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Topics - danboid

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Zaurus - Arch Linux ARM support / Alsa Sound Settings
« on: November 10, 2015, 01:47:43 pm »
Install alsa-utils if its not already installed:

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pacman -S alsa-utils
Then run alsamixer and use the arrow keys to find the channels called 'Left Mixer' and 'Left Mixer Right'. Highlight both one at a time and push the 'm' key to unmute each channel. You'll notice the two M's in each channel turn to green zeros to indicate they're unmuted. You can now push ESC (or Cancel on the Z) to quit alsamixer and run:

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alsactl store 0
To save your alsamixer (audio) settings so they will be restored on the next boot.

Zaurus - Arch Linux ARM support / Sdl With Directfb Packages
« on: November 08, 2015, 06:54:34 pm »
There are two main reasons you may need to use SDL's directfb output. You may want to run an SDL2 program from the console or you may wish to run an SDL program such as an emulator or a game at QVGA resolution from the console. SDL1 supports fbcon output but fbcon output has been dropped from SDL2 where directfb is your only real option for displaying graphics outside of X. QVGA fbcon output doesn't seem to work for SDL1 under recent kernels. To make matters more complicated, both the SDL1 and SDL2 packages in the ALARM repositories don't include directfb support and even if you do build SDL yourself with directfb enabled (without using the patched PKGBUILD below) it still won't work properly because the display isn't aligned for the Zaurus' display and your pointers orientation will be skewed using the directfb version currently in the ALARM repos, directfb 1.7.7.

Thankfully forum member daalnroti patched the directfb code of SDL 1.2.14 so that we can use directfb and see the full screen and he also patched directfb so that you can use a pointer device correctly up/down will be up/down instead of left/right. I have built ALARM packages and PKGBUILD tarballs that integrate these patches to simplify the install process.

So far we only have the previous stable release of SDL1 (1.2.14) patched so that the directfb display works properly and an older directfb with the pointer patch applied. SDL2 apps will suffer from a misaligned display until we have a similar patch for SDL2. daal's original directfb patch was for directfb 1.4.11 but it still applied cleanly to 1.4.16 which was the oldest version I could get to build under Arch. I have not yet looked into if this patch works under the latest directfb but its a very small patch so it should be trivial to update it if required.

The SDL package here was built against the directfb 1.4.16 package below.

[size=]Installing sdl and directfb[/size]

To install the attached packages you will first need to uncompress their tarballs to get the Arch .tar.xz package as well as uninstall your existing SDL and everything that depends on SDL (if you've already installed SDL1 from the ALARM repo) like so:

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pacman -Rcn sdl
After installing the attached sdl and directfb packages, you will need to add both 'sdl' and 'directfb' to your IgnorePkg statement in /etc/pacman.conf. Don't forget to uncomment the IgnorePkg line as it's commented out by default!

[size=]Configuring sdl and directfb[/size]

If you wanted directfb to default to QVGA, you would create an /etc/directfbrc file like this:

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You can also temporarily switch DFB settings by exporting them in a comma separated list to DFBARGS by running a command like this:
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export DFBARGS="force-windowed,layer-rotate=270,mode=240x320,no-vt-switch"
Note that layer-rotate is required to use directfb in landscape display mode and it doesn't work without the force-windowed option.

You need to export your choice of video driver othewise SDL1 defaults to fbcon output:

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export SDL_VIDEODRIVER=directfb
Finally you also need to export one of the following EVs to correct the displays offset:

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If you want any of these exported automatically on boot, add them to /etc/profile .

Zaurus - Arch Linux ARM support / #alarmz On Freenode
« on: November 05, 2015, 11:18:11 am »
I'm sure this was mentioned deep in one of the threads here somewhere but I thought I'd highlight it by giving the IRC channel its own thread because up until now its only been daal and I using it.

Fire up weechat or your IRC client of choice and come and discuss why running ALARM on a Z is the best retro pocket computing experience a man can have, or something, soon!



Zaurus - Arch Linux ARM support / Mame4all
« on: November 01, 2015, 12:53:39 pm »
All the effort I put into upgrading my Banana Pi to the latest ALARM kernel and figuring out how to cross-compile for the Zaurus recently has paid off as I'm proud to announce that I have MAME4ALL running like a dream under Arch on my Zaurus so I can now carry a full arcades worth of games as well as a complete Linux box in my pocket!

