VOGONS


First post, by radiance32

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Hi all,

I've just finished my new video on the HP Palmtop Tube channel where I try to find a UNIX-like operating system that runs on the HP 200LX Palmtop,
an after searching I managed to get Minix 2.0.2 running fine on it.
The video goes into detail about the history of Minix, it's influence on the development of Linux,
and shows the installation, configuration and then demonstration of the OS 😀

And, at the end of the video, I'm using a Psion Series 3a Palmtop to compile and run a game on
Minix the 3a's comms terminal application and a null modem cable to the 200LX running the Minix OS. 😀

Here's a link: https://youtu.be/MNDON2kHQbQ

It's the first part of 2 videos. In the 2nd video, coming in a few weeks, I will continue with the setup and compile a new kernel with TCP/IP networking enabled,
and setting up a 24/7 indefinite webserver that serves a website with an archive of files for HP palmtop users.
What better way to serve up palmtop related files than to serve them from a HP 200LX itself! 😀

I'm still new at this, and was quite nervous, so I made a few mistakes/typos and misquotes here and there,
my channel is only 2 months old,
but I hope everyone that watches the video, and I'm sure many people here on VOGONS.ORG will already know quite a bit about it,
will be able to learn something from it, as that's what it's all about.

Now I just need to add the SCSI bus and hard drives from my previous video, which was about connecting SCSI devices to the 200LX,
as a UNIX system is not a proper one if it doesn't have SCSI drives 😀 🤣

Your feedback and advise is very welcome 😀

Enjoy!,
Terrence

Last edited by radiance32 on 2021-12-16, 02:17. Edited 2 times in total.

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 1 of 31, by Caluser2000

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Hey man, where abouts in this great group of southern pacific islands do you hail from?

Ahh the great *nix OS kernel debate. Anybody know who one that one at all?

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 2 of 31, by radiance32

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-15, 23:23:

Hey man, where abouts in this great group of southern pacific islands do you hail from?

Ahh the great *nix OS kernel debate. Anybody know who one that one at all?

Haha 😀

I live in Whangarei, about 2 hours drive north of Auckland, New Zealand.
But, I moved here from Belgium 15 years ago, so I am Belgian (Flemish)

I don't think either Andrew nor Linus won the great kernel debate.
I guess Linus won in the end due to the extreme success of his creation,
but I think Andrew made a lot of sense, a microkernel based OS has advantages that are great for running servers,
like self-healing code, eg, if a driver or service crashes on a microkernel OS, the kernel can restart it,
whereas a driver or service crash built into a monolithic kernel will take the whole system down with it.

Personally, I think Linux probably would'nt exist, or would be very different if Minix and it's implementation book were never released,
so Andrew does have a hand in the major success of the linux kernel.
If MInix and the book never were released, we'd probably all be running FreeBSD, NetBSD or OpenBSD web and database servers and desktops instead.
(personally, I prefer installing, running and administrating a FAMP (FreeBSD, Apache, MySQL and PHP) than a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), it's just a more lean/mean operating system and it's developed coherently as an OS and not just a kernel for others to package into a multitude of different distributions, all trying to reinvent the wheel at the same time, what a waste of time/resources! 🙁 )

One thing though, Minix is the worlds most successful operating system (from a number of systems running/deployed pov), as a version of Minix 3.0 actually runs 24/7 hidden inside intel chipsets:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/minix-intels-hi … erating-system/

I think we have both Andrew and Linus to thank for the amazing performance, features and free cost of modern linux kernels and their distributions...

