Tiny Core Linux

Off-Topic => Off-Topic - Tiny Core Lounge => Topic started by: cast-fish on July 21, 2014, 09:22:34 AM

Title: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on July 21, 2014, 09:22:34 AM

did you see these cheap computers at $7.......somebody on an amazon review
said the Pogo company had removed the "ssh" checkbox when you register your
new box on their web page. (not sure if this is relevant or stops you running this as a debian or arch server.


This is NOT relevant. As long as you take care when buying your Pogoplug. SHould you choose to register your box with them, then to revert back to using the box as a Linux desktop....you'd need to LOG IN at their webpage and tick the SSH checkbox.....(if you never registered the box at all,....it won't be an issue....but registering the box DOES allow you to use the box with Pogoplugs custom NAS arragnement....which works pretty good.   (Though you can just make your own Linux NAS)


it's not an issue

1) Choosing to register your new box with Pogoplug DOES allow you to use their custom NAS web page....but you can just make your own Linux NAS for that.

2) Therefor, not registering your box with Pogoplug does not highlight the SSH issue. You can put Linux arch onto the box and xfce....etc  rdp
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: hiro on July 21, 2014, 09:27:03 AM
I've been using dockstar, iomega iconnect and the original pogoplug, all based on marvell kirkwood, and I recommend all of them (especially over rpi) for NAS scenarios.
You can open them up and connect a USB-TTL or so, perhaps then you might be able to circumvent the lacking SSH?
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: bmarkus on July 21, 2014, 09:31:17 AM
Visit the official pogoplug WEB site for prices:


No Pogoplug Mobile there. For (historycal) info see http://blog.pogoplug.com/pogoplug-introduces-new-hardware-pogoplug-mobile%E2%84%A2-763/

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: hiro on July 21, 2014, 09:44:20 AM
The official web site is irrelevant, I see it with shipping to germany from amazon.com for 7$.

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on July 22, 2014, 10:18:10 AM
ye, the official web site is irrelevant.

They cost $7 with shipping.

You can install a "window manager" also...like XFCE....they are nice full blown linux computers.

THey also perform nicely, as intended...the Pogoplug NAS idea.

To use them as a dekstop computer, you need to "remote desktop connect" to them from some other laptop or internet connected cafe computer.

This computer would service many needs of regular people like social networks, web browsing
listening to streaming internet radio (via a USB soundcard)

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on July 22, 2014, 10:21:22 AM

 i think the "mobile" version was disscontinued....but large retailers like amazon may have 10's of thousands stored...

will maybe get one...because you can leave it plugged in at home to your router.....and it's a great NAS or "remote desktop computer"....

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on July 22, 2014, 10:23:24 AM
appartenly....if you order one....but use it's official proper name ___ Pogoplug BLACK or "m1" name or something....they actually send you a Pogoplug e02 version....which is the upgraded model with 1.2ghz marvel soc and 256 ram.  (for 7 dollars)

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: hiro on July 22, 2014, 11:09:55 AM
i didn't know they have any possibility to add a display? where do you see that?
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on July 22, 2014, 03:59:01 PM
not sure how to add display? gpio?
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: hiro on July 22, 2014, 04:06:14 PM
oh... I wouldn't want to do that. rpi has HDMI port.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: gerald_clark on July 22, 2014, 04:29:51 PM
It's not an rpi. You could ssh -X into it and display on your local X server or run a remote desktop like vnc.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on August 21, 2014, 09:03:07 AM

You know when your Linux box does not have a video out socket....

does this mean the SOC chip inside does not have a video core?

if so...

is it true to say that a tool like VNC simply goes down a network
cable into your box and kind of arrives at the pathway ending
of where a SOC would normally have had a gateway into it's video
core. That gateway is closed because the SOC chip does not have
a video core. So VNC-X simply opens that gate and says " hi, i am a video
core for you....please walk this way". In other words, VNC is a software
video core type thing?....


