Linux On Netbook

The original version of this page was created by Jonas Bark.

This special site had been recreated through!

This is only a simple HOWTO for getting your EPOC netBook to run Linux, nothing more or less.
There is a more detailed description on the Internet ( which describes it with more details. However, no links are given, so that's what I want to do.

1. Format your CF Card

You need to have a big (~300 MB) ext3-Partition and a usual Psion-FAT16 (sometimes called VFat) on your CF Disk.
There exists many tools to achieve this: I recommend either the Ubuntu Live DVD or the GParted Live CD, which is smaller for download.
Plug in your CF Disk Reader and start GParted over the menu:


You should see this window:


On the upper right drop down menu choose your CF Card. On that picture you see my finished Disk. You actually need to format your disk, create a new Ext3 Partition and another FAT16 Partition, of course, click apply after that.
This probably works in Partition Magic for Windows but I am not sure about the rest, e.g. you need to extract symbolic links to the ext3 partition which FAT32 or NTFS don't support.
Note: In my picture you see the drive is locked, to unlock it, right click on one partition and choose unmount.

2. Download necessary files

It's best if you do all the steps in Ubuntu or Gparted but you might download your files in Windows before that.
- Grab this file. It contains the necessary files for the Operating System. Extract it to the ext3 Partition (this need to be mounted, before, automount should do that automatically). Don't do that with windows, it might come to mistakes and also don't extract it to a folder in Linux before, I had bad experiences with it.


- The kernel packed in an OS.IMG. There's a probably better way with ArLo, you could have Double Boot features with it but I never got it to work, it breaks in the booting screens. Actually, I can't see any mails from the PsiLinux Mailing Lists where I had my experimental OS.IMG from so I uploaded the Image over that time to my server, I hope the posts come back.

This file needs to be placed in your VFAT Partition so EPOC can boot that.

3. Here you go

As I remember, that's all you need to do, do a Hard Reset on your Psion if you didn't do that already and it will boot up Linux. There comes a question if it should boot the CF Disk or the Initrd instead, press a key! You better plug out your WiFi card from your Psion, there might be problems that the Psion searched for a DHCP Connection which isn't configured and will hand because of that.
After a time, you will see a command prompt, type in root as username and as password. Then type in 'startx'. This will start the XServer, your graphical Linux Frontend. From this moment you are alone, I did not come further, all I tried was getting a WiFi connection. Sometimes the XServer breaks down when you plug your card in, sometimes not.
To power up the card type in the console 'killall cardmgr', then 'cardmgr' and you should see the power lights on your card. After a mail from Brian Dushaw you need to edit a file in a folder: "I just edit the appropriate file in /etc/pcmcia"
This can be done with using 'vi /etc/pcmia/file', access the Edit mode by typing the letter I. After editing, press ESC and ':wq'. Probably it will work for you, then.

As you see, so far it's nothing more than testing for me, I probably would get Firefox etc. to work…

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