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Linux - Mobile This forum is for the discussion of all topics relating to Mobile Linux. This includes Android, Tizen, Sailfish OS, Replicant, Ubuntu Touch, webOS, and other similar projects and products.

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Old 12-07-2016, 06:29 PM   #1
Jason_25
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Your very own Mobile Internet Device


I am happy to announce the project I have been working on. I do not know what direction it will take from here but I thought it was a good time to show it.

A MID, UMPC, tablet, smartphone - anything you want it to be. This is a kind of hybrid between phonebloks/project ara and the nokia n900 series

The wiki should guide you through step by step and answer most questions you may have. I have always thought one of the most important parts of this project is being able to teach others to do this and make it as accessible as possible.

As the wiki mentions, please raise a ticket on the issue tracker if you have a problem. But if you just want to talk about it this thread would be fine and I will try to get back to it from time to time.

Special thanks to people on this forum specifically who helped me with with Linux all those years ago and recently who helped to encourage me to start a github page.

Link to SFS MID wiki
 
Old 01-03-2017, 03:15 PM   #2
mr.robot
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That is awesome!
 
Old 07-21-2018, 12:49 PM   #3
Jason_25
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I thought I would provide an update here. The project is still ongoing with a mainboard transition from the Raspberry Pi to the Odroid C0 SBC.

The hardware and software has come a long way making for a pleasant experience to use but yet enough flexibility for most situations and users.

As always, you can post here or on the issue tracker if you have any questions or just want to talk about MID development. Thanks and good luck.
 
Old 02-04-2019, 09:15 PM   #4
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This is a 6 month update. The project continues with a switch to the Lattepanda x86 SBC.

More positives than negatives come with the new ecosystem and the future is bright. It is hoped that with the x86 technology the project will become relatable to more people and the architectural reliability will prove to be an advantage.

You can always post here or on the issue tracker if you have any problems, questions or speculation on the future of MID development. Thanks and good luck.
 
Old 08-06-2019, 03:04 PM   #5
Jason_25
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This is one more 6 month update. I am using the Lattepanda x86 SBC exclusively now.

The layout of the devices has been redesigned to be more like a smartphone and there is a new shell available for 3d printing. In addition, the software has undergone an update and there are new development notes including testing with some Raspberry Pi 4 prototypes which ended up being too hot and using too much power. Finally, there are 5 new scripts uploaded and one included with the MID software which deals with multitouch gaming.

It works well but I am hesitant to call the project finished so if you have suggestions let me know.
 
Old 07-03-2020, 04:31 AM   #6
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimzeylouise View Post
I have facing the problem on my website https://www.SPAM.com/ it's mobile version is perfect but I have reload my main web page all the content is mixed how can I solve this.
Yet another spammer...
 
Old 09-29-2020, 11:41 AM   #7
Jason_25
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Hello and welcome to another update on this longrunning project.

The launch of the Raspberry Pi 4 came and went without offering any power savings so the project continued on without it using some alternative platforms. On the dual goal of being able to play PC games, it is only until recently that the 8GB Pi 4 had that potential. Unfortunately there is not enough overhead for Linux gaming even on most low end x86 PC platforms so there is little hope current Pi versions will make for a good PC gaming experience.

If you read the development notes you will see some experiments with portable PC stick hardware running games such as Kerbal Space Program on Linux but those devices were a dead end as far as power savings go. Both in terms of lack of power saving features and in idle and load power draw.

Currently there does not seem to be a small x86 device that has working suspend/sleep/standby mode in Linux which renders the dual goal of a Linux smartphone device that can play modern PC games unattainable.

The VIM3 SBC does have a working suspend mode as well as a wide 5-20v input. This allows for much more battery power and energy without the corresponding
wiring complexity and loss of efficiency that you would have in a device that required "stepping down" the voltage to 5V. "Stepping up" from traditional smartphone and tablet batteries comes with it's own challenges as well. Namely, the effective current limit, maximum available power and conversion inefficiency from such low voltage batteries.

On the gaming front all hope for portable gaming is not lost. I have uploaded a bonus version of Retroarch with VIM3 support to the releases area as well. This release is intended for and works well for the older console systems.

Maybe one day we can get a device with 8GB+ RAM that can play PC games and go to sleep. Until then keep building!
 
Old 11-06-2020, 10:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie12 View Post
Very NIce Information..
Oh? Which part?
 
