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PengPod Crowdfunding a Tablet Made With OS-Switching In Mind

timothy posted 1 year,12 days | from the machine-that-goes-peng dept.

Android 93

PengPod is running a crowdfunder to create a GNU Linux/Android tablet, the PengPod 1040. This is their second such product; the first was mentioned on Slashdot last year. PengPod has pledged to make all source and tools used to build the images available, so users can build their own OS top to bottom to guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking. The PengPod has previously found some success as a low-cost touch platform for industrial/commercial control systems and is partnered with ViewTouch, the original inventors of the graphical POS to offer PengPod1040s as restaurant register systems. The feature that the developers seem keenest to emphasize is that the PengPod is built to run conventional desktop Linux distros without special hacking required; Android is the default OS, but it's been tested with several others (including Ubuntu Touch) listed on their Indiegogo page.

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Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096865)

There is to be absolutely no bitching about the NSA by Amercians unless said Americans are actually going to get up, turn off the TV, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097115)

Yes but bitching about it *is* doing something, and if enough bitch about it it may yet have an effect, and even if it doesnt its an improvement from being blissfully ignorant. I prefer the bitching.

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097257)

So...bitching is going to stop the NSA? Just complain about it and it will all go away? *Giggle* The hippies got out and protested at Occupy Wall St. but I don't see anyone protesting about being spied on all the time. I guess most Americans really don't mind it.

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (1)

Richy_T (111409) | 1 year,11 days | (#45101543)

Do you think the hippies just woke up one day and spontaneously converged on Wall St like some "Close Encounters" thing? Or did they bitch about it a bit first before it coalesced into action?

You can't have snow without moist air.

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45101575)

All the bitching is just leading to more paranoia and outright lies being spread as the truth. The NSA isn't doing 10% of what everyone is claiming they are doing

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (2)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097265)

I fail to see how any device that is on the internet (and what's so fun about an android device that's NOT on the internet) can escape the NSA. You are on the net, you are subject to being monitored by the NSA and a whole host of countries which do the same thing (albeit on a smaller scale..)

So is this article assuming android has NSA tracking built in on all commercial devices sold? Somehow, I doubt even the NSA (which apparently has the same reputation as Ole Saint Nick, [knows when you are sleeping, knows when you are awake.. etc]) could manage to do that. Most of these devices are built and have their software loaded over seas. If anything, I'd be more concerned about China getting their software bits added but that's a totally different story.

Even though Snowden and WikiLeaks make loud claims about what the NSA can possibly do, it does not make it so and to me, much of the noise being made is self serving "I want my 15 seconds of fame" grand standing. Yes, they can likely track a lot more than most realize, but they are not putting tracking software on commercial devices being sold to the public. If they did, it would be a HUGE violation of law that would make the reported on excesses at the NSA look like a 2 year old shoplifting candy in the checkout line. (Bad, to be sure, but you might want to pay attention to the armed robbery going on involving the cash register..)

Sarcasm

Of course, turning off the TV IS doing something about it, now they won't know what I'm doing. Better unplug your X-Box too, oh and all your android devices, I-devices, etc, cause they are out to get you...

/Sarcasm

Re:Absolutely no bitching about the NSA (1)

Richy_T (111409) | 1 year,11 days | (#45101559)

Step 1 in being point-to-point secure is to have secure points. It's well known that once you have access to the hardware, it's game over.

hmm seems a bit heavy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096873)

I would applaud for a nice tablet with my choice of OS but it's 1.4 lbs or 22.4 ounces. Yikes that's heavy.

Similar to the competition in weight (3, Insightful)

enrevanche (953125) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098373)

slightly less than the ipad and slightly more thet the nexus 10

Why switch? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,12 days | (#45096885)

If you're going to install a Linux distribution on the thing anyway, why not just run Android in a VM which eliminates the need to reboot to switch operating systems?

Re:Why switch? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,12 days | (#45097059)

Why run a VM when you can just switch OSs?

Re:Why switch? (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097221)

Why run a VM when you can just switch OSs?

Because rebooting any time I want to do any of the following sounds a lot less convenient than hitting a button to switch from the host environment to the VM and back again:

That way if someone emails you a document or presentation you can save it to your device in Android, reboot into Linux and run LibreOffice or another office app to edit it. Or if you’re using Ubuntu and want to watch Netflix or use Skype, you can reboot into Android to do that.

