Author Topic: ROM choices, with a twist.  (Read 5296 times)

ev1l

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ROM choices, with a twist.
« on: July 08, 2004, 12:10:37 am »
Just got my machine from UPS (SL-C860), along with a roomy SD card.
The thing I'm wondering about goes like this: I keep seeing/reading tons of stuff about 3rd party ROM, but do they actually improve usability?
For example, I keep having to cross-compile utilities I like a lot ( joe), and some of the stuff while using X (well, the UI).
For example, I though that pdaXrom looked really nice, until I read people asking for kind souls to compile their favorite PIM apps... uh? What have you been doing with your Z in the mean time? watch Xclock?
So, which ROM actually makes life easier? I don't mind dual booting a beta ROM to help debug/test it, but I really need something I can actually use for what I bought the Z for: PIM, calendaring, etc.
Thanks all

ThC

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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2004, 05:22:43 am »
People are switching to pdaXrom as they want to use their standard X apps with their Z ... I think if you've bought it only for PIMs you should stick to sharp/cacko qt/tkcrom/openzaurus which are based either on Qt or Opie and are able to run standard sharp PIM ... else Ko/Pi is a good alternative for pdaXrom (althought not yet integrated in the rom) ...
SL-C3000 - pdaXrom 1.1.0Beta1
SL-C860 - pdaXrom 1.1.0 RC8 (charging circuitry dead :( )
CF RamStar 512 Mb / Hitachi 4Gb microdrive (thanks to creative's muvo² :p)
SD Sandisk 1Gb / Viking 256 Mb
Linksys WCF13 CF wifi card

Anyone willing to donate for my work, please consider donate to pdaXrom and/or OE/OZ projects instead, I wouldn't have been able to do anything without them ...

ScottYelich

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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2004, 02:59:28 pm »
also, some people have an easier time setting up a cross compiler...
it took me months before I had working systems.

for instance, I tried a lot on a remote and old redhat 7.2 machine,
but ran into glibc 2.3.x issues.

I finally got a machine at home and used vmware to install a modern
redhat and then run the cross compiler -- but then you still run into
small issues here and there, such as multi-stage compiling, where an
intermediate step creates a utility for arm and then tries to run it
(on x86) ...   native compiling seems like it could help with these
difficult compiles -- but it's also a wee bit slower :-)


Sometimes you can post a request and someone can make an IPK
for you.  My idea about getting a list of apps for the new rom
was so that we could try to get organized about it and have a
bunch of apps in a central location.

Scott

ev1l

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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2004, 06:52:22 pm »
So are ROMs like cacko actually more streamlined than the Sharp ROM (I have the 1.40 for my C860 now)? That's the only thing I'm wondering about, basically. Are the modified sharp roms making your life easier?
I've yet to see a differential changelog between a modified rom and the Sharp default, that might be why I still don't really get why people use the alternatives.

roderickv

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2004, 07:15:04 pm »
I got my C-860 in May and struggled with the same question. Which ROM to use. Since I am a non-Linux/Unix person and not a programmer. I thought I could share a different perspective with you.

Like I said, I am not a Linux person but  I do consider myself very accomplished with Windows products. I also have a great deal of experience with all types of handhelds and palmtops. (I’ve practically used or owned most of them at one time or another.)

My needs were for a device that could replace my current Psion MX and my first love - the Zaurus ZR-5800. I also needed it to act as a stand in for my Laptop as much as possible. So I needed great PIM functionality, an array of productivity products, wireless, remote control, an easy interface with the look and feel of a mini-laptop.  I have found all those things with the Zaurus SL-C860 using the Cacko ROM. The ROM is rock solid in my opinion and comes with several software enhancements from the original ROM, which makes it much more useful. I can do everything I want on the unit, but print wirelessly to a network printer, or print any way for that matter (which I want to do desperately).Printing aside though, I think it’s the best out there right now. The way I see it the most important thing the ROM brings to the table is stability, flexibility and software compatibility. With the compliment of software I have now, I feel nothing is lacking but the ability to print. Once that is available (if ever), I will have a complete laptop to stand-in. Here are the key software titles I recommend to get the most out of the unit.

