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Moderator | Posts: 7,097 | Thanked: 8,667 times | Joined on Oct 2007 @ Vancouver, BC, Canada
#1
This thread is closed. Go to one of the newer threads, either Easy Debian Diablo (N8x0 devices) or Easy Debian Fremantle (N900).

UPDATE: New image, Debian Squeeze with OpenOffice 3.0, etc. See this post!

Finally, Easy Debian is available in the Extras Repository!

OpenOffice, Gimp, Firefox 3 (with Flash), Sun's Open Java, LXDE, all running from OS2008 without rebooting!

I'm also announcing this in my blog as well as ITt. Here is the text from my blog:

TURBO CHARGED EASY-DEBIAN

Finally, "Easy Debian" is no longer just a "circus trick"; you can use real laptop applications on your tablet at not-unreasonable speeds, thanks to a couple of "turbo charging" boosts we've gotten lately, and a lot of polish from the rapidly maturing Debian side.

I was overwhelmed by the huge positive reaction across the Internet when I released the first version of my Easy Debian project back in July on Internet Tablet Talk. But I was frustrated by the speed of the "image file" method I was using, and the Debian "armel" architecture was still missing a few key pieces to make it a stable, trustworthy distribution.

Several things have changed since July. First, the Debian armel architecture managed to pull things together in time for the Lenny "freeze" at the end of July. That means there will be a tablet-compatible version of Debian when Lenny becomes the next "stable" version later this year. It also means things like Java, OpenOffice.org and Firefox (Iceweasel) got some seriously good polishing in the last few months, and it really shows when you run them on the tablet. Also, the LXDE desktop environment came to my attention. It is a really nice, light environment that runs fast on the tablet, and is much more full-featured than the IceWM window manager I was using before.

Secondly, I was given the exciting privilege of Nokia sponsorship to the Maemo Summit in Berlin in September. This motivated me to prepare a new Debian file system with all of the enhancements that had been added in the previous months, as well as some tricks that I had learned since the first version.

Lastly, through the help of others, I found two really effective speed-up techniques that suddenly made the Easy Debian apps really usable! I got down on my virtual knees on the #maemo IRC channel and begged the elite tablet hackers there to help me figure out how to speed up access to the image file that was the basis of the Easy Debian project. Matan came through in a big way; he presented me with some kernel modules and some instructions that accelerated the whole project to almost the same speed as using a dedicated partition (around 2x-4x faster)! I then discovered the ability to set the tablets' processor to "Performance Mode," thanks to lcuk's liqbase project. What a difference that made for processor-hungry apps like OpenOffice and Iceweasel (Firefox)!

So, now that all these pieces are in place, and now that the whole project has "grown up," I felt I needed to push it into the official repositories. I was also getting some gentle pushes from several community members.

Even though the entire project is made from free components (except for one notable exception in the image file), I have released it to the non-free section of Extras. This is because it was too difficult to get all of the contributed binary bits into a form that could be compiled by the autobuilder that guards the gates of the "free" repository.

INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS:

You need to install the easy-deb-chroot package from the Extras repository. Install it with the Application Manager.


When this package is installed, you have to run the "Debian Image Installer" in your Extras menu. This will download and install the big image to the memory card of your choice. It will take about a half hour to download if you have fast Internet connection, and another 15 minutes to extract it on your tablet.

This may take longer... Start the install when you can leave your tablet downloading for a while, maybe just before bed or before going out

Finally, when you get the "Congratulations!" message, REBOOT.

FAQ:

Q: I chose Iceweasel, but nothing happened!
A: Be patient. Iceweasel has no splash screen and a very long startup time. Use Kazehakase for faster startup while retaining the ability to use Java and Flash plugins.

Q: How do I get to the OK button in the huge dialog box that just popped up?
A: If you choose the "Toggle Movable Windows" icon in the menu, you will activate the Movable Windows hack; this lets you move the big dialog boxes used by some Debian apps so you can get to the OK button. When you want to go back to "Normal" OS2008 window behavior, select this menu item again.

