Author Topic: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)  (Read 1009 times)

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Offline tehahb98

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Hello!

I wanted to show off my adventures with running Linux on the TI NSpire CX.
So, I made a video demonstrating it!


This Linux install is running Arch Linux ARM, and has a fully functional X11 install, complete with Openbox for window management and Tint2 as a panel.

Additionally, it also has full networking and audio capabilities.
This is demonstrated with a lightweight web browser (Dillo).


This is a list of all of the hardware in the USB bundle of joy:
  • USB Mini OTG cable
  • USB Y Splitter (for power separation)
  • USB Battery pack
  • USB Hub
  • AmazonBasics USB Ethernet Adapter
  • 256GB PatriotMemory USB drive
  • GL-Inet AR300MD Router (for wireless bridging)
  • CM108 USB Audio Card
  • Logitech Unified Receiver
To explain why I strapped on an entire router instead of just using a wireless USB card: I don't have a wireless USB card that has decent Linux support lying around anywhere, so this was simply easier. There is no other reason.

Calculator hardware:
- TI NSpire CX (Revision J)
- 64MB RAM
- 198Mhz CPU

Calculator software:
- 4.4.0.532 (CAS version)
- Boot1 Version: 3.0.0.99
- Boot2 Version: 4.0.3.49
- Ndless 4.4.0
- nBoot 3.0.0.99
- ControlX 4.4.3

Kernel settings required for alsa/sound:
CONFIG_SOUND
CONFIG_SND
CONFIG_SND_USB_AUDIO
CONFIG_SYSVIPC

Kernel settings required for AX88179 USB ethernet:
CONFIG_USB_NET_AX88179_178A

The TI NSpire CX uses a ARMv5 processor (Little endian) with soft floats.
That being said, to install Arch Linux you can use any ARMv5te rootfs from ArchLinuxARM.
The image that has best compatibility with the NSpire is the kirkwood builds.
You can find that here: http://os.archlinuxarm.org/os/ArchLinuxARM-kirkwood-latest.tar.gz

To install, simply extract it to a USB drive and boot from USB as you would any other.

During the process, there was a few minor difficulties.
The most notable one is that my calculator got soft bricked after a reboot from Linux once.
The calculator was stuck on this screen.
Spoiler For Spoiler:

I reset the calculator numerous times to no avail. I then reset the OS a whopping 3 times, and it still wouldn't boot.
Lastly, I unplugged the calculator's battery and cold booted it. That fixed it!

Here are some awesome pictures taken during the adventure!
Spoiler For Spoiler:










I hope you enjoyed the ramblings of a madman. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 09:54:02 am by tehahb98 »

Offline Eeems

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 10:37:36 am »
So I noticed that your video has lots of variations in speed. How long does it actually take to start X? How slow/laggy is the mouse, and Dillo?
/e

Offline tehahb98

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 07:20:09 pm »
So I noticed that your video has lots of variations in speed. How long does it actually take to start X? How slow/laggy is the mouse, and Dillo?

The raw uncut footage is 10 minutes long.

Offline Eeems

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 11:07:58 pm »
And how slow/laggy is the mouse, and Dillo?
/e

Offline tehahb98

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 11:51:55 pm »
And how slow/laggy is the mouse, and Dillo?

The mouse skips around, but it's not that bad. Only a little bit slower than the mouse on standard operating system.

Dillo actually works fine, the only problem is lack of screen real estate. Also, loading pages is a bit slow, but after it's loaded scrolling around is flawless.

Offline aeTIos

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2018, 02:25:20 am »
Wow that's really impressive. I'm gonna watch how this develops. Do you intend to do anything with it?
I'm not a nerd but I pretend:

Offline tehahb98

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2018, 03:13:48 am »
Wow that's really impressive. I'm gonna watch how this develops. Do you intend to do anything with it?

I plan to optimize for screen space in the future, so it can be more usable.

Offline Jonson26

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 03:11:17 pm »
That's really nice! But you definitely need to resize those icon in dillo! It would be much easier to use.
Bit unrelated: It's quite sad, that Punix never got finished... Maybe we could have gotten something simillar for the 68k platform (which is WAAYYY better than the nspire in terms of programming - there is even a on-calc c compiler for it!). :(

Offline Eeems

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2018, 03:14:40 pm »
That's really nice! But you definitely need to resize those icon in dillo! It would be much easier to use.
Bit unrelated: It's quite sad, that Punix never got finished... Maybe we could have gotten something simillar for the 68k platform (which is WAAYYY better than the nspire in terms of programming - there is even a on-calc c compiler for it!). :(
With linux you can also have an on calc c compiler.
/e

Offline Jonson26

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 03:29:12 pm »
I know, but gtc was for AMS(ti-os).
besides, the nspire screen is smaller than the v200/92(p). I imagine it could be quite hard to see your code on your nspire. (Unless sombody manages to use a usb graphics card with it.  :P)

Offline Art_of_camelot

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2018, 06:24:57 pm »
besides, the nspire screen is smaller than the v200/92(p). I imagine it could be quite hard to see your code on your nspire. (Unless sombody manages to use a usb graphics card with it.  :P)
The V200/92+ does have a bigger screen, but not by that much. On the flip side, the nsipre has color as opposed to black and white on the 92+ series, and the nspire has a higher resolution.

Offline Hooloovoo

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Re: TI NSpire CX Linux Adventures (Arch Linux with X11, internet, audio)
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2018, 12:28:52 am »
Kernel settings required for alsa/sound:
CONFIG_SOUND
CONFIG_SND
CONFIG_SND_USB_AUDIO
CONFIG_SYSVIPC

Kernel settings required for AX88179 USB ethernet:
CONFIG_USB_NET_AX88179_178A

I'm having trouble getting my kernel to give me any graphics. Can you post your kernel config? What kernel version are you using?
"My world is Black & White. But if I blink fast enough, I see it in Grayscale." -tr1p1ea
Spoiler For some of the calcs I own:



(actually I have quite a few more than this, but I don't feel like making bars for them all.)