KDE-Pim/Pi  v.1.9.2       - (Great PIM software)
SatgeOne! v3.2.0       - Outliner
Tree!Explorer QT Plus       - Windows Style file Explorer (very nice)
Tree! TxtQt          - Text editor
QPDF2 v2.2.1           - PDF Viewer
Porta Base          - Easy to use Database
Opie Keypebble         - VNC viewer
qpe-alarmclock-advanced    - Alarm Clock w/multiple alarms
QKonsole          - Command line interface (included in ROM)
Handcom Word 1.6.0       - Word compatible editor (included in ROM)
Handcom Sheet       - Excel compatible editor (included in ROM
Kino2    v0.3 beta      - Media video player (included in ROM
TkcCard          - Flexible Database
Tkc Video         - Media video player
Media Player         - Media Player (included in ROM)
Opera 7.03         - Web Browser (included in ROM)
System Info         - System Status (included in ROM)
SL-C860 (Cacko "Elena" ROM)
SMC EZ Connect WIFI CF (smc-2642w)
Hatachi 4GB Micro Drive
SanDisk 512 SD
SanDisk 256 SD
PDair Case

maslovsky

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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2004, 03:03:53 am »
Quote
've yet to see a differential changelog between a modified rom and the Sharp default, that might be why I still don't really get why people use the alternatives

Does that look like a change log to you?

https://www.oesf.org/forums/inde...?showtopic=3159

https://www.oesf.org/forums/inde...447&hl=Hotfix+A

https://www.oesf.org/forums/inde...640&hl=Hotfix+A
« Last Edit: July 10, 2004, 03:04:46 am by maslovsky »

RJLadd

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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2004, 04:10:20 am »
Yes, those look like changelogs. But I've spent entirely more time than I like to consider trying the different ROMs, and I agree with ev1l. What would really be helpful is not a changelog from one version of a ROM to the next, but a list of the differences (operational, software support, hardware support) between the original Sharp ROM and the other ROMs that are available.

ev1l: I'm a newbie, too, but so far it looks like:

The current Cacko ROM is essentially the same as the original Sharp ROM, with some small but useful improvements. Mainly, it is entirely in English, is very stable, and has a Console application built in. Cacko seems to be compatible with the largest set of third party software.

pdaXrom seems fast, but not too stable. Screen rotation is partly supported, but not enough to be useful in portrait mode, and it does not come with any handwriting recognition. A fair amount of software is available for it, but some of the applications have not yet been adapted too well for the small screen and other limits of the hardware.

OpenEmbedded/Opie looks great, but the current version is not compatibile with very many third party applications, and its also somewhat unstable. Openembedded sounds like a good idea, but it may be too ambitious for the size of the team they have working on it.

KDEPim has not been fully adapted to the Z yet, but already it is a very useful PIM, particularly in combination with the KDE Desktop versions. I have it running on Cacko, but was not able to get it to work under pdaXrom or Opie.
SL-c860

lardman

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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2004, 05:47:23 am »
Quote
OpenEmbedded/Opie looks great, but the current version is not compatibile with very many third party applications, and its also somewhat unstable.

Heresay, it is compatible, but you need to install a set of compatibility libs. There are some issues with installing some (poorly formed IMO) ipks, however this compares favourably with the inability of all other ROMs being able to install ar format (familiar, deb, OZ) ipks.

My impressions are:

Cacko - Very pretty, nice to use, but it suffers from the age old Sharp ROM problem of not letting you install most things to storage cards (well most things I tried anyway). Also libc2.2.2 based which is pretty old (I've got a load of stuff I compiled which needs 2.2.3 at least). I've had issues with my WiFi card for some reason.

PdaXrom - Works well, a little unstable when I last tried it, needs a fair bit of work to get a useful system (all the apps don't just come installed, etc.), but worth it if this is the kind of thing you're after. libc2.2.3 which is getting better .... ;-). Seriously annoying issues with ipkg. Power management not granular enough. Other than that it's great.

OpenZaurus/Opie/Openembedded - IMO the best of the lot, basically because there's lots of software for it (which works and doesn't need to be messed about with to work with a Sharp based ROM). The fonts are too small, not as pretty as Cacko, and I'd like to see a more friendly MP3 player (which is something I can at least contribute to myself using the OE buildsystem). Greatest flexibility which is what I'm after. Libc 2.3.x which means that all the familiar stuff will also run (as well as the Sharp stuff, etc.).

As you can tell from my sig, I may have a slightly rose tinted opinion.


