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OESF Portables Forum > Model Specific Forums > Gemini PDA > Gemini PDA - Linux OS
Javert
Hi, this is probably an odd question but I bought a Gemini because I used to be a big fan of the Psion machines back in the day.

What is the reason why I would decide to install Linux other than just "because I can"? Is there some killer app that I can get that isn't available on Android?

I'm just trying to figure out whether I would install Linux just for fun or whether there's good reasons to do so?

Also, on the partition tool, how would I choose how much space to allocate to each? I can see how you do that, but there is no guidance about how and why I would allocate the partition size. Would you recommend just allocating half and half?

Also can I use the SD card on board for both Linux and Android files as well?

Sorry for the silly questions but I'm completely unfamiliar with Linux.
speculatrix
Whilst you can use something like Termux to get a good experience of linux, if you run linux directly there are some things you can do which you can't do in Android:

* run the full chromium desktop browser with the many of the usual extensions
* update system files, e.g. hosts, and easily block ads
* run full fat X11 apps, do X11 tunnelling over ssh
* run web server with LAMP stack
* develop for linux directly on the gemini
* use the rndis/cdc-ether so you can do IP networking over the USB port, so making the Gemini act as a 3G/4G router, or, making your PC act as a router
* experiment with kernel hacking and load device drivers not normally supported (see the discussion where someone used his G to watch TV from a USB TV receiver)
* use wifi and bluetooth snooping


those just off the top of my head.
Eric BF
QUOTE(Javert @ Jul 4 2018, 08:36 PM) *
What is the reason why I would decide to install Linux other than just "because I can"? Is there some killer app that I can get that isn't available on Android?

For me, it is about having access to an eco-system that is stable and tested over several decades. The killer app for me is Emacs with org-mode for note taking, diary, project management, ...

Although I can do this via termux, with a full Linux installation I can also access a full range of other tools including email, usenet, irc, word processing, spreadsheets, programming languages (octave, C, C++, ...), revision control (git, mercurial, subversion), unison/rsync, hundreds (thousands?) of X11 graphical applications, etc.

Given the resolution of the screen, almost all graphical applications from Linux just work. No fuss, no muss.
gidds
QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jul 4 2018, 11:06 PM) *
* update system files, e.g. hosts, and easily block ads

That at least can be done in Termux, if you've installed the rooted Android.  (I know, coz I've done it!  Details on request.)

git, rsync, and many other non-GUI programs are also available in Termux's package manager.  (Not unison, unfortunately; I'm told this is to do with Android's non-standard threading library.)

I too am a long-time Psion 5mx user; I've also been using Unix machines for most of my life, though mainly at the command-line level.  When I ordered my Gemini, I assumed that I'd be using Linux on it — but find Android + Termux a much better match for how I used my Psion.  A touchscreen tap interface with (mostly) full-screen apps seems much better suited to the form factor than a pointer-driven windowing one.  And there are many apps which the rough equivalents of those I used on the Psion.  Also, although I'm a software developer, I want to use my Gemini, not spend time time setting up and maintaining it — I want it to Just Work™!  Android seems much better supported, especially in the areas of telephony.
ArchiMark
QUOTE(gidds @ Jul 5 2018, 10:25 AM) *
QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jul 4 2018, 11:06 PM) *
* update system files, e.g. hosts, and easily block ads

That at least can be done in Termux, if you've installed the rooted Android.  (I know, coz I've done it!  Details on request.)

git, rsync, and many other non-GUI programs are also available in Termux's package manager.  (Not unison, unfortunately; I'm told this is to do with Android's non-standard threading library.)

I too am a long-time Psion 5mx user; I've also been using Unix machines for most of my life, though mainly at the command-line level.  When I ordered my Gemini, I assumed that I'd be using Linux on it — but find Android + Termux a much better match for how I used my Psion.  A touchscreen tap interface with (mostly) full-screen apps seems much better suited to the form factor than a pointer-driven windowing one.  And there are many apps which the rough equivalents of those I used on the Psion.  Also, although I'm a software developer, I want to use my Gemini, not spend time time setting up and maintaining it — I want it to Just Work™!  Android seems much better supported, especially in the areas of telephony.


Sounds interesting, gidds....

Would like to give your setup a try....

Have recently re-flashed Gemini with the muli-boot setup:

1. Debian

2. Recovery

3. Sailfish (never used it before...tried it, looks nice, but find interface odd....and apps choices bit limiting...)

4. Android Rooted (just booted it for first time, installed Magisk Manager, termux....)


So, details would be appreciated...either here or via message...

Thanks!

Mark
Eric BF
QUOTE(gidds @ Jul 5 2018, 06:25 PM) *
[...] A touchscreen tap interface with (mostly) full-screen apps seems much better suited to the form factor than a pointer-driven windowing one. [...]

