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/ temporarily, since you don't want to use the Zaurus keyboard mapping in Qemu.

[ 10 comments ] ( 346 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1963 )
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.

[ 2 comments ] ( 154 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1962 )
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.

[ 4 comments ] ( 157 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1051 )
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 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

[ 2 comments ] ( 126 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1947 )
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.

[ add comment ] ( 7 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1867 )
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...

[ add comment ] ( 8 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 2.9 / 1010 )
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 :-)

[ add comment ] ( 6 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1964 )
Ubuntu Frisky Firedrake on Zaurus, the challenge  
Wow, just read this presentation about the successful build of a full Ubuntu distribution for ARM architectures. The Mojo project did a marvelous job by building a lot of packages, really impressive.

Now lets see how difficult it is to get this up and running. How cool would it be to have a full-blown Ubuntu on my Zaurus. Talking about a challenge!!

So, let the party begin, and start building!

[ add comment ] ( 34 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1921 )
Android patches 
I already promised a few of you a while back to upload the patches used in the Android image.

For those of you using the OpenEmbedded build system I made it extra easy. Just download and extract the archive with patches into the OpenEmbedded directory structure, setup your system to use the linux-rp-2.6.23-r32 kernel and (re)build the kernel by issuing the bitbake -c rebuild linux-rp command.

If you haven't setup your OpenEmbedded build system yet, but would like to, you can checkout the Poky development system by running svn co poky. Setup the system by following the README file. After that, extract the archive with patches into the OpenEmbedded directory structure, and build the kernel.

I included the kernel configurations I used for both the Zaurus Spitz and Akita devices.

For those of you adventurers using a different build system (why would you) or for those of you who just need the code for the panning support in the pxa2xx framebuffer code, replace the pxafb.c file from the vanilla kernel with the file here and build your kernel.

[ 6 comments ] ( 219 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 2484 )
Zaurus meets Werewolf 
Browsing the Net I recently came across the fedora arm wiki. Googling a bit further, I couldn't find anyone running fedora on the Zaurus. So I investigated the project a bit, and started some experiments in qemu.

This was a few days ago, and now I have fedora 8 (Werewolf) running on my Zaurus SL-C3100 natively. Quite nice actually. I'm using my Poky 2.6.23 kernel and the base root file system with some extras from the huge repository.

So with fedora 8 another choice can be added to the long list of possible Operating Systems that can be used by the Zaurus community.

Not bad at all!

UPDATE: Some of you asked me if I would be willing to share the image so it can be downloaded here. Since I'm running out of hosting space, that's currently not possible. I'm trying to find someone who's willing to donate some space

[ 6 comments ] ( 123 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 2284 )

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