8. Booting using ARLO

8.1. Installing ARLO

You need to install ARLO (the boot loader - equivalent to LILO) onto your psion. To do this, visit the README file for ARLO. The procedure has become fairly straightforward, so only a brief description of ARLO installation will be given here. The latest version of ARLO can be found http://www.yipton.net, or more locally (and preferably) at Sourceforge Files. ARLO has a GUI that one starts from the applications panel of EPOC. It allows the configuration to be adjusted in a user-friendly manner.

ARLO can be installed to either the C: or D: drives as you select - it will work fine from either. However, if you install it on the C: drive, you will need to reinstall it each time you boot linux, because linux will use the C: drive as system memory.

You may need to set up a configuration file for ARLO if you use an older version of ARLO - see the documentation.

8.2. Getting a kernel

You will need to get a binary linux kernel; making sure you have the latest kernel is probably a good idea anyways. Obtaining an precompiled kernel is easiest. I would recommend obtaining one from the Files at Sourceforge. The kernels for the 5MX must be uncompressed. You will need the kernel type that goes with your model of 5MX (DE, UK, or US). Copy the uncompressed kernel image and initrd.gz files to the drive on the Psion that you installed ARLO as, e.g., linux.image and initrd.gz.

8.3. Getting the kernel booted from EPOC

At this stage you are ready to startup ARLO, set a few configurations, and boot into Linux. Double check you have good backups of you Psion and then start up ARLO. From ARLO you should be able to use various ARLO configurations to set the linux.image, initrd.gz (if you use an initrd.gz), and any options you want to pass to the kernel (e.g., root=/dev/hda2)- follow your nose or see the ARLO documentation. ARLO can be set to boot from any number of initrd.gz files or linux systems on disk.

Loading the initial ramdisk (initrd). You can easily load a ramdisk (the initrd.gz file) by setting this image in the ARLO configuration.

Passing additional parameters into the kernel. You may need to pass any other parameters into the kernel you need to type: root=/dev/hda2 to set /dev/hda2 as the root filesystem. If you are using an initrd, you should not use this option.

A full description of kernel parameters can be found in /usr/src/linux/Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt of the kernel source tree.

Running the kernel. In ARLO, highlight the system type you want to boot and hit return; your psion should now boot into Linux! You should see a penguin that goes with the framebuffer. If the system appears faded, set the framebuffer depth to be 2bpp, rather than 4bpp; you can also try "Fn ." to increase the contrast some.

If it does a double bleep and then puts up the EPOC logo, something has gone wrong. Try double checking the linux.image file or your linux configuration. In desparation, try reinstalling ARLO.

8.4. Autobooting ARLO from reset

If you want to set up your psion to automatically boot into ARLO after a reset/reboot you must create a 'D:\system\data\wsini.ini' file on your CF Fat partition. The wsini.ini file must be a text file, and the last line should be changed to the following line:

STARTUP d:\arlo\arlosh.exe

This presumes you have the ARLO executable on the d: drive (compactflash) and the associated ARLO files. You can see the Psion's default \system\data\wsini.ini file by going to that directory on the Z: disk (ROM). To see the Z: disk, in EPOC hit "Ctrl, Shift, Tab". You will have to copy the wsini.ini file to either C: or D: disks, and then, e.g., import the text file into Word to edit it.

8.5. How do I get back to EPOC?

These days you should be able to just execute "shutdown -r now" to get the psion to reboot. If you did not implement a "wsini.ini" file to start up ARLO by default [see above], the machine will boot into EPOC. Alternatively, you can hit the equivalent of "control, alt, delete" by hitting "function, menu, delete" to cause a reboot.

If you are worried, type: sync a few times before starting the reboot, to be sure that stuff in memory is written to disk.

If your machine is hung for some reason and you need to reset it manually, then: Open the backup battery door and locate the small copper coloured circle near the battery, using a partly unfolded paperclip or similar, gently press in the copper coloured circle.

   |o      |   <----- The small reset switch is silver/gold and resessed.
   |---    |           [about the size of a pin head]
   |    \  |
   |    |  |           Use the tip of a paperclip, or something like that
   |    /  |           to press it gently and when you hit the "On" button you
   |----   |           should here two happy beeps :) as EPOC starts up.
   | +----------------+
   | |                |
   | +----------------+

(ASCII art courtesy of Chris Ross!)
Now close the backup battery door, and hit the Esc/on key. The machine should beep twice and then display the Psion 5MX splash screen. After a delay while EPOC reads its system out of ROM and reloads it into RAM, you will be back in the EPOC system. [While pressing the Esc/on key you may need to holding down both shift keys press to encourage EPOC to clear all memory, but this is probably not needed any more.]

More hints on reseting the machine can be found on the FAQ/reset page.

Sometimes the reboot will fail because of an erroneous configuration on the compactflash disk - just remove the disk to get it to start EPOC, and then fix what's wrong on the disk (of course).