and moved to x86 land. Here amount of available Linux distributions was much wider (for Amiga/m68k only Debian was available) but as I knew Debian I decided to stick with it. After years I have to admit that it was one of my best decisions when it comes to computers.

    I even used Debian on 386sx based PC with 5MB of memory — it was nice terminal to my main box :)

    Why Debian and not Red Hat/Mandriva/LFS/Gentoo? I think that this is due to DFSG and that license stuff is very good solved. As a result I do not have to check license of application if I want to hack it. I only need to check does it is in “main” part of repository.

    OK, some people can say that Debian has very long release cycle… But I use “sid” (aka “unstable”) not releases (aka “stable”) so the only thing which touch my systems is sometimes lack of newest software (but usually it lands in “experimental” branch).

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  2. 2008 timeline

    2008 is ending. As before it was very good year. I have very nice daughter, our family has new flat. My company has clients with interesting projects.









    • Intel acquired OpenedHand — I got job offer in UK but decided to not move. It was nice to visit London again, too bad that I lacked time to see anything (as usual). The whole trip was crazy (have you ever travelled on the night bus standing for 4 hours straight?)
    • We visited my parents and I was asked (again) what exactly I do for living. So I answered and my mother understood.
    • I resolved problem with Nokia N8x0 tablets emulation — one flag needs to be unset to make Maemo boot in QEMU.




    • Unpacked Progear webpad to check how recent kernels work on it and update it’s configuration in OpenEmbedded a bit.


    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  3. BUG has arrived

    On Thursday I got package from DHL courier (one note for future: if you need to send me something by courier service avoid Fedex). Inside was nice box with BugLabs logo.

    After unpacking I got BUG, or to be more precise:

    • BUGbase
    • BUGview module
    • BUGmotion module
    • VonHippel module
    • BUGlocate module
    • external antenna for BUGlocate GPS
    • power supply
    • SD->microSD adapter
    • 2GB microSD card

    This is how modules look:

    Base and modules
    Base and modules

    VonHippel is interesting module as it gives access to I²C, serial, I²S, DAC, ADC, GPIO, SPI, power signals. It is named after MIT professor Eric von Hippel (because he thought of it!) author of “Democratizing Innovation”. This module allows to connect just about anything electronic to the BUG. Interview with professor can be seen on BUG Blogger website.

    VonHippel module
    VonHippel module

    Size is comparable with Nokia N810 tablet. Would be nice to get 800x480 screen for BUG (i.mx31 has OpenGL acceleration).

    BUGbase on bottom, N810 on top
    BUGbase on bottom, N810 on top
    BUGbase on bottom, N810 on top
    BUGbase on bottom, N810 on top

    This is usual configuration when I work with device (just screen and VonHippel):

    Top view with screen and VH attached
    Top view with screen and VH attached

    There is 64MB of flash in device but by default it boots from microSD card (2GB one was in package). This allows for easy rootfs tweaking/updating. Kernel flashing takes lot of time but we plan to work on other methods of booting kernel.

    microSD, USB, Handylink, power switch, power LED, power. USB Host in VonHippel
    microSD, USB, Handylink, power switch, power LED, power. USB Host in VonHippel

    With all modules plugged in it starts to be thick… You can notice 4 function keys on left side, joystick and button on right and monochrome screen between. By default it shows clock and icons of plugged modules but with joystick some system menu can be used.

    Front view with all modules plugged in
    Front view with all modules plugged in

    Whole device is powered by BUG Linux which is based on Poky ‘pinky’ release with some updates. Access to all modules is only from Java at that moment. But that not mean that it is closed device — everything in BUG and its modules is open and free. There is a WiFi module (not released yet) which uses chipset from “libertas” family (same family as the one in OLPC).

    I am curious what will future bring for this tool.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  4. Beavers invasion

    Today my workplace was invaded by beavers. But they are not normal beavers but Poky Linux ones.

