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Topics - Armagon

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Off Topic forum / Can One Get Paid To Develop F/oss?
« on: April 20, 2007, 01:05:03 am »

I am looking for a new programming job (having programmed video games in C++ for three years), and, it occured to me that I might be able to work on free/open-source software and get paid to do it.  [My wife is supportive of the idea, too!]

I just don't even know where to begin, and figured that if ever there was an on-topic post for an off-topic forum, this is it

I expect that there are not many paying F/OSS jobs, but there must be some.  (Right?)  It seems likely that one could work from home, provided they had a decent computer and a broadband connection.  I've done some google searches (and will do some more) but haven't really found good information yet.

Unfortunately (no, please don't look at me like that!) I have not contributed anything to the F/OSS movement, and am unfamiliar with software development on linux.  I know that this is a large and poorly specified question, but, does anyone have any insights on how to best (and quickly) develop the skills I need to be a F/OSS contributor (even if there is no job to be found)?

As you can see, I don't even really know which questions to ask, or if it is at all reasonable to look for gainful employment in this sector.

I appreciate any insights.

Linux Applications / Q: Queue It Up, Quickly And Quietly
« on: April 05, 2007, 10:46:41 am »

Here is a handy script that I wrote to make it convenient to start X applications from a terminal, which is really handy on the Zaurus, as well as being useful on a normal PC running X windows.

The script is as follows, and is attached:

Code: [Select]
# Queue it up, quickly and quietly
# Runs a program in the background and suppresses all output.
# Particularly useful for starting X applications from
# a terminal.
# Useage: q some-application some parameters
#     ex: q dillo myfile.html
# Written by Armagon, 2007-04-05
# You are welcome to use this however you see fit.

$* > /dev/null 2>&1 &

After downloading the attachment, you will want to install it (as root):
Code: [Select]
cp q.txt /usr/bin/q
chmod +x /usr/bin/q


Zaurus - pdaXrom / No Sound; Pdaxii13 And C1000
« on: March 06, 2007, 03:16:39 pm »
Well, as I haven't seen this in my searches, I wonder if it is specific to my Z.

I just flashed my C1000 with pdaXii13.  I believe it is the latest and greatest; it identifies itself as "pdaXii13 build5.3.2 'Sally'" if I exit X-windows and try to log in.

Unfortunately, I don't have any sound output.

When I try to load up an ogg in XMMS, I get the following message:

Couldn't open audio

Please check that:

Your soundcard is configured properly
You have the correct output plugin selected
No other program is blocking the soundcard

If I do an 'lsmod', I see that the following modules are loaded: mousedev, pxa27x_bi, storage_fd, usbdcore, usbdmonitor, usb-monitor, sharp_mmcsd_m, bvdd.  Noteably missing are any sound modules.

I tried to run alsamixer, but it isn't installed; indeed, I don't appear to have any *alsa* files on my system.

One last thing.  Among the startup messages, the following are displayed.

IrCOMM protocol (Dag Brattli)
cramfs: wrong magic
FAT: bogus logical sector size 381
jffs2_scan_inode_node(): CRC failed on node at 0x05374fec: Read 0xffffffff, calculated 0x0bee2a6b

If it matters, when flashing, I fixed the 64MB limit, and set the root partition to be 85 MB.

Any ideas what is wrong or how to fix it?  I'm happy to reflash, as I've not installed anything yet.


Angstrom & OpenZaurus / Akita To Xp ... Are You There?
« on: November 18, 2006, 11:31:14 am »
I'm wondering how to move data between my Akita (C1000) and a Windows XP box (such as those used at work.)


It appears that TCP/IP over USB not working with a C1000 and XP is a known issue:

The Cxx00 doesn't talk to Windows correctly yet. Richard Purdie "has some hints" which should make it work but he hasn't had time to implement them yet. :-/
[div align=\"right\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a][/div]

Mass storage device

It appears to me that the mass storage device doesn't work without [a href=\"]patching the kernel[/url], and that's really not something I want to do.  [I did play around with trying to modprobe g_file_storage with different devices, including a special file, as described here, but my PCs (running Linux or Win XP) weren't happy about it, and continually reset the usb connection.  [I can add more details if it helps.]]

