Anyone in for another Android experiment? 
It has been quite a while since I last posted here. I'm busy doing all kinds of things at the same time, not able to finish any of the things I started here. I'll spare you the details.

Anyway, since Google released a Beta of Android for us to play with two days ago, I was just thinking if this would be of any interest.

See for yourself here. The user interface has been revamped pretty extensively. It looks great!

So, anyone in for another Android experiment then?

SDK download can be found here. I dusted off my developer tools already to see if I can make this work on my Zaurus again
:-)

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Ubuntu Netbook Remix 
A lot has happened lately. After messing around with frisky (Ubuntu 7.04) I finally got the Installer working, although I'm not satisfied with the result (too much errors during setup). Apart from that, I also managed to create a working version of grumpy (Ubuntu 7.10).

I tried a lot of different Window Managers and setups, but in my opinion none of them fitted the Zaurus very well. That's why I only uploaded a minimal version so far.

After reading Mark Shuttleworth's blog about the Netbook Remix AppLaucher I thought I'd give it a try, just to see if I could get it working on my Zaurus. Another proof of concept so to say.

Unfortunately, this isn't currently possible using frisky or grumpy. The repositories simply don't contain all the right packages or package versions. So I had to make a small sidestep by creating a Debian-Lenny distribution. The Debian Lenny repositories have a huge amount of packages, and they're much more up-to-date than I thought!

After having Lenny ready and working, I compiled the Netbook Remix packages. Using the XFCE Window Manager I set up the top panel and started the launcher. Although the launcher doesn't work (yet), I think this will become my favorite Zaurus setup. The idea behind maximus and the go-home button are great, and the launcher should fit the Zaurus very well.

The launcher exits with an error saying that the "XServer appears to lack required GLX support". Too bad, maybe I'll try to use the xserver-xorg to see if that helps.

Anyway, a lot has to be done. My quest for the perfect Zaurus setup hasn't finished yet. My next proof of concept could well be the mobile Firefox, Mozilla Fennec. We'll see.

Good news by the way. I understand that work on the Ubuntu 8.04 for ARM has started. The Mojo guys hope to have a working (minimal) version within a few weeks time. Great work!


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Zubuntu Installer 
I tried to build Debian-Installer (D-I) for Zubuntu. As the documentation mentions, sometimes D-I is described as a mini Linux distribution which gives an indication of its complexity. Well, they're right about that, I know it for sure now. D-I is build with a specific kernel in mind, although some people tried to hack a D-I to make it work for their situation. This never worked for me, so I figured building it from scratch is my way to go. A lot of packages are missing in the frisky repository, so I needed to build them myself. Looking at the requirements I started installing, downloading sources and building packages. I did this in Qemu, using Debian-armel as the host OS. That's where I made a mistake I guess. I now have a shipload of required packages compiled and ready, but the build system now tells me I'm having the wrong versions installed. It somehow mixed up the host and the target systems, or it was just me doing something stupid, I don't know. So now I'm back to square one again. This time I'm using the Zubuntu Qemu image as my host system, and I started building all missing packages from there... again!

The struggle for a decent installer continues. More on this later.


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The birth of Zubuntu 
I thought this little project could use a name. So, since my targeted device is a Zaurus, why not call it Zubuntu.

Most of my spare time went into this project the last couple of weeks. I've managed to get a fairly complete system running now, although it's very difficult to get all the tiny bits and pieces fit into the right place and position.

A lot of time is spent finding out stuff that has already been done by others. I'm not complaining, it's just that this work isn't as efficient as it could have been. But hey, since I'm far from a Linux guru I'm still learning a lot, and for me that's worth a good thing.

I've updated the minimal image. It can be downloaded here. The version number has gone up from 0.1 to 0.3.

Same instructions apply as before, so read all the details here. I hope to fix a few other things soon, like sound, automatic Xserver rotation, brightness adjustment, right mouse click simulation, easy wireless network configuration, the hardware clock and other things I've forgotten right now.

One good thing is my experience with Xfce. I like it, it looks good and the performance is better than I expected.

If you're going to use this in Qemu, make sure you rename /etc/keymap-2.6.map temporarily, since you don't want to use the Zaurus keyboard mapping in Qemu.

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Ubuntu & The search for an alternative Window Manager... 
Thanks for the suggestions regarding "light" Window Managers. After trying the fullblown Ubuntu on my Zaurus, it soon became apparent that this wasn't meant to run on small memory and low frequency devices.

