Linux on BrailleNotes

Gregory Nowak greg at
Wed Feb 1 15:51:51 EST 2006

Hash: SHA1

Hi all.

Actually, there is a project that was initially aimed at getting
gnu/linux on the brailllenote family of devices. The name of this
project is freesoft. Like I've said, the project's initial goal was to
get gnu/linux on the bn and friends, but since the linux-mips port
wasn't actively maintained, and was, maybe still is out of date, the
project has moved to using netbsd instead of gnu/linux, since the
netbsd mips port is being actively maintained. 

The project has no web site as of now, but there is a mailing list,
which you can subscribe to by sending an empty message with no subject

notelinux-subscribe at

. The list also has an archive at


The project hasn't seen any activity for a while, since it is
impossible for gnu/linux and netbsd to recognize and to use the
pc-card slot on the original bn, and the second edition motherboard
units crash when loading the kernel, and I don't recall if the person
with that unit was able to debug the crash. This means that there is
no way to access files that would be very useful, but that can't be
fit into the ramdisk, when dealing with the original bn units at
least. Granted, this all happened
under netbsd 2.0, and since netbsd 3.1 came out recently, things maybe
different, there hasn't been time to do testing under netbsd 3.1 as of
now. The freesoft development team has made some progress though in
identifying hardware in the machine, in writing a memory division
utility needed for booting, and in making the cyace boot loader
useable on the bn.

Naturally, humanware hasn't been willing to provide specifications on
the hardware as of now. Contrary to the speculation I've seen in this
thread, the pre-pk bn devices don't run on an xscale, nor an arm
cpu. What it does run is in the notelinux archives. As for the pk, and
the mpower, development for those units would probably be easier,
since they run on an xscale chip it seems. However, none of the
freesoft development team have a pk, or mpower to work with right now.

Yes, the freesoft project has a development list. However, due to the
sensitive issues involved with the potential legal implications
of getting netbsd on such a device, subscriptions to the developer's list
are moderated, since the project doesn't want to have humanware be
informed of its activities. In order to get on to the developer's list,
post your qualifications and what you would bring to the table so to
speak to the regular notelinux list, and the current developers will
decide on if you should be admitted to the development team.

Yes, the project could use more developers with experience, but even more so,
the project could use hardware to work with (I.E. more older bn units, a few
mpowers and pks would be greatly appreciated).


On Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:55:43AM -0000, Chris Norman wrote:
> Hi people,
> Does anyone know weather or not there is a linux distribution which will 
> work on the BrailleNote from PulseData?
> Cheers,
> Chris Norman
> <!-- chris.norman4 at --> 
> _______________________________________________
> Speakup mailing list
> Speakup at

- -- 
web site:
gpg public key:
skype: gregn1
(authorization required, add me to your contacts list first)

- --
Free domains: or mail dns-manager at
Version: GnuPG v1.4.2 (GNU/Linux)


More information about the Speakup mailing list