Thursday, July 30, 2009

While we’re on the topic of Linux … try this for a bit of fun

Taking a break for a moment from our favourite pocketable world changing little chicklet, I muse that It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a piece of hardware in possession of a perfectly usable OS must be in want of a Linux distro.

Take this piece of obsolete GOLD, for example, which would have set you back $1500 back in good old 2004:

image

So what if it looks like an electric typewriter? That’s its only downside.  This is the Psion Netbook Pro, the great grandfather of today’s eeePC, MSI Wind and Dell Minis.  It’s about the same highly portable yet usable size as any modern netbooky-type PeeCee, and came with a still respectable 400mhz Intel XScale PXA255 processor, 128MB of RAM, an SVGA 800 x 600 touchscreen, an AMAZING KEYBOARD which you could actually touch type on, and in the best design the perfectly usable Microsoft Windows CE NET 4.2.  So well loved – not in fact - is the OS on this otherwise potentially great machine, that its little brother, the Psion Netbook, with 32MB RAM and a 190 MHZ chip – but running the elegant EPOC (the predecessor to the Symbion OS which powers many of today’s mobile phones) - often sells for at least $50 more on Ebay.

Why do I mention all this? Well, I bought one the other day, and I love it.  In fact, you can buy a Netbook Pro today on Ebay for less than a hundred bucks – if you’re lucky, perhaps even for $83.91. So, it’s an incredible bargain, if you need an extremely cheap yet absolutely capable mini-PC which you can actually do productive work on. And it runs Linux – even though no one seems to know about this.  I put this down to the fact that the few Psion sites remaining in the known universe look like they were written for NCSA Mosiac (like this one) and appear to have all ceased activity by 2007, while it was only until 25 May 2009 that someone actually posted a message on HPC forums describing how to do it.

While the information on how to get Linux onto it (including the files required to do this) is not too hard to Google for, it is not obvious. So, to help the undeservingly unthriving Psion Netbook Pro lovers out there, this is how you do it: http://psionlinux.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-install-linux-on-psion-netbook.html 

Now, can anyone do a C64 Emulator for this?

3 comments :

  1. Holy crap, I thought I was reading a tech blog for a second there! That's a cool old piece, just

    Yes that looks like it would have set me on fire back in the day.

    Have you gotten any emulators to run on it yet?
    Heck, even CE has quite a few old games and apps that'll run.

    Have fun with your new toy! Keep us updated!

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  2. Great device, at a great price (BTW: if i had something like this, i'd probabilly never got my dingoo). But why bother with a custom linux system when for few more money you can get a far more powerful well supported machine like an eeePC?
    About the C64... you can try this procedure
    http://a320.freeforums.org/how-to-run-debian-mipsel-application-on-dingux-t895.html
    with this
    http://packages.debian.org/unstable/otherosfs/vice
    (can't really say if it could actually work, though)

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  3. I want to get one to play with now.
    (I love crap like this! Gadgets are why I have a Dingoo! Gadgets and gaming.)
    You'll have to let us know what you do with this little gem.

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