GnuRadio on PCI-104 (i.e., Fedora on USB Flash Drive)

I have GnuRadio up and running on some Fujitsu Tablet PC under Fedora
Core 6.

I need to get GnuRadio up and running on some PCI-104 embedded
processors, which means I need the O/S to boot from a USB key. I have a
4 GB key but am willing to purchase an 8 GB or even a 16 GB key if
that’s what it takes.

The PCI-104 has 1 GB of DRAM.

Is there a fairly straightforward way to get Fedora to run from a USB
key?

An alternative would be: Does anyone know of a Linux distro that can be
made to run from a USB key that we can get GnuRadio up and running on
without too much heartache. We’ve tried installing it on DSL (Damn Small
Linux) but can’t get the fftw libraries to compile.

Thanks.

Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS wrote:

I have GnuRadio up and running on some Fujitsu Tablet PC under Fedora Core 6.

I need to get GnuRadio up and running on some PCI-104 embedded processors, which means I need the O/S to boot from a USB key. I have a 4 GB key but am willing to purchase an 8 GB or even a 16 GB key if that’s what it takes.

What embedded processor? If it’s x86, it won’t be a problem.
Otherwise, you could be in for a world of fun. :wink:

The PCI-104 has 1 GB of DRAM.

ummm, do you mean PC/104, like here [1]?

Is there a fairly straightforward way to get Fedora to run from a USB key?

Never tried it, sorry.

An alternative would be: Does anyone know of a Linux distro that can be made to run from a USB key that we can get GnuRadio up and running on without too much heartache. We’ve tried installing it on DSL (Damn Small Linux) but can’t get the fftw libraries to compile.

I’ve installed both Gentoo and Ubuntu to thumbdrives. Both fit on a
4GB. Gentoo will have a lot more room left afterwards. If you’re
comfortable at the command line, try Gentoo. Otherwise, use Ubuntu. I
personally run gnuradio on Gentoo, and it works well. Folks on this
list seem to have good results with Ubuntu, although I have never tried
gnuradio on it myself.

The easiest way to do it would be to pull the hard drive from a laptop,
boot from the Ubuntu CD, and plug in the thumb drive (should be the only
disk in the laptop in order to avoid accidentally overwriting the boot
sector of other drives). Then proceed with install.

Once the usb drive is done, if you have boot issues, it’s most likely
because USB isn’t initialized yet when the kernel looks for the rootfs.
I’ve added a script to the Ubuntu initramfs to fix this. Once added,
Ubuntu automagically keeps the change through kernel updates. Let me
know if you need it.

hth,

Jason.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC/104

Jason wrote:

Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS wrote:

The PCI-104 has 1 GB of DRAM.

ummm, do you mean PC/104, like here [1]?

crap. Just read my own link. :-/ Apparently PCI-104 is similar to
PC/104, see here [2]. It includes a PCI connector, but gives up other
stuff… neat. Shows what I know. :slight_smile:

Jason.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC/104
[2] - http://www.interfacebus.com/Design_Connector_PCI104_Bus.html

Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS wrote:

Is accidentally overwriting the boot sector on the hard drive something that is super easy to do? I would rather not get into tearing someone else’s laptop apart if I can avoid it.

To avoid this risk, you can do then is go into the bios, and turn off
everything except USB (and the CD) for the boot devices (and also for
other hard drives, not just the bootable ones, so you can guarantee that
your USB stick is found first). Record all the bios settings first, so
you can restore the laptop to it’s original configuration.

Another approach is to actually use your PCI-104 platform and try to do
a network install rather than a CD based install. Some distros allow
this (at least they used to). Of course, the PCI-104 must be able to
give a network boot as an option (in the bios). In this case, the
kernel is actually being installed on the platform you want it to be on,
so it is more likely to get the right things configured correctly from
the start (drivers, etc.).

So what is the sequence I am looking at doing here? Is it something like:

  1. Use a laptop that has a CD drive and install Ubuntu onto a thumb drive on that machine.
  2. Boot the PCI-104 machine using the thumb drive.
  3. Install GnuRadio onto the thumbdrive on the PCI-104 machine.

If using Ubuntu, their package manager will install python and gnuradio
if you tell it to do so.

