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OESF Portables Forum > Everything Else > Archived Forums > Distros, Development, and Model Specific Forums > Zaurus - Everything Development > Python
Bertram Wooster
dear people at zug. i don't want to bother you too much, especially as most people in here definitely know what they are doing (in contrast to myself). on the other hand i am sure that you know the answer to my questions (please not the plural...)

ok. i am not new to computers and programming in general, but my experience is based on many years of win and a bit of visual basic and to some assembler on my c64 (oh, yes those were the days... - visible sign of getting old?).
now i dared to venture into the promising abyss of linux on a c3000. it's a beautiful machine, without any doubt, but as soon as one starts to fiddle with it, problems start to arise.

python as a programming language still seems a good choice. i am not able to compare it with c or java, but i got it running under win and reading makes me sure i did the right decision.

now the problems start:
QUESTION1: which python distribution makes most sense on a c3000 (sharp rom)?

there is the riverbank distribution, abandoned and old, but at least i got it running on my z. however i found those different versions:
QUESTION2: which of these riverbank distributions works best (on the c3000)?

well, the pyqt is just as confusing
QUESTION3: which pyqt? the newer the better?

supposedly there is also an ide for this riverbank distribution:
i couldn't make it work: the icon appears, it will start (hourglass) but nothing will happen (python on the terminal however works).
QUESTION4: how can i make the ide work?
QUESTION5: do i need it at all? and which alternatives are there on the z?

well, and then there is the vanille-distribution. updated, that's fine. however i think that only the gcc2 feed makes sense for a c3000 with an original sharp rom (btw: what does the oz in the files' names stand for: open zaurus? wouldn't that be gcc3?)
anyway, i tried to install this (before installing riverbank's!), but the ipk didn't show up in the add&remove wizard. googling i found out that vanille's distribution is "ar formatted" (whatever that might mean):
on the other hand i also read on a completely different page ( that the new sharp rom (i guess the c3000 should have a relatively new sharp rom) is able to handle these "ar formatted" files:
"Apparently the Sharp ROM uses ar formatted ipks instead of the tar.gz version used on OZ/familier."
QUESTION6: what is "ar formatted"?
QUESTION7: how can i change it to a format able to be installed (i guess tar/ipk would be the best choice)? i know that there is a description on the zug-page mentioned above (mkdir foo; cd foo; ar x file; tar zcvf file), but please (please, please) explain... i would like to know what i'm doing...

i guess i stole enough of your precious time (and i'm afraid that this is not the last of my post here). thank you for reading this and even more thanks to everyone who will answer.
Hi Bertram,

Don't worry, these are problems us Pythoneers here have all grappled with, experienced python/Linux old hands or not. They're specific to the Zaurus platform and its so-called "fragmentation" that fuels many a flame war on this board.

Don't worry about your choice of language either, obviously it's the right one :-)

Now, the old Riverbank and the newer Vanille Python packages each have their own problem, as you've noted : Riverbank's is stuck at version 3.3.1 and is abandoned. Vanille's is more up to date, but has that nagging ipk format problem that makes it needlessly harder to install for Sharp/Cacko ROM users.

Moreover, they both share another one : they're incomplete. Their original goal was to give users of limited, flash-RAM-only Zaurii (like the 5000 or the 700) a lean, modular python distro where you could install only what you needed.

With today's SD or CF cards in the hundreds of megs, or your gigabyte-sized mini disk on the 3000, this doesn't make much sense anymore. You'll need to install over a dozen of Vanille packages for a reasonably complete library, and even then you'll miss important pieces (like the new datetime module from 2.3, a compiled binary rather than .py source) that may not let you run existing code.

Fortunately, our saviour has arrived, and his (nick)name is kopsis :-)

Read the "Python on CF/SD" topic he initiated in this very forum and follow the indications there. In no time you should have a complete, recent python distro including the relevant PyQt bindings, solving all your problems in one go. It is by far the faster and better way, letting you concentrate on actually learning and using the stuff, and run most any python code you may come across...

Note that he's finalizing a new 2.4 version (which AFAIK will be the only one available for the Z). You may want to wait for it to install only once.

Welcome to the club,
i couldn't figure out which ROM you're using.
there are different ROMs, each of which has its own gotcha's, features, and python distros.
OZ (openZaurus), pdaXrom, cacko/sharp are most popular (IMHO).

eventually, this way or another, you find out how to install python on your distro.
- for cacko/sharp, i used Kopsis' distros or the ones from Vanilla.
- for OZ, i used Vanilla.
- for pdaXrom i am currently using the IPKs from the feed.

a tip from my experience:
installing python on external media (SD/CF) forces you to have this card stuck in the Z all the time no matter what. can't format, can't change FS...
For my it's too risky, since i use python scripts all over, and i depend on specific module setups, my own library files etc.

i install python to main memory.
i may well take someone's advice here, and stuff most library files on a ZIP, but i dont suffer (yet) from MB shortage.

another issue is the GUI, if you intend to develop or run GUI apps.
there are too many (IMO) gui toolkits, makeing coding, distribuition, hacking, and installing a pain in the Z.
using the default sharp (or cacko for that matter) most probably gives you QT toolkit.

ps. python is the 2nd best thing in computers (1st is the "undo" feature).
Bertram Wooster
many thanks fpp and shula (and an excuse especially for you fpp, as i didn't reply earlier in this thread...). after a few days of playing around with it i can say a few things you might not need. however it might help other green newbies ...

on a c3000 with an original sharp rom (i don't think any alternatives exist yet, except openbsd and no-one daring to test it...) i can say that kopsis distribution is by way the easiest to install, work with (and definitely very extensive). vanille is unfortunately not as straight forward to install.

when it comes to the editor i do like visiscript very much. the list of languages it supports (highlighting etc) is not as large as the one in tkceditor, but it's free and easy to handle. also it will output python in a seperate screen!

i guess this was not my last question in here, but python still feels like the right decision!
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