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newKludged Etch for the Psion 5mx (beta)


Linux on the Psion 5mx

A kludged linux for the Psion 5mx 
Based on  Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 ARM port.

A.J.Wells home 

1.         Introduction.
1.1.      Why Linux?
1.2.      What works?
1.3.      Features.
1.4.      The Psion 5mx specifications.
2.         Swapping between EPOC and Linux.
3.         The compact flash card installation procedure.
4.         Setting up the system.
4.1.      The Matchbox GUI.
4.2.      Applications.
4.3.      Mounting system partitions.
4.4.      The keyboard and setting keys.
4.5.      Frame buffer depth.
4.6.      Sleeping when not in use.
4.7.      How do I get back to EPOC?
4.8.      Installing new packages.
4.9.      System control.
4.10.    Sound
4.11.    Printing.

1. Introduction

The Psion 5mx, although now over-shadowed by the new generation of PDA, is still a very capable machine. Using its own proprietary EPOC operating system, it provides a basic organiser for most every day needs, although development of the Psion and EPOC has ceased. Its use however, can be regenerated by the installation of the Linux OS. This allows the organiser to become a miniature, multi user, multitasking, network enabled UNIX machine, which can be used for many applications. Of course it has its limits, but for someone who is familiar with the Unix/Linux console tools it is surprising what can be achieved. I personally have used it to store contact details, keep notes, as a training tool, to browse the web, for E-mail and ICQ messages, and to write reports and catalogue information. It can be customised to the user's requirements by installing various applications. Above all it has a proper keyboard, some thing I have always found essential for data entry.
The community which has done the work to enable Linux to be run on the Psion 5 and Psion 7 Netbook series has the website Its members have taken the ARM processor port of the Debian 3.1 Linux distribution (Sarge), and have hacked it and modified it to recognise the Psion hardware. This being essentially a work complete, all I have done is to add some useable applications and setup communications, printing and GUI  to make a ready to go, functional  Linux distribution.  This can be downloaded and installed by the user himself  or I can supply a CD or a ready installed compact flash card.

The general principal

The Psion 5mx comes with ROM, RAM and an optional flash disk (plug in card). The Operating System (EPOC) is stored in ROM, and on power up, this boots and runs (in RAM) with several built in, high quality applications. Data generated by application use, and newly installed (or written and compiled programs) are stored in RAM in an area which cannot then be used as program running memory (or are stored on the optional flash disk). All data in volatile memory is held there by the main batteries. Should the main batteries run down or during battery change, lithium back up battery takes over this job. There is a mains powered 6v DC adapter for the Psion 5mx which can be used where mains power is available. Should the back up battery and the main battery both fail, all data stored in RAM is lost (so it must be backed up fairly regularly). The flash stored data however is retained, and because the OS is contained in ROM this remains intact. In the unlikely event of a rogue program refusing to halt there is a hidden reset button, which has the same effect as a power loss. Due to the sharing of RAM for application data and program running the more data stored there the slower the machine becomes, until ultimately programs refuse to load.
Linux running on the Psion 5mx is slightly different. The EPOC OS (in ROM) is still there and is used in some respect just the same as the BIOS in a PC. It boots the machine at first, and then a loader program (ARLO) is run which removes EPOC from running in RAM and loads the Linux kernel and runs this in RAM. ARLO provides the information to the kernel for where the root partition is, and then terminates, leaving Linux, it's shell and applications to use RAM as the kernel sees fit. User data is stored on the flash disk, which is treated exactly as if it was the hard disk of a PC. On reboot (cntrl menu del
or shutdown -r now), Linux is shutdown gracefully and the machine is returned to the EPOC OS, automatically running ARLO, showing the ARLO boot menu. It can be returned to EPOC by pressing the hidden reset button while the ARLO menu is showing. Pressing the reset button while Linux is running is likely to cause corruption of the file system on the flash disk.

The Linux root

The root partition pointed to by ARLO for the kernel to mount and use as its file system is a true partition of files and directories on an ext2 file system on the flash disk. It behaves in exactly the same way as a PC hard drive.
Some familiarity with Linux in general is helpful for getting it going and using it productively, but this Debian Linux pre-packaged distribution is fairly complete and ready to go so you can give it a try even if you haven’t tried Linux before.

