Debian/GNU Linux and VIA EPIA C3 mini-ITX

VIA EPIA > Installing Debian

This is a step-by-step guide on installing the Debian/GNU Linux operating system on the VIA EPIA C3 800 MHz system. For my reference installation, I used a 40 GB Seagate Barracuda harddisk and a Pioneer CD/DVD-ROM combo. I also had a network connection via my home network and ADSL.

What Linux says

processor	: 0
vendor_id	: CentaurHauls
cpu family	: 6
model		: 7
model name	: VIA Ezra
stepping	: 10
cpu MHz		: 800.047
cache size	: 64 KB
fdiv_bug	: no
hlt_bug		: no
f00f_bug	: no
coma_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 1
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu de tsc msr cx8 mtrr pge mmx 3dnow
bogomips	: 1595.80

Minimal "net installation"

I downloaded the Debian mini-cd distribution, also refered to as netinst or net_install. You can get links to where to get it from the debian_on_cd website.

The file I downloaded was woody-i386-1.iso. I burned it to a cd with gcombust, a simple GTK+ application that invoked mkisofs and cdrecord.

I then put the CD into the CD/DVD combo and booted the VIA EPIA system. Make sure that the BIOS settings are right: the CD should boot first of all. Voila! The Debian boot screen was presented to me and I pressed enter to load the installation system.

Configuring the system

First of all, I would like to point to the Debian official installation manual. Coose the one for Intel x86, and you'll get some deep looks into how the system work.

For further assistance, look at the kernel config file below.

Dealing with non-686 software

Although VIA C3 is i686 compliant, some software packages use non-i686 compliant instructions (like cmov) in their i686 distributions. Examples for this is libcrypto and libssl.

You should compile and use a i586/MMX compliant kernel for VIA C3. When using apt-get and install on some packages like libcrypto and libssl, you can have problems running them. Just copy the libraries in /usr/lib/i586 to /usr/lib/i686.

Useful files

Configuration file for XFree86, version 4.2.x
Trident Cyberblade driver for XFree86.
Kernel configuration for Linux 2.4.20.