mkxdeb: a better way to build debian images for you PDA

Sat Sep 10 02:31:36 CEST 2005

Here's an announce for the latest version of mkxdeb (revision 1.19 and

mkxdeb allows you to build custom installations of debian for your arm
PDA. You can then copy the installation on your CF, SD, MMC, Flash, or

mkxdeb will help you partition your installation between stuff to copy
to your PDA and stuff to keep on your workstation (and that may be
NFS-mounted). You may thus save precious space without losing the
secondary functionality (that will only work while connected to your
home network).

mkxdeb is developed with a jornada 820 but you can reasonably easily adapt
it for other machines, arm or even non-arm (as long as qemu supports

mkxdeb installs directly from etch, and has previously been used with
sarge. sid is not recommended and many things break.

mkxdeb currently requires debian to run, but you can probably adapt it
to some other distribution. Packages notably required: zsh debootstrap

The new mkxdeb is well-documented, unlike previous versions. Easier to
configure, easier to use, easier to hack. It will give help when run
without argument. It wil allow to run or re-run only an interval of
the steps required for a full installation. Each user function and
configuration variable is now documented. If previous versions were
unusable to you, give it another look!

There are still a few things that the script won't do for you: finish
customizing your machine, mount your CF disk, package things into a
nice .tar.bz2, etc. You need to be a system administrator, anyway, if
you're building a debian distribution. Improvements welcome!

A great advantage of this script for building distributions is that
things are reproducible and upgradable: the time you spend on it will
not be wasted when you want to build a new, clean, debian image with
an updated distribution. Just re-run the script with your
modifications, or just the modified parts, and get a clean image with
the latest packages. And others can easily build on your work and
obtain custom-fit images with exactly the packages they want and none

Creating a debian jornada image for your PDA from a debian workstation
will now be a breeze. You'll need a bit of reconfiguration to have it
work for a target different from the jornada820, but there shouldn't
be too much difference on a jornada 720, zaurus, or any other beast.

Feedback welcome.


[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | ]
Always remember that you are unique.  Just like everyone else.

More information about the Jornada820 mailing list