Upgrade instructions for Nomad Super Scout robots

Nomad Super Scout robots are shipped with a customized version of Red Hat Linux on their hard drives.  This document contains instructions for creating such a hard drive in the field.  Please note that if you are not familiar and comfortable with installing Red Hat Linux, an easier alternative may be to purchase a pre-installed hard drive from Nomadic, or to ship a hard drive to Nomadic to be installed.  To pursue either of these options, please contact

There are three major tasks in upgrading your hard drive:

  1. Install Red Hat Linux;
  2. Customize the system for use in a power failure-safe mode; and,
  3. Install software specific to the Super Scout.

Installing Red Hat Linux

We recommend that you obtain a new hard drive for performing this installation; this way, you will be able to resume using your old system if the installation fails, and you will not risk losing valuable data.

The Scout hard drive release is based on Red Hat Linux version 6.1. You will need to obtain this distribution either on CD or via the Internet. In any case, the easiest way to install it is to place it on an NFS-exported filesystem on your LAN, and connect a floppy drive to the Scout's PC. You will want to use the bootnet.img installation floppy; please see the Red Hat documentation for instructions on installation using an NFS mounted partition.

Install the packages

Begin with a standard installation of Red Hat Linux. Specific instructions will not be given here and the user is referred to the installation documentation included with your distribution. As a general guideline, try to minimize the number of packages installed to only those necessary, in order to minimize the time it takes for the system to boot and the system resources consumed at runtime. For example, it is generally not necessary to install printer support, the sendmail daemon, or the gpm console mouse server.

Additional configuration

Now that the base installation is done, reboot the machine and log in, verifying that things seem to have installed properly. You may need to run the sndconfig utility manually if it was not run automatically by the installation program. We have found that this program will detect the ESS sound chip used on the Scout's PC with no problems.

Customizing the system

Now you will want to customize the system so that it will operate in a read-only mode, which will protect the filesystems if power is suddenly lost.  Instructions for doing so can be found here.

Installing Software

At this point the drive should boot into read-only mode with no problems. The only thing left is to install the software packages to control the robot hardware.

Installing the robotd package

Download the scout-robotd-1.3-1.rpm package to /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386 and the scout-robotd-1.3-1.src.rpm package to /usr/src/redhat/SRPMS/. Install the binary package as follows:

# cd /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386
# rpm -i scout-robotd-1.3-1.rpm

Now edit the /etc/robotd.cfg file to uncomment the line which executes the play-speech script (which depends on the festival packages being installed; see next section).

Installing the festival speech system

If you wish to use the tk() command in your programs, the following RPM packages should be downloaded and installed to support speech synthesis (please see


Then, the /etc/robotd.cfg configuration file was modified to use the play-speech program which is distributed with the scout-robotd package:

command = echo '%s' | /usr/local/bin/play-speech

Also, the festival server program is by default configured to accept connections from "localhost", but Red Hat Linux is by default configured to present itself as "localhost.localdomain". This can be fixed by editing the /etc/hosts file so that "localhost" is before "localhost.localdomain" in the mapping for


Last modified 13 July 2001 by jake