DISCLAIMER: I AM IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THAT MAY HAPPEN TO YOUR CALCULATOR OR COMPUTER AS A RESULT OF FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE
These instructions are written for use on a computer running Debian (If you don’t have a computer running Debian you can use Virtual Box). Steps with a “~” in front will take a while. If you use a Raspberry Pi, you can skip installing qemu-user-static and binfmt-support, and skip step 5
You will need:
- A TI-Nspire CX running a version of TI-OS supported by Ndless
- A flash drive. The flash drive should ideally be at least 2GB, but 1GB might work.
- A Mini-B OTG USB cable.
- A powered USB hub if you want to plug anything else into the calculator.
- Install Ndless. Ndless lets you run 3rd party programs on your TI-Nspire.
- Prepare a flash drive. Use gparted (or mkfs.ext4) to format the drive as one ext4 partition.
- ~ Install programs on host. “sudo apt-get install qemu-user-static binfmt-support debootstrap”. These programs let you create and setup a rootfs on one computer.
- ~ Debootstrap. Mount the flash drive using “sudo mount /dev/sdbX /mnt” substituting sdbX for your flash drive. Now run “sudo debootstrap –arch=armel –foreign stable /mnt“. This command will install a Debian rootfs onto the flash drive.
- Copy files to rootfs. Run “sudo cp /usr/bin/qemu-arm-static /mnt/usr/bin” to copy the arm emulator, and “sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /mnt/etc/apt/sources.list” to copy the apt list file.
- ~ Finish debootstrapping. Change into the new rootfs with “sudo chroot /mnt“. This will automatically run the arm binaries in the qemu emulator. Finish the job with “/debootstrap/debootstrap –second-stage“. This will install all the programs on the rootfs.
- Set a root password. Run “passwd” to set a root password.
- ~ Set up apt-get. Update the apt-get sources with “apt-get update”.
- Install any extra programs. You will need to download any extra programs you want now, because the calculator doesn’t have internet. Run “apt-get install -d ” to download the packages. The “-d” is important, otherwise it will try to install the packages as well. You will finish installing the packages when booted into Debian on the calculator. I recommend making a file with all the installed package names so you don’t forget what ones you downloaded.
- Install the kernel, device tree, and linuxloader2. Download the three files indicated in my handy graphic, located here. If you are using a TI-Nspire CX or CX CAS, you need the “DTB for CX”, “DTB for Touchpad” is for the touchpad models (duh) and I think you can figure out what the last one is for 😉 Rename the kernel file to “zImage.tns” and rename the dtb file to “nspire.dtb.tns”. Send all three files to a folder called “linux” on your calculator.
- Set up boot script. Add “ext.ll2 linuxloader2” to the end of ndless.cfg.tns (in the ndless folder). This is easily done using nTxt. This line allows you to use a script to boot linux, and saves a whole lot of typing every time you want to boot linux. Download start_usb.ll2.tns and put it into the linux folder, along with zImage.tns and linuxloader2.tns.
- ~ Boot! Make sure Ndless is installed and the flash drive is plugged into the calculator and run start_usb.ll2.tns. If all went well Debian should be booting! It takes a while (~2 minutes) to boot, so be patient.
- ~ Finish installing packages. Log in as root, and “apt-get install ” for any packages you downloaded in step 9.
- Add users. Use “adduser ” to add any users to the system.
Done! You have successfully installed a full installation of Debian onto your calculator.
(Credit for linux on the calculator goes to tangrs on omnimaga)
Please leave comments with any suggestions or things I might have missed.