Si

P.S. On a 5500 and a C750 at least, OZ3.3.6pre1 has been completely stable. I don't think I've ever had to reboot - other than when updating ROMs. Other machines may be different, but OZ is not unstable for these machines.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2004, 05:49:16 am by lardman »
C750 OZ3.5.4 (GPE, 2.6.x kernel)
SL5500 OZ3.5.4 (Opie)
Nokia 770
Serial GPS, WCF-12, Socket Ethernet & BT, Ratoc USB
WinXP, Mandriva

roderickv

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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2004, 11:17:29 am »
[Cacko - Very pretty, nice to use, but it suffers from the age old Sharp ROM problem of not letting you install most things to storage cards (well most things I tried anyway). Also libc2.2.2 based which is pretty old (I've got a load of stuff I compiled which needs 2.2.3 at least). I've had issues with my WiFi card for some reason.]

With all do respect lardman, I know your comments about the Cacko ROM were from your personal experience so I would like to offer my personal experiences as a counter. All the software I listed in my earlier post (that was not included in the ROM) is installed on my SD card except for one -can't remember which one. I use the SMC WIFI card and it worked the first time I plugged it in and everytime since then.

Can't debate with you on the other ROMS because I haven't used them and really don't intend to because CACKO is working so well. But I hear PDAxROM is unstable and openembedded /Opie has a limited software offering, as RJLadd pointed out, but I must admit it is hearsay only on those two ROMS because I havn't used them.
SL-C860 (Cacko "Elena" ROM)
SMC EZ Connect WIFI CF (smc-2642w)
Hatachi 4GB Micro Drive
SanDisk 512 SD
SanDisk 256 SD
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RJLadd

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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2004, 04:11:13 pm »
Not hearsay; personal experience. But perhaps the problem is lack of (findable) documentation.  Which compatibility libs? Where can they be found? How are they installed? I saw a mention of them, and tried to install what was needed, but I still couldn't run KDEPim on Opie.

If there's a set a libraries that allow Opie to run most of the Cacko applications, I'd certainly give it another try.

Lack of documentation is a very common problem in the Z community. Us newbies spend a certain amount of time searching for it, and eventually settle for what we can find. That's not a criticism; the project teams are very small, and generally concentrate their limited resources more on code than on documentation.

Still, making it easier for newbies might attract new developers (like me) to their projects. Once I've got the use of this marvelous toy sussed, I expect to contribute to some of the open source work for it.
SL-c860

Teletubbie

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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2004, 04:37:20 pm »
Hi,
as potential developer you should have a look at:
http://openembedded.org/oe_wiki/
This is the documentation about openembedded, the buildsystem. It is easy to use and very good.
You should also join the mailinglist and have a look at the irc channel.
About the compat-libs I cant provide you with any information, becaus I am involved in the German Community with a nice forum with a lot of information. But most people in Germany, like me, are using the 5500 devices.
On the 5500 you can run the most of the software on the device, using the compat libs.
Cheers,
Sam
SL-5500G
OZ 3.3.6-pre1
Opie 1.1.4

lardman

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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2004, 08:55:53 pm »
Quote
With all do respect lardman, I know your comments about the Cacko ROM were from your personal experience so I would like to offer my personal experiences as a counter. All the software I listed in my earlier post (that was not included in the ROM) is installed on my SD card except for one -can't remember which one.

Fair enough, with the OZ version of ipkg & ipkg-link anything can be installed to a card (at least everything I've ever found). I was just surprised that the same doesn't hold true for Cacko.

Quote
I use the SMC WIFI card and it worked the first time I plugged it in and everytime since then.

Linksys WCF-12 refused to work with kismet, probably drivers, but I could find no immediate solution (I was at a conference and short on online time).

Quote
But perhaps the problem is lack of (findable) documentation.

I've no doubt this is true.

Quote
Which compatibility libs? Where can they be found? How are they installed?

Found here: http://www.mithis.com/zaurus/ipkgs/

Install opie-sh_0.5-20030824_arm.ipk (needed for the graphical interface), then oz-compat_0.5_arm.ipk, then oz-compat-opie_0.1_arm.ipk.

You'll then get an icon in the Settings screen (the name escapes me) which you click on and select the binary (either directly or by its name from the Apps screen) and it will then be able to work.