Other alternatives

Sigh.  My SD card is ext2 formatted and running an altbooted GPE; I don't have a CF card.

... Wait a second ... I have a FAT formatted SD card in my camera ... and sure enough, I can write to it from my Z!  [Wow, using that to transfer data does rather strike me as (almost) ... abusing ... the camera!]

Well, that's probably easier than trying to force my 500 mA max USB to serial port converter to work (not to mention the fact that it means I don't need to make a null-modem cable) (although, perversely, if I had the time, I think I'd give it a try.  Surely normal communications use nowhere near 500 mA!  I just posted another question finding out if it is safe to use or not.)

The only other option (barring really esoteric things like playing back and recording data encoded in audio) I could see was IRDA, and my Z is the only device that uses it.  [Hmm... Still want to try to make it work as a TV remote control...]  And no, I don't have any bluetooth or wifi hardware at all.


My questions, then: am I right that the first two options do not currently work (and are they being addressed? -- ack... I didn't see them in the bugtracker.  Is there a guide for writing up OE bugs anywhere, or shall I just wing it?), and, um, was there any communication option that I've overlooked that might work for me.

Thank you,

General Discussion / Usb Power Budget
« on: November 18, 2006, 11:09:54 am »
I'm running OZ on my C1000, but I think this is a fairly general question.

In kernel 2.16 and newer, if a USB device requires too much power, it is not enabled.  'dmesg' output might look like:

usb 1-2: no configuration chosen from 1 choice

To find out how much power a USB device wants, one can invoke:

lsusb -v | grep MaxPower

My card reader wants up to 250 mA, and my USB to serial converter says it might use up to 500 mA!

Post #3 on this ubuntu forum thread describes a work-around.

So my question is, is it safe to do this?  [Also, I assume that people who are using kernels before 2.16 could well ask the same question, even if the device isn't automatically disabled.]  Are the manufacturers of these USB products giving a high margin of error?  Can a high-current device damage a Zaurus, or will it simply shorten battery life or just plain not work?

Thank you,

[Edit]. PS.  Does it make any difference if the Z is plugged in or not?

Angstrom & OpenZaurus / Restablishing Usb Networking After A Suspend
« on: November 10, 2006, 11:19:14 pm »
First, I'd like to thank the developers of OZ, GPE, and Opie, and also give a big round of applause to CoreDump.  The software is so much better than when I tried it a year ago!

My Z is a C1000 running hentges gpe 1.0.0-wip-20061029.  My PC is running Kubuntu 6.06.  I got TCP/IP over USB working, mostly following the instructions at .  My Z is set to connect with usb0 using dhcp, and it works.  (Yay!)

Well, mostly.  I have to

# modprobe g_ether

on the Z to make it connect.  Indeed, judging from the system logs, my PC doesn't even see the Z until I do that.  

Now then, I was surprized to see that the network connection was lost and could not be re-established after the Z suspended.  I unplugged and replugged the USB cable; I tried 'ifdown'ing then 'ifup'ing usb0 on the Z, and doing the same with br0 on the PC, but it didn't work.

I finally found that I could

# modprobe -r g_ether
# modprobe g_ether

on the Z to restore the connection.  This seems very much like a hack -- surely I am doing something wrong, and there is a more elegant way to recover from suspending.  Isn't there?

BTW, how do I view the system logs under GPE?  Utilities | System Info | Log Display | System Log does not appear to show usb kernel messages.  dmesg shows some usb stuff, but I don't know how to 'tail' it, and don't know if it is only boot-time info.  /var/log does not contain 'messages'.

Thank you,

Zaurus - pdaXrom / Making Scite More Useable
« on: June 02, 2006, 03:59:30 pm »
SciTE has some problems, when used under pdaXrom, but I've managed to fix some of them, and am posting my new configuration file here.

