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Re: Philips Velo 500 as a candidate for Linux/MIPS?

Subject: Re: Philips Velo 500 as a candidate for Linux/MIPS?
From: James Douma <>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 17:56:34 +0000
Organization: IVS, Inc
References: <> <> <>
Warner Losh wrote:
> In message <> James Douma writes:
> : The HPC's and Palm PC's being made today have CE in ROM.  Thats ROM, not
> : PROM. You can't remove it without a soldering iron, and it can't be
> : modified or updated.
> It was myunderstanding that these were FLASH, at the very least.  At
> least from the one CE box I've seen disassembled I saw it had FLASH
> chips.  Granted, it wasn't the MIPS based box that I want... If one
> can run in kernel mode, then one can reprogram that FLASH memory.  The
> data sheets for the Vr4111 are detailed on exactly how to do this, how
> to do one bank, while the other acts as your backup, etc.

It is entirely possible that a particular manufacturer would decide to
use Flash rather than ROM to store the OS for their HPC.  It is even
conceivable that they would provide a low level method for changing the
OS (something that MS specifically does NOT want people to do with CE)
as a bug-fix feature.  There are good reasons for this:

Faster time to market, flexibility in dealing with problems on the
production line, the ability to use 'excess' memory (between 'size of OS
binary' and 'top of memory') for non-volatile storage, fewer components
(use 2 flash parts instead of 2 flash + 2 rom)...

> It may be that WinCE gives the user no supported way to do the
> upgrades, and that there is no interface for it.  The bare silicon
> should support this, however....

Yes, CE has NO support for this, but I agree that the hardware might
possibly support this.  OTOH - boot block flash is commonly used in this
situation, and the hardware rarely supports overwriting the boot block
portions of the flash memory.

> Onsale has Velo 500's (I think, it is MIPS based) 12M for $199.  I
> think for that price, it would be worth the risk of getting one,
> popping it open and seeing for myself.  I'll have to checkout the
> philips datasheet pointer posted earlier to see if that core has flash
> functions or not...
> Warner

Cool - let me know what you find out.


James Douma  --  Manager, Hardware Development
       Interactive Voice Systems Inc
email:      pager: 818.297.3058
Phone: 626.256.3123          Fax: 626.256.3197

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