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Voluntarily cast upon the waves of outrageous fortune, this lowly geek flops from peak to peak of the technological ocean. Linux, Windows, C, Ruby, Python and embedded systems all attempt to pull our stalwart hero down. Will he survive alone or will the lifeboat of corporate servitude be too tempting.

eBox-2300-SX – really small computing with a gotcha

Posted by Diarmuid on April 30, 2008

I recently bought a few of these eBox-2300-SX computers. Really small and pretty cheap at 90 USD. For various reasons I did not know that these were the SX version. The chip is a 300 mHz 486 and a previous one that looked very similar had worked a charm. I’ll tell you this. The SX bit is important. It means there is no maths co processor on board the chip (it’s like computing back in 1988). The critical thing is that most Linux distros assume the co processor otherwise the kernel has to be compiled to include math emulation (Debian did so in sarge but has stopped since). I managed to install Debian sarge on the computer’s compact flash, but it was sloooooow. Bogomips of 116.99. I use some arm chips that are 260 bogomips or so.

The other thing is that the Ethernet drivers are not available, but must be compiled into the kernel as well.
Punkytse over at voyage Linux has kindly recompiled his great little Debian based distro. to include  math emulation. I hope he now includes the Ethernet drivers in it too.

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9 Responses to “eBox-2300-SX – really small computing with a gotcha”

  1. I was lucky enough to catch that the SX didn’t have any mmu ability. I ended up buying the ebox-3300, which has worked great for consolidating all my stuff.

    http://www.kelvinism.com/tech-blog/true-consolidation/

    I like the Python SMS code you just wrote – I’m trying to think how I could use it!

  2. Peter Althainz said

    I have the same experience, the 2300 SX is pretty slow, see “Debian on ebox sx 2300 sx” for a story about that and a howto for compiling it.

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