Why Linux?

Linux source code is freely distributed. Tens of thousands of programmers have reviewed the source code to improve performance, eliminate bugs, and strengthen security. No other operating system has ever undergone this level of review. This Open Source design has created most of the advantages listed below.

Linux has the best technical support available. Linux is supported by commercial distributors, consultants, and by a very active community of users and developers. In 1997, the Linux community was awarded InfoWorld's Product of the Year Award for Best Technical Support over all commercial software vendors.

Linux has no vendor lock-in. The availability of source code means that every user and support provider is empowered to get to the root of technical problems quickly and effectively. This contrasts sharply with proprietary operating systems, where even top-tier support providers must rely on the OS vendor for technical information and bug fixes.

Linux runs on a wide range of hardware. Most Linux systems are based on standard PC hardware, and Linux supports a very wide range of PC devices. However, it also supports a wide range of other computer types, including Alpha, Power PC, 680x0, SPARC, and Strong Arm processors, and system sizes ranging from PDA's (such as the Palm Pilot) to supercomputers constructed from clusters of systems (Beowulf clusters).

Linux is exceptionally stable. Properly configured, Linux systems will generally run until the hardware fails or the system is shut down. Continuous up-times of hundreds of days (up to a year or more) are not uncommon.

Linux has the tools and applications you need. Programs ranging from the market-dominating Apache web server to the powerful GIMP graphics editor are included in most Linux distributions. Free and commercial applications meet are available to meet most application needs.

Linux interoperates with many other types of computer systems. Linux communicates using the native networking protocols of Unix, Microsoft Windows 95/NT, IBM OS/2, Netware, and Macintosh systems and can also read and write disks and partitions from these and other operating systems.

Linux has a low total cost of ownership. Although the Linux learning curve is significant, the stability, design, and breadth of tools available for Linux result in very low ongoing operating costs.

Linux: ``all for one and one for all?? All changes one makes in Open Source software will benefit each and everyone, all over the world. Without exceptions or constraints.

Linux is fun!

The main reasons for wanting to use Linux on the Psion 5mx are:

a) You already use it on the desktop and would like your palmtop to match up.

b) You have a particular piece of software you want to run which is available for Linux but not EPOC.

c)  The tragic demise of Psion means that EPOC is no longer being developed. Linux however is under continual development and the excellent Psion hardware need not be wasted.

d) Linux is very stable and has a huge software base. All the software included here is free software (as in freedom, not cost), so you can change it if you want or need to - this gives you a flexibility you don’t get with a proprietary OS like EPOC. On the other hand Linux is more resource-intensive than EPOC. Whilst you can run it on a bare 5mx you can’t do much in the RAM available - it needs a Compact Flash card to be able to make a capable system with more than a couple of applications. The Psion PDA,s are better suited than many to running Linux because they have real keyboards, on most other PDA’s these are an extra. Its main draw back is it only has a greyscale screen, although it is a good size.

1.2. What Works

Most of the Psion 5mx hardware is supported, the exceptions being the custom icons around the screen for the EPOC applications and menus. Also the dictaphone buttons are not assigned, although they do generate strings. The communications set up is good and very useable for IrDA as well as the serial port, as is the sleep mode and touch screen. Sound is supported with the 2.4.19 kernel and the 2.4.27 modular kernel. It provides an easy way to get Linux on your Psion 5mx and try it out or use it for a specific purpose.
The PsiLinux community have ported the Linux kernel to the Series 5mx, 5mx Pro and Revo (but not the series 3), and created ARLO (the boot loader) and various distributions (sets of files and applications) designed for use with or without Compact Flash.