 VNC somehow uses the signals from the
Linux box and the video core of it's host machine to reproduce the
Graphical desktop of the headless Linux box somehow?

thanks  VInce
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: gerald_clark on August 21, 2014, 09:14:22 AM
The vnc client running on your machine talks to the vnc server on the headless machine.
The vnc server accesses the video frame buffer on the server and sends changes to the vnc client that displays it on your machine.
The frame buffer has no hardware displaying it. It just holds the graphical image that the missing hardware would have displayed.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on August 21, 2014, 03:59:55 PM
right thanks.

clever things really. right

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 25, 2015, 05:24:57 AM

with regard to vnc and the comments above.

Must you install "X server" and a window manager into the hedless server for the client VNC
to give you a full gui desktop (via remote desktop) of the server OS?

Say you begin to run a gui styled app on the server, such as "abiword" and want the app
 displayed on the client Vnc "remore desktop"....


Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: gerald_clark on April 25, 2015, 06:04:52 AM
Yes, the X server writes to the frame buffer on the headless server.  The VNC viewer just mirrors the servers frame buffer on its display.

Another option is to run X on your display machine and connect to the headless server with "ssh -X".
Then you run the X applications on the headless machine, and they display on your display machine.
This does not require VNC, but it does require that the display machine run X.  There are X servers for Windows as well as Linux/Unix.

Remember, the X server is the display.  The X client is the program sending its output to the X server.
This terminology is somewhat backwards from what you might think.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 25, 2015, 02:34:55 PM
Right Gerald.

The reason i ask is that there are some spare Router boxes here with
300mhz dual core cpu and 64 meg ram and 2 meg SSD and a USB slot.

There is a version of a particular Distro which i am sure you know about
as the industry standard embedded distro. There is a version specific to the chip
inside these routers and it is the correct firmare.

I intend to flash the chip with this embedded distro firmware so the router then runs
Linux for me.

The reason for this is to just get usage out of the routers....one project i want
to do is a WI FI internet radio. This is real easy and uses the USB port on the
router for a USB soundcard. It makes a lovely WI FI internet radio system. (see below)

The embedded Linux in question does not have many GUI apps in the repo
but there are 3.5k of apps in there....mainly command line apps ....but there
are things like music daemons....music deamon clients.....web browsers like
"elinks" and many many more terminal apps "sceen" for example.

The cpu is a MIPS archicteture and i have already found many other apps compiled for
this Linux distro under MIPS , included "mplayer" and "Links" browser and many

I realize i can compile ANY gui app for this Distro but i never tried it....such as
say "Abiword" or "Leadpad".

But as far as i see it, with your desctiption about VNC then i should "see" movie
playback on my client machine coming from the work done by Mplayer on
the router machine's CPU.  since "mplayer" will be run in framebuffer and
also "Links" browser.

To me, that's reason enough to stop cobwebs on a router and actually use it.
There are infact 4 routers here that have the Distro available for thier chip
and they have good specs with a USB port.

The routers are "Bt home hub 3" and "Orange Livebox 92be" and a Huwai router
and also a "Brightbox".


i listen to a lot of internet radio and using a router means no power wasted
driving a laptop...so



Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: gerald_clark on April 25, 2015, 02:52:10 PM
VNC require that you run X on the remote system.
ssh -X with a local X server allows you to display the remote GUI app locally.

Those MIPS routers really are memory and CPU deficient.
I would not try running X apps on them.
Even my ASUS running Tomato has trouble running  slimserver with reasonable response time.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 25, 2015, 08:29:21 PM

so how come the NanoNote is able to run stuff compitently then?

it's half the cpu power and half the ram. Running the same distro.

It can run mplayer...HD movies....and a whole lot more.

There are youtube videos showing this.  It's only difference is it has a Video



Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 26, 2015, 01:26:43 AM

Here is NanoNote emulated in Qemu.

