From wikiPodLinux

The title of this article should be minix-sh. The initial letter is capitalized due to technical limitations.

The minix shell prompt.

Minix is a better command line shell than the default, sash. For instance, sash offers no enhanced scripting commands (if .. fi etc.) and no i/o redirection. The Minix-shell offers these.

This page tells you how to install this improved shell.

Note: Due to unresolved problems with the kernel, the shell does not work well on recent iPod models yet (e.g., it works on a 3g but not on a 5g). The symptom is that you won't see its output until it prints a newline (which would happen once you press the center button). This means you'd have to blindly enter commands, which is not really working using the iPod keypad. But if you need the shell only to run predefined commands or use it in other non-interactive ways, you can use it on a 5g iPod just as well.

Table of contents



Installation on Linux and Mac OS X

Uncompress the archive (e.g. using tar xzf Minix-sh.tgz)

Then copy minix-sh/sh to iPod/bin/sh, copy etc/sash.conf to iPod/etc/sash.conf and chmod +x iPod/bin/sh.

If you want to use the shell as your entry point once Linux has started, you also have to edit your /etc/rc file - see below under Further Setup

Installation on Windows

Uncompress the archive using an UnTar utility.

Copy minix-sh/sh to the root of your iPod. Be sure it is named just sh and that it has no extension. Copy etc/sash.conf to sash.conf in the root of your iPod. Then put this in a file named start in your iPod's root, again with no extension:

mv /hp/sh /bin/sh
mv /hp/sash.conf /etc/sash.conf
chmod +x /bin/sh
rm -f /hp/start

Further Setup

You can have the shell give you a command prompt at the end of the linux startup.

To do that, edit your /etc/rc file. It probably contains a command to start podzilla in its last line. Remove that command and instead put the word "false" into the last line. When you restart your iPod, this will give you the command prompt of the minix shell (without "false" in the last line, this will not happen).


The minix shell is supposed to be similar to bash in its functionality according to the included readme file.

If you are at the command prompt, you can perform the following operations using your iPod's buttons and wheel:

  • Menu button: Shows the menu that is configured in /etc/sash.conf. Press again to turn the menu off or press Rewind to clear the input line.
  • Scroll wheel: If the menu is shown, it scrolls through the menu choices. Otherwise, it scrolls through the alphabet.
  • Center button: Accepts the currently selected character from the scroll wheel and advances so you can enter another character.
  • Play button: Enter (Return) - accepts the current line as a command
  • Rewind button: Deletes the last character or, when the menu button was just pressed, the entire line.
  • Forward button: Tab completion - scrolls through the list of matching items in the current directory. You may use the Rewind button to scroll back.

Here is more information on the special functions in this shell, taken from the Readme file:

  • tab-completion: hitting ffwd will try to complete the command/filename by looking in the specified directory for matching names if a '/' exists in the filename, or if no '/' exists then it looks in /sbin, scrolling or hitting the ffwd/rew buttons moves through possible completions and the desired completion can be selected with the centre button, or aborted with the menu button.
  • '/' appending: if the number of "s is even then a '/' is automatically appended and tab-completion is tried on that, if this fails then the '/' is stripped and tab-completion tries again. (This is to avoid having to manually add '/' to go down a directory).
  • quoting: tab-completions that have characters in them that require quote marks (e.g. "/root/purple monkey dishwasher") automatically get quoted.
  • pre-selectable commands: hitting menu reads in a list of commands from /etc/sash.conf which can be run by selecting the desired command then hitting play/pause, aborted by hitting the menu button or have parameters added by hitting the centre button which inserts the command then returns to adding chars.
  • quick clear line: hit menu then rew.
  • slightly smarter backspace: reads in the previous char and scrolling begins from there.
  • line-wrapping: long commands wrap onto the next lines and back again when deleted, also they are restricted to being within the length of the buffer

Accessing the shell remotely

It is possible to configure iPodLinux so that you can connect to the shell from another computer, for example through the Serial Port. See Remote Shell.

See also inputattach for info on how to attach an external keyboard to your iPod.

Root password

Here's information on the Root Password in case you need to enter it

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