Re:Why switch? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100163)

yeah.. and why the fuck would you want to reboot to view netflix or skype both of which you can do from x86 linux? in case of skype you would want to keep it online anyways.

even better however would be to just run the android apps inside the linux side totally negating the need for vm(apart from dalvik itself) to run the apps.

Re:Why switch? (5, Interesting)

kLimePie (3031053) | 1 year,12 days | (#45097075)

VM's have a performance penalty. What's the state of virtualization in the ARM world anyway? Mere emulation similar to what you find in the Android SDK will run faster, but you won't get the full Android experience. Running Linux in a chroot inside the Android host might be a better option performance-wise, but the Android kernel and userland have quirks not found in desktop Linux.

Re:Why switch? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100013)

VM's have a performance penalty.

Given how Android limits the scope of applications (and the APIs and resources that these applications can access), why should an Android VM necessarily have a performance penalty? All the "pure Java" stuff at least could run in a "Userspace Android" process that would expose the APIs to the apps and the apps wouldn't know the difference. Apps with native code...well, that would probably require *some* dynamic translation of native code, but probably not nearly as much as running a full OS in a VirtualBox of VMWare "hardware VM".

Free of NSA tracking? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096919)

What's the odds on this being the NSA's way to keep tabs on people who want to avoid NSA tracking?

guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | 1 year,12 days | (#45096923)

What? Does this table have no cell or networking capability?

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096955)

The project doesn't make any mention of the NSA. That's timmy inserting irrelevant editorial.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,12 days | (#45097037)

The project doesn't make any mention of the NSA. That's timmy inserting irrelevant editorial.

And isn't even a valid point -- no one can audit every line of code in every piece of software they run - the linux kernel itself has over 5 million lines of code, and that doesn't even include applications.

Even if you were certain that the code itself was clean, how do you know you can trust the firnware in the device, the compiler you're using to compile the code, and even your own computer?

If you went back to a 1960's era wirewrapped computer [wikipedia.org] , you might have some hope at validating the operating system and hardware, but there's no way for an individual to be 100% certain that a modern computer is free of software and hardware back doors when the bad guys could have compromised the hardware locked inside of the core chips that run the device.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097647)

No need to go back to the 60s, just back to the late 90s / early 2000s when the process was likely too large to include large chunks of hidden logic.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100049)

no one can audit every line of code in every piece of software they run - the linux kernel itself has over 5 million lines of code, and that doesn't even include applications.

You can always run Oberon. No need to go to 1960s.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,11 days | (#45102887)

no one can audit every line of code in every piece of software they run - the linux kernel itself has over 5 million lines of code, and that doesn't even include applications.

You can always run Oberon. No need to go to 1960s.

On what hardware? How far back in time do you need to go to be sure that the BIOS in your network card isn't installing a keylogging hook?

I picked 1960's because that was when you could trace the wirewrapped wires and discrete logic that build your computer. And you could toggle in the bootloader yourself on the front panel before loading your carefully vetted operating system image from paper tape. You could even read the binary from the paper tape yourself if you wanted to.

Though I imagine that you'd need to put your computer in a big faraday cage since it would probably be trivial for someone from afar to monitor your CPU in real-time using a radio receiver and modern DSP's to clean up the signal.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,11 days | (#45103037)

On what hardware?

Oberon can run on pretty much anything. If you want to build your own hardware, I suppose it's best to buy some breadboardable parts of very diverse provenance. The more exotic the better. Regarding shielding, that's a no-brainer. If you're paranoid enough to run OTA (a good idea for many people anyway), a nice shielded box is exactly what you'd use.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096957)

The NSA is building their tracking into the hardware now anyway.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096963)

THIS.
AND:
supply chain injection/coersion

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | 1 year,12 days | (#45097005)

You have to excuse Timmeh. He'a an idiot. PengPod doesn't give any such "guarantee". Timmeh just thinks he's smart and witty by inserting the NSA into the topic.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (2)

chill (34294) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097217)

No, sadly that bit is actually in the PengPod video on their page.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (5, Informative)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097243)