Old 12-11-2020, 02:46 PM   #9
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delton View Post
Hey, have you received the help you needed ?
What help? Who are you talking to??

::EDIT:: Spam links reported, delton.

Last edited by TB0ne; 12-13-2020 at 08:55 PM.
 
Old 09-20-2021, 01:18 PM   #10
Jason_25
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I thought I would slip in and give an update just short of a year. A few patches may be still to come anyway.

The goal of a PC gaming phone-like portable has been largely attained. The Lattepanda Alpha SBC specifically has 8GB RAM and can suspend to save power. With a MID based on it you can do the kinds of things you would do on a smartphone as well as play PC games with a gamepad on the go, keyboard/mouse while docked or perhaps even with the touchscreen. The Lattepanda Delta can suspend and has 4GB RAM and is a cheaper alternative. Recent PC games can be played successfully but I would recommend something like a Steam Deck for cutting edge games. If using Android apps is something you would require in a personal mobile device then the large RAM of the Alpha is something that should make emulation possible. When finished you can put the device to sleep and put it in your rather large pocket.

There is something to be said for a smaller more manageable mobile device that is more the size of a smartphone. Even if that means gaming capability is compromised. The VIM 3 is smaller than the Lattepanda Alpha/Delta and has different USB functionality making for a smaller and simpler overall MID. This is more of a device that you can put in your pocket and hopefully not have it break. You can put a plastic shell around it like a commercial device but you will find that one large enough to give good protection makes the MID too large. I do not consider this a big deal since one of the goals of the project is to put more control into the hands of the user and this includes the realm of repairability. In other words if it breaks you can fix it.

Thus 2 parallel ARM and x86 codebases are being maintained for now. Extensive troubleshooting has been undertaken to fix some long standing hardware
stability problems on both MID platforms as well. Addditionally, all main wiki pages have received an update. Finally, another bonus compiled version of the latest Retroarch source has been added that focuses on PS1 emulation.

A special message for Linux Questions users. Among the three forums I posted this release to I think this forum could get the most out of it. Sure the project does fairly well to show the different SBC devices and what they can do. Sure the project does make for a phone for anyone that does not want to use a commercial phone. But more than anything Linux handheld devices are hard to come by and these devices work a lot better than trying to cobble a Linux distribution onto a tablet or smartphone. So enjoy.

I am not sure where it is going to go from here but I look forward to using the devices now that the dream has come true.
 
Old 09-23-2021, 01:28 AM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_25 View Post
A special message for Linux Questions users. Among the three forums I posted this release to I think this forum could get the most out of it. Sure the project does fairly well to show the different SBC devices and what they can do. Sure the project does make for a phone for anyone that does not want to use a commercial phone. But more than anything Linux handheld devices are hard to come by and these devices work a lot better than trying to cobble a Linux distribution onto a tablet or smartphone.
By "these devices" I assume you mean the results of your project.
I do not fully agree.
I assume you do not regularly browse LQ, or other channels on the WWW.
There are a few threads right here that discuss Linux phones and other mobile devices, both the hardware and the software side. You should take a look - your project is not as unique as you make it sound, and some of these alternatives are fairly mature.

That also puts statements like the following in a different light:
Quote:
The era of commercial user customizable personal computers is coming to an end. This inevitably leads to security risks due to increasing proprietization of software, loss of user choice, and a switching of control from the typical user or administrator to a company with profit driven or surveillance motives.
You are not wrong, but too black and white.
Current alternatives still exist - again, both on the hardware and the software side, and combined. Giving full control back to the user.
 
Old 10-02-2021, 01:31 PM   #12
Jason_25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
By "these devices" I assume you mean the results of your project.
I do not fully agree.
I assume you do not regularly browse LQ, or other channels on the WWW.
There are a few threads right here that discuss Linux phones and other mobile devices, both the hardware and the software side. You should take a look - your project is not as unique as you make it sound, and some of these alternatives are fairly mature.

That also puts statements like the following in a different light:

You are not wrong, but too black and white.
Current alternatives still exist - again, both on the hardware and the software side, and combined. Giving full control back to the user.
I browse enough "channels" to know that I don't want to wait around for other people to build a computer for me. Furthermore, this forum does well enough to show what a dystopia installing Linux on a typical mobile device is. When I was a little younger I would have loved for someone to write a wiki to tell me exactly what I need to do to make a personal Linux mobile device a reality.