If you have any more questions I'm more than willing to help.

Regards,


Si
C750 OZ3.5.4 (GPE, 2.6.x kernel)
SL5500 OZ3.5.4 (Opie)
Nokia 770
Serial GPS, WCF-12, Socket Ethernet & BT, Ratoc USB
WinXP, Mandriva

RJLadd

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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2004, 01:13:38 am »
Quote
Found here: http://www.mithis.com/zaurus/ipkgs/
Install opie-sh_0.5-20030824_arm.ipk (needed for the graphical interface), then oz-compat_0.5_arm.ipk, then oz-compat-opie_0.1_arm.ipk.


Tried it. Downloaded them, unpacked the tar files, put them on CF, and used the package installer under the settings tab. opie_sh... appears to install ok, or at least without obvious errors. The other two packages get "Invalid magic" in the package installer. I also tried used ipkg directly from the console, with the same result.

A few side notes: I was not able to install the Opie/OpenEmbedded ROM while Cacko was intalled. I had to go back to the original Sharp ROM (via a NAND backup) and then install Opie.

If mains power is plugged in when Opie suspends itself after enough inactive time, it doesn't come back on again when the "on" button on the spine iof the c860 is pressed. I had to unplug mains power before it would respond.

Perhaps its just a matter of being older than the Opie developers, and perhaps there is a package that will help, but many of the default fonts are hopelessly too small to be readable.

A few times, Opie completely blanked the screen for a second or two, and then came back, for no obvious reason. The screen also seemed to blink sometimes when it reduced the blacklight after enough inactive time.

Sigh. Back to Cacko for the moment. Don't have enough time this week to install the development kit and try to fix any of these problems, although a few of them (fonts?) should be easy.
SL-c860

lardman

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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2004, 05:18:58 am »
Quote
Tried it. Downloaded them, unpacked the tar files, put them on CF

Hmm, they should be ar (ipkg) files. Does your browser do something funny to them? You shouldn't need to make any changes to them, just install. You should install them to root to save any messing about later on (oops, found one app which is a pain to install to a card ;-))

Quote
I was not able to install the Opie/OpenEmbedded ROM while Cacko was intalled. I had to go back to the original Sharp ROM (via a NAND backup) and then install Opie.

What was the problem? I just went from Cacko to OZ without any troubles (except that I misnamed the zImage.bin file to begin with and had a mismatched kernel).

Quote
If mains power is plugged in when Opie suspends itself after enough inactive time, it doesn't come back on again when the "on" button on the spine iof the c860 is pressed. I had to unplug mains power before it would respond.

Oh. This is a kernel issue I guess. I don't think this happens to me, but I'll try it.

Quote
Perhaps its just a matter of being older than the Opie developers, and perhaps there is a package that will help, but many of the default fonts are hopelessly too small to be readable.

No, I'm fairly young (26) and I totally agree with you.

Quote
A few times, Opie completely blanked the screen for a second or two, and then came back, for no obvious reason. The screen also seemed to blink sometimes when it reduced the blacklight after enough inactive time.

I've never seen either of these effects I'm afraid, but again it may be kernel related.

I'll have a trawl of the mailing list and see whether I can come up with any definitive answers.


Si
C750 OZ3.5.4 (GPE, 2.6.x kernel)
SL5500 OZ3.5.4 (Opie)
Nokia 770
Serial GPS, WCF-12, Socket Ethernet & BT, Ratoc USB
WinXP, Mandriva

RJLadd

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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2004, 06:48:52 pm »
Quote
Hmm, they should be ar (ipkg) files. Does your browser do something funny to them?

Very strange. You're right, it was a browser problem. Mozilla 1.5 apparently recognized the file format, and appended a spurious ".tar" to the file name. I updated to Mozilla 1.7 and that behavior went away.

Quote
What was the problem? I just went from Cacko to OZ without any troubles

Going direct, Opie would appear to install. But when it rebooted (or booted when I reset and turned power on again), it would display a splash, with a blinking "." below it, and sit there. Maybe not forever, but longer than I was willing to wait (15 minutes?) I never got the long list of package installs.

After going back to the original Sharp ROM and then installing Opie, it worked.

Unforutnately, the font problem alone is enough to keep me running Cacko for the moment. The other apparent instabilities don't help.

Is there an easy solution for the font problem?
SL-c860