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Linux on a Tablet PC - which way to go.

Posted 09-18-2009 at 11:21 AM by lumak

Which way to go from here? I recently received a Fujitsu Stylistic ST5010 tablet PC with windows xp tablet edition installed. I instantly thought of how great it would be to get linux installed on it but haven't taken the plunge yet... Mainly because there are no distros specifically for tablets! Not to mention, I'm a slackware user.

This leaves me pondering:

1. A lot of the software I looked at seems unmaintained.
2. Matchbox-project looks promising but appears to have no updates for 2 and a half years.
3. The only decent journal software is java based (no offense, I just don't like java)
4. The only way I can think to compile things is on the tablet it self (a 1 gig Pentium M) or to compile in a virtual machine with an AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+
5. Do I force a default user login into a graphical environment? or do I provide a gui log in... how do I handle if X crashes? Do I forcefully turn off the system? Do I go the way of Knoppics and very annoyingly reboot the x server?
6. WHAT distribution do I choose?!

OK granted, old software is still relevant and works as is (e.g. blackbox). AND Jarnal may be java but it supports text and a pdf export. AND I don't mind compiling on a virtual machine.

All options of dealing with the x server are equally good options.

That only leaves the distribution...
I know slackware, I can deal with others. Choosing a distro with a repository based package manager will make things 'easier' But it won't be slackware... I will have an opportunity to learn other distros. I've been spoiled with the very direct and to the point '/etc/rc.d/rc.my_daemon start|stop|restart'

But slackware... is it really up to the task? I suppose it is what I make of it... I have the docking station for keyboard, mouse, and cd incase something goes wrong...

Hrmmmms.... Maybe I'll give it another month to decide.
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  1. Old Comment
    I'm running Ubuntu Hardy (v8.04.3 LTS) on a "tablet PC" and most of the features work.

    My hardware:
    • EmperorLinux Raven Tablet -- actually a Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet
    • dual boot with M$ Windows-XP/Pro Tablet Edition
    • RAM at 3GiB
    • recently upgraded disks to 500 GiB
    • "tablet" is OEM serial Wacom tablet with stylus
    • "display" rotates landscape or portrait with auto detection
    • "tablet" does not play nicely with 3D Desktop effects -- think what this would mean at the hardware and graphics levels so its not a surprise this is not yet working.

    For me the features I use most work fine:
    • electronic legal pad with xournal or jarnal
    • digital ink with xournal
    • xournal save to PDF
    • xournal import document and markup with digital ink (includes adding a real signature)
    • character stroke based data entry with cell-writer
    • tap keyboard entry with klavier

    One feature that I would really like to have is
    conversion from digital ink to text

    There are many applications that do not play well when "tablet mode" input and navigation is enabled.
    I'd really like to find ways to resolve these.

    I'd really like to find ways so that tablet mode and 3D desktop effects at least get out of each other's way: "Oh? you want tablet? Here let me disable 3D"
    "Oh, you are finished doing tablet, let me restore 3D" ... but spinning a cube or cylinder with a stylus would be such wonderful eye candy ...

    ~~~ 0;-Dan
    Posted 12-16-2009 at 01:50 PM by SaintDanBert SaintDanBert is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Thank you very much for your response!

    3D cube is easily solved if you have extra function buttons along the side (assuming you can get them to work.) Fortunately, I believe there is a driver that will get my Fujitsu working with the buttons in some sort of keyboard fashion. Just set it up so that you have a quick disable of the cube, or you have to hold one of the buttons while dragging to move it. OR if you can execute a move cube command through command line, then assign it to buttons on the system tray.

    I was also thinking today that the best thing to do would be to find a distro with a good repository of everything I'll need. My main machine is currently 64bit and I haven't mastered cross compiling.

    The last thing would be managing user logins and getting suspend to work and other minor tweaks.

    Figuring out a screen lock command that still allows me to enter my name and or pass with a virtual keyboard would be tricky.

    The only thing that somewhat works with windows xp tablet is that most text boxes use standard windows programming and windows usually pops up an icon for the input box.

    I suppose the best thing to do is make several backups of my current harddrive, ensure they are good backups, then take the plunge and try it out.
    Posted 12-19-2009 at 03:44 AM by lumak lumak is offline


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