Cheers,
Radiance

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 3 of 31, by Caluser2000

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I'm in Palmerston North. Born over in Hastings(Central Hawkes Bay) and parents moved the 2 miles to Havelock North when I was about 4. Spent 23 years in the RNZAF. Most of that as an Armament Trade Sgt. Been out longer now though 😀 Lived in this house and married 28 years now. 62 and life is just beginning 😉

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 4 of 31, by radiance32

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 06:05:

I'm in Palmerston North. Born over in Hastings(Central Hawkes Bay) and parents moved the 2 miles to Havelock North when I was about 4. Spent 23 years in the RNZAF. Most of that as an Armament Trade Sgt. Been out longer now though 😀 Lived in this house and married 28 years now. 62 and life is just beginning 😉

Cool, I'm planning on driving through Palmerston North in my Lotus Elise at the end of January, on a road trip to Christchurch to visit some friends for 2 weeks 😀
I'm doing a drive down from Whangarei, stopping in Rotorua to do some hot spring pools, and camping overnight with my tent (which just fits in the boot of the Elise),
and then continuing to welly to catch a ferry to Picton, and drive to CHCH from there, spend a week and a half or so with my friends in CHCH,
then return and do some sightseeing and camping along the way in 2-3 places, I've still got to map out the exact places I'll be camping (or staying in a motel if it's raining).

If you have some recommendations for nice places to visit and do some camping in the middle of the north Island on my way back from Wellington to Whangarei,
please let me know! 😀

Gonna be a fun trip! 😉

So did you like the YouTube video? Any comments and/or feedback ? I'm new to making videos for YouTube and could use all the feedback and suggestions I can get! 😀

Cheers,
Radiance

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 5 of 31, by Caluser2000

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The video is excellent. Great content. Runs on this P4 3.2GHz HT setup well for those unbelievers out there..

For your first trip stick to the usual places and take your time. If you want to head over to Palmy just flick me a PM. We always have a spare bed or bit of floor and secure parking at the rear of the property.. The weather is still very unpredictable that time of year . I 've seen snow during some of my many old motorcycle runs down there during the Christmas period.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 6 of 31, by radiance32

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 15:35:

The video is excellent. Great content. Runs on this P4 3.2GHz HT setup well for those unbelievers out there..

For your first trip stick to the usual places and take your time. If you want to head over to Palmy just flick me a PM. We always have a spare bed or bit of floor and secure parking at the rear of the property.. The weather is still very unpredictable that time of year . I 've seen snow during some of my many old motorcycle runs down there during the Christmas period.

Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you!
Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ?

Cheers,
Terrence

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 7 of 31, by Caluser2000

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radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-16, 20:00:
Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you! Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ? […]
Show full quote
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 15:35:

The video is excellent. Great content. Runs on this P4 3.2GHz HT setup well for those unbelievers out there..

For your first trip stick to the usual places and take your time. If you want to head over to Palmy just flick me a PM. We always have a spare bed or bit of floor and secure parking at the rear of the property.. The weather is still very unpredictable that time of year . I 've seen snow during some of my many old motorcycle runs down there during the Christmas period.

Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you!
Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ?

Cheers,
Terrence

What are you generally interested in Terrence?

It's a student town and major transport hub. Excellent place to get to other provinces down this way. Lots of nice sealed back country roads here abouts.

Mark(friends call me Bones)

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 8 of 31, by radiance32

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 20:15:
What are you generally interested in Terrence? […]
Show full quote
radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-16, 20:00:
Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you! Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ? […]
Show full quote
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 15:35:

The video is excellent. Great content. Runs on this P4 3.2GHz HT setup well for those unbelievers out there..

For your first trip stick to the usual places and take your time. If you want to head over to Palmy just flick me a PM. We always have a spare bed or bit of floor and secure parking at the rear of the property.. The weather is still very unpredictable that time of year . I 've seen snow during some of my many old motorcycle runs down there during the Christmas period.

Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you!
Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ?

Cheers,
Terrence

What are you generally interested in Terrence?

It's a student town and major transport hub. Excellent place to get to other provinces down this way. Lots of nice sealed back country roads here abouts.

Mark(friends call me Bones)

Any kind of good places to visit ? Like hot pools, other kind of pools, or anything else that's interesting to do ? I've no idea about Palmerston North,
I've only driven through it on the highway 4-5 times during the last decade 😀

Cheers,
Terrence

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 9 of 31, by radiance32

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 20:15:
What are you generally interested in Terrence? […]
Show full quote
radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-16, 20:00:
Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you! Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ? […]
Show full quote
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-12-16, 15:35:

The video is excellent. Great content. Runs on this P4 3.2GHz HT setup well for those unbelievers out there..