How do I handle the various drivers that are needed for the PCI-104 machine? Can I create a boot thumbdrive on one machine and use it to boot a very different machine?

This is why I suggested doing a network install. Maybe a non-network
install is doable if you use a USB cdrom drive, and hook it and the
thumb drive to the PC-104 directly, and do everything there.

William:

How do I handle the various drivers that are needed for the PCI-104 machine?
From my experience with embedded boards, typically the OS drivers are
provided either with the board or at least on the web page for the
manufacturer. Looks like yours have the audio/ethernet/video all
provided here from the lippert site:

http://www.lippert-at.com/index.php?id=395&L=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vacacionalhouse.com%2Fen%2Fimg%2Fvohe%2Fseyon%2F

Can I create a boot thumbdrive on one machine and use it to boot a very different machine?

Depends on how different I guess, but typically yes.

Tim N.

Thanks for the response. More questions below.

The PCI-104 has 1 GB of DRAM.

ummm, do you mean PC/104, like here [1]?

No. The PCI-104 is a modified form factor that has a PCI connector
instead of the ISA connector.

We are using Lippert’s Cool RoadRunner 4 which uses a Pentium M
Processor.

An alternative would be: Does anyone know of a Linux distro that can be
made to run from a USB key that we can get GnuRadio up and running on
without too much heartache. We’ve tried installing it on DSL (Damn Small
Linux) but can’t get the fftw libraries to compile.

I’ve installed both Gentoo and Ubuntu to thumbdrives.

I see install directions for GnuRadio for Ubuntu, but don’t see anything
for Gentoo. As I look over the instructions for the various distros,
they seem quite different, so I wouldn’t know how to even start trying
to install it on Gentoo. So I’ll try Ubuntu first.

The easiest way to do it would be to pull the hard drive from a laptop,
boot from the Ubuntu CD, and plug in the thumb drive (should be the only
disk in the laptop in order to avoid accidentally overwriting the boot
sector of other drives). Then proceed with install.

Is accidentally overwriting the boot sector on the hard drive something
that is super easy to do? I would rather not get into tearing someone
else’s laptop apart if I can avoid it.

So what is the sequence I am looking at doing here? Is it something
like:

  1. Use a laptop that has a CD drive and install Ubuntu onto a thumb
    drive on that machine.
  2. Boot the PCI-104 machine using the thumb drive.
  3. Install GnuRadio onto the thumbdrive on the PCI-104 machine.

How do I handle the various drivers that are needed for the PCI-104
machine? Can I create a boot thumbdrive on one machine and use it to
boot a very different machine?

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 03:59:57PM -0600, Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS
wrote:

I have GnuRadio up and running on some Fujitsu Tablet PC under Fedora Core 6.

be made to run from a USB key that we can get GnuRadio up and
running on without too much heartache. We’ve tried installing it on
DSL (Damn Small Linux) but can’t get the fftw libraries to compile.

Mandriva is promoting a version that boots off a USB drive
http://www.mandriva.com. I would expect that almost all distributions
would work, assuming that the BIOS will load the bootloader off the
USB drive.

FWIW, a few years ago I used to run Mandriva, and had no problems
running GNU Radio on it.

Eric

Mandriva is promoting a version that boots off a USB drive
http://www.mandriva.com.

That sounds promising. But when I went out there it looks like you can’t
download it - you have to buy their USB key. I have no problem with
that, except that I need this computer up and running by tomorrow night.

I would expect that almost all distributions
would work, assuming that the BIOS will load the bootloader off the
USB drive.

The BIOS is definitely set up to boot from a USB device - that is the
preferred boot device. But I have no idea how to take a distro, such as
Fedora Core 6, and get it installed onto a USB device so that the BIOS
even has an opportunity to boot from it.

On Thu, May 01, 2008 at 07:43:56PM -0600, Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS
wrote:

would work, assuming that the BIOS will load the bootloader off the
USB drive.

The BIOS is definitely set up to boot from a USB device - that is
the preferred boot device. But I have no idea how to take a distro,
such as Fedora Core 6, and get it installed onto a USB device so
that the BIOS even has an opportunity to boot from it.

