Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Handhelds

Journal: Israeli Company Releases Hackable Linux Handheld

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

The good folks at CompuLab have released a new handheld for developers that can optionally run Linux. The EM-X270 Embedded Mobile Device features a XScale PXA270 CPU, 128 Mbyte SDRAM, 512 Mbyte flash disk, integrated Bluetooth and 802.11b, and a host of other goodies, including an optional 3.5" 480 x 640 VGA display with touchscreen. Prices are "starting from $122" but other than that I don't see any more pricing info, but well worth keeping an eye on.

Thu Aug 16 11:06:15 CDT 2007: detailed pricing located. It's around $305 for a single, base unit.

I've bought a number of their products over the years for work and I've never been anything but super-impressed with them. Very high quality stuff, excellent Linux support, highly recommended.

GNU is Not Unix

Journal: FreeDOS Project Uncovers Gaggle Of GPL Violations

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

My streak of rejected Slashdot submissions grows ever longer. I thought I should post this one where I could though, because the developers affected by this story need to know.

The FreeDOS Project is reporting the discovery of a number of GPL violations by DRDOS, who bought DR-DOS from Lineo (formerly known as Caldera) back in 2002.

According to the writeup DR-DOS 8.1 packages several GPL'd FreeDOS tools, some freeware apps, and even PKWARE shareware, all for the low low price of $45 for a single user license, sans license compliance for the mentioned software. Anyway go read the report and decide for yourselves. It doesn't matter if you're pro- or anti-GPL, there are a number of packages with a number of licenses involved and this needs some investigation.

So what is it with software companies from Lindon UT anyway?

Update Mon Oct 24 11:51:52 CDT 2005: once again, the story is newsworthy, just not from me. At least I got there first. :)

Handhelds

Journal: Bootable Linux CF HOWTO

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

I've had some problems with commercially-available embedded Linux distros, so I spent some time recently figuring out my own way of doing things. I've had a HOWTO posted for the curious for a while now. Latest addition-WiFi support.

Anyway check it out if you're interested. It's not the smallest Linux system out there, mainly because I mix and match hardware and a static kernel is a pain. And yeah, it's silly to name it after me, but it's a free country. ;)

Programming

Journal: Want Some Work? Looking for Linux device driver guru

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

Hopefully the subject says it all-my company has some device driver porting to do (x86 to XSCALE), and wants to farm it out. Rather than tie me up with it, we're looking to pay someone to do it for us.

So if you're local to the Austin TX area and think you're up for it, leave me a comment if you're interested. More details on my personal webpage for the curious.

Movies

Journal: IMDB Companion Sites?

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

Don't know if this happens to anyone else, but I find that there are a lot of movies that I have no interest in sitting through that I want to know more about the mythology/story behind. Examples-Thirteen Ghosts and Storm Of the Century, both on TV this weekend. I don't want to watch them, but I wanted to know what the machinery does once it gets its 13th ghost and who/what Andre Linoge is, respectively. So basically I wanted to know the story without having to see the story.

Any websites out there similar to IMDB that cover the stories behind the movies? If not, somebody needs to sit through all the bad movies I don't want to force myself to sit through and put this type of site up. I can't be the only one who'd like something like this...

Programming

Journal: Perception Of Python 2

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

This one's been bothering me for a while, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I do a fair amount of software development as part of my job-at first it was just to support projects I was working on, but more and more I get the call when others need work done. I've even got "Software Developer" tacked on to my job description/title, but I still don't think of myself as one.

Anyway. Most of the development I do is in C for embedded devices, but I also get to use Python a fair amount as well-I especially like using it when I'm working on a new algorithm before I hard-wire it in C. The issue I'm constantly facing is the perception 'round the workplace that somehow working in Python != software development:

"It's just a script, right? Like a batch file?"

Bothersome mostly because the perception is that it shouldn't take me more than an hour or two for even the most complicated program / algorithm. I've tried showing the Python code to the Powers That Be but it still reads like a batch file to them. Any insight?

Linux

Journal: Gentoo Help?

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

With SuSE 9.1 Personal not quite getting me where I want to be on my Presario R3000Z, I thought I'd give Gentoo a try again. The last time I'd tried Gentoo was when I was installing Linux on my new desktop at work, and the process was...painful. I ultimately ended up going with Slackware 9.0 and I've stuck with it to this day.

But with the new AMD64 based laptop I thought I'd give it a go, and plunk down for the 2-CD AMD64 set (Gentoo Linux 2004.1 for x86, 2K41-x86) from the Gentoo store. Long story short-I can get everything up and running and boot into the new Gentoo install on the HD, but even though the kernel says it found my touchpad as a PS/2 it doesn't work. I've gone through the literature and it looks as though I should be able to cat through /dev/mouse, /dev/psaux, /dev/input/eventX, etc. to find it, but no go. The only thing I can see is that while the available lit suggests I should see more than one /dev/input/eventX, I only see the event0 which appears to be tied to the keyboard.

Anyone out there know the fix? At this stage I don't really care if the touchpad works a la full-fledged touchpad-I'd settle for PS/2-compatible functionality at this stage.

