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Ben Nanonote - Emacs and Alternate OSes

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Mon Jun 20 10:15:29 UTC 2016

On Monday 20. June 2016 02.23.31 Eastern Daylight Time wrote:
> I know this isn't a high-volume mailing list or anything, so this
> topic isn't liable to generate an enormous amount of discussion, but I
> figure if I'm likely to get the chance to talk to anyone else actively
> using the nanonote it's probably going to be here or on the IRC.

Here is a good enough place to discuss it. There's not much activity around 
the Ben these days, but some of us are still doing development-related things 
with it.

> I'm relatively new to using the Nanonote, and though I'm not really a
> hardware guy (that's threatening to change with something like this
> device) I see a lot of potential in the device for solid use.  I know
> emacs has been ported to the nanonote, and see that the qi hardware
> wiki page on software included has it listed, but even though I
> flashed my nanonote using the wiki's instructions it's not on there.
> Since a lot of what I do with computers is through emacs (I like the
> unified interface with text it provides, and it's a cool lisp machine
> on its own) I was wondering how it would be easiest to install on the
> nanonote.

I see you got some support on IRC for this. (It's interesting that Ida Systems 
still has them in stock, which was something I wondered about.)

> Another thing I'm holding under consideration is running Debian or
> Gentoo (the MIPS ports of either) on my nanonote.  Anyone have any
> experience with either?  Thoughts?

I contributed the following page to the wiki:


Initially, the use of Emdebian was motivated by the convenience of the cross-
installation approach plus potential package size savings. Since then, 
Emdebian as a distribution variant no longer exists, with only the multistrap 
tool still really being relevant, but multistrap works with "normal" Debian 
and I've installed recent versions onto a microSD card for use with the Ben.

I haven't tried the other approaches:


One other product of Emdebian and related Debian activities is the suite of 
cross-toolchains that are now available in Debian unstable. I've been using 
the mipsel toolchains to build "bare metal" payloads for the Ben, and if you 
end up using Debian, you'll have this option to cross-build rather than build 
on the device. Otherwise, the OpenWrt cross-toolchain is quite usable, and 
I've used that to develop software for hardware interfacing via the Ben's 
MMC/microSD/8:10 port.

Let us know what you end up doing!


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