So I started investigating alternatives. I'm flashing a Xfce image on my Zaurus right now. Let's see how this turns out. Hopefully it's blazing fast of course. First impression is that it still looks great (I'm using the Xubuntu theme). In Qemu the performance is... okay I guess. I hope the Zaurus beats Qemu this time.

There are lots of other choices regarding WM's, and the suggestions some of you made tell me that it may also be a great matter of taste.

That's why I will upload two different images. One being a minimal image, on which people can install whatever they like and the other being a complete desktop image, with a standard set of packages pre-installed, like Firefox, Gnumeric, Abiword, Sylpheed, gqview etc

I'm very content with the Qemu solution by the way, were I pre-configure the complete image before I try it on the Zaurus. It saves me lots and lots of time. I can't imagine doing all the fiddling, configuration and installation directly on the Zaurus in the way I do it now.

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Ubuntu on Zaurus... 
Just to show how Ubuntu looks on a Zaurus. This is the fullblown Ubuntu, with nautilus, gnome, metacity, firefox etc. Although it looks great, it's terribly slow. This is just a proof of concept I guess.

I'm currently experimenting with other window managers. First one I'm trying is Xfce. If this one's too heavy too, I'll try Fluxbox, Openbox and finally IceWM.

In the meantime, the ubuntu-minimal root filesystem is in it's third version here. Most errors are gone luckily.



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Ubuntu Frisky news update... 
There seems to be a lot of interest in my Ubuntu project, according to the number of visitors on my blog in the last couple of days. This all thanks to this article on LinuxDevices.com and this one on engadget.

I would like to add that although the goal for me is to get this working on my Zaurus, there's not much Zaurus-specific in the distro at the moment. I guess it should perfectly work on other devices, like the Nokia N810 for instance.

In the meantime I'm heading towards version 1.0 faster than expected. I have a full Ubuntu desktop installed now, including Gnome, gdm, Firefox, the whole lot. Most of the errors in the 0.1 release are solved already.

This distro is currently 215Mb in size (stripped and compressed). I don't know if it's worth uploading, because it's so darn slow. Maybe I just try the much lighter enlightenment as the default WM, I haven't decided yet, as I'm still experimenting.

I'm planning to upload two different flavors, one being the ubuntu-minimal and the other being the ubuntu-desktop.

Last but not least, any help on this would be much appreciated. This won't work if I have to do this all on my own. So, drop me a line using the Contact Me option from the menu on the left, or email me (omegamoon at gmail.com)

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Ubuntu Frisky Firedrake Installation Instructions 
I think it's time to let you all in on this. Detailed instructions on how to setup Frisky Firedrake can be found here, or from the menu on the left.
Have fun, and don't forget to let me know what you think about it ;-) If you have any questions or suggestions drop me a line.


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Werewolf and Frisky Firedrake for Zaurus update... 
I have been away for most of last week, so there's not really much progress made.

The Fedora 8 (Werewolf) and Ubuntu (Frisky Firedrake) images are created using the Qemu ARM emulator.

I started by installing Debian using a kernel and a Debian (ARM) Installer. Having Debian working in Qemu I started to create the Fedora and Ubuntu images. Using Qemu instead of the Zaurus makes it much easier to configure the OS.

I use the xserver-kdrive from Poky, which can be used for the Debian image as wel as for the Ubuntu and Fedora images. I just had to convert the .deb packages into .rpm's for the Fedora image.

I'm currently having really annoying problems getting a working network connection for the Fedora and Ubuntu images, which makes downloading and installation of packages a real pain. I hope this won't take too much time.

I want to thank all of you offering me webspace to host the images. I guess I just have to pick the most easiest, and hopefully most stable, option, and upload the images as soon as possible.

And now back to Qemu and networking. Why isn't this working...

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Ubuntu Frisky Firedrake for Zaurus SL-C3x00 working 
Yeah, it really works. I have a minimal but functional command-line Ubuntu system running on my Zaurus SL-C3100.

Not much more to say really, it's much like the Fedora 8 system. One big difference maybe is that Firedrake spits much more errors during first boot, compared to the Werewolf.

There's a lot left to tweak of course, but a full-blown Ubuntu is on it's way. This is really cool, having the same OS running on my desktop and on the much smaller Zaurus. This proofs that the Zaurus is the ultimate mini-laptop.

Anyway, the root filesystem is currently 88Mb, and as I said, it's just a minimal system. I don't have much hosting space left, so I guess you just have to believe me that it's working.

I won't be able to upload the image, unless someone has some hosting space left to donate of course, then I could upload the image. No problem. Use the "Contact Me" from the menu to drop me a line.

And now it's time to install some more packages :-)

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