Thursday, September 18, 2008

SD-cards reach their true potential

SD cards used to be toys used with small cameras and mp3 players that are too easy to loose between the sofa coushins (much less MicroSD!)

Then I got an Acer Aspire One with 120Gb harddisk. Along with the harddisk comes Windows Home Edition. Let it install so I can see if the machine works. It works. Amazing what the chinese can manage for such a nice price. The whole "small portable PC sold very cheaply" concept works for me. The largest problem in the picture is the teeny weeny small screen.

Now, how to get Linux (Ubuntu 8.04.1 which supports the Atom architecture) on it? No CD/DVD-drive in the beast, and I have no USB-CD/DVD drives. I do have some spare SD cards though.

Turns out that I can download a Live CD ISO image (the Ubuntu desktop CD is also a live CD), and the very nifty UNetbootin and get a Live SD card to boot live environment or install from. Then I need a memory card reader for the SD card since the AAO (apparently) can't boot from any of its builtin SD card slots (why is that?). Then you can persue the AAO documentation in the Ubuntu Wiki to get the OS installed and all the different bits working.

Didn't even have to waste a CDR.

And, somewhat to my amazement (not having read everything about it beforehand...) the Atom CPU is hyperthreaded too, almost as good as two cores.

Let me (once again) state the obvious: Something is afoot here. It's cheap and good.

Now to get the install "transmigrated" to "lpia" which is the formal architecture name for the Atom boxes. There are lpia repositories at, and i386 and lpia are binary compatible. I also have some other Ubuntu boxes where I can debotstrap a disk image that I can transfer. Will probably post about that later.


olekvi said...

Will it PXE boot?

Nicolai said...

It will netboot yes.

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Nicolai said...

The LPIA architecture is going away from ubuntu. Not enough performance gain to justify the work.