It's a 336mhz single core MIPS CPU and 32 megs of ram running OpenWRT.
(That's half the power of my router here.)

As you see here the machine runs everything including HD movies off mplayer.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=OYl6eNHBBe  (the machine playing doom etc....)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=q6BxbAtJ7F4 (emulated apps shown)
https://youtube.com/watch?v=MAH4sV_p-TU (the machine)

You can emulate it yourself since the NanoNote website has the OpenWRT  iso with apps for download.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 26, 2015, 03:42:41 AM
Gerald....before this thread becomes a silly blog

i just wanted to say that i don't think it's screen size that is any horsepower
issue but could it be that because that tiny handheld is running "DirectFB"
which is an X11 styled compatable emulation using much less resources.....

is that how the tiny handheld manages to deal with such apps as you have seen?

i was led to believe that with ssh-X from a client, the server running X styled apps
does not actually need any X11 type stuff installed or the "X server".

In that case i can't see how these routers
won't have more than enough horsepower to even outperform that handheld thing
over ssh-X  (since mplayer is a framebuffer build and also Links browser is)


Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 28, 2015, 02:11:18 AM
sorry i just was reading your notes again Gerald...

i had it backwards thinking...as you stated....

so the client is the one "sending" screen  info to the "server".


Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: gerald_clark on April 28, 2015, 05:51:23 AM
Correct. The X server serves the screen for the client. Nowadays, they are usually the same machine.
Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: cast-fish on April 28, 2015, 12:21:08 PM
Yes Gerald..

i was a littel confused at first but realixe that all the APPS for the small laptop
are indeed console or framebuffer apps. (Still, mplayer is fully working from
dinasour hardware and is hardware accelerated).

LIke you say, running X on the router is too much although it could work
with 64 ram and dual core 300mhz cpu. Its in the OpenWRT repo

Those framebuffer apps for the small netbook are compiled for MIPS 300 mhz cpu
and may already work on my router here.

Otherwise....... i just have my routers build of OpenWRT with it's repo....it has
lots of console apps and "Screen" for using multiple consoles and
you could operate the router nicely as a headless computer with
that in mind.

Also these routers will do nicely with music and internet radio
and mp3 from a default OpenWRT install....since the repo has daemons
for music and such.

You see Gerald, "directFB" as used on that netbook also has a feature
called "XdirectFB" which indeed does emulate full "X" enviro and allows
X apps to be run on dinasour hardware...but the OpenWRT repo does not
include "XdirectFB"....(XdirectFB said to not work too well on that netbook...it\
needs a little more horsepower but that is infact exactly what the router DOES have).....
(double the horsepower)

i think you *can* run X apps on these dual core routers if you use that "XdirectFB"
mask.....and i think it will work if you know how to compile it for the cpu in question.
But then you would also need to compile actual GUI "x" apps like "abiword" etc
so it would be a lot of work.

I will be trying some of those framebuffer apps on my OpenWRT build in the hope
that they work so i can use the entire list of netbook apps....about 50 apps including mplayer
and links graphical browser.

TO my mind that is a nice working computer from an old router...

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: roborob on June 29, 2015, 10:46:50 PM

Does anyone know where to find these at the $7 price currently?  I spent a fair amount of time on Google (etc.) and was not able to locate one.

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: vinceASPECT on August 30, 2015, 09:58:26 AM

been seeing those quad core SBC computers again at $15 dollar plus
shipping new

[ Deleted commercial link ] Please read forum rules before posting.

Title: Re: $7 computer
Post by: hiro on August 30, 2015, 11:51:39 AM
Still only 100Mbit and Mali400 is normally a problem.

I've been playing more with my tp-link 703n lately. I wish it had more RAM, then tc would be an option :)
It's hard to find devices that have a power consumption as low as the 703n even while wifi is running.

One day I might buy a cheap phone with LTE and hdmi out just to run tinycore on it :D