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Ubuntu Phone OS preview soon

February 17, 2013 — BarryK
Developer Preview images of Ubuntu Phone OS will be available for download on February 21st, for the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4 smartphones:

Here is info on the Nexus 4:

Problems with the Nexus 4:

Personally, I have three major criticisms:

1. Should be made with metal case to distribute heat, not plastic.
2. No micro-SD card slot.
3. None-replaceable battery.

On the otherhand, the micro-USB Slimport is useful:

It doesn't attract me enough to rush out and buy one. But, I do want to run that Developer Preview. I might keep on the lookout for a cheap secondhand unlocked Galaxy Nexus. With a view to upgrading late in 2013 or early 2014 when a smartphone custom-made for Ubuntu OS (with docking station) becomes available.

Also, It is highly likely that Ubuntu Phone OS will be ported to other devices by enthusiasts.


Raring Ringtail touch demo

February 13, 2013 — BarryK
This is quite an impressive video. It shows a recent snapshot of Ubuntu 13.01 Raring Ringtail on a 27 inch touch screen, doing everything by touch:


Flash Friendly File System (f2fs)

February 12, 2013 — BarryK
This is great, f2fs has been merged in the 3.8 kernel. I read about f2fs awhile back, and was most interested.

A good overview:

The kernel documentation:;a=blob;f=Documentation/filesystems/f2fs.txt;hb=HEAD

User-space tools:;a=summary

This looks like the way to go for our ARM pups.


Clean up Ubuntu

February 12, 2013 — BarryK
This is a very good article:

With our Upups (puppies built from Ubuntu binary packages), we don't have those daemons running.
Perchance we do, such as that Avahi thing, the article explains how to kill it.

But, I do install and run the actual Ubuntu, so it is nice to have this guide.

Tags: general

Elementary not so elementary

February 01, 2013 — BarryK
Ha ha, I couldn't resist it, I posted a comment here:

But next day, Mr Hoogland has removed it.

I wrote a little program in BaCon, that did the same as his Python/Elementary example, but was a fraction of the number of lines, easier to read and understand, and compiles to a tiny and fast 46KB standalone binary executable.

I posted my BaCon program as a comment to his blog
and a link to my example GTK app:

I just posted the code and link, no provocative comments, but it was obviously too confronting for Mr Hoogland.


Nikon Coolpix L310

January 16, 2013 — BarryK
I do love a bargain! I already have a digital camera, but it has been in the back of my mind for sometime to upgrade it. I take the occasional Puppy- and electronics-related shot, also personal and family shots. I was particularly interested in one with bigger optical zoom.

A few days ago I noticed a Nikon Coolpix L310 camera for A$94 in a BigW sale catalog, reduced by A$100. A bit of checking, yeah, these usually sell for A$150 or more in Australia.

The specs are lovely, the reviews are good, so I bought it.

Well, not at BigW. My local store was sold out, no more available at the sale price. However, I found it was also selling at the same price at OfficeWorks, and it was in-stock.

Interesting, my old camera, purchased several years ago, cost A$199, with nowhere near those specs.

Here is a review:

Changing the subject, I posted yesterday about the possibility that I might buy a touchscreen laptop. I have decided to hold off on that. I did receive a very kind offer of an old laptop that has a touchscreen.

But, I will wait. I want to see what phone/tablet hardware Ubuntu will be supporting. I want to be very efficient with any purchases -- in the case of a smartphone, acquire something that will be usable long-term.

Though, it might be necessary to buy something intermediate, as Ubuntu Phone OS currently only runs on the Galaxy Nexus. Apparently, things are looking good for two phone manufacturers to bring out an Ubuntu-based phone, but that will be end-of-2013 or early-2014.

Ha ha, a phone vendor here in Australia had a model-runout sale of the Galaxy Nexus, for only A$210, but the sale ended 28th December. Now, they are about A$360.


New Xorg modesetting drivers

January 15, 2013 — BarryK
aarf posted to this blog about xf86-video-modesetting:

This is an un-accelerated Xorg driver for kernel video drivers that support Kernel Mode Setting (KMS). It seems, can be used as an alternative to xf86-video-vesa, xf86-video-fbdev, or the hardware-specific driver (ex: xf86-video-nouveau).
Note, Debian/Ubuntu name these differently, for example 'xserver-xorg-video-nouveau'.

While looking for further info on xf86-video-modesetting, I came across 'xf86-video-armsoc':

As I understand it, xf86-video-modesetting is generic, and will work with any kernel KMS video driver, including those used in ARM SoCs.
xf86-video-armsoc works with MaliT6xx GPUs and provides some 2D acceleration.
There is also the Lima project for Mali 400 GPUs, which is completely open source.
It seems that all of these are works-in-progress.


Cheap laptop with touchscreen?

January 11, 2013 — BarryK
I want to start working on getting Puppy touch-friendly, and I was thinking perhaps a cheap x86 laptop with touchscreen would be a good first choice.

But, what is available, and cheap?

I see this one, available locally for $A448:


...underpowered by today's standards though.

I'm reluctant to spend so much money on something that I will probably only use for developing a touchscreen interface, not for regular ongoing use. After all, I have a much more powerful laptop that is my daily workhorse.

I should add, I want a capacitive touchscreen.