I don't use any form of pointer for >99% of the time I'm using my system (whether the gemini or a desktop etc.). Everything I do is keyboard driven so Debian works much better for me. But I agree with your sentiment: if your use case involves interaction with the screen, then Android is probably easier as it has been designed for low accuracy pointing.
gidds
QUOTE(ArchiMark @ Jul 5 2018, 07:04 PM) *
So, details would be appreciated...either here or via message...

(Here's fine, I think.)

If you've installed multiple-boot, then you shouldn't have any trouble installing the rooted copy of Android instead of the normal one.  (Reflashing is very awkward, but enough has been posted elsewhere.)

Boot into Android, install Magisk Manager, run it, and follow its instructions (which will involve a reboot).  That will enable the root user.

If you haven't already, install Termux (from the Google Play store, or F-Droid or Yalp Store if you don't want to sign in).  Don't bother running ‘su root’, as that doesn't know about the special paths that Termux sets up (e.g. vim won't run).  Instead, run:
pkg install tsu
Then you can use ‘tsu’ to get a root shell.  (There's no equivalent of ‘sudo’, but ‘tsu -s’ seems to do the job.)

The other hurdle is that by default, /system is mounted as read-only.  (/etc is a link to /system/etc, so /etc/hosts is in that filesystem.)  To make it writeable:
/system/bin/mount –o rw,remount /system
You can then edit /etc/hosts with vim or however else you fancy!  But don't forget to make /system read-only again when you're done:
/system/bin/mount –o ro,remount /system


Most of the other issues I've had are to do with the unusual filesystem layout and/or permissions.  I'm told that Android has some stuff from SELinux, so there are things even root can't do.  Also, when run like the above, the root user has no separate home directory, so e.g. sshd complains about file permissions when run as root.  (I had to configure it with StrictModes=no, which isn't good…)

Termux has a few optional packages which can be very useful.  In particular, Termux:API gives a big bunch of commands letting you access the hardware and other parts of Android: you can easily output text to speech, read in speech to text, send SMSs, make calls, show dialogs and messages, open files and URLs, take pictures, &c.  And Termux:Widget lets you add shortcuts to the Android home screen which run any script you put in .shortcuts/.

Hope that helps smile.gif
ArchiMark
QUOTE(gidds @ Jul 5 2018, 03:32 PM) *
QUOTE(ArchiMark @ Jul 5 2018, 07:04 PM) *
So, details would be appreciated...either here or via message...

(Here's fine, I think.)

If you've installed multiple-boot, then you shouldn't have any trouble installing the rooted copy of Android instead of the normal one.  (Reflashing is very awkward, but enough has been posted elsewhere.)

Boot into Android, install Magisk Manager, run it, and follow its instructions (which will involve a reboot).  That will enable the root user.

If you haven't already, install Termux (from the Google Play store, or F-Droid or Yalp Store if you don't want to sign in).  Don't bother running ‘su root’, as that doesn't know about the special paths that Termux sets up (e.g. vim won't run).  Instead, run:
pkg install tsu
Then you can use ‘tsu’ to get a root shell.  (There's no equivalent of ‘sudo’, but ‘tsu -s’ seems to do the job.)

The other hurdle is that by default, /system is mounted as read-only.  (/etc is a link to /system/etc, so /etc/hosts is in that filesystem.)  To make it writeable:
/system/bin/mount –o rw,remount /system
You can then edit /etc/hosts with vim or however else you fancy!  But don't forget to make /system read-only again when you're done:
/system/bin/mount –o ro,remount /system


Most of the other issues I've had are to do with the unusual filesystem layout and/or permissions.  I'm told that Android has some stuff from SELinux, so there are things even root can't do.  Also, when run like the above, the root user has no separate home directory, so e.g. sshd complains about file permissions when run as root.  (I had to configure it with StrictModes=no, which isn't good…)

Termux has a few optional packages which can be very useful.  In particular, Termux:API gives a big bunch of commands letting you access the hardware and other parts of Android: you can easily output text to speech, read in speech to text, send SMSs, make calls, show dialogs and messages, open files and URLs, take pictures, &c.  And Termux:Widget lets you add shortcuts to the Android home screen which run any script you put in .shortcuts/.

Hope that helps smile.gif


It definitely helps! Thank you so much for your detailed input.

Have got magiskmanager and termux installed now.

Have tried termux and so far works well, except that some of the keyboard mapping is messed up. Have to use the onscreen keyboard to get @ and " characters for example. I use US keyboard.

Have you tried running X11/WM and gui apps or just cli apps?

Definitely makes Android much better system having termux.
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