Use a neoware CA5 as an X-Term

Also see My travels through Neolinux

You do any of these mods entirely at your own risk. I am in no way liable if your unit explodes or your house burns down, you have been warned.

The Neoware CA5 a basically a small PC. It has a 200Mhz SIS processor, it's Intel opcode compatible and similar to the VIA C series. Being clocked so slowly the CPU manages to consume little power (for a PC!). The unit takes about 15w of power in total. It runs an embedded linux that's a modified Redhat. Ethernet is an internal pci rtl8139, display is an sis550 VGA chip. It has serial, an on board IDE interface with a laptop pitch IDE header, a disk-on-chip module (16MB typical), sound sis7019, USB 1.1, 32MB of RAM on board and a socket for laptop style DIMM.
CA5 Inside
Neoware ezconnect
CA5 Console

The BIOS is pretty standard, but tends to be password protected. The password on mine was "DOGBITES". Keep hitting the del key after power on to get the password dialog. Once in I suggest you go to security on the menu and set the password to return - that clears it.

I got mine from ebay, it came with a default install of neolinux-3.0.1. The neolinux software is pretty open to use, once started it will launch the ezconnect application. This is some form of citrix client I think, but it's no use to me. The quickest way to ignore it is to go to Appliance Properties in the ezconnect menu and select the Console. This is a basic terminal, running /sbin/ifconfig at this point shows the unit has used DHCP to acquire an IP address and pretty much ready to roll. Neolinux has an XFree86 server with good support for the onboard hardware. Without making any mods at all it's possible to bring up a second X server as an X-Terminal, try the following cryptic rune

"X -ac -query IP_address_of_XDMCP_enabled machine :1"        Note the space before ":1"

That translates to: Start an X server locally (X), with access controls disabled (-ac) ask a machine for a login (-query) and use local X server display number 1 (:1). Pressing ALT+CTRL+Fsomething should switch you between X sessions.


To make a good X-Term these machine needs a bit more than the 32MB of RAM fitted, so fitting a laptop DIMM of 64MB will bring the spec up to comfortable. If you try and use it as a X-Term with too little RAM you will find it tends to close sessions on you.
As I had no interest in ezconnect I set a root password (Appliance properties -> security) from the ezconnect menu. Once a root password is set you can telnet to the box and modify it. The disk-on-chip module has a finite number of write cycles, to protect it neolinux keeps it mounted read only. You can use "fsunlock" and "fslock" from the telnet session to make it read/write or readonly. Having made the system readwrite it's simple enough to modify /etc/inittab to dissable ezconnect and start an X-Server.

Click here for more details of my travels through Neolinux
Modify ca5 to add laptop drive

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