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Old 03-17-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
jamesblue
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Possible to run Slackware on a tablet?


Hello,

I was wondering wether its possible to run Slackware on a tablet, like the PengPod?

http://www.pengpod.com/products/pengpod700

Has anyone got Slack running on any tablet?
 
Old 03-17-2013, 09:09 PM   #2
michaelslack
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That PengPod has an ARM A10 CPU, so in theory slackware for ARM could run on it. Eric Hameleers (Alien Bob) mentioned on another similar thread that he was at one time tinkering on a ``hard-float'' build suitable for Android-type ARM tablets. He is a very busy guy who already does so much for slackware but you never know, we may hear something about that in the not-too distant future.

If you are yet to acquire a tablet, you may be interested with my progress so far (such as it is) on the samsung smart pc pro which is an intel tablet (not ARM). The key thing here is that it has a wacom stylus so it can be used more as a ``traditional'' tablet pc. As such I've got it sort of working well with a minimally tweaked slackware xfce desktop setup. The main things needed (to do) on top of a vanilla slackware-current install (at the time of writing) using xfce desktop:
  • install an on-screen keyboard -- xvkbd is rough but adequate for this;
  • arrange it so that the on-screen keyboard appears at the (KDM) login screen -- to do this I just followed these instructions (found by googling);
  • install a firefox add-on called Grab and Drag -- this vastly improves web-browsing;
  • make sure the screensaver does not lock the screen.
  • remap the wacom stylus ``button 2'' to ``button 3'', using
    Code:
    xsetwacom --set 9 Button 2 3
    where in my case 9 is the id for the stylus found by using
    Code:
    xsetwacom --list devices
    (you must replace the 9 with your own value). Then the stylus button works like right mouse click.

These steps alone result in a pretty smooth desktop/wacom stylus experience, I guess similar to traditional tablet pc/stylus operation, which is mostly what I wanted it for anyway: work rather than play, although as I mention below I usually disable (finger) touch and just use the stylus. I've also installed xournal for notetaking which is great so long as you disable finger touch. I can now pretty much carry the tablet around on its own without the keyboard dock.

The main lingering difficulty is rotation. It is easy enough to rotate the screen using the Settings -> Display dialog, although you also need to explicitly do a rotation for the wacom stylus under Settings -> Mouse and Touchpad. I couldn't work out how to do this for the ordinary (finger) touch though (in fact to facilitate using the pen I usually have finger touch disabled). The big issue is that then when everything is in portrait mode, the pen only works in the upper part of the screen, as if the number of rows (in pixels) is still set as it was under landscape mode. I tried fiddling with xinput and xsetwacom but to no avail. I've seen references to an xinput ``Transformation Matrix'' parameter which looks like it might fix it but I am yet to work that out.

I also mucked around with android_x86 which is still a bit rough but it was encouraging: it will certainly be great once they iron out those wrinkles. However exactly how to install/dual boot that on a UEFI-enabled tablet like this (another whole can of worms) is a potential minefield, which I've avoided up until now by installing slackware in BIOS mode and creating a USB bootstick to boot it. However this is separate from your original post so enough about that.

I might also add that I've had a bit of a look into plasma active, the KDE tablet/mobile workspace/interface. It's hard to find clear documentation about that but as far as I can work out it should be able to be installed on top of a full slackware install which also includes all the requisite underlying KDE components. I followed the instructions at http://community.kde.org/Plasma/Acti...vision_Control and managed to get it all to build successfully and create a slackware package.

It seemed to create a few new applications but it obviously needs a bunch of configuration to turn it all into a proper tablet OS, done by a proper developer (the intended target audience at this stage), which I most certainly am NOT. However I also think in the near future someone who knows better will be able to tell us how to pop this on top of a slackware install, maybe making it one of the session options at the KDM.

Cheers,

Michael
 
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
jamesblue
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Slackware on a tablet would be a good solution for me. Unfortunately I cant afford the Samsung Smart PC Pro, although it does look very very nice. The attachable/detachable keyboard is exactly what I need.

Interesting stuff.

Thanks Michael
 
Old 03-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
marrowsuck
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I would stay away from Allwinner A10 devices, especially if you're into any multimedia stuff, i.e. watching videos.
There are even problems on the Android platform, though not so severe.
The community is active but the promised support from Allwinner is pretty lacking.
 
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
michaelslack
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Yeah the smart pc pro is expensive, at least as far as tablets go -- about right though compared to ultrabooks, which is what it is really spec-wise. There are some cheaper versions of this type of detachable-keyboard intel tablet/laptop with wacom stylus (the stylus is pretty much mandatory if installing slackware), the main differences being that instead of core i5 processors, they have atom; also they might have lower screen resolution, but longer battery life. These include the asus vivo tab, samsung smart pc (NOT the pro) and I think an envy from hp, but I couldn't find a link for that quickly.

Another point is that these would all ship with windows 8 and probably be uefi-booting. This is a bit of a new area although support for it is creeping into slackware-current. These machines most likely have an option to boot in ``BIOS mode'' (on mine it's called CSM -- compatability support module) but as I mentioned above I still need a USB bootstick to boot up my slackware installation, I haven't yet worked out how to boot into it in UEFI mode (I may post a request for help soon!). This is just something you should be aware of.
 
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:04 PM   #6
Woodsman
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I keep patiently waiting for a true free/libre tablet. I don't like the Android tablets because many apps are designed with data mining and phoning home as criteria.

I had a classic use case today. I downloaded a bunch of PDFs I need to read for a work contract. I wanted to move them to a tablet where I could read in the comfort of my easy chair, next to my big picture window.
 
