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Thread: Hacking Express gate (Asus Splashtop)

  1. #101
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    Apr 2009
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    I have send them an email asking for some information about the kernel and if it would be possible to modify the bootloader in a way that it loads the kernel without parameter when the timeout has expired. Maybe they answer... we will see.

  2. #102
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    Apr 2009
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    Here some news:
    I installed the files from the harddisk installation on an USB stick as described in the other thread. Then I switched the SATA configuration in the BIOS to AHCI so that the BIOS can not read the harddisk installation. If I boot now with the USB Stick plugged in the BIOS reads the files from the stick and the system starts. What I don't see anymore is the menu with the different options (Firefox, Skype etc) and the system starts immediately with the "initva=firefox" option. This means that my first point "Boot Express Gate immediately" is already accomplished. I moved most of the *.sqx files to a temp directory to see what is necessary to run a minimal graphical environment with my rxvt shell. I also have a shellscript running to start my own kernel with kexec right after the loading of the splashtop kernel. Unfortunately my kernel hangs for 16 seconds during the USB initialization with an error messages, that is addressed by one of the patches "disable_quirk_usb_early_handoff.patch". This delays the overall boot process to 55 seconds. So I assume I could boot in less then 40 seconds with this method. Next would be to either load another bootmanager or to modify the kernel in order to save another 15 or so seconds.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,673

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    I never have heard of that patch, for which kernel is it and whats the url?

  4. #104
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Hi

    Did you get the direct boot to work with out using a USB key?
    I might be able to live with the 2.6.25 kernel if it boots up quick.

    Regards

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkstar2000 View Post
    Here some news:
    I installed the files from the harddisk installation on an USB stick as described in the other thread. Then I switched the SATA configuration in the BIOS to AHCI so that the BIOS can not read the harddisk installation. If I boot now with the USB Stick plugged in the BIOS reads the files from the stick and the system starts. What I don't see anymore is the menu with the different options (Firefox, Skype etc) and the system starts immediately with the "initva=firefox" option. This means that my first point "Boot Express Gate immediately" is already accomplished. I moved most of the *.sqx files to a temp directory to see what is necessary to run a minimal graphical environment with my rxvt shell. I also have a shellscript running to start my own kernel with kexec right after the loading of the splashtop kernel. Unfortunately my kernel hangs for 16 seconds during the USB initialization with an error messages, that is addressed by one of the patches "disable_quirk_usb_early_handoff.patch". This delays the overall boot process to 55 seconds. So I assume I could boot in less then 40 seconds with this method. Next would be to either load another bootmanager or to modify the kernel in order to save another 15 or so seconds.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    The patch is in the source package from Splashtop. It's in the patches directory under "core" (source version 1.4.6.2).
    To be honest, I am not shure how I did get the direct boot. Actually I wanted to install the system on a USB stick to play around without having to boot another system in between whenever I want to change a sqx-file and so I plugged in the USB stick where I installed an old 1.3.2.x according to the "Splashtop on USB stick"-thread. When I switched to AHCI I realized that the BIOS takes the file from the stick instead from the harddisk. Then I just copied the contents of the "ASUS.SYS" folder to the stick and after that it booted always without the boot menu. First I thought this was because there where not the right skin*.bin file (only german) and so I deleted all skins, but then it refused to boot at all. So I copied the skin*.bin and skin*.idx back to the stick and it booted again without the menu. I think I will do a quick diff and see what is different between the stick and the harddisk installation. Maybe this is a hint: whenever I start up the system asks me for the language settings like during the very first start. Does anybody knows where these information are stored?

    I think as long as there is no SDK it is difficult to build own applications for the kernel, as I don't know which libraries are already installed and which version is used. The kernel version looks like an old Debian etch, but when I installed it in a virtual machine the libraries from the repository where already to new. If it is not possible to exchange the kernel.bin with a custom version I would really like to pass a custom "root=XXX" to the kernel and start my own full operational development system. But for that I need to know the exact library versions. Passing "root=/dev/sda2" where my Ubuntu 9.04 is installed does not work.

    If I have something new, I will post it here.

  6. #106
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    Aug 2007
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    Packageing is not hard, you can reuse Debian 4.0 or Kanotix Thorhammer binaries - I have realtively new ones there. The glibc is compatible. I also made menu entries, all pretty easy. If you use a distro with new glibc then you can only compile static binaries. But basically the kernel.bin does not really matter, you can replace it. As bootsplash is stored in there you can even mix some funny things like Lenovo menu and Expressgate kernel.bin.

  7. #107

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    Hi, Kano and Darkstar2000,

    I have a question about the boot screen (first screen) of the Express gate. On my machine (eeepc 901), it always start with 1024*768, and if I pass vga=788 in grub, I will get a disturbed screen.

    I see there are several skin****.bin in the asus.sys folder, I replace them to skin0000.bin, but none of them seems to work.

    Is there a way that I can get a 800*600 boot screen? there should be a 800*600 version since N10 is 1024*600 too. But all the versions I downloaded does NOT seem to have 800*600.

    Do you know how to get 800*600 ones? Thanks!

  8. #108
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1

    Question terminal step by step :(

    Hello everyone, could someone explain me step by step how to add terminal into SplashTop which I have installed on USB flash and make it work? SplashTop alone works flawlessly. Thanks.

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Cook Islands
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    Quote Originally Posted by drosky View Post
    I have been able to do a minor hack on Express gate on my P5Q-E based machine. As shipped, Express gate only supports up to 1440x1050 screen resolution. This doesn't look very good on a native 1600x1200 display and I wanted to change it.

    The P5Q-E has the HDD version of Express gate, so the files are installed normally to the Windows partition (VFAT or NTFS). The files making up the linux environment are in a directory called ASUS.SYS. Most of the files comprising the system have an unusual ".sqx" extension, but it turns out they are normal squashfs files and can be easily unsquashed with the normal tools.

    Once unsquashed, you will find a relatively familiar assortment of system and application files. Express gate uses TinyX, and the archive with the appropriate files is bs-tinyx.sqx.

    After modifying the setresolution script, re-squashing the archive, and putting it back into ASUS.SYS, Express gate now runs in 1600x1200 native screen resolution - pretty cool.

    With access to the file system and apps, it may be possible to do some other things, like hack in an xterm to make it a lot easier to poke around the Express gate environment and see what's there.
    Hello everybody!

    I'm just getting acquainted with Linux. Could you kindly provide more information on how to modify the settings to get 1440x900@75 res.? 1 I've unsquashed the bs-tinyx.sqx file OK and got standard bin , etc, lib, usr folders. Please advice what is the target file(s) and how do I adjust the settings/.

    PS Intersting, the was a background jpg with the right resolution in the 'etc' folder ("desktop1440x900.jpg"). May just I replace it with a custom jpg to change the EG background?

    PS I use Ubuntu 9.04

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Joker; 07-17-2009 at 08:17 AM.

  10. #110
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    Jul 2009
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    Cook Islands
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    Express Gate source code is available for download here:
    http://support.asus.com.tw/download/...model=M3N78-VM

    (Choose "others" in the drop-down OS selection menu)
    Last edited by Joker; 07-20-2009 at 01:41 PM.

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