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> Zaurus Rom Zoo, But Where's A Vision?, A short discourse on a newbie's perception of Z community
desertrat
post Oct 9 2007, 12:21 AM
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QUOTE(walkman @ Oct 7 2007, 05:11 PM) *
This was a very valid point. So let's check their websites:

...

Conclusion:
I think the above quoted descriptions and mission statements try to clearly specify what they are about. What I personally like is what Gentoo says. That's perfectly clear and very well highlighted. Ubuntu is not that straightfoward as it could be. I guess it is because they started to grow recently and they have all sorts of these subprojects (Desktop, Server, Mobile, etc.) so on their front-page you only read about being free (which is nowadays not a very distinguishable feature).

Quite frankly I couldn't care less what the "mission statement" of the various distros are. Most mission statements are just marketing garbage with no warranty attached, and are simply statements (not commitments).

Anyway, if it's only for your own personal satisfaction and you want to know which distro is most suitable for you then:

Sharp/Cacko - for mostly PDA functionality, and least need to fiddle around
pdaXrom - if you need maximum flexibility and a real desktop experience, some fiddling recommended
Angstrom - probably a cross between the above 2. I've never used it so can't really comment

All the others (*BSD, Gentoo, Debian etc) are probably not quite there yet - in terms of hardware support. So if you want to play safe stick to one of the 3 listed above.

If this topic was started for the benefit of the wider community, then yes, please go ahead and try all the various distros then write up a summary comparing and contrasting them all smile.gif I'm sure a lot of people would be grateful for it.

Personally I picked pdaXrom because I was able to use standard X applications on it. If a particular app you need is not available in the standard distribution it is relatively easy to compile it yourself. I've long since stopped fiddling with my pdaXrom installation since it now does all I need of it.
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walkman
post Oct 9 2007, 01:08 AM
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QUOTE(desertrat @ Oct 9 2007, 10:21 AM) *
Quite frankly I couldn't care less what the "mission statement" of the various distros are. Most mission statements are just marketing garbage with no warranty attached, and are simply statements (not commitments).


You are partly right. Most often it is a PR garbage. But knowing where do the creators want to drag their baby (the principles they commit to) is worth knowing. For some long term clarity... This whole thread is not that about the present state of those distributions (which are excellent pieces of work in itself), but rather about extrapolating their future.

And a reasonable amount of PR garbage also helps to keep on the right track - i.e. towards creating a successful product, whatever that means to the creators. In an ideal state (enough resources in terms of developers' time) e.g. Debian and pdaXrom will eventually achieve a perfect HW support. At that point they will be kind of equal, right? I am not able to guess what will be the significant difference between them by then.
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adf
post Oct 9 2007, 06:49 PM
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QUOTE(walkman @ Oct 9 2007, 01:08 AM) *
QUOTE(desertrat @ Oct 9 2007, 10:21 AM) *
Quite frankly I couldn't care less what the "mission statement" of the various distros are. Most mission statements are just marketing garbage with no warranty attached, and are simply statements (not commitments).


You are partly right. Most often it is a PR garbage. But knowing where do the creators want to drag their baby (the principles they commit to) is worth knowing. For some long term clarity... This whole thread is not that about the present state of those distributions (which are excellent pieces of work in itself), but rather about extrapolating their future.

And a reasonable amount of PR garbage also helps to keep on the right track - i.e. towards creating a successful product, whatever that means to the creators. In an ideal state (enough resources in terms of developers' time) e.g. Debian and pdaXrom will eventually achieve a perfect HW support. At that point they will be kind of equal, right? I am not able to guess what will be the significant difference between them by then.

I think pdaXrom is more aimed at optimization. Debian, if you mean Titchy, seems simply aimed at providing Debian. I use pdaXii13, for mostly the same reasons cited by desertrat--all my stuff works, and it mostly does what I want (there are things a Z simply doesn't do). After reading your posts it sounds like you might like the cacko/openbsd dual boot. Not quite the switch modes on the fly abilities you are looking for, but cacko is a solid pimmish system with good HW support, and openbsd is a full desktop 'nix.
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amrein
post Oct 10 2007, 05:50 AM
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walkman, are you saying all this because you have the hope that people here will begin to work together to define the next MEGA Linux Palmtop OS ?
Perhaps you would like to see innovations on this platform or upcoming ones? Are you waiting for a well defined roadmap? Good ideas like in the iPhone or the last HTC devices?
There are none. Most people here just follow ideas from others.

