YOW Hardware

Yow is a rev 6 NetWinder. The rev 6 was to be an easier, cheaper, to manufacture version of the rev 5. Both the audio and analog video chips where removed. This left room on the main board for the tulip chip so the daughtercard was removed. It has simplified front and rear panels and a bigger quieter fan.

An initial run of twelve rev 6s where produced. The first one failed completely. The +5 was connected to ground. This was corrected by carefully using a dremel to cut the connections. Of the other eleven, one never worked. So there are ten rev 6s in existence. With the demise of Rebel.com, I do not know where the other nine are.

The crusoe version of the 'Winder made the rev 6 obsolete before it even had a second spin of the board, let alone hit production.

Yow has been my gateway machine since August 2000.

Intel StrongARM

The original 'Winders used the Digital StrongARM. By the time the rev 6 was created, Digital was gone and all the Digital StrongARMs where used up. The new StrongARMs are made by Intel.

The StrongARM used in the 'Winder is a 233 Mhz processor which was overclocked to 275 Mhz. This worked well with the Digital versions, not so well with the Intel versions. For yow, I chose the rev 6 that worked best at 275 Mhz and added a heat sink for luck. There is no fan on the heat sink.


Under 2.2.19, YOW had 64M of ram. Here is the output of the free command which seems to be typical of YOW under load.

	     total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         63428      31024      32404       6080       3780      18676
-/+ buffers/cache:       8568      54860
Swap:       262576       2504     260072

Here is 2.4.19 with the same 64M of ram. Notice that 2.4 is much more aggressive at caching.

	     total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         63352      62284       1068          0       4864      40324
-/+ buffers/cache:      17096      46256
Swap:       262576       4228     258348

I then upgraded YOW to 128M. Here is the new free output. The added memory goes to a bigger cache and more buffers.

	     total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:        128180     120684       7496          0       6484      88128
-/+ buffers/cache:      26072     102108
Swap:       262576       5300     257276

Yow has a Fujitsu MHD2021AT with 2G of disk space. When I was at Rebel, I did a test of the 2G, 4G and 6G drives and the Fujitsu came out on top.

Below is the disk usage.

Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda1             496M   88M  382M  19% /
/dev/hda3             496M   62M  408M  13% /var
/dev/hda4             774M   49M  686M   7% /home

As you can see, I am barely using the 2Gs. So I am not looking for a new disk anytime soon.

YOW Software

YOW is running a stripped down DM version 3.1 [Build 15] base install from Rebel.com (RIP). Instead of the 2.2.13 kernel that comes with the base install, I have upgraded to the Linux 2.4.19 kernel.

The upgrade to the 2.4 kernel was painful, so I will outline the steps here to hopefully save others the pain.

Upgrading to 2.4

First: you must have a newer version of modutils since the driver module layout has changed. I recommend modutils-2.3.20-1. This version works with both 2.2 and 2.4 kernels.

Also, do a quick rpm -q initscripts and make sure it is at least 4.70. It took me days to work out that the initscript package on YOW was too old.


Iptables replaces ipchains in the 2.4 kernel. If you where using ipchains, you will need to upgrade. This is not going to be a complete introduction to iptables, just some hints.

You need the user mode iptables code. I have uploaded iptables-1.2.7a to Netwinder.org.

A good set of default rules can be found on the netfilter site. Follow the tutorials link. Note: If you are running PPPoE, replace the eth0 external interface with ppp0.

Upgrading PPPoE

I have a DSL modem connected to YOW that requires PPPoE. PPPoE is built in to the 2.4 kernel, but there is a dearth of information. Here is an incomplete list to getting PPPoE running under 2.4. Note: I assume you are already using PPPoE under 2.2 and have it running.

  1. First you need a newer version of the ppp package. Do not use ppp-2.4.0, it will not work properly with PPPoE. I used the latest CVS version, 2.4.2b1. It can be downloaded from samba.org. Make sure you get the pppd and the plugin, /usr/lib/pppd/plugins/rp-pppoed.so.

    Note: The 2.4.1 version from netwinder.org and others does not contain the plugin.
  2. You must make sure you have a newer pam package. Specifically, make sure you have the file /etc/pam.d/system-auth file. The pam-0.72-20 version from netwinder.org will do.
  3. Add the following line to the top of your /etc/ppp/options file:
      plugin /usr/lib/pppd/plugins/rp-pppoe.so
    Some of the options in your options file are probably no longer supported. Chief amoung them, the lock option. I just kept deleting the offending option rerunning pppd until it stopped complaining! You might want to keep the old copy as backup.
  4. You cannot use your old pppoed script or firewall script. I have no clean replacements yet. To start pppd the following should work:
    1. Run the iptables script
    2. ifup eth0
    3. modprobe pppoe
      Note: You may have to remove the mssclampfw line from modules.conf. If you do, remember to depmod -a.
    4. pppd eth0
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