Zubuntu 1.0 update... 
I'm currently finishing off the 1.0 release of Zubuntu. Zubuntu is based on Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" using the Mojo "Hasty Hippogriff" repository on top of a Poky 2.6.26 kernel.

There will be two versions, Zubuntu-Base and Zubuntu-Desktop.

The Zubuntu-Base contains "just" the kernel, a working X Server and some basic applications. I leave it up to you to decide what additional packages to install. A lot of the applications can be installed directly from the Mojo repository.

The Zubuntu-Desktop contains, apart from all the packages in Zubuntu-Base, a more complete set of standard applications. Only packages missing currently are PIM applications (Calendar & Contact).

Both Zubuntu distro's will be targeted at the Zaurus Spitz (SL-C3x00) and Akita (SL-C1000) models first. I'm still in the process of getting an alternative boot kernel (kexecboot) working for at least the SL-C7x0 and SL-C860 models, but this will take some more time I'm afraid. I recently acquired a Tosa (SL-C6000L), but I still have to check what is needed to get Zubuntu working on this specific model.


  • Linux Kernel 2.6.26, EABI only, patched for use with Android 1.0
  • Sound: Tested and working, including volume control on the back of the device
  • Touchscreen: Tested and working
  • Network: Tested and working (tested with Linksys WCF12, Buffalo WL12-CF-S11, Billionton CFLT2-10B)
  • Rotation: Automatic rotation in X Server once the display is flipped.
  • Brightness control (Fn-3 and Fn-4): Tested and working
  • Bluetooth support: Added, but untested
  • USB Host: Added, but untested

  • Installed applications in Zubuntu-Desktop

  • Desktop:
  • LXDE
  • Launcher:
  • LXLauncher (installed, but disabled on default)
  • File manager:
  • PCManFM
  • Multimedia player:
  • Audacious
  • Web browser:
  • Firefox 3. Thinking about replacing it by Midori.

  • Network manager:
  • WICD
  • Text editor:
  • Leafpad
  • Word processor:
  • Abiword
  • Spreatsheet:
  • Gnumeric
  • Email:
  • Sylpheed
  • PDF:
  • xPDF
  • Instant Messenger:
  • Pidgin
  • Games:
  • xMahjongg

    Additional extras

  • Android 1.0. Will become available later as a seperate download

  • Help wanted

    Some of you offered help already. Thanks a lot! If you're able and willing to help in any way, please drop me a line using the "Contact Me" form, and we'll see what we can work out.

    Also, if you think I'm forgetting something important, or if you have any suggestions or improvements, let me know.

    Shameless footnote

    Once more, if you like what I'm doing here, and/or it is of any help to you, please keep pressing those advertisements. The more you press, the more it keeps me motivated.

    [ 39 comments ] ( 1644 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 696 )
    Zubuntu 1.0 coming up... 
    This is a screenshot of Zubuntu 1.0. It is currently running on my SL-C3100. It's very stable, runs a 2.6.26 Linux kernel and includes all the Android 1.0 patches.

    Based on Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" I used the Mojo "Hasty Hippogriff" repositories. Bravo to the guys from the Mojo project. A job well done!

    I'm currently using the Xfce desktop environment. A lot of standard applications have to be added, but the hardware support like sound, touchscreen, auto rotation, network etc. seems to work.

    More on this later :-)

    [ 15 comments ] ( 837 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1051 )
    Android 1.0-rc1 working on Zaurus SL-C3100 
    As you can see, version 1.0 is working already on my Zaurus SL-C3100 (Spitz). I hope to get a full installable image up soon so you can try it for yourself. Please be patient.

    [ 7 comments ] ( 599 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 6205 )
    Android 0.9-beta for Zaurus SL-C3x00 (Spitz) 
    Sorry for the delay, but I took some time off and spent the last two weeks in beautiful Italy (Tuscany/Umbria).

    Now, plans were to combine two ongoing projects of mine, Android and Zubuntu, and make it into one distro. But I'm still having too much problems with Zubuntu (I'm working on the 8.04 release) so I switched, for the time being, to Poky. I read that OpenenedHand was recently acquired by Intel, so we might see some (more) of Poky back in Moblin in one of the next releases.

    So what you download and install here is mainly a Poky distro in the first place. It's very stable and pretty complete. Give it a try, I like it better each time I see and use it. It's based on a 2.6.26 kernel patched for Android. Although the Android SDK was based on a 2.6.25, I ported the patches needed to get it working in 2.6.26.

    Android is pretty basic I guess. I didn't test all features, and I'm sure that a some things don't work yet. Like the touchscreen for instance.

    Installing Poky & Android

    Installation on the Zaurus is done in the usual way:

    1. Download the following files and copy them to a SD card.
  • zImage.bin
  • updater.sh
  • gnu-tar
  • android-root.tar.gz

  • 2. Remove battery and power adapter cable
    3. Wait for 5 seconds
    4. Replace battery, close and lock battery cover
    5. Attach power adapter cable
    6. Keep OK button pressed while pressing on/off switch
    7. From the Japanese menu, choose option 4 (Update), then 2 (SD) and finally Y

    Flashing starts, and you are asked if you want to flash the kernel, if you want the microdrive to be formatted and if you want the root filesystem to be installed. Accept all questions answering them with y

    After flashing is complete, the machine is rebooted and Poky starts. First boot takes some time because of initial configuration taking place.

    Now, before getting on to Android, play around in Poky and see if you like it. It's really worth a try!

    Starting Android

    You have to exit the Poky interface by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace simultaneously. On the prompt, press Enter and login with user root. No password is needed. Now type:
    chroot /home/android /init

    Android should boot now.

    Exit Android

    I haven't found a better way, so let me know if there is one. Press Fn-Right to see the Android console, and type "reboot" to reboot the machine. Poky will be (re)started.

    Enjoy Android, and hopefully Poky. Thanks again for Speculatrix for sharing some hosting space. Much appreciated!

    By the way, if you like what I'm doing, be so kind to click on as much advertisements (on the left) as you can.


    [ 6 comments ] ( 355 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1568 )
    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

    [ 9 comments ] ( 248 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1292 )
    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!

    [ 8 comments ] ( 218 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 183 )
    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.

    [ 3 comments ] ( 213 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 3109 )
    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.

    [ 10 comments ] ( 398 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1037 )
    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 ] ( 206 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3.3 / 7 )
    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 ] ( 170 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1241 )

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