Q: How do I get the virtual keyboard to pop up in Debian Apps?
A: Select the "Set Debian HW Keys" menu item; wait a bit, then you can press the minus (-) hardware key followed by the menu hardware key to toggle the Matchbox Keyboard. Press the (-) key then the (+) key to toggle between normal and mini (one-line) keyboards.

Q: How do I make Debian apps fullscreen?
A: Select the "Set Debian HW Keys" menu item; wait a bit, then you can press the minus (-) hardware key followed by the "fullscreen" hardware key to toggle fullscreen for any app.

Q: How do I get the best turbo speed from OpenOffice, Firefox and other big apps?
A: Make sure you have the maximum amount of virtual memory enabled in your Control Panel / Memory dialog. Then select the "Set CPU to Performance mode" menu item and launch your app. Remember to set the CPU to On-Demand mode when you're done using the big app, because Performance mode sucks your battery faster. But it still isn't as bad as the battery life of your average laptop...

Q: English isn't my first language. How do I change this to my language?
A: Please click on the "Debian chroot" icon and type the following command:
Code:
dpkg-reconfigure locales
Choose your language(s).

Note that you should choose the language with no period between the language and the iso code (eg. "en_CA ISO-8859-1"), and optionally, the utf-8 version, too (eg. "en_CA.UTF-8").

Q: I want to install more applications! How do I do that?
A: First, you have to update the repository lists. From the prompt in Debian Chroot menu item:
Code:
apt-get update
Now, you must get some space back! There's almost no extra room in the image file.
Code:
apt-get install localepurge; localepurge
This will get you at least 80MB back. You should probably do this first, before starting to install. Running out of space during an install in Debian is ugly.

Also, when downloading packages, remember to frequently use "apt-get clean" to clear out old downloaded packages. That will help with free space.

If you're comfortable with the command line, you can use the technique listed in this post to double your install space.

Even with all of these tricks, you'll still run out of room fairly quickly. You'll probably have to uninstall packages in order to add new ones.

More advanced users can put a minimal system into an empty image and build a custom set of apps using this post. The most advanced and best way: partition your SD card and put your Debian fs there.

Q: What's this "Iceweasel"?
A: Iceweasel is the Debian name for Firefox. It's a long story, but in short, Mozilla and Debian had a philosophical disagreement that ended in Debian renaming Firefox to Iceweasel.

Q: How is this different than Deblet?
A: Easy Debian uses a fully installed Debian system to run applications inside of Maemo. The Deblet project helps you install a bootable Debian system from scratch; Deblet is mainly designed for booting to an alternate OS.

Q: I already have Debian in a partition, or I'm running Deblet. How can I use your package with my Debian?
A: Edit the /home/user/.chroot file to point to your Debian partition or image file. Easy Debian will do the rest.

NOTE: If you are using Deblet, delete the /home/user/.synchroot file before running Easy Debian for the first time, so your Deblet config files don't get overwritten. Remember that you'll need to make a user called "user" in Deblet (with the proper ID) for things to work correctly. Also note that your maemo home directory will be used by default. This can also be changed in the .chroot file.

SCREENSHOTS:
(click picture to see more info and larger sizes)

The Gimp editing a 4 megapixel digital photo:




OpenOffice Writer editing a document in OS2008, with Matchbox-Keyboard on top:



LXDE, (the Lightweight X Desktop Environment) running on top of OS2008:

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Last edited by qole; 01-23-2010 at 04:16 AM. Reason: Update: beta testing
 

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joshv06's Avatar
Posts: 346 | Thanked: 138 times | Joined on Jan 2008 @ Houston Texas
#2
Wow thank you! Just when I thought debian on the tablet couldnt get any better, im installing now.

Thanks!
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Nokia N900
joshuavidana@gmail.com
 
Posts: 19 | Thanked: 7 times | Joined on Feb 2008 @ Florida
#3
Thanks!!!

I am usually just lurking around here ... but I *had to* jump in and say Thank You for all your work on this (not to slight everyone else who pitched in). It is *just what I need* to ditch my laptop!

--- and I haven't even installed it yet!! ... but I have been watching with an eagle eye to all the trials and tribulations you've gone through ... and overcome!

I could not afford the time to "beta test", but it looks like its time for me to jump in.