For your first trip stick to the usual places and take your time. If you want to head over to Palmy just flick me a PM. We always have a spare bed or bit of floor and secure parking at the rear of the property.. The weather is still very unpredictable that time of year . I 've seen snow during some of my many old motorcycle runs down there during the Christmas period.

Thanks for the offer, that's very nice of you!
Are there any must-see places around Palmerston North ?

Cheers,
Terrence

What are you generally interested in Terrence?

It's a student town and major transport hub. Excellent place to get to other provinces down this way. Lots of nice sealed back country roads here abouts.

Mark(friends call me Bones)

Hey,

I was just doing some thinking/planning in my calendar, and, since i'll be driving to Rotorua next month,
I'm ok to do a "pitstop" in Palmerston North, so maybe we can meet up.
Do you think you will be home around the last week of the month of January ?

It's always good to meet up with fellow computer geeks and talk about our particular interests 😀
If you are married or in a relationship, maybe we can all go out for dinner with your partner or something,
and I will be doing some camping in the area 😀 (I prefer camping with my tent rather than staying at someone's house,
it's a "i need to make more use of that darn expensive tent I bought" kinda thing... 😀
Unless it's pouring rain like it has been during the last few days...

Maybe send me a PM here on VOGONS with your details (full name, address and mobile number)
and i'll TXT you when I know what's going to happen at the end of January...

Are you ok with that ?

Cheers,
Terrence

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 12 of 31, by radiance32

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2021-12-22, 22:11:

Just watched this. I think Doug McIlroy would have something to say about the Psion which is missing the pipe key.

Nonetheless, the Psion 3a's keyboard is miles better than the HP's calculator like keys,
I can type twice as fast on it 😀
And, it's successor the Psion Series 5 machines had a perfect keboard, with real keyboard keys and proper travel,
a joy to type on, and with a few weeks of practice, you could type as fast on it as on a desktop PC keyboard...

Radiance

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 13 of 31, by lolo799

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You're using Minix on DOS as a base from the following website, right?
https://web.archive.org/web/20060813104310/ht … x.technoir.org/

Did you try running it directly from a flashcard that uses the Minix filesystem along with the pcmcia and int13h services from https://web.archive.org/web/20020209220137/ht … .erols.com/rld/?

PCMCIA Sound, Storage & Graphics

Reply 14 of 31, by the3dfxdude

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radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-23, 06:24:
Nonetheless, the Psion 3a's keyboard is miles better than the HP's calculator like keys, I can type twice as fast on it :) And, […]
Show full quote

Nonetheless, the Psion 3a's keyboard is miles better than the HP's calculator like keys,
I can type twice as fast on it 😀
And, it's successor the Psion Series 5 machines had a perfect keboard, with real keyboard keys and proper travel,
a joy to type on, and with a few weeks of practice, you could type as fast on it as on a desktop PC keyboard...

Radiance

Ah, wish the HP 200LX had the Psion Series 5 keyboard, plus the pipe char. They can fit it on there. Same with the back tick 😀

Reply 15 of 31, by radiance32

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lolo799 wrote on 2021-12-23, 14:18:

You're using Minix on DOS as a base from the following website, right?
https://web.archive.org/web/20060813104310/ht … x.technoir.org/

Did you try running it directly from a flashcard that uses the Minix filesystem along with the pcmcia and int13h services from https://web.archive.org/web/20020209220137/ht … .erols.com/rld/?

I did find and grab the files, but I decided not to use them as I'm running minix on my palmtop with the SCSI2SD card,
and there's no minix driver for the ParaSCSI.