A few people have bring what they wanted on the Zaurus (debian, BSD, Gentoo, X11/desktop, Qtopia, ...) and apparently they don't need more.
The others are waiting for the Messiah and will always complain about lack of time. They don't know how to invest themselves into what they would like to see next and most of them don't want to.

My own idea is so complicated and difficult to achieve that it's less frightening to put a gun on my head than trying to do it.
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walkman
post Oct 10 2007, 07:01 AM
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QUOTE(amrein @ Oct 10 2007, 03:50 PM) *
A few people have bring what they wanted on the Zaurus (debian, BSD, Gentoo, X11/desktop, Qtopia, ...) and apparently they don't need more.
The others are waiting for the Messiah and will always complain about lack of time. They don't know how to invest themselves into what they would like to see next and most of them don't want to.


You are right. But as I wrote above, I already decided to start to work towards what I want myself. Simply for myself. Otherwise, the whole Zaurus idea is useles for me (why should I own a PDA-like device when I cannot use it as a PDA?). I simply will try to make what I want reality. When I will be finished, you will certainly hear about it. If I will fail, probably you won't sad.gif. In short, what I want at the beginning, is to create a configuration/customization of pdaXrom in which:
1.- I can work as with a laptop - that is already done, mostly by Meanie, and works almost perfectly (thanks for that work!), and
2.- I can work as with PDA when I turn the display - this is missing and I will try to add it to Meanie's customization.

That means at the beginning something in the following direction:
1.- Desktop with navigation similar to what matchbox-desktop does, i.e. the whole menu on the desktop. That's very useful.
2.- Icons which can be pinned to the desktop
3.- configure WM so, that I do not have to move and resize windows. By now, this is not possible without use of keyboard if you the dialog is higher than the screen (ALT+stylus), i.e. in the PDA mode windows should start maximized and have as few decorations as possible,
4.- behaviour of the WM can possibly change on-the-fly on the event of screen turning.

After some short feasibility study in the last days, I found that it might make sense to try to start from openbox. Other WMs are either not that configurable (IceWM), or configurable, but not transparently enough (e.g. E17), or not themeable well and having very complicated config (fvwm). I have still in game openbox and fvwm. openbox has also this idea os pipe-menus which might be handy in the PDA mode somehow...

Over that a desktop with features 1 and 2 should live. I am not aware of such. So either I extend and configure matchbox-desktop to be able to handle standalone icons, or I was thinking about extending idesk to handle those flexible menus in a certain area of screen. I already took a look at idesk source code and I think I would be able to extend it in the way I want (in the end, it's a fairly small piece of code). An idea of pipe-icon-sets similar to pipe-menus in openbox is needed to do that. Shouldn't be very difficult to do - at least I can easily imagine solution for such a functionality.

Let's see what will come out of that... Maybe nothing, but we are far from giving up yet, right? Don't worry, I am not a guy who complains endlessly and doesn't move his own ass... Somebody said it very nicely in some other thread of this forum: "see a problem - own the problem".

LATER EDIT:
QUOTE
walkman, are you saying all this because you have the hope that people here will begin to work together to define the next MEGA Linux Palmtop OS ?
Perhaps you would like to see innovations on this platform or upcoming ones? Are you waiting for a well defined roadmap? Good ideas like in the iPhone or the last HTC devices?


No need for irony here. If you feel offended by what I wrote above (possibly you are a developer and feel to be put down by a dumb user?), I am apologizing for that. It wasn't meant to offend anybody (possibly arouse :-) ).

What I wanted to see was whether it pays off for me to invest time and energy into a distro which at least goes somewhere. Innovations are done by people. But only if they know the problem they are solving (that's a vision, or commitment, or call it as you like). Random ideas usually do not work very well... And solving a technical problem like e.g. how to compile X for Y, is much easier (although very much needed and extremely important) than finding out how to improve X so that it is just perfect for Y and then taking it to reality... I was only interested if there's such a feeling here around. Whether there's a need to improve the user-experience at all... I am not sure about that yet. I only know, I myself need it. Hence I have to help myself...

In the end, after some reading of past posts and threads of this forum, I started to believe that pdaXrom seems to have a brighter future than others. Because it seems to care specifically about this device. That seems to be a good promise... But that's just my personal feeling...