Kludged Linux requires a 512MB Compact Flash card. It contains all the basic elements of a Linux system like bash, vi, grep, top, netcat, cat, more, man, ppp, telnet, ssh, ftp, micq, the X window system with the matchbox window manager to give a simple graphical environment, mc, pine, pico, dillo (the ssl patched version), xedit, editres, xcalc, antiword, minicom, gAcc, Ted (an rtf and pdf word processor), lout and halibut the text formatters (to produce postscript, pdf and html documents) and gv (to display ps and pdf documents). The gcc compiler is included which works but is very slow and may over stretch resources in some cases. The print spooler lpd is included with magicifilter to allow printing of plain text, postscript and pdf to certain postscript enabled printers. The distribution also includes running telnetd, ftpd and httpd servers. Kludged Linux is based on the ‘Sarge Book’ dpkg-based system by Brian Dushaw, which itself is derived from the Debian GNU Linux ARM port, modified to run on the psion hardware by the psilinux community. There are thousands of Debian ARM packages (*arm.deb) available, many of which can be run on your Psion.

1.3. Features

Kludged Linux has a number of features which make it useful:
• An up to date GNU/Linux system based on Linux kernel 2.4.27 and glibc 2.2
• A very simple but effective package manager (dpkg).
• Carefully selected packages which have only been included if they are useful.
• A well set up communications to a desktop machine / modem / IRDA mobile phone.
• A simple but still useable window manager with very low demand on resources.

1.4. The Psion 5mx Specifications

32-bit ARM 710T CPU (RISC based), running at 36.864 MHz
Internal Memory
Internal Memory
10 MB ROM (5mx)
Removable Disk Type
Type I Compact Flash (CF) Disks
Display Resolution
640x240 (Half VGA)
Display Type
Monochrome touch screen (16 shades)
Default OS
EPOC (32 bit, multitasking)
Serial Ports
Standard RS232 and SIR Infrared; up to 115200 baud
2 AA batteries, backed up by a CR2032 lithium battery
1/2 W, 8 Ohm loudspeaker
electret with active gain control
53 key, QWERTY layout
172x89x24 mm
350g (with batteries)
Operating Temperature
0 to 40 C - and it really is likely to break if turned on below -5 C

2. Swapping between EPOC and Linux

EPOC stores its data and applications (on drive C:) in RAM. EPOC itself lives in ROM on the 5mx.
When Linux boots it takes over the RAM and thus erases anything previously there.
The Linux system can be halted or rebooted by the reboot command. This returns the machine to EPOC and on doing this the Psion automatically runs the arlo.exe program (giving the boot menu) by a file /system/data/wsini.ini
If the Compact flash is to be removed or the batteries changed, then power off the machine during the 5 seconds it displays this menu using (Fn – off) and then do it. After the compact flash has been removed, then power back on and the machine will start up into EPOC as if it had just had a hard reset. The Space left on the compact flash card containing arlo.exe etc. is visible in EPOC as D: drive and Linux as /msdos. This space can be used by both to store/transfer files.

3. The Compact Flash Card Installation Procedure

You will need:
1. A Psion 5mx 16M (not the Psion 5mx pro 32M)
2. A Compact Flash card of 1G or larger (this CF card must be recogniseable by the Psion in EPOC, some are not.)
A CF card to PCMCIA adapter (for use with a laptop) or CF card to USB adapter
A PC or laptop running Linux although this could be a live CD distro such as Knoppix , SLAX or Puppy Linux
5. A CD containing the current ksfxxxx.tgz file and the files and directories to boot the kernel.
6. Fit the flash disk into the Adapter and plug it into the machine running Linux.
7. Do not mount the drive which should show as an IDE drive (perhaps /dev/hde )
8. Type fdisk /dev/hde then type p to show the disk partitions status as it is now (which should be /dev/hde1 as vfat)
d to delete the current partition, and delete partition 1
n for a new partition.
p for primary partition
1 for partition hde1
for size choose 8M for hde1 and make it bootable (a) and type 4 (vfat) (t)
n for new partition
p for primary
2 for partition hde2
use all remaining size and make it type 83 (Linux native) (t)
p again to check the table is correct
w to write the table to disk.
q to quit.
9. Having prepared the disk partitions we now format both these partitions.
mkfs.ext2 /dev/hde2 and then mkfs.msdos /dev/hde1
mount -t vfat /dev/hde1 /mnt/hde1
mount -t ext2 /dev/hde2 /mnt/hde2 (assuming both /mnt/hde1 and /mnt/hde2 exist)
cd /mnt/hde2
ls (this should show a subdirectory listed lost+found)
tar -zxvf /path to the ksfxxxx.tgz file (this will take several minutes and you should see the contents of the tar file being uncompressed and a file structure being written to the flash disk.)
10. When it has finished and returned to the prompt then umount /dev/hde2 and then copy over the files and directories in the folder (files) on the CD as they are. Then umount /dev/hde1 and remove the Flash disk
Installation is now complete, insert the card into the psion and navigate to D:\arlo\arlo.exe using the EPOC system and double click on arlo.exe to run it. If all went well the Psion 5mx should boot to a login prompt.