Before you use my file, though, note that it will cause problems with the version of SciTE in beta 1 (and possibly beta 2).  I am using beta 1, and found that changing the fonts to support antialiasing causes some issues where the text was not placed on the screen correctly.  Fortunately, I was able to uninstall SciTE and then install the SciTE from the Beta 3 feed onto my pdaXrom Beta 1.  [I have no idea if Beta 2 users will need to update, but I expect that if they do, this would work fine.  I also expect that trying to install SciTE from Beta 4 will not work on versions of pdaXrom before Beta 4.]  If you don't want to upgrade, though, read the rest of the message and remove the exclamation marks in front of the font names on your copy of the file -- that should work.

Now then, the configuration file should be called /usr/share/scite/  It is a good idea to back up your copy first!

You can also easily edit this file within SciTE, by choosing Options -> Open Global Options File on the menu.  Most of the changes you make will be applied immediately when you save the file.

I hope the new settings work well for you.


In addition to posting my new file, I'm going to show what I've changed here so you can make your own edits.  I imagine some of you will have good ideas for even better changes, and if so, please post them.

I will be jumping around the file to explain what I've changed.  Most of these lines can be found by searching.  [I have also posted a couple of other settings files for you to diff against; if anyone has an unaltered settings file for the SciTE that comes with beta 3, please post it, as this is the best file to diff against.]

First, let's make the help feature useful by using the right browser:

Quote "file://$(SciteDefaultHome)/SciTEDoc.html"
Now, let's change the default window sizes so they fit on the screen.




Make selected text visible (I sure couldn't see what was selected or not before doing this!)

## I couldn't see my selections at all
## Thus I made them white on black

Make the caret (that little blinking bar that shows where you are editing) more visible, as well as the entire line being edited:




Increase the font sizes

There is a part in the file where fonts are specified.  Except for the monospace font, I left the font names intact.  I just doubled the fonts' sizes.  

IMPORTANT! The exclamation mark in front of the font name makes SciTE use antialiasing, so that the fonts look nice.  This is buggy with the version of SciTE with pdaXrom beta1.  So, either remove the exclamation marks, or do as I did -- remove SciTE and install SciTE from Beta 3 feed.

      font.base=font:!Bitstream Vera Sans,size:18
      font.small=font:!Bitstream Vera Sans,size:16
      font.comment=font:!Bitstream Vera Serif,size:18$(font.comment)
      font.text=font:!Bitstream Charter,size:18
      font.monospace=font:!Lucida Console,size:18
      font.vbs=font:!Bitstream Vera Sans Mono,size:18

You can also change the size really quickly with these two lines:

Set the number to whatever you like (say -2), and that number will be added to the font size.  (So, the base font, at size 18, plus -2, is now size 16.)  IIRC, just change the number and save the file and you'll see the change right away.  Note that there are two of these numbers.  Magnification works for text you are editing, and output.magnification is for text in the output panes.  I believe the numbers are valid in a range of -10 to +20.

Dynamic text resizing

I had to look into the source to figure out how to do this (and even then it was a pain, but boy is it worth it!)

# User defined key commands

Now if you press Ctrl-2, it will zoom in, and if you press Ctrl-1, it will zoom out.  (Those numbers correspond to enumerated values in the code named SCI_ZOOMOUT and SCI_ZOOMIN.  I did try using the names, and I also tried adding this to the popup menu (a.k.a., but was unable to.)

Turning on tabbed editing

SciTE will let you open up several files, each in its own tab.  The number is specified by buffers.

Turning on Unicode support

# Unicode
# Required for Unicode to work on GTK+:

Faster drawing

There are several variables to play with that should affect how quickly the application redraws.  I don't believe I've found the perfect settings, but here is what I've got them set to right now.