Old 03-18-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
michaelslack
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Well, okular is now a bit touch-friendly and is great on my machine in landscape mode -- perfect in fact. However as I say above, in portrait mode the stylus only works in the top half (or so) of the screen and the finger touch not at all, so there is still a bit to be desired there. Also, xournal is terrific for annotating PDF: it imports the original PDF as a ``background'', saving the annotated file in its native .xoj format. However this is easily exported to PDF which is much better than okular's attempt at the same -- for okular you can only save annotations in an archive which can then only be opened by okular. Xournal however creates a single, universally (so far at least, for me) viewable, annotated PDF.

Michael
 
Old 03-20-2013, 02:13 AM   #8
michaelslack
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For those interested in Alien Bob's possible port of slackware to android-type ARM devices which I referred to above, you might want to take a quick look at his recent blog post where he indicates a preference for a target device, not the zatab as he mentioned in that earlier thread but rather the google chromebook -- he's also asking for donations, some of you might also be interested in helping him out there...
 
Old 03-20-2013, 06:01 AM   #9
ottavio
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It is possible to run the ARM port of any Linux distro on any Android device in a chroot, provided the device is rooted and the Android kernel is not too old.

When it comes to running a native Linux distro, including a native kernel and modules, things are quite different. Unlocking the bootloader is trivial though.
 
Old 03-20-2013, 04:06 PM   #10
Woodsman
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This looks promising:

How To Install KDE Plasma Active On Nexus 7

I hope when free/libre non-android systems finally become available on tablets that some vendors start selling tablets with the free/libre systems preinstalled. Hacking is fine for a really small minority of users, but the remainder just want to buy a system ready to go.
 
Old 03-22-2013, 05:08 PM   #11
michaelslack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelslack View Post

The main lingering difficulty is rotation. It is easy enough to rotate the screen using the Settings -> Display dialog, although you also need to explicitly do a rotation for the wacom stylus under Settings -> Mouse and Touchpad. I couldn't work out how to do this for the ordinary (finger) touch though (in fact to facilitate using the pen I usually have finger touch disabled). The big issue is that then when everything is in portrait mode, the pen only works in the upper part of the screen, as if the number of rows (in pixels) is still set as it was under landscape mode.
As an update, it seems that since the recent xf86-input updates in slackware-current, this problem with the pen not working over the whole screen after a rotation seems to be fixed. I actually saw reference to this bug on the "Support" section of the cellwriter website:

Quote:
There is a bug in the LinuxWacom driver that will screw up Xinput applications when the screen is rotated with xrandr and xsetwacom.
...which is exactly what I was doing. Now it seems to be fixed. Just for those who might be interested, I have three simple scripts which I've put as Launchers on the xfce panel:

rotate-cw:
Code:
xrandr -o right
xsetwacom --set 9 Rotate cw
rotate-ccw:
Code:
xrandr -o left
xsetwacom --set 9 Rotate ccw
rotate-back:
Code:
xrandr -o normal
xsetwacom --set 9 Rotate none
(Remember, the 9 for me is obtained as the id: entry for the stylus from:
Code:
xsetwacom --list devices
-- yours may have a different id: value)

By the way, I'll be trying out cellwriter next...

Cheers,

Michael
 
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #12
slkrover
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I have the nexus 7. When I found out that ubuntu was working on an os for it I was interested and thought slackware would be awesome on it.I had edubuntu on and old laptop for years and ran most of the other distros on the pc but now dont like the new ubuntu with conanical or whatever its called. It was also not a good setup on the nexus 7. They have a newer touch version they are working on but I didnt like it too. Since android is basically linux there are lots of custom android rom developers giving you terminal emulators, root access and kernel and rom building tools just like linux. Slackware is my favorite distro but after plying with full control of andriod I dont think an android tablet needs slackware anymore. The rom and kernel I am using works as good as slackware.

And the rom I currently run, Slimrom is only 109MB complete.

Last edited by slkrover; 03-23-2013 at 11:57 AM.
 
Old 03-24-2013, 08:33 AM   #13
elesmod
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slkrover View Post
new ubuntu with conanical or whatever its called.
The name is "Canonical" and it's not something new in Ubuntu, it's tha name of the company that is producing Ubuntu (and always has been). The thing you meant is probably "Unity", which is the desktop environment in Ubuntu
 
Old 03-25-2013, 07:14 AM   #14
diwljina
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Aside of kernel, Android have nothing in common with some linux distro. What I miss is userland applications, gnu tools, programs that I usually run on desktop, notebook, netbook... To keep my Android phone free, I'm using F-Droid repository only, but it can't compare with standard linux repository. Also, I can't stand java crap Android is full of. I'm looking forward to see true linux on phone and tablet, so porting Slackware is extremely important to me.
 
Old 03-26-2013, 04:46 AM   #15
ottavio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diwljina View Post
To keep my Android phone free, I'm using F-Droid repository only, but it can't compare with standard linux repository.
Thanks. Now you've given me an idea. I needed an alternative repository.

By the way it's possible to install GNU tools on an Android device without root. I'll post the link only if and when I have succeeded.
Quote:
Originally Posted by diwljina View Post
Also, I can't stand java crap Android is full of. I'm looking forward to see true linux on phone and tablet, so porting Slackware is extremely important to me.
On a related thread that I started I got the impression that the Slackware crowd doesn't consider a tablet/mobile a real computer. Pity. And I think that explains why Slackware won't be ported to a tablet any soon.
 
  


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