Feb 142008

Hi all…

With the help of robbat2, I’ve released the full LiveUSB Image of Gentoo Linux for the Lemote Fulong, and similar systems. It consists of two parts…

  • The kernel image, which can be used alone to boot the system and perform an installation, or rescue an installation.
  • The live system image, in the form of a 870MB SquashFS image.

If you just want to install Gentoo, you can download the kernel image on its own, and either load it from a USB disk or TFTP server.

However, if you want a full blown desktop, you need this kernel image, plus the LiveUSB system image, which you’ll find on the mirrors under the experimental/mips/livecd/loongson-2007.1 directory. I’ve pushed this straight out, due to its considerable size. (For me anyway… remember that my ADSL link pushes data up at a whopping 128Kbps… yes… “broadband” in Australia officially sucks!)

To boot the live environment, download both to a EXT2 or EXT3 formatted partition on a USB disk (FAT32 may work, but you’ll need to tweak the URL passed to PMON2000 when loading the kernel). For simplicity, place them in the root of the directory, with the kernel named “gentoo“, and the live system named “gentoo-liveusb.sqfs“.

Boot the Lemote box up and hit DELETE when prompted. You’ll be greeted by a PMON> prompt… Enter the commands as you see below…

PMON> load /dev/fs/ext2@usb0/gentoo
PMON> g console=tty0 liveusb

The highlights…

The following are some screenshots of the desktop in action. The desktop is based on the latest 2007.1 stages, and KDE 3.5.8. When it first boots, you’re greeted by the following screen:

LiveUSB login prompt

The desktop is provided in two languages, English (UK) and Simplified Chinese — decided according to the account you login as. Both accounts are set up in KDE as passwordless, so just click on the desired account and press ENTER. If you do happen to be asked for a password, the password on all accounts (including root) is gentoo. Once logged in, you’re greeted with a largely default KDE desktop (click to enlarge). The background image is a departure from traditional Gentoo desktops — based on a photo taken by my father whilst camping up at Biggenden.

LiveUSB Desktop

The latest stable Mozilla browser, Bon Echo (Firefox) is included. Note that due to licensing, I’m not able to use the Firefox branding that people would be more familiar with (click to enlarge). The default homepage and bookmarks have been tweaked to have some useful relevant links for Gentoo/MIPS. The Chinese version links to versions of the documentation in Chinese where available.

LiveUSB Bon Echo included

Should you have a query, or wish to chat to people whilst waiting for things to install, a full IRC client and instant messenger package are provided.

LiveUSB Messaging

A full copy of the KOffice productivity suite is included…

LiveUSB KOffice

Multimedia playback applications such as KMPlayer, Kaffeine Player and Amarok are provided…

LiveUSB Multimedia

And last but not least… if you get bored… Quake II with qmax goodness, is available… (but bring your own game files) Sadly, hardware OpenGL isn’t working yet, but despite this, Quake II is still quite playable.

LiveUSB Quake II


  7 Responses to “Gentoo/MIPS for Loongson — LiveUSB image is here”

  1. Argh, slow streaming from your webhost is bogging down Planet Gentoo.

    Now, that being said, this looks sexeh. SexEH, with an ee aych. So it’s looking good and all, but where can the rest of the world that is not China buy one of these sexy MIPS boxes? I want one. And not a development one that’s possibly missing stuff, but the full deal, end user-like.

    All your posts on the Lemote goodness really make me want one. Really really want one. 🙂

  2. Ask r0bertz, he tries to get one for me…

  3. You can buy them – nice retail boxes and everything. But when a colleague and I each decided to buy a pair (last summer – we are in North America), it wasn’t as easy as making an order via a website form and paying with your credit card.

    We contacted sales@lemote.com and were instructed to make an international wire transfer for payment. This failed for us, so we ultimately were able to arrange alternative payment (Paypal). This worked perfectly, and we got our boxes very quickly from China.

    If you really want one, and they *are* nifty ;-), I suggest you contact sales@lemote.com. They were very good to deal with when we placed our order, and were very helpful in arranging the alternative payment. It is possible distribution and payment options have evolved in the last 6 months.

  4. Hi!

    Do you plan a live image for SGI Mips, too? I would be especially interested in an image for ip22 CPU

  5. Okay… there are a number of issues with doing this LiveUSB image on SGI systems.

    (1) there’s no such thing as an IP22 CPU. IP22 systems, yes, typically with either R4000-series or R5000 CPUs. But no IP22 “CPUs”.
    (2) A LiveCD already exists for SGI systems running MIPS4-class CPUs (R5000/RM5200/RM7000/R1xxxx…), based around the XFCE desktop.
    (3) The software on this LiveUSB image, would run like utter crap, on most SGI boxes.
    (4) It’s physically impossible to boot from USB on a SGI system. You’d need some means of loading the kernel externally.

    The only reason why it was practical to include this, on the Lemote LiveUSB image, is because these are machines that, CPU-wise (but sadly, not IO-wise) have significantly more grunt than most SGI boxes. The only boxes that come close, are high-end Octanes (dual-CPU and at least 300MHz), and IP27 systems. And even these, lack accelerated video under Linux.

  6. I am the colleague of cpp above. I was able to use this image and kernel to bootstrap the system into full gentoo system with little trouble. Currently running with kernel version with no real trouble.

  7. I am trying to get DRI working on Linux- + xorg-server-
    Now X is working, but DRI not working yet.
    Ebuilds are available here: http://www.gentoo-cn.org/gitweb/?p=loongson;a=summary
    Some basic analysis could be found here: http://zhllg.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!956A48A2D7ED7265!2513.entry