Notelinux is a list for discussing freesoft, and related topics notelinux at romuald.net.eu.org
Thu Jul 15 00:00:16 MST 2010

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Hi Derek and all,

yes, we're still alive, though as you can tell, the list isn't lively
indeed. I had meant to reply to your first message back in what was it
... January, but I wanted to give others the chance to do so
first. After that, I must admit that slipped my mind.

Since nobody else has seen it fit to reply, let me try to explain where
things stand as best as I can. We started out with the original
braillenote (I.E. braillenote classic, with the classic motherboard,
though units with the second edition board still used the same
processor as the classic board units). You can read about our efforts
in the list archives. In a nut shell, Sabahattin had written a boot
loader for the bn called cyace, which was based on a netbsd pocketpc
boot loader, the name of which escapes me at the moment. We managed to
get an old mips linux kernel running on the bn, but weren't able to
access hardware such as the flashdisk, braille display, and so on, it
was basically a proof of concept. I had then tried to build a more
modern linux kernel, but couldn't get it to display output over the
bn's serial port, though it did seem to boot.

Given the state of the mips port of the linux kernel, we then decided
to switch to netbsd, which had, and still has, a mips port which
was/is maintained. I do recall that I never managed to get a netbsd
kernel built, but I've forgotten exactly what happened. As you know,
the bn has since undergone a good deal of hardware changes, and now
runs on the xscale processor if I'm not mistaken. After your message
in January, I did briefly discuss with Sabahattin the prospect of
porting the tools that Sabahattin wrote to the mpower. Sabahattin says
from what I recall, that since Humanware doesn't use xbase anymore in
the newer versions of keysoft, we wouldn't be able to use the
Humanware xbase SDK on the mpower, which we were able to use for
developing utilities that worked on the older units.

To compound the problem, Humanware hasn't been willing to either
provide units for us to work with, nor to provide us with hardware
specs. Also, out of our 3-member developer team currently,
J. R. doesn't have a braillenote as far as I know, and I don't have
one either anymore. I found out recently that Sabahattin has an
mpower, but I'll let Sabahattin speak for himself.

I know you had indicated your willingness in January to use your unit
as a test-bed machine. However, since we apparently don't have a
starting point anymore due to the lack of xbase, and since 2 of us
don't have units to work with, I'm afraid there's nothing to test at
the moment. If
you look through the list archives, you'll see that the existence of
this group came into question with no way currently to achieve our
objective of an alternative to keysoft, and the question was asked if
this group should just cease. However, since there weren't a lot of
comments for, or against, we're still here.

You are certainly welcome to look through the list archives, and have
a look at our utilities for the old bn units at:


, but unfortunately those are the only suggestions I have at the
moment. Any other comments are welcome of course, especially from our
2 other developers.


On Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 06:36:01PM +1300, Notelinux is a list for discussing freesoft, and related topics wrote:
> Hi,
> Is anyone alive here? And if so, has there been any freesoft/MPower
> success (I.e can we get something custom to boot on it)? I'm not that
> good at low level hardware stuff, but if I can be of any help getting
> something working on an mpower I'd like to try it. My bn doesn't do
> too much these days (the linux machine has taken over) so if it breaks
> somehow, I don't really care. And besides, running linux or some
> varient of unix on a bn just sounds fun. :)
> Anyway if anyone's around, and if me or my bn can be of any help,
> please let me know!
> Thanks, Derek Roberts, KJ4UFX.
> _______________________________________________
> Notelinux mailing list
> Notelinux at romuald.net.eu.org
> http://www.romuald.net.eu.org/mailman/listinfo/notelinux

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