EVEN LATER EDIT:
So if you have any ideas how to improve user-experience on Z which might be connected to what I want (there's more than enough written about that in this thread), I am listening.
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Antikx
post Oct 10 2007, 09:15 AM
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I understand where you are going walkman.
Experts are leaders of the past. Visionaries are leaders of the future.
Ubuntu isn't successful because it has better developers. Same with Apple.
It's their vision.

We get in a rut of doing things a certain way. A vision helps us move through the ruts.

That being said I think each distro has it's own vision, it just seems that over the last year interest in the Zaurus has wained as there hasn't been a new model and many suspect it's the end of the Zaurus line. I think this has effected people's moral and vision. Many have the mindset of hunting for a "Zaurus replacement".
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amrein
post Oct 10 2007, 10:56 AM
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QUOTE(Antikx @ Oct 10 2007, 07:15 PM) *
Experts are leaders of the past. Visionaries are leaders of the future.


I can't agree more.

Walkman, I'm happy to see that you are trying to do something that match your expectation. Mainly because it's the only way to build something useful.

You asked for a few ideas. Here is a brain storming without a lot of thought:

- You can get easily the base of the system (kernel, initscripts, X11, ...). This is not an issue. OE or pdaXrom builder can do this for you easily.
- Desktop applications are not build for PDAs (touch screen, memory, storage, finger, speed, time loading...).
- The main graphic libraries are not PDA friendly (Qt, GTK). The others libraries have too much bugs on ARM or are too simples (FLTK, wxWindows, XForm, VCF, WDesktop...)
- Dev tools are too complicated to install and use (native build system, emulator, images, cross-compile, ...)
- Contributors can't contribute patches or applications easily. They need to know Linux, python, bash, ... and many other tools
- There is no Visionaries in the house and no big ideas to follow

So, with the VM you want and GTK or Qt you will have the PDA you expect.

Me? I want to rebuild a new powerful X11 library PDA friendly (a fusion of GTK, GDK, Libpng, ...). I want to rebuild most of the good desktop applications with it. Rebuild my own WM and main screen with my own PDA desktop. And why should it be just as bad as other Linux desktop? Why not as good, as fast and as easy to use as the iPhone ones?

Demo from Apple;
http://www.apple.com/iphone/gettingstarted/guidedtour.html

Complet French review:
http://www.mobinaute.com/79924-test-apple-...phon-page1.html

Applications and software for the Zaurus are outdated and don't comply with today PDA expectations. I never felt comfortable using them. I don't want frustration any more and I don't use my Zaurus. And I won't switch to the iPhone because I don't want the Apple monopoly nor do I want to use anything as long as it is not free software inside.

Here where I am. Stuck with dreams.

Really, I'm frightened for www.openmoko.org .
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amrein
post Oct 10 2007, 11:20 AM
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Just free your mind. Start innovating. Free your mind of what you already know and figth for what you want so much.
I have sleepless nights since 4 weeks because of this. sad.gif
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amrein
post Oct 13 2007, 03:51 AM
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I killed the thread with my comments? Ooops. Sorry. Really, this wasn't intentional.
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cycle_55
post Oct 13 2007, 02:13 PM
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I'm curious, how applications become outdated. I for one still want to check email, look up things on the web and work on spreadsheets. I certainly don't want to do those things on a pda so for me the zaurus is as small as I want to get. smile.gif

cycle_55
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adf
post Oct 13 2007, 07:30 PM
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QUOTE(cycle_55 @ Oct 13 2007, 02:13 PM) *
I'm curious, how applications become outdated. I for one still want to check email, look up things on the web and work on spreadsheets. I certainly don't want to do those things on a pda so for me the zaurus is as small as I want to get. smile.gif

cycle_55

About the only thing I can see is when they don't handle some new format or protocol you find to be important.
examples: I'd really like to use sshfs, but that requires 2.6. For now, at least, 2.4 has better media capabilities (and hardware support), which are more important to me. However, at some point newer software will allow me to do both the things I do now, and a few things I'd like to do (like sshfs, flash, maybe NX) POssibky, even, we will get a browser that is lighter and more nimble than firefox, yet as capapble--or newer versions of firefox will be somehow 'better.' Not a great example, as I was really not talking about applications per se, but hopefully you get what I mean?

On the whole, though, I agree-- I'm still running Dapper on my desktop. It works just fine.