Update Tue May 25 07:45:06 CDT 2004: belay my last. I gave it another go last night and got it to work-the only thing I did differently that I can see making a difference was using the standard 2.4.25 kernel sources, e.g. emerge vanilla-sources instead of the Gentoo-optimized options emerge gentoo-sources or emerge gentoo-dev-sources, both of which I'd tried and both of which didn't pick up the touchpad. Now KDE 3.2 in all its glory comes up with a working mouse. All that I have to do now is to find the new modeline for X to use the whole screen and I'm done.

SuSE

Journal: Suse 9.1-Returning

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

Well, as I posted a day or two ago, I pre-ordered a copy of SuSE 9.1 Personal beginning of April and it shipped out to me last Friday.

Yes, I know. The Personal version isn't really designed for people with experience in Linux, and I should have gone for the Professional version. But in my own defence, the Pro version is what, $60 more than the Personal? I don't know about the rest of you but $60 is still a fair chunk of change to me. Besides, I figured I could always upgrade later on if I needed. Turns out that that's easier said than done, so much so that it really didn't seem worthwhile.

Anyway, long story short, I was sort of underwhelmed by the whole experience. I was able to install 9.1 (eventually-required a fair bit of Windows swap file kanoodling) and uninstall it, and it did recognize most of my R3000Z hardware. It did see the integrated winmodem, and although it didn't work I didn't really expect it to; I wasn't able to get my tried-and-true known-to-work -in-Linux 56K modem to work either. And I did think it was semi-cheesy to not have a AMD64 kernel ready to go on the Personal version as an option.

Originally my plan was to keep 9.1 even if it didn't work or didn't work for me, to help promote a Linux company (and indirectly Linux development) I suppose. I made the mistake of saying as much on /. and the usual suspects took me to task for it-something along the lines of it isn't charity if you get something for it. And I decided that I agree. I paid money for it and I should treat them like any other company when I have a problem with their product and return it. It's a harsh reality in some ways, but I think that in the long run it will help Linux by not "settling" for things the way they are. It might not help SuSE in the short run, though, which does bother me a bit.

Don't get me wrong-I was fairly impressed with SuSE Personal 9.1. All in all I think it's a solid choice; in fact I would recommend it to anyone who bought a computer and wanted to either try Linux or didn't want to pay as much for Windows and didn't need a full-fledged Linux install. If I had more money, I'd probably cheerfully buy the Pro version. And I'm not trying to come down on Linux or SuSE or anyone else that might take offense.

So a question for all the readers out there-can anyone suggest a Linux distro that supports AMD64 (2.6 kernel I guess), that has all the regular development tools, and that supports nondestructive repartitioning of an NTFS drive?

Linux Business

Journal: Ignalum Linux

Journal by Helmholtz Coil
There's an interesting Globe and Mail article this morning on a new Linux distro some UWO students are putting together, Ignalum. Their business plan is (I think) to follow other consumer-friendly distros by making things easier and with tighter integration with Windows.

It's great to see Linux and an entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in the Old Country. Anyway it's definitely worth a look for fellow Canucks and everybody else.

SuSE

Journal: SuSE 9.1 Shipping

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

Just got the word today that the copy of SuSE 9.1 I ordered is on its way. I hope it works with the new machine-all I can think of when I use it is, "I bet KDE would fly on this!" :)

Even if it doesn't work, I'll get a nifty SuSE Live CD out of it. And I figure it's my way of contributing to Linux. Or Novell, depending on your point of view.

SuSE

Journal: eMachines and SuSE 9.1?

Journal by Helmholtz Coil
I got an email last week from somebody who was having troubles getting the SuSE 9.1 live CD to work with their eMachines Athlon machine. Specifically, it would freeze up on bootup if ACPI was enabled. I haven't got my SuSE 9.1 yet, but I thought I'd post here in case anyone's got any $.02 I can pass along.

He's tried most of the other major distros with the same results, so any help would be appreciated.

Portables

Journal: The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

Journal by Helmholtz Coil
After the untimely death of my poor little neodymium, I lasted longer than I thought I would in getting a new machine. Which was, 2 days.

I bought a Compaq Presario R3000 and it just came in yesterday. Verrrry nice. :)

Portables

Journal: Ashes To Ashes

Journal by Helmholtz Coil

This past weekend my favourite little workhorse computer "neodymium" died. I bought him used a couple of years ago for $75; he was only a P166 with 32M of RAM and a 2GB HD but he was great with small Linux installs like Vector Linux. He was the first notebook I ever owned, and the one responsible for putting me firmly in the Notebooks From Now On camp.

I guess it's more accurate to say that neo went blind-he's still there, but the LCD is kaput. At least he went fast; flickering slightly Saturday morning, gone entirely that afternoon.

It's amazing to me how fond I was of the little guy. He was slow, he had a tiny screen, but he was mine. Anyway, he's not getting thrown in a landfill-he's got more than enough juice in him to find a new life as a router or firewall. Let's all raise a pint to our fallen friends, and share some memories.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra

Working...