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Old 13th April 2009
insomniadmx insomniadmx is offline
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Default Adding apps to an obscure OpenBSD based distro

Hello,

My friend gave me a banged up old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S253 laptop. The battery was long dead and the hard drive was constantly corrupting OSes installed onto it. I decided to make it my dedicated workshop machine. All I want it to do is play MP3s and have applications for a calculator and text editor. I didn't want to buy a new HDD or boot from a CD or flash drive, so I thought I'd use a floppy (or two if I absolutely have to).

I thought at first I'd make a MSDOS boot disk (as I'm pretty familiar with DOS) and put a sound driver with applications that met my needs. As it turned out, there are no drivers for this laptop's sound card for DOS, so DOS on a floppy was ruled out.

I knew that I'd never get a version of Windows on a floppy that could use the Windows drivers for the laptop, plus I just don't want Windows on this thing anyway, so none of that.

Next, I looked around for a distro of Linux that fits on a floppy. I couldn't really find what I was looking for, all of the ones I found either wouldn't detect my sound card or were meant for things like turning old PCs into firewalls or raid drives or whatnot.

I was starting to get frustrated until I found a OpenBSD 4.1 based distro that fits on a floppy...
KarmaBSD:

http://www.freebsd.nfo.sk/opbsd/karmabsdeng.htm

It detected my sound card and played MP3s flawlessly with MPG123, so I decided to go with it. I then went hunting for the calculator and text editor, since they weren't included (I think it has "ed" in it, but I need more luxury than that ). The calculator app that seemed to offer the most power within the smallest filesize that I could find was Calcoo, which I guess is a port of a Gentoo Linux app. Finding the right text editor was a bit harder though, as I wanted something as similar as possible to MSDOS's "edit.exe". I decided to go with easy editor or "ee" which I've heard is only for FreeBSD, but hey. I found precompiled versions of both of these on in a file index of OpenBSD 4.1 apps on the web. I threw them both on a FAT16 formatted floppy (for convenience, because I usually use Windows) which I successfully mounted after booting up KarmaBSD. They would not run, however.

Calcoo gives me a nondescript error message "Abort trap" and ee gives me a bunch of jumbled letters. I have a feeling I shouldn't put only the binaries on the disk, but the entire package...

I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what I'm doing wrong, or give me any tips or anything, or any suggestions of different apps other than the ones I've chosen. Perhaps I should be worrying about prerequisites (and if that's the case, then I doubt I can fit these all on one disk), and perhaps the apps are screwing up because the disk is being mounted to "/mnt" which I think might be a read only directory. I can maneuver around in a unix shell well enough, but I'm not extremely competent either, so any help is appreciated.

Also, I want to know how to check the space left on a floppy disk. I'm hoping that I can put the two apps on the same floppy as the OS and mpg123, but as they weigh a little under 300 kb altogether, I'm starting to doubt it. I don't really mind using two floppies though.

I'm just eager to play music in my shop so I can distract myself at the table saw and cut my fingers off.

Last edited by insomniadmx; 13th April 2009 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 13th April 2009
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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OpenBSD 4.1 has not been supported for two years. In this particular instance, if you insist on adding features to someone's turn-key MP3 player, you should contact the author, who is mentioned at the website you reference.

If you'd like to learn the rudiments of managing OpenBSD, so that you can determine exactly what you can or cannot do with it, start with a general modern complete release. If you don't have spare hardware, OpenBSD can be installed in a virtual machine (such as Qemu) on an existing OS, such as Windows.
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Old 13th April 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
OpenBSD 4.1 has not been supported for two years. In this particular instance, if you insist on adding features to someone's turn-key MP3 player, you should contact the author, who is mentioned at the website you reference.

If you'd like to learn the rudiments of managing OpenBSD, so that you can determine exactly what you can or cannot do with it, start with a general modern complete release. If you don't have spare hardware, OpenBSD can be installed in a virtual machine (such as Qemu) on an existing OS, such as Windows.
The author of the "distro" is a quite well known Slovakian system administrator who specializes in FreeBSD. The floppy in question as well as similar firewall version of OpenBSD 4.1 were created by him while he tried to learn something about OpenBSD. I think, I recall him asking something trivial on misc@ about a year ago.
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Old 14th April 2009
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insomniadmx View Post
Hello,

My friend gave me a banged up old Toshiba Satellite 1805-S253 laptop.
That's a fairly usable laptop, this should be a Pentium 3 laptop.. much faster then some of my secondary workstations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by insomniadmx View Post
I didn't want to buy a new HDD or boot from a CD or flash drive, so I thought I'd use a floppy (or two if I absolutely have to).
A floppy drive is rather low capacity, you can't possible create a usable workstation with that kind of constraint.. specifications I've located indicate it has a USB port, why not use a flash drive? your BIOS might support booting from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by insomniadmx View Post
I found precompiled versions of both of these on in a file index of OpenBSD 4.1 apps on the web.

Calcoo gives me a nondescript error message "Abort trap" and ee gives me a bunch of jumbled letters.
First of all, packages have dependencies.. this specific graphical calculator package depends on a lot of things, X11 libraries.. GLIB.. GTK.. FreeType... PNG... and quite a bit more.

This package index may have even been for a different architecture.. OpenBSD supports far more then your traditional x86-based laptop.

And in conclusion, OpenBSD 4.1 is not supported anymore.. nor are 3rd party derivatives.. please consider obtaining either a replacement hard drive or a sufficient USB flash device.

Using the official installation CD-ROM would be your best choice, even a default installation is quite small when compared with other modern Unix systems.
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Old 14th April 2009
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BSDfan666's recommendation of a USB device is an excellent one; the entire OS will fit nicely on a 512MB stick, though a more modern stick (with more storage) would be recommended, to eliminate the write-lifespan-limitations of earlier technology, and allow the installation of packages. Or an external USB disk drive could be used. USB storage devices appear as SCSI hard drives to the OS (sd0, sd1, ...), and if your BIOS allows, could be bootable. If not, you could still boot from floppy or CD, yet have your root and other partitions remain on USB.

Another option is a LiveCD. I offer six different ISOs for different purposes, one of which might meet your needs. (The 4.5-release versions are in beta test and available, if interested.)

There were a lot of LiveCD versions of OpenBSD over the years, as far as I know, mine and Stephan Rickauer's (bsdanywhere.org) are the only general purpose ones that are maintained. Stephan has a much cooler website than I do ... his is very pretty, mine is just some static pages written with OpenOffice. We've traded technical information; much that we do under the covers is similar, though we have different goals in mind.

(There is one special purpose LiveCD that is also maintained and supported. It's called LOCKSS, and is used in library preservation. See www.lockss.org for info.)
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