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OESF Portables Forum > Model Specific Forums > Gemini PDA > Gemini PDA - Linux OS
Will Atl
Hello, just got my Gemini and flashed Debian on it. It is my first time using Debian ever.
Read the guides / forum posts but my issues must be easy to solve, so I have not found mentions of them. Much less relatively recent ones tied to the newest firmware.

1- Could not connect to wifi using connman. Turned on wifi, selected right network, added password in 2nd tab but could not connect.
Could it be tied to not being able to see the full window because of height or the screen and perhaps there is an "OK" or "Connect" or "Save" button I have not found by scrolling or by tabbing (Or pressing "Enter" or clicking or closing the 2nd window)
Cannot say that I found Debian to be user friendly for somebody new to it...
Pressing "Connect" after highlighting the right network, only opens 2nd window, which never saves the info entered into it.

2- Most windows are taller than the screen and sometimes it seems you are not able to scroll to see the bottom of it.
Is there an easy way to shrink the desktop so windows can be seen fully ? So far I only managed to reduce or increase icon sizes and fonts.
Or is there a better solution ?

Infuriating as hell...

Last question. I am more familiar with Ubuntu and Mint. Are they usable without needing to be an expert hacker having to know it all ?
Mostly intend to use the Gemini as a small computer. Not interested in the telephony functionality at all.

Thanks for the advice guys
Will Atl
Just solved it.
As I suspected there was an "OK" button in the 2nd panel were wifi password was saved but could not reach it. Just moved the top and bottom panels to the sides (after figuring out you could / should do that) and voila!

In any case the remaining questions are:

1- Needing to do this to see whole windows seems a bit cumbersome and not very friendly. Is there a way to modify screen resolution / scale desktop ? Or at least let new users know they should do this to enable basic freaking usability ?

2-Debian on the Gemini seems slow. Also the Gemini has crashed often while shutting down / rebooting. Are Ubuntu or Mint usable ?

3- Or I should just use Android and Termux and be done with it ?

Without disrespect, up to now Linux on the Gemini seems more like a proof of concept than a real usable fully featured OS. It seems to need a lot of tinkering

So far, after so much expectation, the Gemini has disappointed me on the software side, stuck so far on 7.1 on Android and Linux Debian on Gemini seems not very polished. (I know 8.1 should be available shortly and in the future 9 will be available at least on the Cosmo)
Haven't used my Gemini in some time.....not because of lack of interest, but other reasons....

Think there are some tweaks you can do....suggest looking through various prior posts....

As for other linux distros......

You would need to find one that has been compiled for ARM CPU's....

Unfortunately, LinuxMint does not support ARM.

Haven't tried it, but there is version of Ubuntu for ARM.

Think issue you may run into is while it may run, it may not display correctly for the Gemini's, may need some tweaking, I would guess.

It's clear that Planet is limited on resources, from what i see their strategy is to leverage existing OS's like Android and Sailfish, that need minimal tweaking, reducing their need for expense on their part.

Linux/Debian, from what I see is clearly an afterthought, relying on efforts by others outside of Planet to support it. And thinking back to some early Planet videos about the Gemini, it's clear that was their plan, if you listen carefully to what they said at the time. They really didn't commit themselves to supporting Debian directly. Rather they were saying that the Gemini would be able to run Debian, but really said they'd develop it themselves. At least that's my recollection.
Meanwhile, having said this, Adam Boardman, has done a very good job on his own, I think, in making Debian available, and doing some tweaks to it. After reading various posts here and playing around with it for awhile, I was able to get Debian running OK.

So it goes....

Will Atl
Thanks. Will try with Ubuntu.

Reflashed firmware and now everything is more stable. No crashes or freezes so far, so I will try some more with Debian too.

I agree with your assessment of Linux not being a priority on the Gemini. A shame as Linux could make it to have a cult following.
Not easy perhaps with Mediatek instead of Qualcomm chips.