Zaurus - pdaXrom / Python Questions
« on: April 10, 2006, 11:15:06 am »
Greetings.  I'm running 1.1.0beta1 on my C1000, and I've got a couple of python questions:

1. Does python_2.4.1_arm5tel.ipk contain all of the python stuff?  Which is to say, if I install it, can I uninstall all the other python*.ipk files?

2. Is there any way to use the arrow keys to edit lines when using the python interactive interpreter?  When I try, I get things symbols like ^[[A.

3.  How do I run IDLE?  I installed the python and tk packages, but when I try to run "python idle.pyc" in the /usr/python2.4/idlelib directory, I get
** IDLE can't import Tkinter.  Your Python may not be configured for Tk. **

4. Barring getting numbers 2 or 3 working, can anyone recommend an IDE that lets me get at python's help facilities?


Zaurus - pdaXrom / What's New On The Wiki
« on: March 25, 2006, 01:48:43 pm »
This thread is soley for announcements of changes to the pdaXrom wiki pages.

If you have made a noteworthy change to the wiki, please announce it in this thread.  Multiple changes can be announced in one post.

If you would like to contribute to the wiki (please do!), take a look at the Wiki Quickstart Guide

If you have questions or comments about a wiki page, please do not reply to this thread.  Instead, do one or more of the following:
  • Edit the wiki page
  • Add notes to the wiki's talk page
  • Create a new thread in the forum about it
  • Send the author a Personal Message
Thank you.  With your help, we can make the wiki an invaluable resource.

[ps. Laze, would you mind pinning this thread?  Thank you.]

Zaurus - pdaXrom / Automatically Determining Dependancies
« on: March 22, 2006, 04:37:41 pm »
Update: I've made a dependency finder script, see post 8, and let me know if it works for you.



I'm looking for a handy script that'll take a pdaXrom executable, and tell me what the package dependencies are (so that I can put that in the ipk control file.)  Does anyone have such a beast?

I assume that it'd have to use the output of ldd on the Zaurus, or the output of
Code: [Select]
armv5tel-cacko-linux-objdump -x executable_filename | grep NEEDED when you cross-compile.  I also presume that it'd need to use (possibly several) Filelist files, from the feeds that contain the dependancies.

So, again, does anyone have such a script, or a similar solution?  (Barring that, would anyone write such a script?)


Zaurus - pdaXrom / Inkscape
« on: February 17, 2006, 05:59:01 pm »
Update: Feb 27, 2006

I've got inkscape compiled and packaged up.  See post 18



I thought inkscape ( ) would be great to run on the Z.  I even tried version 0.38 under OZ/GPE.  Unfortunately, 1) I didn't like GPE as much as pdaXrom, 2) the toolbars don't all fit on the screen on my C1000, 3) it was slow, and 4) it didn't have the latest and greatest features.

I thought I could resolve the issues by 1) (cross-)compiling for pdaXrom, 2) resizing the toolbar icon art, 3) hoping the floating-point emulation would help, and look into reducing the rendering quality, and 4) by compiling version 0.43.

Despite being a C++ programmer, I'm new to building (and especially cross-compiling) under linux [and I'd really like to thank the person who put up cross-compiler how-to at ].

I downloaded the tarball source packages that inkscape said it needed [see ] and built Boehm-GC and libSigc++.  I had problems with GlibMM (and haven't tried GtkMM yet).  They seem to be relying on the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable, which I thought I set appropriately...

What is worse, though, is the other dependancies:  

configure: error: Package requirements (sigc++-2.0 >= 2.0.0 glib-2.0 >= 2.8.0 gobject-2.0 >= 2.8.0 gmodule-2.0 >= 2.8.0) were not met.

It appears to me, by looking at this list of everything available at the pdaXrom site ( ), that glib is at version 1.2, and that gobject, and gmodule are currently unavailable.

So, am I just better off forgetting about trying to compile inkscape?  I get the impression that a whole bunch of gnome libraries need to be compiles, and balk at the thought.

Or, is there some miraculous developer out there to whom these tasks do not seem insurmountable?  Or is it not as bad as it seems to me?