Also, compiling a kernel with the bios hard drive driver is larger than the dosfile one... (and memory is extremely scarce as is, I need every byte for my target webserver project)

Also, I don't have any other large CF cards that I can wipe currently as I'm working on several projects / doing research etc...
I only have a 2x 2GB and 32MB card at the moment, and the first one requires the acecard3 driver, which wouldn't be possible booting minix directly,
and the 32mb card is way too small for my project...
Even if it did work with the 2GB cards, both are currently in use for other projects for upcoming videos, so I can't even try it...

I'm happy to run dosminix, it quick/easy, I can install it on any CF card or my SCSI2SD along with my other MS-DOS stuff I'm working on,
and, as this is an educational/instructional video, I want it to be the easiest for others to implement,
and I plan to make my dosminix archive available for download once the 2nd video is done,
so people can easily download it, unzip it in a directory on their palmtop's DOS formatted CF card, and boot it with one command...

I'll be happy to run minix with the 200LX pcmcia/bios HD implementations with proper minix filesystems on an appropriately partitioned CF card, if I can find me another 1GB or 2GB CF card 😀,
that works on the palmtop, which are incredibly difficult to find (real ones that actually work), and, the acecard3 driver isn't required...

I'm currently working on slimming down the size of the ppp.drv PPP client driver and reducing it's stack space so I can fit 2x (one for input and one for output) into the remaining user-space memory,
after building a kernel with networking (which makes the kernel 120kb larger and is now approx 300kb large, half my total working memory).
Add to that another 100kb for the ppp.drv, and i've only got 200kb left for the 2x tcpd's that i need to run for the in.httpd and in.telnetd, which I'm also
trying to slim down by disabling unnecessary features before compilng them, or, i've got a small 2000 line, very simple HTTP 1.1 server I wrote a few years ago in C,
that I can port to the system if the in.httpd is too large. (minix does'nt support posix threads, eg pthreads, so the httpd forks upon a new connection, which makes the memory issues even worse),
so if I can port my tiny httpd server, which also forks, things should be much better as it only uses <10kb of process size while running, so it can fork a decent amount of processes,
to serve maybe 5 or 6 or so concurrent connections... At this point I just want to finish everything so I can make the 2nd video, instead of start all over...

Another thing that I thought would be an issue is that the dosminix 2.0.2 for the 200LX (from the page archived at the wayback machine) is patched/updated to support the 200LX and it's RS232 port.
If I were to use a CF card as a BIOS HD, i'd have to use a generic minix 2.x distribution, which would come without these patches, and as thus my RS232 port won't work,
and it's vital to what i'm trying to achieve... These patches aren't available anywhere, they only come rolled into the dosminix for HP 200LX you can download on that archived page...
Finally, I need dos to load the clkup32.sys driver for the doublespeed crystal, otherwise many system functions malfunction, (RS232 port does'n work correctly, LCD is missing rows on left and many more issues,
besides the acecard3 or ParaSCSI HD driver...

Radiance

Last edited by radiance32 on 2021-12-23, 21:55. Edited 4 times in total.

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 16 of 31, by radiance32

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2021-12-23, 17:10:
radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-23, 06:24:
Nonetheless, the Psion 3a's keyboard is miles better than the HP's calculator like keys, I can type twice as fast on it :) And, […]
Show full quote

Nonetheless, the Psion 3a's keyboard is miles better than the HP's calculator like keys,
I can type twice as fast on it 😀
And, it's successor the Psion Series 5 machines had a perfect keboard, with real keyboard keys and proper travel,
a joy to type on, and with a few weeks of practice, you could type as fast on it as on a desktop PC keyboard...

Radiance

Ah, wish the HP 200LX had the Psion Series 5 keyboard, plus the pipe char. They can fit it on there. Same with the back tick 😀

Yup, Imagine a palmtop with Series 5 keyboard, MS-DOS and a 386 CPU, released after the 200LX series 😀

Terrence

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 17 of 31, by the3dfxdude

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radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-23, 19:54:

Yup, Imagine a palmtop with Series 5 keyboard, MS-DOS and a 386 CPU, released after the 200LX series 😀

Terrence

That almost happened with the Nokia 9000. But that's not quite perfect.

