27 Jul 2007

Linux on Nintendo DS

After getting my own DSX memory card for running homebrews (see previous blog entry), it's time to fire up Linux. Getting Linux to run on the NDS was no problem at all, but it's still quite limited. At least when using the memory card DSX.

The Linux distribution for NDS is called DSLinux and is under active development. To run it, use the following procedure:

  1. Connect the DSX to the USB.
  2. Download http://kineox.free.fr/DS/dslinux.nds and put it in the "apps/" folder. This version has wireless support.
  3. Since the DSX own application launcher are unable to launch DSLinux for some reason, another launcher has to load Linux. The launcher DSChannel can do the work. Unpack http://gtamp.com/DS/dschannels_beta5b_DS-X.7z to the root of your DSX.
  4. From DSX, start DSChannel. From DSChannel start DSLinux. If you try to launch DSLinux from DSX own application launcher, you'll just be presented with to white screens.
  5. When starting DSLinux, the top-screen (console) is garbled. Just tap "Enter" to redraw the screen.
  6. Login with user name: root and password: uClinux.

From here, get the wireless interface up and running:

# iwconfig nds channel 2 essid gatekeeper key off
# ifconfig nds up
# route add default gw

Read more here: http://www.dslinux.org/wiki/Using_DSLinux

Oh, and the wireless is just legacy 802.11 (no 802.11b or 820.11g), so it's limited to 2Mbit/s data rate. And only WEP is supported, no 802.11i (WPA/WPA2).

Unfortunate, the DSX (file system) is not supported by DSLinux, so it's really limited what can be done. The file system is read-only so the rest of DSLinux is inaccessible. Only the most elementary programs are available like "busybox, "cat", "ls" and so on. Both "telnetd" and "dropbear" (ssh) refuses to start. I suspect that's because the read-only file system. And since no "netcat" or "socat" is present, it limits the remote accessibility further. Fortunate, support for DSX is on the TODO list.

So I'll guess I just have to wait until it's supported before I can play more with DSLinux.

Useful links:

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