4. Setting Up The System

Login as root with root as the password.
Set the date and time by typing setdate then follow instructions.
Other users can be added by the adduser command. It would be a good idea to password protect the root account using the passwd command if you are storing any private information.
Next setup ppp.
Either use the pppconfig command: Follow through the instruction steps but do not auto detect the modem – it must be manually set as /dev/ttyAM1 for the comm port or /dev/ircomm0 for an IrDA modem.
Alternatively you can use wvdial: First connect your modem, (wvdial is a little more intelligent and so will auto detect the modem). If an IrDA modem is used then turn it on and type iron to connect the IrDA. Then run wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf to find the modem. After the modem has been detected, then the /etc/wvdial.conf can be edited  for :-
ISP phone number
Login name
After ppp has been setup using pppconfig, the command pon starts the dial up connection, and poff stops it.
To use the infra red port to connect to an IrDA mobile phone it must have a proper modem built in such as the Sony Ericsson's.  An infrared modem (such as the Psion dacom travel modem) can be used. Put /dev/ircomm0 as the port in place of the /dev/ttyAM1 (the serial port) for minicom or pppconfig.
To enable the port type iron to disable the port type iroff.  To test if the other end port is found after the iron commands is run, type ifconfig which will show local irda0 interface (and traffic) and then cat /proc/net/IrDA/discovery to show some details about the remote equipment. Then for instance after configuring ppp, you can connect to your dial up ISP via an IrDA mobile phone by typing iron and then pon. At time to disconnect, type poff then iroff. For wvdial switch on/off the infrared port and then run wvdial to connect.
Note. You can not telnet or ftp into the Psion using the root logon, you must use an ordinary user account, after this however you can su to the root account.
Most of the PC keyboard functions have been met, but the 'F1 – F10' keys are achieved by Esc 1 – Esc 0, '` (back tick)' by Fn
Del and '| (pipe)' by Fn t. The backlight and contrast are controlled using the same keys as EPOC.
Typing reset resets the console display, clear clears it.
Terminals can be switched by menu 1, menu 2 etc. (multi user but only 3 user consoles are set up - come on it is only a PDA). You can however, telnet in to the Psion over the serial link (using PPP), and have many sessions running at the same time from a PC as a remote terminal.
Communications to a Linux PC is done using PPP. Copy over the files in the PC directory of the CD onto your Linux PC and put pcon and pcoff into /usr/bin on your Linux PC.
Add lines: pc psion
to the PC's /etc/hosts file.
Then to communicate between the Psion and the PC connect using the serial cable to PC com1 and type pcon on the PC and pcon on the Psion. The two are then connected by TCP/IP. use ftp or telnet ssh to talk to each other but note, user accounts must be set up on each as you cannot ssh telnet or ftp using the root as a user normally. So for instance typing telnet pc on the Psion will give you a console login for the PC and vice versa. If the PC is running a web server you can browse its pages using the dillo browser.
pcoff on both the PC and Psion ends the connection.

