Linux on the I-Opener: Tips & Tricks

Welcome to my simple web page about running Linux on the Netpliance I-opener. In this case, my I-opener was hardware-modified to use a small 2.5" hard drive. Other web pages already describe the I-Opener hardware mods in detail, but I thought a few people might be interested in some of the things I found that make using Linux on the I-Opener a bit nicer.


Since I already use Linux on another computer, it was easiest to simply copy that system from my other computer to the I-Opener's hard drive. By using a 2.5" -> 3.5" HD adaptor and information from the Hard-Disk-Upgrade mini-HOWTO, I was able to copy my current working Linux system onto the I-Opener's 2.5" HD. Don't forget, you might have to change the /etc/fstab on the 2.5" HD to more closely match the configuration you will be using with the I-Opener.


After fiddling with the I-Opener's BIOS a little, I was able to boot the computer into Linux. Using the standard Red Hat 6.2 distribution off my old computer, I was able to get sound, the keyboard-mouse, modem and X all configured and working: much of it done by the Red Hat distribution itself. The only downside with using RH 6.2 is that USB is not fully supported. In order to get that working, you will either have to wait for a 2.4 kernel-based release or apply the USB patch available here. At a later date, I intend to experiment with this USB patch.


A small archive is available for download that has a few files with settings I found to be helpful while using the I-Opener. While they are from a Red Hat distro, they are general enough that they should work on many Linux systems. Here's a small description about what the files in the archive do:

Xmodmap, iopener.keymap, iokeys_console

These three files deal with the rather unusual keyboard layout of the I-Opener. With these files, the missing ESC key is defined as the "Pizza" key and 2 other keys are moved around to make more sense. The real home key is now the I-Opener's "Prev Ch" key (The "Next Ch" key is actually the end key) and the insert key is now the I-Opener's "Home" key which places it right above the Delete key.

Place Xmodmap in /etc/X11/xinit/, this will change the keys in X-Window mode.

Place iopener.keymap in /etc/vga, this will change the keys in svga mode along with using the libvga.config file described below.

Finally, execute iokeys_console from the command line to change the keys in console mode. I recommend doing it from the rc.local script. Just place the iokeys_console file in /etc/rc.d and type "echo "iokeys_console" >> rc.local" from the command line.


This is the configuration file for X-Window. Just drop it in /etc/X11/


This one configures svga-lib support for the I-Opener. Just drop it in /etc/vga. The only downside is that I've been unable to get the mouse to work in SVGA mode. However, with the layout of the mouse keys, it would probably be difficult to use the mouse-doohickey for a game anyway. With these settings, LXDoom and other SVGA games work fine on the I-Opener.

ioled.c, ioled.o

These two files help control the small LEDs at the top of the I-Opener's screen by providing a device driver. The source file, ioled.c, can only be compiled for a 2.4 kernel, but using the ioled.o file on a pre-2.4 kernel works fine like this: "insmod -F ioled.o". For instructions, see the source file. If you use the LED driver in your ppp-up and ppp-down scripts, you can have the phone LED turn off and on to reflect your online status. In Red Hat 6.2, add this line to /etc/ppp/ip-up.local "echo 3 > /dev/ioled". In the ip-down.local script, it's similar, but just echo 2 to the ioled device.

Download the file archive: iopener.tar.gz


I hope this simple web page helps you use the I-Opener more effectively, albeit not exactly as Netpliance intended. :)

If you want to get in contact with me about this web page, just email me here.


Below are a few links I found to be indispensible while modding my I-Opener.

     An indispensible source of I-Opener information

The message board contains many great ideas and mods. I used Codeman's I-Mod2 kit to mount the hard drive in my I-Opener.

     An entire Linux distro that fit's in the I-Opener's 16 meg Sandisk. No hard drive required!  
     I found the LED Hard Drive Activity Indicator and the serial port hacks to be especially useful.  
     A great site for indepth I-Opener knowledge