Premade Netbook Kernel Image

Well, Ive been talking about designing my own linux kernel for the sylvania netbook, or cheap chinese netbooks for a while now, and I figured I’d share my modified kernel which contains usb sound card support, most usb wifi dongles that the raspberry pi can use, along with most of the extra hardware that the raspberry pi can use too. I also changed the linux kernel image from the penguin tux logo to the raspberry pi logo since technically we are hacking the netbook into thinking that it’s a lightweight version of a raspberry pi.

Well, Here’s what youve been waiting for, the download link:

Just download it and inside of the archive will be a folder named script that contains two files, just copy that script folder and two files over to the base of the boot partition of the SD card that the rpi soft float disk uses.

This is designed for those who dont want to deal with the headache of designing thier own kernel.

Only two things that I have yet to fix is no onboard sound/battery info since they both use the vt1613 chip, and the rebooting, but just shut it down and turn it back on. Its not as much of a headache as it sounds.

Here’s the files to create everything by yourself or modify the files if you wanted.


16 Responses to Premade Netbook Kernel Image

  1. Sudos says:

    This is AMAZING. I got mine up using the 5/29 Raspi-official Debian image and stuff, and it really helped me out getting a junker CVS netbook with a bad NAND to still do things again. What about WiFi? these things have a dongle next to the screen with a Ralink RT2070 on it… but there doesn’t seem to be a kernel module installed for this wireless card at all, and I’m unsure how it’s even connected, since it doesn’t seem like it sees it @ lsusb.

    That said, is it possible to build a 3.11 kernel for this? I’m unsure how far up kernel versions go for ARM, as I’ve only seen 3.3 and below on devices yet.

    • cae2100 says:

      the driver is installed, but you have to enable the card due to the fact that the power on it is connected to one of the GPIO pins of the wm8505 chip. Look in the About section on my site, someone decided to ask the same question in there, and I couldnt figure out how to move the post/reply, so there’s a script to enable the wifi adapter.
      I kinda messed my rt2070 card up somehow, and it refused to work, so I just plugged one of the usb wifi dongles that you use for the raspberry pi, but I know the script will turn it on and enable it.

      Here’s a copy of the code for it, just save it as a sh script like and run it as root, aka, sudo ./

      echo $pin > /sys/class/gpio/export
      echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio$pin/direction
      echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio$pin/value
      sleep 2
      ifup wlan0
      • Sudos says:

        Doesn’t seem to work.
        I get this:
        ./ 5: ./ gt: not found
        ./ 5: ./ /sys/class/gpio/export: Permission denied
        ./ 6: ./ gt: not found
        ./ 6: ./ /sys/class/gpio/gpio2/direction: not found
        ./ 7: ./ gt: not found
        ./ 7: ./ /sys/class/gpio/gpio2/value: not found
        upon further investigation, it seems that the gpio directory it’s pointing to doesn’t even exist.
        the /sys/class/gpio directory consists of:

        export gpiochip101 gpiochip109 gpiochip117 gpiochip120 gpiochip16 gpiochip48 gpiochip70 gpiochip8 gpiochip85 gpiochip93 unexport
        gpiochip0 gpiochip105 gpiochip113 gpiochip118 gpiochip122 gpiochip40 gpiochip54 gpiochip75 gpiochip80 gpiochip89 gpiochip97

        and nothing more.

        I ran the script directly as root and shouldn’t have had any problems with the export either, b ut it seems I did, and I don’t know why. this is with the raspi wheezy image dated 2013-05-27 and your 3.3-rc2 kernel.

      • cae2100 says:

        What model of netbook are you using? I have a synet7wid, and if it’s a diferent model, maybe they use a different wifi card.

        If you look at the earlier posts, the one that says debian linux on sylvania netbook, there’s a link for someone else’s kernel, but it doesnt support stuff like usb soundcards, or anything like that, but I know the internal wifi card works fine with that kernel. Also there’s a guide that I put up also that uses a computer with debian/ubuntu, but explains how to set everything up and how to compile your own linux kernel for the netbook.
        It takes a little time to get it working, but you can enable all the drivers and such that you want.

