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FydeOS alternative to ChromeOS works on PCs

October 28, 2022 — BarryK

Today I stumbled across someone mentioning FydeOS, and alternative to ChromeOS. Recalled briefly looking at it sometime ago, decided worth another look...

What attracts me to ChromeOS is support for Android and Linux apps, and FydeOS also has this support. A significant difference is that FydeOS can be installed on "Windows" PCs.

ChromeOS is only available on Chromebooks; however, a bit of online reading revealed that Google have ChromeOS Flex, that can be installed on PCs -- unfortunately, it does not run Android apps, and a bit of further reading indicated problems with Linux apps.

FydeOS website:

https://fydeos.io/

There is also an open-source variant:

https://openfyde.io/

Differences between FydeOS and openFyde are explained here:

https://github.com/openFyde/getting-started

...not quite sure if read it correctly, seems to imply that openFyde does not support Android apps.

Very interesting, a 2-in-1 tablet with FydeOS is planned:

https://fydetabduo.com/

The Fydetab Duo has a pretty good SoC:

https://www.cnx-software.com/2022/01/12/rockchip-rk3588s-cost-optimized-cortex-a76-a55-processor/

Reasonable specs:

https://fydetabduo.com/specs

...12.35 inch screen, stylus, weight with keyboard is 1.32Kg -- rather heavy.

It is being offered on Indiegogo:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fydetab-duo--2#/

Interesting. I could buy a Lenovo 2-in-1 Chromebook locally with similar specs, at about the same price.

It would be very interesting to install FydeOS to one of my PCs. They say it can dual-boot.    

Tags: linux

Vanilla Dpup and Upup progress

May 27, 2022 — BarryK

I have posted before that Dima (dimkr) and Mick (01micko) are developing the "testing" branch of woof-CE. In March 2021, I reported on Dima's work on a Puppy without an initrd, using "frugalify":

https://bkhome.org/news/202103/puppy-linux-without-an-initrd.html

They have also been developing a more traditional next-generation Puppy, pre-fixed "Vanilla-"; currently there is Vanilla-Upup and Vanilla-Dpup, based on Ubuntu and Debian packages respectively. These have an initrd.

I decided it is time to have a look how these Vanilla-* pups are coming along. Downloaded Vanilla Dpup 9.2.0 from here:

https://github.com/vanilla-dpup/releases/releases

Forum thread:

https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=6002

And downloaded Vanilla Upup 22.04.39 from here:

https://github.com/dimkr/woof-CE/releases

Forum thread:

https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=5290

Only did a quick play with each. Impression was, everything I tried worked. Very smooth, nice UIs, easy connection to my wi-fi. Overall: impressed.

Ha ha, I don't use optical media anymore, but for these took a trip down memory lane, burnt the iso's to CD's and booted them. In the case of Dpup, it took almost 2 minutes (117 seconds) to copy the sfs's to RAM. That would have been a few seconds off a USB-stick. So, reminded how clunky and slow CD's are.

One of the reasons that I have looked at these, is I wanted to see if the Puppy traditional PPM package manager and apt & Synaptic "talk" to each other. They are all installed.

Using Synaptic, I installed Scribus, that went smoothly. But the installed packages did not show up in the PPM. So the answer is "no", they don't talk to each other.

I am getting interested in installing apt and maybe Synaptic in Easy Bookworm, but only if can get it to talk with the PPM.

Just an observation: in my brief experience with installing Scribus, Synaptic did not bring anything superior compared to doing it with the PPM. I tested installing Scribus in Easy Bookworm 0.4, with Easy's own PPM, and it went smoothly, and Scribus worked. Just an observation.    

Tags: linux

Dpup next-generation Puppy progressing

February 05, 2022 — BarryK

I have posted about the development being done by Dima (dimkr on the forum):

https://bkhome.org/news/202105/puppy-moving-to-xwayland.html

Of course there other contenders for what will become the "next generation Puppy".

Dima has created a section of the forum for "Vanilla Dpup" and has itemized how his new pup differs from traditional Puppy:

http://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=5044

...a very interesting read.

The new Dpup section in the forum:

http://forum.puppylinux.com/viewforum.php?f=183

It is about time that I downloaded the latest and gave it a run!   

Tags: linux

Puppy and EasyOS used in physics lab

October 14, 2021 — BarryK

Stuart is a professor at Lyon College, Arkansas, USA (lyon.edu). He has been using Puppy Linux, Precise Puppy, until recently, and is now using EasyOS 3.0.

Stuart is 'phdzaps' in the old Puppy Forum, posts back around 2011 - 2013. He has kept me updated via emails since 2018, about progress with using Puppy in a laboratory.

Today he sent me a link to a unit "Physics 241":

Not sure if that is allowed to be made public... Ah, it is OK, as able to reach this link via the physics.lyon.edu front page:

https://logcabinphysics.x10.bz/Courses/FA21/241/index.html

It is great that EasyOS is finding a practical use in a laboratory!     