I am, however, quite interested in what openmoko is doing smile.gif
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adf
post Oct 13 2007, 07:33 PM
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QUOTE(cycle_55 @ Oct 13 2007, 02:13 PM) *
I'm curious, how applications become outdated. I for one still want to check email, look up things on the web and work on spreadsheets. I certainly don't want to do those things on a pda so for me the zaurus is as small as I want to get. smile.gif

cycle_55

About the only thing I can see is when they don't handle some new format or protocol you find to be important.
examples: I'd really like to use sshfs, but that requires 2.6. For now, at least, 2.4 has better media capabilities (and hardware support), which are more important to me. However, at some point newer software will allow me to do both the things I do now, and a few things I'd like to do (like sshfs, flash, maybe NX) POssibky, even, we will get a browser that is lighter and more nimble than firefox, yet as capapble--or newer versions of firefox will be somehow 'better.' Not a great example, as I was really not talking about applications per se, but hopefully you get what I mean?

On the whole, though, I agree-- I'm still running Dapper on my desktop. It works just fine.

I am, however, quite interested in what openmoko is doing smile.gif
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cycle_55
post Oct 13 2007, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE(adf @ Oct 13 2007, 07:30 PM) *
QUOTE(cycle_55 @ Oct 13 2007, 02:13 PM) *
I'm curious, how applications become outdated. I for one still want to check email, look up things on the web and work on spreadsheets. I certainly don't want to do those things on a pda so for me the zaurus is as small as I want to get. smile.gif

cycle_55

About the only thing I can see is when they don't handle some new format or protocol you find to be important.
examples: I'd really like to use sshfs, but that requires 2.6. For now, at least, 2.4 has better media capabilities (and hardware support), which are more important to me. However, at some point newer software will allow me to do both the things I do now, and a few things I'd like to do (like sshfs, flash, maybe NX) POssibky, even, we will get a browser that is lighter and more nimble than firefox, yet as capapble--or newer versions of firefox will be somehow 'better.' Not a great example, as I was really not talking about applications per se, but hopefully you get what I mean?

On the whole, though, I agree-- I'm still running Dapper on my desktop. It works just fine.

I am, however, quite interested in what openmoko is doing smile.gif


I do get exactly what you mean and agree totally. I am also very interested in what openmoko is doing smile.gif.

cycle_55
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RX Shorty
post Oct 14 2007, 01:50 AM
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Very interesting thread...
Pretty usefull for a comming new user like me.

The Openmoko scene I am following also, so far Opie is still better to use on the NEO phone...
But the rumor goes that the OpenMoko project want to release their consumer product by the end of December...
Wich makes me really doubt to buy this GTA v1 version or wait for the GTA v2.

My 2 cents... I like Walkman's vision biggrin.gif
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walkman
post Oct 14 2007, 08:15 AM
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QUOTE(amrein @ Oct 13 2007, 01:51 PM) *
I killed the thread with my comments? Ooops. Sorry. Really, this wasn't intentional.


Certainly you did not...

Another thing came to my mind when thinking about improving the PDA experience on Z. I saw this in more PDA usage videos (probably also in one of those mentioned above about Apple Demo). They have there a web browser which allows zooming in/out the displayed webpage. Very inspiring indeed.

As I already said, I am quite unhappy about the small screen on yet a possibility to run all the full desktop apps like firefox. It came to my mind, whether it would be possible to extend that feature with zooming in and out to the whole window-manager. I imagine it like this:

- I open a display and see just a usual pdaXrom desktop.
- I click to KOrganizer which is somehow larger than my display
- I use a mouse gesture (itself a very useful feature!) to move the view of my virtual desktop to the left/right to see what's there (for example cancel button of Z and at the same time selecting a screen rectangle)
- possibly I use a gesture to select a piece of screen and then I zoom into it (the selected piece is best fit to my PDA screen)
- I can also zoom out using another gesture
- during all this, the panel and desktop icons (background image) behaves properly (it always works well as expected regardless of the size of the selected portion of the screen).
- so the real virtual desktop size is few times larger than the PDA screen, but I can navigate (left, right, up, down) in it using stylus gestures and even zoom in and out.

I am not yet sure how to do this. I have to take a look at what e.g. fvwm allows me to do in this regard. Possibly I would have to write my own window manager? Grrrr... That's too much. I am prepared to customize one, but to write a new from scratch is kind of too much for now...

Any ideas whether some window manager is configurable even to such an extent?

Well, and mouse gestures feature would be generally useful thing.

Having such a nice functionality of the window manager would make a real difference... Do others (e.g. openmoko) have such stuff inside?
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