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Links for Ubuntu for Pi2

March 30, 2017 — BarryK
Right now, looking at building Easy Linux for the Raspberry Pi2 and Pi3. As did for Quirky 8.1.4.

As Easy/Quirky built with same DEBs as Ubuntu Mate for Pi2, what they have have done is very helpful to look at.

Here are some useful links. The ubuntu-pi-flavour-maker home site:

The project code is hosted here:

They use a lot of customized DEBs, that can be found here:

The Ubuntu Mate website also has a Pi page:

Tags: easy

VLC fixed for Easy and Quirky

March 21, 2017 — BarryK
My simpleVP frontend for the commandline vlc and other CLI video players, remains in a primitive state. I haven't had the time to work further on it. So, video playing in the latest Easy and Quirky (versions 0.2 and 8.1.6) is broken.

I have fixed VLC. This is now the GUI version, that uses Qt libs. A lot of extra DEBs were required.

I got it working, but found videos would not play full-screen, and VLC crashed at completion of playing a video.
My laptop has intel graphics. VLC defaults to using libva and intel_vaapi for video output, and this is the cause of the trouble.

I have created a wrapper script, that causes VLC to default to "xcb_x11" or "xcb_xv" video output, unless the user has explicitly chosen something else. For me, "xv" (xvideo), works fine.

I also fixed the File->Open folder path, as appropriate for Easy or Quirky.

Tags: easy, quirky, linux

Easy Linux 0.2 pre-alpha

March 18, 2017 — BarryK
Here it is, the very first upload of Easy Linux!

I have designated this as "pre-alpha", as in some respects it is incomplete, untested, or immature.

On the otherhand, you might find it works fine for your needs.

To get an idea of what Easy is all about, please do read my How Easy Works page:

The status of Easy is like how an artist creates a painting with broad strokes to build up the overall picture, then later uses finer brushes and more colours. Easy is at the "broad strokes" stage.

Having read the intro, if you are still interested, download from here:

There are no installation instructions yet, but there are some notes in the How Easy Works page. In Linux, you can write the file to a Flash stick or SD-card from the commandline, or use a GUI app.

A GUI app for Windows is USB Image Tool, that I wrote about here:

Etcher is another GUI image writer, for Linux, Mac and Windows (I haven't tried this):

You will need a Flash stick or SD-card of at least 2GB.

Please provide feedback on the Puppy Forum:

Tags: easy

Easy Linux maybe soon

March 17, 2017 — BarryK
I haven't mentioned it on my blog, but have been in India for six weeks, just got back a week ago. Brought diarrhea back with me, so haven't felt 100% -- test shows no parasites, so the cause is a mystery for now, but getting better.

Anyway, Easy Linux. I have been working on some new ideas, or kind of a rehash of old ideas. It has been very intermittent, but do have something. It is very interesting, so even though incomplete, will probably upload it as an alpha release. Soon.

Tags: easy

Things are happening

February 24, 2017 — BarryK
Just realised, the last blog post was Feb. 10, and it is now 24th.

So, a very brief post, in case anyone is wondering what is happening. Lots of things! Working on Easy Linux, containers, and more.

Still expecting to have something to upload mid-March.

Tags: easy

Indirection in a shell script

February 10, 2017 — BarryK
I recently posted about a cool solution for doing sort of version numbers using busybox 'sort', when the full 'sort' (from coreutils) is not available:

Another cool solution is an implementation of variable indirection, when bash is not available. Bash has a special operator for indirection, like this: ${!PTR}.

Running in the initramfs however, there is only busybox. It does not support that "!" operator, however indirection is easy to implement, as explained here:

Back on the topic of the stability of a layered filesystem on the E200HA laptop, ever since I implemented the kernel boot parameter as described in my recent post, Easy Linux has been rock solid:

There was one screen freeze when I first tried it, since then have been running Easy many hours, booted up many times, using it now, rock solid.
Still on aufs, will do a build with overlay f.s. soon, see if that is also stable.

Changing the subject again, BluePup, my bluetooth manager, is working, but needs some TLC. When I bootup, have to use the touchpad to click on the BluePup icon, then turn on the mouse, then it gets detected and works.
Obviously, it would be better if those steps were not required.

But BluePup is one of many things languishing well-down in the to-do list!


More stability issues with E200HA

February 08, 2017 — BarryK
Ha ha, it has got worse. Running the new "Easy Linux" Quirky on an overlay filesystem, stability has become worse. I was getting a very occasional freeze with the full installation of Quirky, but it has become more frequent when running on an overlay f.s.

Apart from seemingly random freezing, I have been getting a degradation. I suddenly notice the degradation, such as apps not starting, even htop, and xload shows CPU usage has gone through the roof. Requires holding down the power button to shutdown.

I wondered if the overlay f.s. was to blame, so patched the 4.4.47 kernel with aufs and compiled. First time ran it with aufs, it ran for an hour, no problem. Next bootup, got the UI degradation after about half an hour.

I read on the internet that this kernel boot parameter will fix freezing on the E200HA:


Rebooted, got a freeze after only a few minutes! Still using aufs. Rebooted, now it has been running for one hour and 7 minutes. Hmmm.

Using it right now, posting from SeaMonkey.


Sorting version numbers

February 05, 2017 — BarryK
I have a need to sort version numbers in the Easy Linux initramfs. The 'sort' utility in Coreutils has the "-V" option, however my initramfs only has busybox sort, which does not have that option.

I recall some years ago, trying to figure out a script to do it. Now that the need has come up again, I did a search with google, and found this:

...yes, a simple one-liner, works great.

A note on progress with Easy Linux, the next-gen Quirky. Coming along very nicely, and lots of fun. When will there be a release? ...not sure, want to get it pretty rock-solid first, even though it will be an alpha or pre-alpha. Probably early-March.

Tags: easy, linux