I still find the HP 200LX running Minix quite fascinating, and might put Linux running on a 386 to shame.

Reply 18 of 31, by radiance32

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2021-12-23, 23:30:
radiance32 wrote on 2021-12-23, 19:54:

Yup, Imagine a palmtop with Series 5 keyboard, MS-DOS and a 386 CPU, released after the 200LX series 😀

Terrence

That almost happened with the Nokia 9000. But that's not quite perfect.

I still find the HP 200LX running Minix quite fascinating, and might put Linux running on a 386 to shame.

Well, I can assure you that while it runs stable/fine (minix on the 200LX),
it's pretty darn slow compared to Linux on a 386 😀
It took nearly 2 hours to compile gzip 😀 (an early / smaller version than current ones)

The neat thing though is that I was also logged in via the RS-232 terminal and could do other things quite comfortably, albeit a bit slower, and with only about 100kb or so of memory left, while gzip was building on the console...
It's such a crime that it doesn't support virtual memory / swapfiles, but that's why you need the 386+ CPU with it's MMU.

Running all this in 600kb of RAM including DOS and the Minix Kernel is pretty neat,
talk about efficient code. And it's a full multi-user, pre-emptive multitasking OS, and, although it runs in real-mode,
it does have some protection from individual processes crashing, and it cleans them up / removes them from memory without taking down the whole system,
unless if it's a service like inet (the user-space tcp/ip stack implementation of minix 2.0, which is not based on a BSD sockets style TCP/IP stack like almost every other UNIX/Linux and is not %100 compatible)

Radiance

PS: To build larger things with more memory required for building, you can run dosminix 16-bit in DOSBOX on a 286 CPU for example, and give it for example 4MB RAM and you can compile larger apps with more memory hungry nested makefiles etc, as you can set the C compiler's target CPU to compile for a 8086 or 80186 so it will run %100 on the palmtop,
then copy your compiled binary over to the HP Palmtop to run it...

Check out my new HP 100/200LX Palmtop YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCVChzZ62a-c4MdJWyRwdCQ

Reply 19 of 31, by Hamby

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This is... neat...

Today I finally got off my backside to check out several of my portable systems, as I haven't changed the batteries or anything with them in anything from 6 months to a year.
First I got out my Psion 3a with the woodgrain/tortoiseshell cover (never sure what it's supposed to be besides pretty)... batteries were dead, but replaced them with new duracells and she worked fine.

Then I dug out the 100lx... 2mb version... turned it on... nothing. No surprise.
Opened the battery compartment... a small amount of corrosion on the battery terminals.
So I popped out the batteries, swabbed it with a q-tip and a bit of white vinegar, popped in a couple new duracells... voila, she was working (though I need to get/install a new CR2032 backup battery).
Just had to re-enter my information. I've a 90meg industrial pcmcia memory card, and it was found with everything intact.
I've got some 1, 2 and 4 gig CF cards, but I thought 100mb was the biggest the 100lx could take..

Then I dug out my TRS-80 model 100. it actually powered up. I checked, no apparent corrosion on the batteries, though I did need to update the date and time. I really need to tear it open and recap it someday soon.
And a few weeks back I got into a nostalgia mood and went digging up early versions of *nix, like slax and yggdrasil and minix. I wondered at the time if I could run Minix in virtualbox or qemu. Would be neat to give it a try on my 100lx... telnet onto it from my Model100, using the vt100 emulation built into my rexcpm rom, as well as from my 3a.

I also was looking for a Psion 5/5mx online today. I'd love to get one. I had a friend who got a 5 when they were new, and I was permanently impressed. My Psion 3a keyboard is perhaps the best I've used on a portable or even semi-portable device.

What I would really love to get my hands on (if I could afford it) is a Psion 7 or a Netbook. Netbook pros come up on ebay now and then, but they run WinCE; you can put Linux on them, but would want to run Epoc.

I just think it's kind of interesting that A) I was playing with my Psion 3a and 100lx just before reading this post and B) yesterday I subscribed to your YouTube channel