Miscellaneous notes regarding various VIA Technology computers - thought to be useful by Gerald Q. "Chip" Maguire Jr.


OpenSUSE 11.1

The default VESA driver works well, but to utilize the CX700-M2 Unichrome PRO graphics chip requires using OpenChrome (http://www.openchrome.org/) driver - in /etc/X11/xorg.conf in the Section "Device" specify

Driver       "openchrome"

VIA ARTiGO A2000 Barebone Storage Server (ARTiGO A2000)

It is based around a 1.5 GHz VIA C7-D processor and their VX800 chipset. It has room for two 3.5 inch SATA II drives, a DDR2 SO-DIMM of upto 2GB.

Instruction sheet

The A and B drive labels on the instruction sheet - should be swapped. The lower drive (labelled "B" in the diagram) is actually the 0th SATA interface.

OpenSUSE 11.1

Installing OpenSUSE 11.1 via PXE install

I followed the instructions at http://en.opensuse.org/SuSE_install_with_PXE_boot.

Configure a tftp server with the following in the /srv/tftp/tftpboot

total 24456
    4 drwxr-xr-x 3 tftpd tftpd     4096 2009-01-04 07:34 .
    4 drwxr-xr-x 3 root  root      4096 2009-01-04 07:26 ..
    4 -rw-r--r-- 1 tftpd tftpd       62 2009-01-04 07:34 f1.txt
21960 -rw-r--r-- 1 tftpd tftpd 22455663 2008-12-28 01:24 initrd
 2464 -rw-r--r-- 1 tftpd tftpd  2516816 2008-12-28 01:24 linux
   16 -rw-r--r-- 1 tftpd tftpd    13336 2009-01-04 07:23 pxelinux.0
    4 drwxr-xr-x 2 tftpd tftpd     4096 2009-01-04 07:35 pxelinux.cfg

Where the file f1.txt contains:

boot options:
  install   - install 32 bit i386 openSUSE 11.1

The file pxelinux.cfg contains a file called "default" which contains:

default install
prompt   1
timeout  30

DISPLAY f1.txt
F1 f1.txt
# Install i386 Linux
label install
  kernel linux
  append initrd=initrd splash=silent vga=0x314 showopts install=http://download.opensuse.org/factory/repo/oss/

You can now boot the above configuration using the VIA Networking "boot drive". Note that you need to set the boot (via BIOS) to use "VIA Networking" - this will probably require that you scroll to this entry (I missed it the first time as this item did not show up on the screen - without scrolling).

OpenSuSE 11.1 runs on it with the manual addition of OpenChrome as a new X11 driver (http://www.openchrome.org/). (Note that the driver for the VX800 is supposed to be in the next release (2.6.28) of the kernel, but is not in the kernel.)

I have request that VIA include the ethernet MAC address on the outside of the box, so that it would be easy to sent up the bootp server to give the device an address and to do the PXE installation. The dhcpd entry that I made looks like:

  host a2000 {
    fixed-address 192.1.168.xx;
    hardware ethernet 00:40:63:xx:xx:xx;

     server-name "192.1.168.yy";
     next-server 192.1.168.yy;
     filename "pxelinux.0";

192.1.168.xx is the IP address to be assigned to the A2000, while 192.1.168.yy is the IP address of the machine running a tftp server.

Acroread - problem

One small problem which I have with the A2000 is that when running Adobe Acroread and displaying the output via the VX800's VGA ouput under SuSE linux 11.1 with the latest OpenChrome driver - the system freezes and has to be power cycled at the point where it is about to display the page image. Note that it is not a problem with running the application as if the X11 graphics are directed to another X11 windowing system it works successfully. The problem is very reproducable.

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For information contact maguire@kth.se
Latest updates 4 February 2009
© 2009 G. Q. Maguire Jr., KTH/IMIT

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