Newton with Linux

Submitted by Falken on

Step one: Get a serial to USB cable

- -
You could build your own, like back in the day, or cobble bits together from Amazon or EBay, but this just takes the risk out.

Step two: Backup

 - ???

NCU in VirtualBox

Install Windows 3.11 using a virtual hard drive, such as

Pass the USB serial into VirtualBox

For each NCU disk from you need to convert to a .img file, or use the attached ones (see end)

dd if=/dev/zero ibs=1024 count=1440 of=disk1.img
mkfs.fat disk1.img
sudo mount -o loop disk1.img ~/mnt/
cp Disk 1/* ~/mnt/
sudo umount ~/mnt

Add disk1.img to VirtualBox, and use the file manager to open A: and run install.exe

Change the disk images as prompted.

Reboot VirtualBox.

Connect Newton, serial cable.

Start Newton Connection from it's program group.

It will prompt you to start the Connection app on the Newton.

For reliable transfer I had to adjust the settings in NCU port options down to 9600.

This took a while to back up !

NCU via WINE DOES NOT WORK - CRASH, or fails to detect. Even opening copied backups doesn't work exactly right as the wub windows do not appear.

export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine-newton

set the prefix to be Windows XP

add drive "a:", floopy, pointing at Disk_1

In second window

export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine-newton

open A, run install.exe.

Ignore all the errors.

When prompted to install the next disk, go back to winecfg and change the path for "a:". The installer will notice automatically.

NCU should now launch, see to setup COM1-to-USB (/dev/ttyUSB0)

Step three : upgrade 


NewtonLink (with Slurp 2.1 on Newton) errored out with RAM error and soft lock.

So, as above, make a disk .img and use that to install from NCU in VirtualBox

Step four: Be able to install packages 

UnixPi works fine with -s 9600 -d /dev/ttyUSB0  - 

Also newtonlink does this ?

Newtonlink needs comma's betwen vars on all the files it moans about. Default baud rate is wrong, should be 9600. tknl.tlc needs top line changing to /usr/bin/wish

Step five : power

Change the button cell every few years.

For main power, you should only use NiCd only. Which are illegal in the EU now. So best not to hold down the little button in the compartment, stick to swapping packs or using mains power.

Step six : regular data exchange

Newtonlink needs a lot of patching to even start it's GUI, but can fetch packagenames. Notes didn't appear to include images.


Prebuilt NCU installer .img files : Disk 1, Disk 2, Disk 3
Prebuilt Virtual Machine and notes : Windows 3.11, Window 98 MIA