  2. Sudos says:

    Seems the script you linked got kludged up, the “>” should be coming up as a “>” bracket, I believe might be a side effect of your comments code. it works, but the dongle is unresponsive. I’ve remedied this with an external dongle I’ve velcro’d to the lid with a really short extension cable I had around. it works well, but I’m convinced the GPIO pin script did work after fixing that error, so thank you very much for that. just seems my internal wireless dongle is shot.

    • cae2100 says:

      no problem, Im glad you were able to get your netbook working again. I use mine to no end to run my arduino + robots with because of the really long battery life that it has. Also use it for messing with python scripts and writing code for the rpi since the code compiled on the netbook will run fine on the rpi, only a little slower than as if it were compiled on the rpi itself with hardfloat eabi. I had the same issue with the internal wifi card, and it eventually died bc they dont solder the wires onto the card itself very well, and the wires tend to fray from being bumpped around and the +5v ran into the data lines, and shorted everything out on mine, so I just removed it and use a cheapy wifi adapter from ebay that I had bought for the raspberry pi.

      • Sudos says:

        When you say “really long battery life,” what sort of usage time do you get out of it? I’ve never done a measurement, but it does seem like such a large cell that makes up for about 80% of the weight of the unit (and isn’t sealed lead-acid! Mac Portable anyone?) would hold a decent of juice… I’ve had mine off the charger for no more than half an hour so far, and I’m afraid to put any real trust into the battery because of the broken engrish on the cell pack itself… it could be just me being paranoid.

      • cae2100 says:

        well, mine, with the screen on all the time, and running full cpu compiling code or playing a game, I get 5-6 hours on it, and with the screen off, like if I left it somewhere to download torrents through the wifi, I get around 12-15 hours.

        Its a really handy toy for running octoprint server for the 3d printers, then all you really need power for is just the printer itself, which my little one can run off of a 12v li-ion battery for an hour or two.

        My netbook, I found it in someone’s trash because the power connector was broken, which the middle pin had broken off from the pcb and went inside of the netbook, and it was missing a few keys, and the one usb port was busted, but I got all of that fixed with a little time with my junk pile of stuff Ive torn apart in the past, my handy soldering iron, and my 3d printer. šŸ˜›
        So I wasnt really worried about running it from the battery and such, if it does eventually go ka-pop, Im not out anything except time.

  3. dak says:

    I know this is way old, but do you by chance have a new location for that premade kernel? It was expired when i tried it.

  4. Sudos says:

    Heyhey, the zippyshare link is invalid again– is there any way you can upload this to MEGA or something so it doesn’t auto-expire? I just got another one of these and want to drop raspbian on it again like I did my last one.

    • cae2100 says:

      Unfortunately, I deleted all of the files off of my system for that stuff the other day since I didnt have the netbook anymore and just trying to tidy up.

      You could just copy the script folder off of the old card and use that if you still have the old netbook.


      EDIT: I just remembered that I had compiled those kernels and had everything on my ancient laptop before I had retired it. If you cant find it, I’ll try to find a power cord that’ll work with the old thing and see if it boots up anymore, but I wouldnt get my hopes up with that old thing. It was limping so badly that it was more or less just being dragged along last I used it, lol.

      • sudos says:

        it’s been long since repurposed, I’m afraid. I don’t think I have it in my files from then– I’ll have to check tomorrow, but I’m unsure.

      • cae2100 says:

        Ill see if I can get the old thing to boot up then over the next few days, my hand is swollen up like a balloon atm so kinda hard to type and mess with the computer atm, but as soon as it goes down, Ill check the laptop.

    • cae2100 says:

      I uploaded new links and such for everything to a google drive account, and also added another archive at the bottom of the article that has all of the files to compile your own boot files and everything. That’s all of the stuff that I had, the boot files come out in arch/arm/boot I believe, havnt looked in probably a year.

      Also, sorry for the wait on the files/links, I messed up my hands and they were swollen and I could barely type or hold much of anything for around a week, and it seriously wasnt fun. šŸ˜›

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