To run MAME fullscreen under the console you need to install customised builds of both sdl and directfb.

There is a weird bug where sometimes mame4all doesn't find any of the ROMs. I've found that if you simply exit MAME, rename the roms folder to anything then rename it back to roms fixes it.

M4A  compiled with only a few small changes to the Linux Makefile - the only addition I had to make was to add -lm onto the end of the LDFLAGS.

* Download mame4all.gz, ungzip it and copy it into /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin on your Z and make sure its executable, which it likely already is.
* Make a directory called /mame4all/roms and copy some MAME4ALL (MAME 0.37b) compat. ROMs into it.
* If you're not using the patched sdl and directfb to enable a fullscreen display then you will need to export:

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Before you run M4A. If you want this env var exported on boot then you can add that line to /etc/profile


Just run `mame4all` to start M4A. Use the arrow keys and ENTER to select and run ROMs whilst pushing TAB moves down one page through the ROM list.

Calendar/Sync key = Insert coin
ENTER = Player 1 start
CTRL = Button 1
ALT = Button 2
LEFT SHIFT = Button 3
CANCEL (ESC) = Return to the main menu
CTRL+C = Quit M4A

Over a decade after its launch, the Zaurus is still a useful pocket computer but its 64MB RAM limitation can be restrictive, especially when it comes to building large programs. The Zaurus simply doesn't have enough RAM to compile some large source files and it just enters 'swap hell' when it gets overwhelmed. On top of this, the Zaurus is slow to compile programs it can manage so it can be a huge time saver to get a cross-compilation environment set up which enables you to utilize more powerful machines to accelerate or simply enable the building of complex software.

The cross compilaion method recommended by the ALARM developers and ultimately the fastest way to cross compile software is to use distcc. In most cases you should try setting up distcc by following the ALARM developer distcc guides first before you resort to the ARM cross compiling method described here.

To use this guide you need to be familar with the Arch package management tools and you need an ARM-based computer running ALARM that has superior specs to the Zaurus and internet connectivity so that it can download development packages. If you don't already own a modern ARM computer and you're on a tight budget then I can highly recommend the Banana Pi, which is about the same price as the RPi2 but with SATA2 and gigabit ethernet. It's not officially supported by ALARM, like the Zaurus, but also like the Z it runs ALARM very well nonetheless. If you have more money to spend you might want to check out something like the Odroid XU4 which has 2GB RAM, a faster CPU and USB3. Check out for a list of supported platforms.

The key bit of software used in this guide is arch-chroot which is part of the arch-install-scripts package. I have only tested chrooting from an Arch armv7 userland into an Arch armv5 but you could probably run arch-chroot under another modern ARM Linux distro that uses systemd and get the same results. To keep things simple it is recommended you stick to ALARM for the host OS but I'm interested to hear from anyone who tries this under a non Arch-based ARM Linux distro. This guide should work for machnes running armv6h and aarch64 too.

First you need to download and extract the ALARMv5 rootfs:

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$ wget
$ mkdir ~/ALARMv5
# bsdtar xvf ArchLinuxARM-armv5-latest.tar.gz -C ~/ALARMv5

Note that the extraction of the rootfs (the bsdtar command) needs to be done as root to preserve the files users and permissions but otherwise you can extract it where you wish.

Presuming that the host machine is connected to the internet, copy the host machines resolv.conf into /etc of the chroot fs:

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# cp /etc/resolv.conf ~/ALARMv5/etc
You should now be able to chroot into the ALARMv5 rootfs:

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# arch-chroot ~/ALARMv5
Now you're logged into the chroot, you can build Arch packages just as you normally would but there are two main things you should check when configuring an Arch package for cross compilation.