I found the dial up connection using my mobile phone (IRDA modem to the psion) unbearably slow so I used my PC as a router to connect over my broadband connection, with the psion connected to the PC using ppp over a serial lead. I have included the firewall configuration script ( which was used to set up internet connection sharing on the PC in The PC I used was running Puppy Linux V2.16 ( I have included an iso for this live CD on the Kludged Sarge CD) and this distribution already has the script built in, but most distributions which have iptables installed should work with this script as well, the known exceptions being Debian and Ubuntu, neither of which I could get to work. To run under DSL you must symlink /etc/rc.d to /etc/init.d and then make a file rc.local in this linked directory - type commands ln -s /etc/init.d /etc/rc.d  and then  touch /etc/init.d/rc.local - (A brutal hack, its not called Kludged Linux for nothing).
The PC I used was connected to a broadband adsl router with eth0 (but any connection should work, perhaps wlan0 if the PC has a wireless connection to a router, type ifconfig -a to see all your interfaces).

 To use Puppy Linux included on the CD, first boot from the Puppy Linux 2.16 live CD, setup the internet connection and copy over into /usr/bin from the CD/files directory pcon and pcoff (and if using another distribution). Then connect the psion to PC com port 1 using a psion serial lead, and run pcon on both the psion and the PC, this should start a ppp connection. Then run the firewall wizard on the PC and select:
Custom installation.
All services are selected including "other", just press return
Then select any other ports required ( I just enter 1-10000).
Then select any (allow from anywhere), press return for all 15 selections.
Then internet connection sharing (yes).
Enter ppp0 as internal interface.
Dial up (yes).
Trusted networks
Then yes for test.
Then yes for configure.
If the setup has been successful then the psion should be able to connect to the internet through the PC.
With distributions that have an /etc/rc.d directory (eg Slackware and similar) then the firewall config is saved and will be re-applied on reboot automatically after running the above setup, however with DSL the config is saved to the symlinked /etc/rc.d  and so on reboot the firewall/router must be re-applied by typing /etc/init.d/rc.firewall (as root).
Some experimenting may be necessary with your distribution (Oh the joys of Linux!)
On Debian and Ubuntu either the package ipmasq or firestarter can be used to share the internet connection with the ppp psion over serial connection.

4.1. The Matchbox GUI

To start the graphical environment (X) type xinit. First the screen fills with a hatched grey pattern with a cross in the middle for a few seconds, then the normal matchbox screen is displayed.
Matchbox is a ’window manager’ optimised for small-screen devices. It does not have overlapping windows like most desktop window managers - instead each application gets the whole display and you can easily flip between the running applications. An application launcher menu is also provided, much like Window’s ’Start’ button. Switching between running apps is done using either the drop down menu in the top left hand corner of the display or the left/right buttons on the top right (the buttons go on to the next app in order until you get back to the one you started on). There are a number of Matchbox applets which if run appear on the bottom bar. By default the window manager runs a CPU Monitor, clock and the ’Menu’ application launcher. These icons appear from left to right on the bottom bar. The square in the very bottom left hand corner shrinks the bottom bar. Tapping on the shrunken bar brings it back to full size.
The launcher button near the bottom left hand corner is labeled ’Menu’. Click on this to get a list of
applications. Note that there are many more command-line programs installed which do not have entries here - you need to run them at a command line. Below we will list the most significant programs.
To the left of the Menu applet and clock is the CPU monitor. This displays the current percentage of CPU time the system is using in the form of a scrolling graph. The bars are lighter-coloured up from the bottom. This monitor is very useful for determining if the system is busy or an application is starting up slowly; some apps take a very long time to start on the underpowered ARM7 of the Psion 5mx - up to 30 seconds for many GUI applications, for example. Matchbox is designed to work with a single-button mouse / pen / touch screen interface which makes life easier on the Psion. However many UNIX applications assume you have a 3-button mouse, or at least a 2-button one, so it is useful to be able to generate these other two buttons. To use the pointer as a mouse, cntrl 3 gives right click, cntrl 1 gives left click and cntrl 2 gives middle click.
Xwindows can be exited to the console command prompt by cntrl-menu-del.