I guess you are mainly referring to the Pinephone. That is certainly an improvement in the user freedom direction. Especially on the software side, as everything is open source. On the hardware side, you are really dealing with the same kind of totalitarian control as ever. If anything happened to Pinephone as a company then Linux users would be set to back to square one and having to justify that their Android phones "are Linux" and good enough and who can blame them really. I will go on to elaborate on further hardware and software concerns below.

The idea and design direction behind the software on the Pinephone is different than MID software. The Pinephone software is trying to be another Android with an easy to use Phone-centric interface. They are chasing a non-existent user that is too technical for Android but not technical enough to tackle building their own device with total control of the software. As problems with spam calls increase and people use the phone part of their smartphones less then it makes sense to deemphasize the phone part of the software. Also, any commercial device like this is going to be based on software like Gnome, Wayland, Systemd, Network-manager and Pulseaudio that traditional Linux enthusiasts are not often fond of. The MID software is trying to be more like a Windows Mobile Pocket PC running KDE.

Let's talk briefly about hardware and what is realistic for the home builder. The core of a typical smartphone is a carefully designed motherboard built in a multi billion dollar factory. Even if Pinephone posts the design schematics for their device there is little me or anyone else is going to be able to do with it. I do not have a reflow oven or a wafer manufacturing facility nor do I work with circuit boards. The MID devices for better or worse are literally taped together. Anyone can do the work and thus anyone is liberated from engineer or scientist type people telling them they are not good enough.

I wanted to mention the hardware speed advantages of a MID versus something like the Pinephone. Where to even start on this one. The Lattepanda Alpha has like a 3.2 GHZ Intel Core M CPU in it. It is like a mobile i7. It absolutely wipes the floor with whatever thing they are putting in the Pinephone I don't even need to look it up. As far as the VIM 3 SBC, I seem to remember it was recently voted somewhere as the fastest arm SBC or something so I don't think there is even any competition there either. So you can see that there are advantages to a production process where you are not tied to any certain "vendor" or "partner". However these SBC units were not chosen for their speed as much as their thoughtful design with respect to power saving modes.

I thought for a while that devices like the Pinephone would make the MID redundant but ultimately it would not feel like I owned it. It is a device built graciously for me by a corporation. You could argue that the subcomponents of a MID are just parts built for you by a corporation though. But by being interchangeable it is easier to "play one company against another" and choose the component that works best with Linux. Ultimately it would be great if one day we could mold sand from the ground into silicon components and be truly free of the tyranny of having to rely on other people and organizations. But that is another argument.

So you see this project is indeed "unique" and it is also fairly mature. More mature than the Pinephone in fact. An army of engineers is not always required to produce a suitable product. When you do not have specialist motherboard production and plastic molding facilities whatever you make is not going to look mature. Those very same things - the production faclities - are ultimately a ball and chain anyway as I attempted to explain above.

I do not want to see the community become reliant on capitalistic ventures like Pinephone. They are just going to swoop in and drain people of their money and close up shop and leave us with yet another Nokia N900 or whatever. We see it in more mundane ways when company "X" produces a laptop with Linux support and then the model is discontinued. The MID project is a more sustainable venture that empowers everyone.

The "mission statement" on the wiki you referenced took me a long time to think up. So you will have to forgive me for not editing it because it mananged to raise the ire of one Linux user.

You know, you might consider putting some of that constructive criticism to better use and submit a pull request for improvements or contribute to an issues page. Not one other soul has done that in the 5 years the Github page has been opened. So if there is anyone to blame for the lack of so called "uniqueness" in the project it must be me because I have been the only person working on this since the beginning.

I sure appreciate your post though. Most people do not pay this project enough mind to say anything good or bad about it.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 01:52 PM   #13
boughtonp
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That's a very long response - something that will cause a lot of people to simply switch off and move on. If such verbosity is a reflection of your project, it may explain the lack of interest/contributions.

Here is some constructive criticism on the project itself:
  1. The website is a GitHub wiki. A significant part of your target audience is not a fan of GitHub.
  2. It open with a 707KB uncropped and poorly exposed photo, giving only a vague impression of what it might be about.
  3. The "Start" page has a "Work on the code directly for reasons such as improvement or study" option that does not link to code - it links to a bunch of images (uncompressed),
    and the diagrams are all JPEG format (they should be PNG).
  4. The "Requirements" page doesn't actually tell me what is needed.
    However, the "Hardware Review" page opens with a seemingly proud declaration of holding everything together with sticky tape.
 
  


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