Thanks for your insights,

Angstrom & OpenZaurus / How Do I Suspend?
« on: January 30, 2006, 08:09:31 pm »
I've just installed GPE (for the first time) from OZ 3.5.4-RC for my C1000, and I can't figure out how to make it suspend/sleep.

I've done some playing around (Sleep Config doesn't run correctly), and searching on the forums and for FAQs, and haven't found (or have overlooked) the answer.

So, how do I suspend?

[and I'm excited to be able to run Inkscape!]


General Discussion / What Do You Wish You'd Known As A Newbie?
« on: December 03, 2005, 09:57:25 am »

Being a newbie (with tons of information to absorb), I'd like to learn from your mistakes and triumphs:
  • What do you wish you'd known as a newbie?  
  • What do you wish you'd done or hadn't done?  
  • What pitfalls lurk for the unwary, and what treasures await the keen?
  • If you could go back in time and speak to your former self, what would you tell him/her (aside from the winning lottery number   )?
Newbies like myself are dying to learn from you!


C1000/3x00 Hardware / Safe Car Charger
« on: November 24, 2005, 03:40:22 pm »

I've been doing some searching in the forums (and FAQ and How-To docs), trying to figure out a good way to go for a car DC adapter/charger for a C1000.

It appears that for a normal wall-wart type charger, that the EA-70 and EA-72 are recommended, and that others might kill your battery.  

It also appears that one wants a regulated 5.0V power supply, with a maximum current that is 1A or greater.  People seem to think that 5.3 V is pushing it (although one person reported using 5.7 V, without problems.)  If I do get a charger and put my multimeter too it, and read the voltage without load, then a good range is something like 4.75V to 5.25V?  I presume that one can't fully trust the rating on the power adapter.

Also, I gather that the Z doesn't offer protection against an inverted or incorrect power supply, and if you plug the wrong thing in, you can watch it go up in smoke.

Is this all correct so far?

Now, back to a car adapter., on their page for the Sharp Zaurus 1000/3x00, sell a USB Car Charger and a USB Travel Charger that you plug in to an appropriate outlet and can charge most PDAs via USB.  The C1000 does not charge over USB, does it?  (I thought I read something about this draining too much power and damaging USB Ports.)

I've also seen PSP power supplies referred to, usually with the disclaimer to make sure it is a genuine sony product and not something "made for PSP."  Is this a really big concern?  Surely it would fry PSPs if it is bad for the Zaurus, wouldn't it?

Lastly, I thought I read that some other PDAs have chargers that are compatable with the Z.  If so, which ones?

Thank you,

Edit: PS.  I also read about using a DC Inverter.  Is that a good general purpose solution?

C1000/3x00 General discussions / Is It Really Worth It?
« on: November 08, 2005, 01:06:56 pm »

I now have my heart set on a C1000.  I've compared prices (and warranties/services), done research, etc, and I've finally costed it all out.  To get a C1000, SD card, case, screen protector, and pay the import fees and taxes ... costs almost as much as a new desktop computer [and is twice as much as I was hoping to pay when I was thinking of getting a 5600]!

Yikes.  That's a lot of money.  

I want it.  And if I actually use it to do all the things I want to do with it it'll be worth it.  But if I don't actually use it, it's not worth it.  [And, alas, I've spent money on things before that I still hope to get around to using Someday Real Soon Now™.]

Man, it looks like a great device.  With continuing development and USB host capabilities, it ought to be future proof.  And, ammortized over a year, it'd cost less than half of my transit passes [and help fill the two hour commute each day.]

OTOH, that's a lot of money; far more than my birthday and Christmas should cost.

Sigh.  So, my question is, have you found your C1000 to be worth it?  Would you make the choice to buy one again?  [I presume that other of you are frugal and have other obligations ...]

[Of course, another question that needs to be asked is, would anyone be frequenting this forum who would realistically answer the question with a "no"?  But then, it is probably impossible to find an unbiased group who knows what a C1000 is.]

Thanks for your thoughts,

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