4.2. Applications.


Name and link to description

Word Processors / text editors Ted  vi  pico
ps / pdf viewer gv
Type Setter lout  halibut  antiword



File Manager




E Mail pine

Serial Communications



ssh  telnetd  ftpd  lpd  micro httpd


netcat  ftp telnet  centericq


index   ccal


xcalc   gAcc  gnuplot


Xkill bill and text based games in /usr/games

For E mail, pine can be used to directly use your pop mailbox as its “Inbox Folder” by using the following configuration setup:
personal-name    = your name
user-id                = popuserid
user-domain        =
smtp-server        =
nntp-server         =
inbox-path          = {}inbox

First you should login as another user, pine sets itself up to send mail as user@domain so for instant if my ISP email address is then I create a user account adrian on my psion, login and then run pine in this account. Setting the domain as This will have the correct replyto setup in pine. Remember to run ppp as root then su to the user account to run pine.

The gcc compiler suite is included so programs obtained as source code can be compiled for the ARM based system, however be warned that the built in 16M of RAM may be insufficient, so to successfully compile an application it may be necessary to set up some sort of swap partition. (Section 3)

For applications help, use the help in the matchbox  menu, or use the console man command, there are also some links at

4.3. Mounting System Partitions

System mounts are specified in /etc/fstab and are mounted during system startup:
Default System Mounts
Mount Point             Mounted Filesystem Description
/                               /dev/hda2 Second (Linux) partition on CF card
/msdos                     /dev/hda1 First (EPOC) partition on CF card
/proc                        proc Kernel data filesystem
The EPOC partition uses the same format as DOS/Windows hard disk - the FAT filesystem. Mounting it as /msdos means that you can access any files you put on it from Linux as well as EPOC. This proves a useful way to transfer files.

4.4. The Keyboard and Setting Keys

The Psion 5mx keyboard is very different from the standard PC keyboard. We use the following special key assignments (UK keyboard):



Alt Gr




| (pipe)


‘ (backtick)

Menu-1, Menu-2 etc

Alt-F1 (VT1) Alt-F2 (VT2) etc




Ctrl-Alt-Backspace (Halt Xserver)


Backlight on/off


Sleep on/off


Reduce Contrast


Increase contrast

Esc-1, Esc-2 etc 

F1, F2 etc

Linux provides several virtual terminals that can be selected using Menu-1, Menu-2, etc. You can go back and forth between the various screens at will, and so multi-process. VT7 contains the X graphics display. Kludged Linux has 3 virtual terminals (this saves memory over the usual 6). /etc/inittab controls how many VTs are started.
Advanced Info: The command dumpkeys > filename will dump out a set of key mappings that you can take a look at. loadkeys filename will then load in that keymap (with whatever modifications you have made to it). If you have trouble saving your special keys functionality, you can comment out or delete the lines for the special keys (e.g., the space key) to preserve their special functions (e.g., the backlight).

4.5. Frame Buffer Depth

The Psion 5mx screen can run in either 4-grey (2bpp - bits per pixel) or 16-grey (4bpp) modes.
Note that some graphical applications will not work at all on a screen of less than 256 colours/greys, so these will need modification to run on the Psion.
This distribution starts up in 4bpp, and the Xserver needs this mode to run.
Use fbset -a 2bpp (or fbset -a mono), fbset -a 4bpp, to set the framebuffer depth if needed.

4.6. Sleeping when not in use

The Esc/On key will take your Psion in and out of sleep mode just as it does for EPOC. If this doesn’t work then by far the most likely reason is the irattach daemon (which deals with infrared connections). If this is running it wakes the machine up again immediately so you can’t sleep. Until this is fixed you need to kill it in order to sleep the machine. Do this with iroff.

4.7. How do I get back to EPOC?

The Linux system can be halted or rebooted by the command reboot which shuts linux down and returns the machine to EPOC and on doing this the Psion automatically runs the arlo.exe program (giving the boot menu) by a file /system/data/wsini.ini. Remove power / batteries from the machine during this menu display. The shutdown command appears to ungracefully halt the OS and does not unmount the partitions before system halt.
After each reboot the time and date lag by the duration that the system was down as to keep the time approximately correct on reboot time is written to a file which is read again on startup. Hence occasionally after several reboots or a lengthy shutdown, the time with need to be adjusted using the script 'setdate'.
If the Compact flash is to be removed or the batteries changed, then power off the machine during the 5 seconds  it displays this menu using (Fn – off) and then do it. If you replace the CF card and power on, the menu may continue as normal, or you may need to select the exit option from the menu and try again.
If your machine is hung for some reason and you need to reset it manually, then:
Open the backup battery door and locate the small copper coloured circle near the battery, using a partly unfolded paperclip or similar, gently press in the copper coloured circle. Now close the backup battery door, and hit the Esc/on key. The machine should beep twice and then display the Psion splash screen. On the 5mx there is a delay while EPOC reads its system out of ROM and reloads it into RAM.
Note: While pressing the Esc/on key you may need to holding down both shift keys to encourage EPOC to
clear all memory, but this is not usually needed.