Tags: linux

Fatdog64 811 works real nice

October 12, 2021 — BarryK

Fatdog64 version 811 is the latest in the Fatdog puppy-derivative distribution. Using it, it seems very much like a puppy, UI, menu-structure, heaps of apps, but there are differences -- most notable is the Gslapt package manager instead of PPM in the pups.

The last time that I reported on a release of FatDog was version 720, in 2017:

https://bkhome.org/news/201712/fatdog64-720-final-released.html

...you might want to read that if interested in the history of FatDog. The developers are forum members kirk, jamesbond, step and SFR.

Version 811 was released on September 10, 2020, here is the announcement thread:

https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=746

I did try 811 earlier, when attempting to get it to run in a container in EasyOS. What prompted me to play with it again, is Gcmartin recommended it for my old HP workhorse PC with "new" Nvidia GeForce 210 GT218 video card, for which the 'nouveau' kernel module does not work. I posted about that a few days ago:

https://bkhome.org/news/202110/gt210-nvidia-card-for-old-workhorse-pc.html

Yes, Fatdog is particularly useful for booting up with troublesome video cards. The boot menu includes "disable radeon driver", "disable nouveau driver" and "severe video problems" choices.

The last two both work for me. Choosing to disable the nouveau kernel driver causes a kernel commandline parameter "blacklist:nouveau". Choosing "severe video problems" causes a kernel commandline "nomodeset".

Actually, they have the same effect. In the second case, the nouveau kernel module loads, but with modesetting disabled, which effectively disables it.

So, with no kernel GPU driver loaded, Xorg will start with whatever framebuffer mode is in effect at bootup. Which is interesting. I see that Fatdog has these:

CONFIG_FRAMEBUFFER_CONSOLE=y
CONFIG_FB_EFI=y
CONFIG_FB_UVESA=m
CONFIG_FB_SIMPLE is not set

A significant difference with EasyOS is it has:

CONFIG_FRAMEBUFFER_CONSOLE=y
CONFIG_FB_EFI=y
CONFIG_FB_UVESA is not set
CONFIG_FB_SIMPLE=y
CONFIG_FB_VESA=y

Anyway, back onto Fatdog 811, my impressions are it is pleasant to use, with everything that you would want for configuring. And of course lots of apps, including LibreOffice. Very good, I see also PuppyPhone and TigerVNC in the menu. X11vnc also.

At first, I grumbled that there was no hardinfo or pupsysinfo app, as I am accustomed to one of those in the "System" menu -- but hardinfo is there, you have to go to "Fatdog Control Panel" first.

And definitely can recommend Fatdog for booting on PC with troublesome video hardware!

EDIT 2021-10-18:
Fatdog64 version 812 is due out soon. Right now, there is 812 RC:

https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?t=4262    

Tags: linux

Debian-noroot works great on new Alldocube 7-inch tablet

August 18, 2021 — BarryK

I posted several days ago about installing "DebDroid-ng" on my Huawei tablet:

https://bkhome.org/news/202108/debdroid-ng-works-great.html

...that uses a VNC server in Debian and a VNC viewer in Android, and is launched from termux.

More recently, I tested termux's method of running a Debian desktop:

https://wiki.termux.com/wiki/Graphical_Environment

...and tried both "Xserver XSDL" and "Android Xserver", instead of VNC. Android Xserver is only a partial implementation of X11, and the desktop was badly broken. Xserver XSDL works, but as warned, is unstable -- a few minutes after starting, the mouse pointer froze.

Having a native Android X server is more efficient than going through a VNC connection, so I explored this some more...

Sergii, the guy who developed Xserver XSDL, has also created a complete Debian Buster XFCE desktop, bundled with Xserver XSDL, as an Android APK package. It is simply a matter of install, tap the "debian" icon, and the Debian desktop is up and running.

I thought that as Sergii has modified this Debian specifically to run on his Xserver XSDL, that it should be stable, and yes, it is. Used it for about an hour yesterday, no freeze, no crash. Again today, still stable.

Firstly, here is his Xserver-XSDL project page:

https://github.com/pelya/xserver-xsdl/tree/xsdl-1.20

...it looks like he attempted to go up to SDL 2.x, but has fallen back to using SDL 1.2 -- which I can understand!

There is an Xserver XSDL APK file for Android, that I installed for the termux tests, however the Debian noroot APK has the X server builtin, so it is standalone. So, I uninstalled Xserver XSDL (and Android Xserver), and installed this, from the Google Play Store:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cuntubuntu

For the record, here is the project page:

https://github.com/pelya/debian-noroot

And Sergii has put APKs here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/libsdl-android/files/apk/XServer-XSDL/

I found the mouse scrollwheel doesn't work. Ah yes, mouse... absolutely essential. Very sluggish.