First you need to check the 'arch' statement in the PKGBUILD script for the package you are building includes 'arm'. If it doesn't then add it in so that the arch line looks like:

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arch=('i686' 'x86_64' 'arm')
If the package you are building uses autoconf with a configure script then you need to add the correct --build switch option to the ./configure statement within the build() function of the PKGBUILD script to make sure the compiler builds for armv5 instead of armv7 or whatever platform your host is running. It will look something like this after modification:

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build() {
  cd $srcdir/$pkgname-$pkgver
  ./configure --prefix=/usr --build=armv5tel-unknown-linux-gnueabi || return 1
  make || return 1

You might have to do some investigation to work out how to tell your app to build for armv5tel-unknown-linux-gnueabi if it doesn't use autoconf. You can often set the arch to build for by exporting it as an environment variable but I wouldn't worry too much about trying to specify the target build arch as in most cases the resultant packages will work regardless.

Providing you have enough disk space I would recommend you install your packages under the chroot after they have finished building. Not only does ths act as a test of ther validity but it is a backup too should you quit out of the chroot before backing the package up.

makepkg, packer and pacaur etc store the finished package under /tmp directory. packer for example stores its packages under /tmp/packerbuild-0/$PKGNAME/$PKGNAME where $PKGNAME is the name of the package you built. Make sure you copy the package out of the /tmp dir of the chroot after building and before you exit the chroot because everything under /tmp gets deleted as soon as you exit the chroot, which you do by typing 'exit' or hitting CTRL+D.

If you do ever need to create an Arch package from one that was previously installed but for which the package no longer exists (for example if you quit out of the chroot before copying the package out of /tmp) then you can use bacman to create the package, which comes as standard with pacman. Using it is as simple as running:

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$ bacman packagename

Zaurus - Arch Linux ARM support / Zalarm Demo Vid
« on: October 25, 2015, 04:21:22 pm »
I recently brought a new lease of life to my old SHARP Zaurus SL-C3000 Linux PDA by installing Arch Linux on it.

In this short video I demonstrate some of the fun things you can do all from the Linux console like play DOOM, music via moc, GameBoy Advance games via VisualboyAdvance and create electronic music with Milkytracker.

Near the end of the vid I plug a USB mouse in. The Zaurus does have a touchscreen but for various reasons it was just easier and better that I use a mouse to control Milkytracker instead.

OpenBSD / Suspend Not Turning Off Screen
« on: October 03, 2015, 05:57:59 pm »
I've just installed OBSD 5.8 CURRENT on my C3000 but unfortunately suspend isn't working properly. The screen fades to grey instead of being turned off and it does that if I push the suspend button or I run:

zzz -S
zzz -z
apm -S
apm -z

As per I've added

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to /etc/rc.conf.local and I've also added

Code: [Select]
to /etc/sysctl.conf and rebooted but I still have the same problem.

I wonder if this works under 5.7?

OpenBSD / Obsd Won't Boot After Install On C3000
« on: October 02, 2015, 08:34:57 am »
I'm bringing my Z out of retirement so I wanted to try obsd 5.7 on it, obsd being something I've never installed before. The install seemed to go fine but I can't boot into it. I've read I might be able to do so via the D+B menu but obviously I want it to boot normally.

During install I let it use the whole MD and replace the partitions so I presumed I could avoid boot issues that way. I thought it would be the failsafe option but it seems that is not so. It looks like OE/OZ was one of the last things I tried installing as it boots into kexecboot currently but I don't see a menu option  for OpenBSD. Maybe I can add it in but I was under the impression kexec would auto-detect OSs? Nope. Maybe manually adding it in is possible?

I've tried installing omegamoon's multiboot kernel / menu but I get some Japanese error after choosing to install it off SD. I can't remember what it means or where the page was that explains what the OK menu error screens mean?

It seems the obsd install instructions expect you to be running cacko and that you will install the obsd ipk to sort the bootloader out but I'd like to avoid that as I don't want to install cacko again just to install that ipk. I'd like to dedicate the MD purely to obsd.


General Discussion / Tom's Cf Showdown / Best Cf Wifi Card?
« on: April 21, 2010, 02:30:10 pm »
Just in case anyone missed it, I thought most of OESF would be interested in the recent round up review of various 8 to 64GB compact flash cards by Toms Hardware

That mostly answered one of my big zaurus questions, the other is this. What, if any, CF wifi cards are available that support 11g, monitor mode and packet injection? SDIO isn't well supported under Linux from what I hear so I doubt there are any sdio cards that can meet these requirements are there?