If the Compact Flash disk has been corrupted it can cause the reboot to fail - remove the disk to allow EPOC to start, and then reinstall your system to the disk.

4.8. Installing New Packages

Packages can be installed from the Debian Sarge packages with varying degrees of success. As Sarge has now been superceded these packages are only available from some vendors selling debian CD's (arm architecture), or debian archives such as (here seems to work at present). To install a package xxx.deb type
dpkg -i xxx.deb
To remove a package type
dpkg -r xxx or to completely remove all config files dpkg –purge xxx
The apt package has been removed to save disk space. It needed more than 16M RAM to run anyway unfortunately.
There are also some arm binaries available here
But these are rpm files and would need to be extracted using some other Linux machine and then installed manually.

4.9. System Control

The kernel provides various ways of interacting with the special features of the Psion hardware. For example it flashes the ’recording’ LED during CPU activity so you can see how much work the system is doing by looking at the flash rate. The LED normally flashes quickly. When it is running flat out the LED is almost permanently on. When sleeping the LED doesn’t flash at all. Most of the other items such as the case opening status, and backlight, and accessed via the /proc filesystem. This gives you access to an enormous amount of information about the kernel and running application, networking status etc, but the bit which concerns the Psion hardware is the /proc/psionw directory. The name comes from Psion Windermere, which is the codename for the 5mx/5mx-Pro hardware. In here we have the following files:
State of the backlight - 1 is on, 0 is off. Read/write. Writing 1 will turn the backlight on , writing 0 will turn
if off.
State of the case switch - 1 is open, 0 is closed. This is read-only.
Current contrast setting for the display. Read-only.
CPU is the CPU speed in Mhz. Read-only.
Display power status - 1 is on, 0 is off. Read/write. Writing 0 will turn the display off, writing 1 will turn it
back on.
Mains power status - 1 is mains present, 0 is mains disconnected. Read-only
Sleep status - 1 is sleeping, 0 is running. Read/write. Writing 1 to this file will cause the machine to sleep.
These all contain 0 or 1 except contrast and cpu. Set a writeable value to 1 like this: echo "1" > backlight

4.10. Sound

Sound is supported. cat /dev/dsp > will record from the microphone and cat > /dev/dsp will play it. A mixer will need to be installed to vary volume. There is a sample sound in the matchbox menu.

4.11. Printing

You can print directly from the Psion to a serial or infra-red printer (or via a serial-to-parallel converter), or you can print to a network printer over the PPP network connection. The lpr, enscript and magicfilter packages are installed and the lpd daemon running, also /dev/lp0 and /dev/lp1 symlinked to /dev/ttyAM1 -  this means text files can be printed directly to a parallel printer when connected to the serial port via a null modem lead and serial to parallel converter cable. A Patton 2029 cable was used during testing. Magicfilter seems to handle the format of printing well with text, certainly to the printers I tested it with. It can print postscript files from gv, but it does take a long time to process them, it took 3 minutes to print out my CV on an HP Deskjet 960c, and 12 minutes on an HP Laserjet6P. You can also print directly from Ted which outputs a postscript file. The netpbm graphic conversion tools are also installed to enable printing of (small) graphics in png and gif format. Printing of graphics is also very slow. Set up a printer using magicfilterconfig, selecting the correct or closest printer driver for your printer.
Use the command lpr filename to print,  lpq to show a print queue and lprm to  remove  items from the queue.


Last Updated: 22.6.2011