OPENSTEP 4.2 on the tiny eBox slab

Started by pitz, November 15, 2016, 01:12:42 pm

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pitz

I recently obtained a tiny eBox 3350MX (specs at http://www.compactpc.com.tw/product.aspx?act=detail&id=12). I was planning to use it for something else, but thought I'd try to copy over a virtual disk image from VirtualBox and see if I can make some tweaks to get OPENSTEP running.  This is a very portable unit and powered through a regular USB 5V 2A cable.

https://goo.gl/photos/Q6aiD3kwTVNa9X1XA

This has got to be the tiniest i386 to run OPENSTEP!  The only change needed in the default BIOS settings is to enable Legacy IDE mode, probably to have the SD card controller behave like a true IDE controller.

https://goo.gl/photos/syWzvn4FGfFbVkWq5

The unit is capable of displaying 8-bit 1280x1024 using the OPENSTEP VESA VBE 2.0 display driver, as long as your VGA monitor supports that resolution. My own monitor doesn't, and I had to settle for the 8-bit 1024x768 setting.  Also, the OPENSTEP IDE/EIDE driver need to be the latest (v4.03), available from the Beta drivers disk.  Older versions of the driver were exhibiting errors similar to the errors I see when using the same older versions on VirtualBox installations.

https://goo.gl/photos/nEMAASykcgcUxjHR9
https://goo.gl/photos/LpXYkjf3aWk8dJbw6

The USB-attached keyboard works, even though there are no PS/2 ports. There is probably no hardware probing in the keyboard driver.  The mouse cannot be found and we surely don't yet have drivers for the Realtek-based audio and Ethernet hardware.

Here's a video of the boot up process.  Quite okay on a 933MHz Intel SoC platform:

https://youtu.be/SXxJ-JQYS0s

Now, all we need to write are drivers for USB EHCI, USB mouse, Ethernet, and audio.  :?

jminiko

Hello there,
I bought the same pc on which you installed OS4.2,
from what I understood , I guess you run it in a VM instead directly onto the pc.
My 2 cents: can OpenStep be directly installed on this PC without needing a VM?
Cause I tried and the process get into a panic mode after selecting dual IDE/EIDE (v4.03)
with the sdcard (8gb) attached to it,
would it be feasible?
Regards,
Jim

mikeboss

a few years back, I also ran OS 4.2 on a super cheap and small embedded PC -> http://www.nextcomputers.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2995

this has a PS/2 port and the mouse worked.

regards,
michael
October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level

pitz

Quote from: "jminiko"Hello there,
My 2 cents: can OpenStep be directly installed on this PC without needing a VM?
Cause I tried and the process get into a panic mode after selecting dual IDE/EIDE (v4.03)
with the sdcard (8gb) attached to it,
would it be feasible?


Not from what I know.  OPENSTEP does not recognize the USB-attached CD drive as ATAPI over IDE/EIDE so cannot find the installation CD to continue with the installation.

Best approach is to use an emulator (VirtualBox or other), update the drivers in the emulator, then "dd/copy" the emulator disk image over to an SD card for booting the eBox.

As I mentioned, you won't have mouse control because the eBox-3350MX does not have a PS/2 port.  Maybe the 3300MX-series is a better choice (I know I couldn't get the 43xx-series to work, but I don't have a 3300MX to test with).

Another thing to look at is that the Realtek Ethernet hardware may support the NE2K driver available for OPENSTEP.  I didn't get a chance to test this.