I'd also like to hear from people with c3x00 who have swapped out there microdrive for a larger CF esp. of the 16GB variety as I'm thinking of getting a 16GB CF for my c3000. I presume that'd be handled OK? Is there a limit? Whats the largest CF anyone has tried as Z storage?

I also seem to remember somebody posting a visual guide to disassembling a Z for this exact procedure- upgrading the internal CF of a c3x00. Anyone know if these pics/ guide are still up somewhere?

C1000/3x00 General discussions / C3000 Ac Adapter And Best Distro?
« on: January 18, 2010, 06:41:18 am »

I've not logged into OESF for a couple of years now- there doesn't seem to have been much activity in this forum lately (obviously eveyone has moved on to newer gadgets- N900's, openmoko, Android, Netwalkers etc.) so I'm hoping I won't be waiting too long for a response. My c3100 only lasted a few months before I had a ROM issue that would've required me send it back to SHARP Japan which I never did but this xmas I got given my dads c3000 which he hasn't used in some time now, which will keep me busy until my Pandora eventually arrives. Anytime now they say, honest!

I managed to dig out my c3100 but god knows where my AC adapter went and my dad has lost his too so I've not been able to power it on since I got it off him. The English Zaurus manual doesn't give specs for exactly what AC adapter is required, they just say "use the official SHARP AC adapter" which I have been unable to find on ebay. I do have one of those adjustable AC adapters and I tried it at 4.5V or whatever the nearest setting was but that didn't work- hope I didn't damage my Z trying it out. Does anyone know where I can get an AC adapter in the UK that will work well my my c3000?

Whats the best distro for the c3000 in 2010? Last time I was here, pdaXii13 was the best 'desktop Linux'-alike distro but since then I've noticed Ubuntu has been ported (zubuntu, of course) and maybe the Zaurus Debian experience has improved in the last couple of years? One of the major advantages of pdaXii13 was that it had working bvdd support in mplayer which allowed you to play QVGA videos smoothly- did anyone ever get bvdd working under zubuntu/ Zaurus Debian or get smooth video playback comparable to bvdd any other way ie through fbdev or whatever? The other thing that concerns me about zubuntu/ zdeb is power management? Mainly I'd like to know if suspend and resume work properly ie as well as or better than pdaXii13? Do we ever hear from meanie any more here?


Debian / Zdevils Debian Post-install Tweaks
« on: April 13, 2008, 06:10:39 am »
Well it would seem mr Meanie has all but left the Z community for good so I gave up on waiting for a fixed-up pdaXii13, took the plunge and followed zdevils deceptively brief guide to installing Debian EABI- never did get wifi working under the latest ii13. It took me about 8 hours in the end to get most stuff set up I need. First impressions of EABI are good- it works much better than the last versions of OZ/Angstrom I tried on the c3xxx, it resumes much faster than pdaXii13 does but to me it doesn't seem quite as nippy as pdaXii13 (which I'd put down to the larger memory footprint of running full Debian) and the tarball linked in zdevils guide certainly requires a lot more configuring than pdaX if not as much as Titchy or Debian from scratch would. The best bit is knowing I can now apt-get over 23k packages or whatever its up to now!

I've read zdevil is working on a more refined tarball image with many more customisations and tweaks, so I eagerly await that but in the mean time I've encountered a few issues that some of you may have already solved:

1 - Can I get the matchbox-card-applet or something similar for the icewm panel? If not then just getting vfat(/fat) cf/sd cards to auto-mount would be good enough.

2 - Screen/power settings? At the moment when I shut the Zaurus lid, it does nothing ie the screen stays on and it doesn't suspend. I'd like it to go into suspend mode when I shut the screen if poss. Also, can I get an applet for icewm to blank the screen when I'm just using the Z for music playback , again similiar to the matchbox tool under pdaX?

3 - Under pdaXii13, I just had to uninstall the scim packages and that would cut the load time of gnumeric from about 30+ secs to around 6 seconds! scim doesn't seem to be installed presently but I was wondering if anyone could think of some packages I could remove or any other tweaks that may get me a gnumeric loading time that competes with the pdaX one?

4 - How do I overclock to 624Mhz (for when I'm compiling mainly)?

