Linux on a Nspire CAS CX Calculator

It’s great to see Linux running on a device in a way that was never intended. [tangrs] has successfully run a Linux kernel on the ARM based Nspire CAS CX graphing calculator. He’s developed an in-place bootloader that allows a kernel to be loaded from within the stock Nspire OS. It also allows for peeking and poking at memory for debugging.

[tangrs] also managed to get USB host mode working on the calculator. This allows for a USB keyboard and Wifi dongle to be connected. At this point, the calculator can connect to the internet and browse using a text-based browser: Links. The calculator runs a SSH server for remote access, and graphical browsing is in the works.

It looks like this calculator is on the way to being a handheld Linux device. All of the source for the kernel and bootloader are available on [tangrs]’s Github and updates on his blog. After the break, check out a video of text-based browsing using a full keyboard.

31 thoughts on “Linux on a Nspire CAS CX Calculator

    1. You can already type notes on it by default, it even has an equation editor in notes and a file structure and my documents folder. I think there’s even an external keyboard you can get for it.

    1. There’s links and links2, which support things like tables that lynx doesn’t.
      Links2 even has svgalib and X graphical render modes.

  1. I have one of those TI Nspire CX CAS! Great to hear those News!

    I like playing those old NES and GBC games with the GBC and NES emulators for the nSpire (with nDless).

    Woukld be great if they could get all those calculating stuff back and it would be a perfect handheld PC!

    1. The phone had a native linux image on it (not a good one), this did not, and to be honest you already could put Linux on everything, sometimes it just takes magic fingers(programming). Also, even though I’m a Linux advocate, Linux would not be suitable for everything.

    1. It is possible:

      Conversion of an TInspire CX to an TInspire CX CAS

      Program-Sources Download …
      • (1) software „nLaunch“ from

      http://tiplanet.org/forum/archives_voir.php?id=12105

      • (2) software „TNOC“ from

      http://tiplanet.org/forum/archives_voir.php?id=1922&short=1

      • (3) of TInspireCX CAS-update from

      http://education.ti.com/download/

      actual version: TI-NspireCXCAS-3.2.3.1233.tcc
      • (4) of TInspire Link software from

      http://education.ti.com/de/deutschland/software/details/en/…/ti-nspire_computerlink

      actual ver.: TI-Nspire_Computer_Link_3.2.0.123.exe

      Creation of necessary update
      run TNOC_en.exe
      • (1) choose „Open“ and put in path to TInspireCX CAS-update
      • (2) activate checkbox „Delete boot2“
      • (3) execute „Process“
      • (4) result: in folder of original TInspireCX CAS-update-file (e.g. TI-NspireCXCAS-3.2.3.1233.tcc) now exists a new file with „originalname“_b.tcc (e.g. TI-NspireCXCAS-3.2.3.1233_b.tcc).
      • (5) this file has to be renamed to „phoenix.tns“

      Connect TInspire with PC
      • (1) connect handheld with PC
      • (2) create folder „nLaunch“ on handheld using TI Link-software
      • (3) in the lower panel (TI-Nspire file browser) right-click, New Folder, “nLaunch”
      • (4) copy file „phoenix.tns“ to folder „nLaunch“ on handheld
      • (5) if exist: copy files „nLaunch.tns“ and „preloader.tns“ from PC-folder „nLaunch“ to handheld-folder „nLaunch“

      Reboot to delete OS
      • (1) reboot handheld: press reset-button at backside of device and at same time buttons „doc“ + „enter“ + „EE“
      • (2) release reset-button
      • (3) release three buttons
      • (4) handheld reboots and stops with selection 1-4.
      • (5) choose button 2: „Delete operating system“
      • (6) confirm with button 1
      • (7) handheld deletes OS and stops, showing: „Press any key to restart“
      • (8) execute restart („enter“), handheld stops, showing: „Operating System not found. Install OS now“

      Installation of CAS
      • (1) choose handheld in TInspire-Linksoftware at bottom right edge, (probably do „Aktualisieren“) and „Auswählen“:
      • (2) choose „Extras“ at top, „Handheld-BS installieren“:
      • (3) choose from PC-folder „nlaunch“ file „nLauch.tco“:
      • (4) installation of new CAS-OS with „BS installieren“ and confirm „Ja“:
      • (5) installation of new CAS-OS starts
      • (6) PC shows „Fehler“: IGNORE ERROR MESSAGE !!!
      • (7) The new CAS-operating system is installed correctly on TInspireCX (error message does not matter):

      do setup
      • do setup on handheld: choose „Language“ and „Size“ of writing

      do CAS calculations
      • do classical calculations, e.g.: factor, expand, integration

      1. Hey Tinker, I hope you are fine.
        I have tried your tutorial, but struggeling with the installation. I followed all your steps. I got a Error that the Connection is lost, then the calculator starts to boot, then again, and then it stays at the clock, which will end up with the screen that no OS was found.
        I hope you can help me

        And no, I dont want to cheat. I am allowed to use any calculator which is programmable but not one which can connect to a network. Ps: I am studying in Duisburg, DE.

        I hope you can help me! :)

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