Even the Android Planet Apps on the Gemini need some work too. Specially evident if you remember how rock solid the Psion apps were and how good the Psion EPOC overall experience was.

Perhaps they will improve the software side of things. After all the Gemini did well and the Cosmo have exceeded expectations too.

The Gemini so far reminded me how much I still miss my Psion 5.
Adam Boardman
TLDR: Alt-drag or maximise your window with a double tap on the title bar.

I wouldn't recommend Ubuntu just yet, Nikita has started work on a bionic branch of gemian components based upon the KDE Neon arm64 builds, but so far as I know there is no release so you'd be making your own image. Nikita also posted a howto for installing Ubuntu Touch, though its also still quite rough around the edges in terms of usability on the Gemini, plenty of things were still crashing last time I tried it. Personally I've no interest in supporting all distributions, just having one work nicely is my target. Other distributions need someone to adopt/champion before they could be considered usable.

The idea with the DebianTP and DebianTP2 wiki pages was to give some tips of things to make the Debian install more usable. I had thought that the cmst buttons being off the bottom of the screen was fixed by TP2 stage, but maybe that happened after, I've not re-installed fresh since that image was released as everything is apt updatable but only once you have internet access. You can hold the alt key and then drag a window around to see lower button. Or maximise the window and use scroll bars. Maximising is recommended in general for almost all applications running on gemian.

Most recently I've got proper LED control, Phone calls (almost), and better keyboard sleep to avoid pocket reboots (latest kernel under testing - release this weekend likely).

My reading of the device description/sales pitch was that they would support installing of Debian and other OS's, but not customisation of them. I hadn't expected the need to delve into kernel drivers etc. But at least we have the source to do that so we can actually make things better. Personally I think our keyboard support will soon be better and our LED support is already ahead of that on Android, as we are using the controller hardware to run our animations rather than the main CPU.
Will Atl
QUOTE(Adam Boardman @ Jan 26 2019, 04:10 AM) *
TLDR: Alt-drag or maximise your window with a double tap on the title bar.

Thank you Adam !
I had tried maximizing the window but the lower portion never showed up. Very strange / infuriating.
Alt-drag would have done the trick. If I had only known !

Now that I reflashed the Gemini, Debian works properly / as it should, and had no more crashes or freezes or hiccups.
Perhaps something was not quite right the first time I flashed the Gemini and I was wrongly blaming Debian...

Thank you for the time and effort you put to make Debian stable !

Hi, Adam,

Whether you wanted it or not, it does seem that you wear the Gemini mantle of Debian TP2. smile.gif

Would it be of interest to you--and perhaps it might increase the pool of users--to post an Adam-created custom image that folks could use to replace the stock Debian?

I suppose users could flash their partitions, then download your image and dd it to their partition.

Probably the last thing in the world you want to do, but I for one--having given up on Debian for Gemini--would reflash, if I had access to your setup.

At any rate, I so admire your work, even if I'm not using it myself. Thank you for all your effort.

Adam Boardman
TP3 is in the works, but you can get up to date with most of it with apt.
Eric BF
QUOTE(Adam Boardman @ Jan 27 2019, 12:28 PM) *
TP3 is in the works, but you can get up to date with most of it with apt.

I've been happy updating with apt. What would not be updated if I continue in this vein as opposed to reflashing later with TP3? I would rather stick to apt as a tool I know and understand... Thanks.
Adam Boardman
The new boot loader indicates which partition was selected to boot from, which helps the kernel package 'gemini-kernel-image-3.18' tell you which partition to 'dd' it to. Not important for the technically minded you can probably remember which bootX you've started from. The kernel package probably needs installing too though.

The new system.img will support stereo audio to the speakers, and possibly the phase switching, and the device orientation, not yet released, I'm tempted to do this one as a package with binary diff's as the changes tend to be quite small, so it might not be on the non-apt list for too long.

You also need to manually add the radio user as per the wiki page DebuggingMobile linked from the TP2 page if you want cellular support.
Eric BF
Thank you.
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