5- Not tried playing any vids yet, whats the best mplayer command for playing a 320x240 (avi) vid under Debian EABI?

Thanks to zdevil for the guide and thanks to all those who can help my improve my Z/Deb experience!

"Debian - the great work of the digital age"

Software / Pdaxii13 Vs Titchy
« on: December 31, 2007, 01:53:41 pm »
I'm running pdaXii13 5.4.9 on my c3000 and everything is working great except wifi and mounting the internal vfat partition as a USB drive. The wifi problem I've been unable to solve but I've heard good things about wifi under Titchy so thats tempting me to it. I think the usb storage problem won't be too hard to fix but I've not tried as it would be made redundant when I get wifi working which is a pretty important Z feature for me.

The only thing cacko has over pdaXii13 when you get it all working (which I've done with earlier releases, when the keyboard freeze bug was around  is that it resumes instantly instead of 5-10s like pdaX. What are suspend and resume times like in Titchy?

My other concern is video playback. I really value being able to play back 320x240 vids and play gngeo etc thanks to bvdd under pdaXii13 but last I heard 2.6 video playback was still lacking on the Z. Have things improved?

Is Titchy faster overall? How about stability and power usage vs running pdaX??

Happy New Year OESF!

Zaurus - pdaXrom / Pdaxii13 5.4.9 Wifi Probs
« on: December 23, 2007, 02:20:22 pm »
I've been away from pdaXii13 for some time now. My wifi card always works fine under Cacko and it also used to work no probs under earlier versions of pdaXii13 but it just blinks at me under 5.4.9.

I see that Jon_J and others with an Ambicom card got theirs working in this thread here:;#entry168420

but reading that thread hasn't solved my problem. Meanie says to uncomment everything but your own card from /etc/pcmcia/config but the problem for me is that my card isn't listed in that file. My wifi card is a Senao NL-2011CD, Prism2 chipset I think.

If I do an lsmod I can see that both hostap and hostap_cs are loaded- could this be the problem?

Also, how do I get full screen, bvdd video playback working? I noticed there is no bvdd module loaded and 'modprobe bvdd' fails

So would these problems be fixed if I upgraded to pdaXii2? Which is more stable and bug free, pdaXii13 5.4.9 or pdaXii2?


X did something a bit weird (a big desktop switcher just appeared in top left corner of the screen) so I did a reboot. Tried playing a video again after a reboot and it played full screen OK, bvdd is loaded now! Yay! I was thinking my luck might be in but still no wifi

General Discussion / Pandora
« on: December 22, 2007, 04:24:30 am »
For the last year or two it seems that one of the main topics of discussion on this board has been the arrival of new PDA's and UMPC's that might be a worthy Z replacement. Although some of these units have offered some superior specs, they'd always fall short somehow ie no clamshell, no Linux support, inferior screen or something.

Well, thankfully it would seem our calls for a REAL Z replacement have finally been answered with PANDORA (is this the first female computer since the Amiga??) which is due to be released Spring 2008 for around £199 (they hope!). Check out these specs!

~800Mhz ARM CORTEX cpu
Clamshell design!
On-board wifi
Linux/X11 as standard!
800x480 screen
USB2 host
7M poly/s 3D accel
A/V output
2 x SDHC slots
keyboard AND joypad

There you go! Pretty much everything we were hoping for in a new Zaurus but from a relatively unknown British company. Why has it took so long for someone to put something like this together when there have been so many suitable dev boards to base such a design upon for years? I'm just hoping the build quality of these things can match the Z, if they manage that at £199 I'm sure it'll be a HUGE success and could well be the device to break Linux open to much wider, more mainstream audience?

Sharp ROMs / Cacko Dial-up W/ Serial Modem
« on: December 20, 2007, 10:19:05 am »
I'm trying to connect to the internet using a serial modem  that I have attached to my c3000 via a USB to serial adapter. I have successfully used this same setup to connect to dial-up under pdaXii13 but now I'd like to do the same under cacko.

I have created a dial-up account and input all the details in cackos network tool. I have my modem plugged in and turned on but cacko doesn't seem to register it as the 'Connect' button is greyed out and when I run the browser I just get the error

"Cannot find the device card for communication"

Any ideas?

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