So definitely there are issues! But, a lot does work. I installed Gimp and Inkscape, they work. Slow, but they do work. A photo showing the Synaptic Package Manager, that I used to install Gimp and Inkscape:

img1

I should mention, I am doing this on my new 7 inch Alldocube tablet, posted about recently:

https://bkhome.org/news/202108/7-inch-tablet-with-4g-lte.html

img2

It arrived a few days ago. Minimal specs, but a surprisingly pleasant experience to use. But, had a storage problem...

I formatted a 128GB SD card as internal storage, and used a USB cable to copy in several hundred MB of videos -- but later on, they just disappeared. The folder that I had created for them still existed, but contents were gone. Huh???

This must be something to do with the SD card being internal storage. So I reformatted it as portable storage, and copied the videos again. This time they have been retained.

However, back to only 16GB internal storage. Have installed a few apps, including a GPS offline mapping app, and of course Debian-noroot and Gimp/Inkscape, and Settings is now showing 10GB used. Need to be careful not to run out of internal storage!

Pare for the course, vendors cheating on device specs. I am treating it as normal now. At least for products from China. Alldocube are honest, which does make it hard for them, as many other vendors of smartphones and tablets on Aliexpress are outright scam artists. However, Alldocube are incorrect with one of the specs, claiming a weight of 224g:

https://www.alldocube.com/en/parm/iplay7t-parm/

...I weighed it at 239g. Which reminded me, I am posting weights on my blog, using a cheap Kmart digital scale. Need to confirm that it is accurate, so have ordered a set of steel calibration weights 5g to 200g.

OK, back onto Debian-noroot, here is some user feedback:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SamsungDex/comments/kvwu98/best_linux_implementation_so_far_for_me_debian/

At first I didn't know how to bring up the virtual keyboard, so used a bluetooth keyboard. But I was reading this, rather old review, it explains how to bring up the keyboard:

https://www.nextpit.com/turn-your-android-device-into-a-linux-pc-without-rooting

...swipe from the right, to expose the three command buttons, and tap on the "back" button, and hey-presto the keyboard appears and can type in the terminal window. Tap again on the "back" button to make the keyboard go away.

Here are videos. The first one was created in 2014, but note that Debian-noroot had a significant upgrade in 2020...

"Use an Android phone like a desktop PC"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFulMBNvjZA

"debian linux on android"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SxJv8KHTPM

"install debian linux on android"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_GqtFsVtgQ

It has been fun getting Debian-noroot running on the tablet. An extremely restricted environment of course, but I can see the usefulness of Gimp and Inkscape to provide superior image editing. Maybe more uses, we shall see.    

Tags: linux

DebDroid-ng works great

August 09, 2021 — BarryK

This post is to give a thumbs-up for DebDroid-ng, created by "marcusz", a method for running Debian in Android phones and tablets, without having to root the phone. I have played with various alternatives, but found DebDroid-ng to be the simplest.

I reported on one of the alternatives a couple of days ago, "Userland":

https://bkhome.org/news/202108/userland-is-a-way-to-add-puppy-or-easyos-to-android.html

...cannot recall what the issue was, but did run into a problem with using UserLand.

I am waiting on arrival of a 7 inch Alldocube tablet, a contender for phone replacement and for hiking (GPS maps, watching videos, FM radio). Would like to experiment with also running Linux on it, even though it is a very low-end device.

While waiting, decided to play with the choices out there for installing Linux, on my Huawei tablet. This is an 8 inch tablet that I bought early 2020, also pretty low-end specs. Never used it much, partly because it doesn't have Google Play Services -- yes, I am hooked on Google Play Services.

Tried a few methods to install Linux on the Huawei tablet. One that looked really great, only supports aarch64 ...that was when I discovered the tablet only has 32-bit Android 10 installed, despite having a 64-bit CPU.

Then discovered DebDroid-ng. The "ng" part is important, because marcusz completely rewrote it early in 2021, and appended the "-ng". Project page:

https://github.com/WMCB-Tech/debdroid-ng

...that page has the instructions, and I just followed them.

It does require the "termux" app, and doesn't say so, but I assume also wants a VNC client app -- I chose "VNC Viewer".

For those who have access to the Google Play Store, do not install termux from there, as it is no longer updated. Instead, install the "F-Droid" app, which is an alternative app store, free apps only, and install termux from there.

I found VNC Viewer in the Huawei AppGallery, but assume it is also in other app stores.

Then all that you do is tap on the "termux" icon, and type in commands as explained in the DebDroid-ng project page.

It defaults to installing Buster release of Debian. You do need fast Internet connection.

So far, have only tested it once. Got a desktop, XFCE, great. What is immediately obvious, is that it needs a mouse to be usable. Without a mouse, extremely painful to use. Haven't tried with mouse yet, but assume if pair a Bluetooth mouse in Android, it will work in Debian.

Just a preliminary post, to report the pleasant install experience.

One thing planning to do next is explore using "Xserver XSDL" app instead of VNC.   

Tags: linux