Kludged linux for the Psion 5mx by
Based on Debian GNU
Linux 4.0 “Etch”
You will need:
1. A Psion 5mx 16M (not the Psion 5mx pro 32M)
2. A Compact Flash card of 2G
3. A CF card to pcmcia
adapter (for use with a laptop) or CF card to USB adapter
4. A PC or laptop running linux
could be a live CD distro
such as Knoppix , SLAX or puppy linux
5. A CD containing the current kludged.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
7. Do not mount the drive which should show as an IDE drive (perhaps
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
3 for partition hde3
for size choose 64M for hde3 and make it type 82 (Linux swap) (t)
n for new partition
p for primary
2 for partition hde2
use all remaining size for hde2 and make it type 83 (linux ext2) (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 these
mkswap /dev/hde3 and then mkfs.ext2 /dev/hde2 and then mkfs.msdos
mount -t vfat /dev/hde1
mount -t ext2 /dev/hde2 /mnt/hde2 (assuming both /mnt/hde1 and
ls (this should show a
subdirectory listed lost+found)
tar -zxvf /path to the kludged.tgz
file (this will take several minutes and you should see the contents of
file being uncompressed and a file structure being written to the flash
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
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
to a login prompt.
Setting up the system
root with toor as the password. You will be forced to change this password.
Set the date and time by typing setdate
then follow instructions.
Other users can be added by the adduser
command. There is a guest account (password = password)Next setup ppp. This can be done by manually editing the files in /etc/ppp/ but note that for the psion you must use /dev/ttyAM1 for the comm
port or /dev/ircomm0 for an IrDA
ISP phone number
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
to find the modem. After the modem has been detected, then the
/etc/wvdial.conf can be
After ppp has been
the command pon starts
the dial up connection, and poff
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 in the ppp configuration files.
To enable the IR port type iron to
disable the IR port type iroff.
To test if the other end port is found
after the iron commands is run, type ifconfig
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
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,
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
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
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
the same time from a PC as a remote terminal.
Communications to a Linux PC is done using PPP. Copy
files in the PC directory of the CD onto your Linux PC and put pcon and pcoff
into /usr/bin on your
to the PC's /etc/hosts file.
Then to communicate between the Psion and the PC connect using the
to PC com1 and type pcon
on the PC and pcon
the Psion. The two are then connected by TCP/IP. use
ftp or telnet ssh
each other but note, user accounts must be set up on each as you cannot
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
using the lynx
on both the PC and
Psion ends the connection.
There is a script setdev which can be run
if you have any problems with some of the device files in /dev notably
/dev/ttyAM0, /dev/ttyAM1, /dev/dsp, /dev/ppp There seems to be an issue
with selinux not creating these files on first boot.
Text Editors vi, pico,
mcedit or aee
For E mail, pine can be used to directly use your pop mailbox as its
Folder” by using the following configuration setup:
telnetd, ftpd, micro_httpd,
ftp, telnet, ssh, centericq
calc, units, bc
personal-name = your name
should login as
another user, pine sets itself up to send mail as user@domain
so for instant if my ISP email address is email@example.com then I create
on my psion, login and then run pine in this account. setting
the domain as isp.com. This will have the correct replyto
setup in pine. Remember
to run ppp
as root then su to the
user account to run pine.
For applications help, use the console man
are also some links at
Mounting System Partitions
in /etc/fstab and are
mounted during system startup:
Default System Mounts
Mounted Filesystem Description
Second (Linux) partition on CF card
(EPOC) partition on CF card
proc Kernel data
The EPOC partition uses the same format as DOS/Windows hard disk - the
Mounting it as /msdos
means that you can access any files you put on it from Linux as well as
This proves a useful way to transfer files.
The Keyboard and Setting
The Psion 5mx
very different from the standard PC keyboard. We use the following
(VT1) Alt-F2 (VT2) etc
Linux provides several virtual terminals that can be selected using
Menu-2, etc. You can go back and forth between the various screens at
so multi-process. Kludged linux has 3 virtual terminals
(this saves memory over the
usual 6). /etc/inittab
controls how many VTs
Advanced Info: The command dumpkeys
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
can comment out or delete the lines for the special keys (e.g., the
to preserve their special functions (e.g., the backlight).
Sleeping when not in use
The Esc/On key
your Psion in and out of sleep mode just as it does for EPOC. If this
work then by far the most likely reason is the irattach
daemon (which deals with infrared connections). If this is running it
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.
Getting back to EPOC
system can be halted
by the command shutdown –h now and rebooted by shutdown
–r now or by cntl
- menu - del
combination. In use all the commands have the same effect, they return
machine to EPOC and on doing this the Psion automatically runs the
program (giving the boot menu) by a file /system/data/wsini.ini
After each reboot the time and date lag by the duration that the system
down as to keep the time approximately correct on reboot time is
written to a
file which is read again on startup
after several reboots or a lengthy shutdown, the time with need to be
using the script 'setdate
If the Compact flash is to be removed or the batteries changed, then
the machine during the 5 seconds
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
from the menu and try again.
If your machine is hung for some reason and you need to reset it
Open the backup battery door and locate the small copper coloured
the battery, using a partly unfolded paperclip or similar, gently press
copper coloured circle. Now close the backup battery door, and hit the
key. The machine should beep twice and then display the Psion splash
the 5mx there is a delay while EPOC reads its system out of ROM and
Note: While pressing the Esc/on key you may need to holding down both
keys to encourage EPOC to
clear all memory, but this is not usually needed.
If the Compact
has been corrupted it can cause the reboot to fail - remove the disk to
EPOC to start, and then reinstall your system to the disk.
Installing New Packages
be installed from
the Debian Etch packages
http://packages.debian.org/stable (arm architecture) with varying
success. To install a package xxx.deb
dpkg -i xxx.deb
To remove a package type
dpkg -r xxx or to
completely remove all config
The apt package has been removed to save disk space. It needed more
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
ways of interacting with the special features of the Psion hardware.
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
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
running application, networking status etc, but the bit which concerns
Psion hardware is the /proc/psionw
name comes from Psion Windermere, which is the codename for the
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
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.
Display power status - 1 is on, 0 is off. Read/write.
Writing 0 will turn the display off, writing 1 will turn it
Mains power status - 1 is mains present, 0 is mains disconnected.
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.
a writeable value to 1
like this: echo "1"
supported. cat /dev/dsp > soundfile.al will record from
the microphone and cat soundfile.al
> /dev/dsp will
play it. A mixer will need to be installed to vary volume.
You can print
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,
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
a null modem lead and serial to parallel converter cable. A Patton 2029
was used during testing. Magicfilter
seems to handle
the format of printing well with text, certainly to the printers I
command lpr filename to
print, lpq to show a print queue and lprm to remove items from the queue.