Thanks again, I know I'm gonna love it!

Ken
 
Posts: 37 | Thanked: 33 times | Joined on Feb 2008 @ Ukraine, Kharkiv
#4
"This will download and install the big image" how many really in Mb?

Last edited by DJArty; 10-13-2008 at 02:40 AM.
 
Posts: 132 | Thanked: 40 times | Joined on Jun 2008
#5
Thanks qole this is awesome! I do wonder if it is possible to make a movable windows switch something like:
Code:
sudo cp copy /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs.movable
Then have it do your
Code:
sudo cp copy /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs.orig /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs
And then have a separate switch put back the movable windows like this:
Code:
sudo cp copy /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs.nonmov
then
Code:
sudo cp copy /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.movable /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs
Or ideally a toggle that can detect what mode it is in.
 
qwerty12's Avatar
Posts: 4,274 | Thanked: 5,332 times | Joined on Sep 2007 @ Looking at y'all and sighing
#6
Originally Posted by qole View Post
Q: Why do my windows look weird after I install Easy Debian, and how do I fix it?
A: Easy Debian installs the Movable Windows hack; this lets you move the big dialog boxes used by some Debian apps so you can get to the OK button, but it makes the windows start in the upper left (or lower right) corner of the screen. If this placement bugs you, drag the window to the center. If you really don't want this behaviour, and you're willing to live with the consequences, open a terminal and enter the following:

Code:
sudo cp copy /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs.orig /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs
If you don't mind me saying, but if this is in extras, you should give the user the choice if [s]he wants this hack installed.

In your postinst, putting something like:
cat > /tmp/debian_movable_windows_warn.txt <<EOF
Easy Debian installs the Movable Windows hack; this lets you move the big dialog boxes used by some Debian apps so you can get to the OK button, but it makes the windows start in the upper left (or lower right) corner of the screen. If this placement bugs you, drag the window to the center.

Press OK to keep the hack or press Cancel to keep the default behaviour.
EOF

maemo-confirm-text /tmp/debian_movable_windows_warn.txt
retval=$?
rm /tmp/debian_movable_windows_warn.txt
if [ "$retval" -eq "0" ]
then
echo "" || true
fi

if [ "$retval" -eq "1" ]
then
/bin/cp /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs.orig /etc/osso-af-init/matchbox.defs
fi
 

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Posts: 132 | Thanked: 40 times | Joined on Jun 2008
#7
Originally Posted by qwerty12 View Post
If you don't mind me saying, but if this is in extras, you should give the user the choice if [s]he wants this hack installed.
Or a toggle, cause adding a book in FBreader with movable windows is a pain. Again thanks for the good work and nice job!
 
qwerty12's Avatar
Posts: 4,274 | Thanked: 5,332 times | Joined on Sep 2007 @ Looking at y'all and sighing
#8
A toggle wouldn't be hard to do with scripting but you do have to restart the tablet before the change is re-read. Although I guess restarting matchbox would work but I don't know if it's run via dsmetool which restarts the tablet if the program is closed.
 
qole's Avatar
Moderator | Posts: 7,097 | Thanked: 8,667 times | Joined on Oct 2007 @ Vancouver, BC, Canada
#9
I wish there was some way to get the movable windows without the giant-windows-problem that seems to occur in some apps (most notably FBreader). But a prompt in the postinst is easy to add... Would have been an (even more) excellent suggestion in the beta testing period, too

Perhaps also an icon to toggle the hack.

I'll have to see if there's some way to restart the WM (and get it to re-read that config) without rebooting the tablet. I'll mess about with it.
__________________
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Please don't send me a private message, post to the appropriate thread.
Thank you all for your donations!

Last edited by qole; 10-13-2008 at 03:29 AM.
 
Posts: 22 | Thanked: 3 times | Joined on Oct 2008 @ UK
#10
you can use real laptop applications on your tablet at not-unreasonable speeds
Is there any chance you can make a video to show us the speed of the applications or a browser comparison with the built in ff for example. I know, I'm asking a lot but installing 1.3Gb of data is also a lot to install on my N810
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------------------------
N810/Diablo
Blog: www.reda-ek.com/blog/
 

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