    At the beginning there was just one of them — he came and checked clock to know which timezone is in use here:

    First was one
    First was one

    Few minutes later his companies arrived and synchronized clocks:

    Synchronizing clocks
    Synchronizing clocks

    After few minutes they invaded my working place…


    Good that they are friendly and came to help me support Poky Linux based systems :)

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  5. Alix.1c and Koala MiniPC case

    Today I got case for Alix.1c mainboard. For reminding: this is PC Engines board in mini-ITX format, powered by AMD Geode LX800.

    Package arrived from Koan Software and contained one of their products: MiniPC 2PCI case.

    Package contents

    There were many addons in the box:

    • 60W 12V AC adapter
    • 2.5” ATA -> Slim DVD/CD adapter
    • PCI riser for 2 slots
    • wall mounting elements
    • 2.5” ATA 3.5” ATA adapters
    • bracket for 3 DB9 connectors (additional serials anyone?)

    AC adapter is added because case contains small PSU with few connectors. I do not use it because Alix.1c mainboard consists similar one already (and lack ATX power connector).

    Inside view

    Inside case there is a lot of space available:

    Inside view
    Inside view

    There are mounting places for 3.5” HDD, 2.5” HDD and slim DVD/CD drive (signal adapter attached). There are also 2 fans (60mm each) but I left them not connected (Alix does not require cooling and lack sockets for fans).

    Front panel

    Front view
    Front view

    Front panel has 2 USB sockets, HDD and power leds and power button. As usual in mini-ITX cases there is no Reset button. Not present in my case (but available as option) is CompactFlash slot accessible from front. I did not ordered it because Alix has such one integrated.


    Case is very high quality made — no sharp edges, easy access to all peripherals. And all those addons which are in a box makes overall cost smaller. If someone is searching for good mini-ITX case then MiniPC ones are good choice (and there is smaller version without place for PCI cards).

    PCI 3.3V :(

    As I wrote before I plan to make router based on Alix.1c — but after putting it into case I discovered one problem with board itself. It has 3.3V PCI slot so I have no use of PCI riser which was added to case. Will search for VIA one because it is universal (3.3V/5V) so I will get slots (but have to remember that cards have to accept 3.3V signals).

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  6. Company changes

    Few months ago I decided that after 2 years of “HaeRWu Marcin Juszkiewicz” company it is good time to drop first part. The reason was simple — “HaeRWu” is hard to pronounce for English speaking people (and not only them). And I think that I am more known as Marcin Juszkiewicz in community then by my company name.

    As next step I bought “juszkiewicz.com.pl” domain for all of my private and company things. And today moved this website to new address. Old ones will work of course — they redirect to proper one.

    All email addresses will work too.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  7. I am going to FOSDEM 2009

    I already bought tickets for bus to/from Berlin, planes tickets and booked room in Astrid hotel.

    The plan starts on Thursday with Berlinia bus from Szczecin to Berlin Schoenefeld (SXF) airport. Then Easyjet flight number 4701 (16:00) to Brussels (BRU) and from there to Astrid hotel. I will do return trip on Sunday — Easyjet flight number 4702 (20:50), then bus to Szczecin.

    So if you want to meet me before FOSDEM crazy time you can catch me on Thursday evening or Friday (rather morning as I plan to do walk around a bit to see something other then hotel and conference).

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  8. Is it time to replace WRT54GS?

    Since few months I have 10/1Mbps network connection (downlink/uplink). Recently it was downgraded to 1/1Mbps and I had no idea why. Finally it appeared that my router was the problem…

    Exact reason was QoS which I enabled few days ago. It looks like DD-WRT which I use now can not handle it on WRT54GS without degrading network speed. For now I disabled this but it is not an option because I plan to use VoIP more in next months so I need warranty that it will get all bandwidth it needs never mind what else would be running.

    Current plans are to make use of Alix 1.c which I have from PC Engines. Soon I will have nice case for it so the only things to buy will be miniPCI WiFi card (friends suggested getting one of Atheros based ones) and 1GbE network card. I already have 2GB CompactFlash for rootfs and spare 2.5” hdd which will be used for storage.

    This configuration should be fast enough to have more functions then just router/AP. I plan to make it also printer/scanner server and probably there will be some more to add.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
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