If you’ve got a CD attached to the PCI-104 (possibly via USB) you
should be able to get the installer to boot from the Fedora install CD
then install to the USB drive. Or try the netboot as suggested by the
other person. I think booting from a CD is going to be easier.

I suggest you find a local expert system administrator if you’re
serious about getting this done by tomorrow.

Eric

For Fedora, you need to install the livecd-tools. Included are several
kickstart files (.ks) for various configurations, and extensive
instructions
(README) on doing the whole process. Pretty straight forward. I have
done it
on a 1 GB flash drive (thumb) for a laptop and desktop. I found that for
my
laptop, I couldn’t see a USB drive to boot from in BIOS until I first
plugged
in a thumb drive then went into BIOS, where it then showed up. After
that it
was easy to select from in the options shown for alternate boot (F12?).
My
KDE graphic desktop image file including Openoffice came to 811 MB. With
an
active Internet connection, it will download the latest files too, which
is
nice (the normal update process).

Hi,

Is it safe to use standard distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu,Mandriva,…)
in
embedded applications ?
What about sudden system power off without proper shutdown?.I think it
may
lead to OS damage.
Is there a procedure (tips) to modify a standard Linux distribution to
work
in embedded systems?

Regards,

Firas


View this message in context:
http://www.nabble.com/GnuRadio-on-PCI-104-(i.e.%2C-Fedora-on-USB-Flash-Drive)-tp17010200p17031597.html
Sent from the GnuRadio mailing list archive at Nabble.com.

2008/5/1 Bahn, William L Civ USAFA/DFCS [email protected]:

Is there a fairly straightforward way to get Fedora to run from a
USB key?

Just boot the install media with the USB key plugged into the board
and you should be able to select the USB key as the target for the
install.

An alternative would be: Does anyone know of a Linux distro that can be made to run from a USB key that we can get GnuRadio up and running on without too much heartache. We’ve tried installing it on DSL (Damn Small Linux) but can’t get the fftw libraries to compile.

GNU Radio and related tools are now available from the Fedora
repository which should get you up and running in no time :slight_smile:

Regard,

Trond D.

On Sun, May 4, 2008 at 10:19 AM, Trond D.
[email protected] wrote:

GNU Radio and related tools are now available from the Fedora
repository which should get you up and running in no time :slight_smile:

Regard,

Trond D.

Although this is not exactly what you are looking for, it may be
helpful to some who want to run on compact flash or modify it to run
on a USB drive.

It was originally designed for Asterisk embedded systems but it is
certainly not limited to that.

Just throwing out an idea to see if it may be helpful to anyone.

http://limeylinux.org/

Thanks,
Steve T.

On Sun, May 04, 2008 at 04:19:16PM +0200, Trond D. wrote:

GNU Radio and related tools are now available from the Fedora
repository which should get you up and running in no time :slight_smile:

Regard,

Trond D.

That’s great news Trond!

Thanks!
Eric

On Sun, May 4, 2008 at 11:15 AM, Eric B. [email protected] wrote:

Thanks!
Eric

Very NICE! I am yumming it right now on FC8 (28M). Thanks Trond.

Steve T.

if it’s interesting for anyone,
We, at slack.sarava.org did SlackBuilds for gnuradio and grc for
Slackware
(along w/ it’s dependencies):
http://slack.sarava.org/slackbuilds/media/radio/

bye,
rafael diniz

Em Sunday 04 May 2008, Steve T. escreveu:

On Sun, May 4, 2008 at 1:31 PM, Trond D.
[email protected] wrote:

Regard,

As mentioned in another email, Marek Mahut [1] is the one who deserves
the credit.

[1] [email protected]


Trond D.

Well I greatly thank anyone involved. I have always got it to work
with a few hours of playing around with dependencies and could never
get one piece or another to fully meet it’s dependencies.

Not only does this save me a great deal of time (even having done it
manually many times) it will be a huge help to those who are trying to
install for the first time.

Thanks again,
Steve T.

2008/5/4 Steve T. [email protected]:

That’s great news Trond!

Thanks!
Eric

Very NICE! I am yumming it right now on FC8 (28M). Thanks Trond.

As mentioned in another email, Marek Mahut [1] is the one who deserves
the credit.

[1] [email protected]


Trond D.

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