I'm part of the PengPod project, I thought I should come to Timothy's defense. We throw the no NSA thing around in the marketing because we directly share, or use common open source distributions that share, all the source in the machine. For the bootloader, u-boot, kernel up to the user space. We share all the Apache licensed parts as well. In this way, you can review and audit all the code, unlike with many Android devices where their Android modifications are hidden. Of course, as the above points out we cannot actually audit the entire existing code base. Also we don't have source for the 3D acceleration libraries but they aren't required for any uses. Since we provide all the tools to create your own images, the device can be flashed without those.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097371)

So then you're guarantee is actually bogus. I can only hope you get sued for such a thing because that would be hilarious.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45098409)

re-read it. YOU have the ability to guarantee it is free of NSA tracking by reading and compiling your own source code for this device. It is not a bogus guarantee. it does not state that it is NSA free in its "as shipped" state.

Re:guarantee that it's free of NSA tracking? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,11 days | (#45099273)

YOU have the ability to guarantee it is free of NSA tracking by reading ... source code for this device.

Oh that's good, I'm sure that won't take very- heywaitaminuuuute...

We didn't get 100% (3, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,12 days | (#45096973)

Well, we tried, but we didn't ham-handedly mention the NSA in 100% of headlines today. There's always tomorrow, folks.

Re:We didn't get 100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097385)

my, how wonderful the future looks.

this would be amazing if it supported iOS too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#45096989)

an ihackPad that can jump to android and linux at will would be pretty sweet.

Archaic Workflow (4, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | 1 year,12 days | (#45097017)

Saving a spreadsheet downloaded in Android, then rebooting into Linux to edit it, then rebooting back into Android to send it back with a touch-centric email client, or any similar workflow seems rather archaic. It's like over a decade ago when on occasion I would absolutely have to reboot into Windows to get something done - it was annoying (and destroyed my uptime!). Further, you need a keyboard and mouse to operate this device under Linux - at least that's what the demo video shows, and I don't see how it could be done any other way (in a practical sense).

This is the total wrong approach. Now that Android is making it's way onto desktop type machines, perhaps it's time to look at porting applications like LibreOffice and Gimp over to Android. You would still want to plug in a keyboard and mouse to use them, but at least you wouldn't have to reboot multiple times in order to complete what amounts to a single task. Also, it would be nice to drop my phone into a dock that connects it to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard - but only if I have desktop applications available. If for some Android OS-centric technical reason, porting full scale apps makes no sense, then it's time to look at some kind of practical OS hybridization. Not to mention the time is now to steal Microsoft's thunder and if we don't make such moves now, I can't promise it will still be that time in two or three years.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097093)

The challenge to Android on the desktop (or laptop) is mostly the desktop GUI, not app adoption.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097187)

??? - 3rd party Android GUI's are a dime a dozen. It would not take a tremendous amount of effort to develop something that is more of a compromise. But why would I even want to use it in a desktop capacity without desktop apps? I happen to require those apps. I think you're missing the point entirely: this is the problem this project is trying to solve in the first place. Only they are going about it wrong. If you don't believe me, watch their demonstration video.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097499)

Android launchers are a dime a dozen.

Android desktops, those that can display multiple apps correctly (so you can look at your reference material while you work on your spreadsheet) are mostly a collection of kludges and hacks, with little support from the apps that are supposed to run in them.

Re:Archaic Workflow (3, Interesting)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097165)

then why not just get one of the gazillion inexpensive Android tablets that already saturate the market? ...and talk about archaic...why not just use google docs for your "office" needs? oh, you don't like the cloud that's ok i suppose.

i'm sure you know you can run all sorts of Android VMs in virtualbox or whatever...Android on the desktop is already here.

its probably only a matter of time before important OS apps get ported.

and i agree...duel boot is a pita.

Re:Archaic Workflow (3, Interesting)

VVelox (819695) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098623)

Because Google Docs sucks compared to a proper editor. Why do I want to be beholden to a closed sourced editor running on hardware outside of my control? If I wanted that I would be running a Microsoft product.

Re:Archaic Workflow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097403)

it's funny, in the 21st century people "settle" for less.
in the 18 and 19th centuries - SETTLERS SETTLED FOR NOTHING LESS THAN MORE. ...this is unsettling.

