Debian on the Lemote YeeLoong

Loongson Club logoLemote YeeLoong dragon mascotSo, I bought myself a Lemote YeeLoong 8089B “notebook”. Well, actually its more a netbook. As I had such god success with Debian on my SGI O2, I wanted to try a more modern MIPS based device. Something that I could actually use for something other than just show of as fancy old school hardware to my buddies. Lemote’s YeeLoong with its Chinese “dragon chip” Loongson, a reverse engineered, MIPS compatible CPU, provided me with just that thing.

Of course I installed Debian on it. I usually prefer the stable release, but I had read that the installer was not fully completed before squeezes freeze. Apparently you would have to partition your disk yourself with fdisk. Lazy as I am, I chose to directly install wheezy, the current testing release, as that installer was already complete. Using a USB stick and a mipsel image of wheezy, the install was a piece of cake. The most complicated thing was the mounting of the USB stick in the YeeLoongs BIOS replacement PMON. I mostly followed the tutorial on the Debian wiki. The basic install run flawless.

There were a couple of things that did not work out of the box. One was the Xserver. You need to install some “tuned” packages from the Anheng companys repository. In case it is down again, a friendly Russian provides a mirror of it.

More Loongson optimized packages (including iceweasel and mplayer) can be found at the repository of the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei.

For complete hardware support, including sound and battery sensors, you might want to install the linux-libre kernel instead of the Debian one.

Some additional information can be found at Lemote’s linux development community.

Oh, and then there was this nasty bug with the libXi6 library, which was a show stopper for some gnome apps like evince. They just crashed with a “bus error” on startup. The solution is described in a post at the Austrian overclockers forum (THX-a-lot Grand Admiral Thrawn 🙂 ). The bug has something to do with enforcing 8 byte alignment of memory access, which seems to be a special “feature” of this CPU. Luckily for lazy me, this was the only package I had to compile myself. 😉

One Response to “Debian on the Lemote YeeLoong”

  1. Where did you bought it? How much did you paid?

    How is the performance/battery life?

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