Re:Archaic Workflow (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45098757)

Why do I want Android at all?

What does it offer over just, say, Ubuntu?

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,10 days | (#45110491)

Crunchyroll.

Re:Archaic Workflow (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45099125)

This is the total wrong approach. Now that Android is making it's way onto desktop type machines, perhaps it's time to look at porting applications [...]

Just go ahead and do it. For yourself.

Myself... I just don't give a flying fuck about Android. I'll use a Real GNU/Linux distro, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

blackest_k (761565) | 1 year,11 days | (#45099551)

sounds like your doing it wrong. If I was in android mode and received a spreadsheet i wanted to work on then libre office would probably be a good choice and i would switch to linux to do so.

There is no need from that point to use anything but linux for the rest of that task. If you use the sdcard as a common data area. you would be able to load the spreadsheet from both sides.

i find some things are better in android some better in linux and ideally you would be able to run both concurrently. Being able to run either with full sets of drivers is the next best thing.

currently i get email and other notifications pushed to my phone. sometimes it is enough to deal with them on the phone other times i need something a bit more flexible in which i might use either my tablet my netbook or my desktop systems.

I find linux quite awkward with touch, kde seems to be making good progress in that direction.

I find android awkward with multi tasking. Simple things like using Skype and a browser at the same time is pretty difficult. It also seems to struggle with things like attaching files to emails. Although i can run both linux and Android as a dual boot system its less than perfect on my tablet. one issue is bluetooth which although its working to an extent can't manage to pair my keyboard/mouse easily with both systems.

The ideal tablet for me would allow me to switch between android and linux applications as easily as clicking on a task bar but thats not possible just yet.

This latest hardware might be good enough for progress to be made and reduce the number of systems i need/ want. Still i'm fairly happy as is with the notifications going to my phone and then choosing an option how to reply. I just hope they ensure plenty of storage space and a decent allocation of ram 4gb should be enough to ensure its capable of being the flexible system it claims to be.

hopefully the unification of android and linux will be achieved eventually if there are enough developers interested enough in doing so. hopefully modern windows systems with touch will encourage linux gui developers to develop a supporting framework which allows for both touch and mouse use.

This pengpod could be a good developers system helping to bring about a unification of the applications of linux and the apps of android.

Re:Archaic Workflow (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45099699)

LibreOffice and Gimp are typically the type of applications that everyone wants ported but nobody uses. Now let's be honest: how many times have we used gimp or libreoffice in the past... 6 months? Or am I part of an insignificant demographic?

Re: Archaic Workflow (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | 1 year,11 days | (#45102399)

I use Gimp maybe one every other month. I use LibreOffice several hours a day 5 to 6 days a week, since it the standard issue office suite in my workplace.

Archaic solution (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | 1 year,11 days | (#45102363)

Why port apps to android that already work in other supported Linux operating systems? Android uses a Linux kernel so why not virtualised instance of android within a full Linux OS instead? Just put a dalvik VM and whatnot in there and run android apps within a window side by side with LibreOffice or other native apps?

Then you don't need to reboot or have dual mode operation.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,10 days | (#45110487)

Ubuntu, at lest, seems to thing they can get their OS running on the Android's kernel. This could mean that no rebooting is necessary to switch between Android and Ubuntu.

Re:Archaic Workflow (1)

rdnetto (955205) | 1 year,9 days | (#45113103)

The upcoming version of the Qt framework has Android compatibility. I expect this will be soon followed by the port of many KDE applications to Android, especially given that it's got to be much easier than porting them to Windows [kde.org] .

Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (2)

HalAtWork (926717) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097283)

I'm looking for a 4" device that runs android and is not a phone, and has current hardware. Nobody seems to be making such a device unfortunately. Samsung used to have the Galaxy Player but not anymore. I specifically don't want a phone.

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097449)

Dont want a phone, then turn off the radio. Poof, its no longer a phone.

Without the markup (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097981)

Smartphone prices are routinely marked up with the expectation of carrier subsidy. I don't want to pay marked-up phone prices for what amounts to an Android pod touch.

Precisely (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098965)

That's exactly my reasoning. Also to the other person who replied below, those samsungs are out of date, I want to run apps too.

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097625)

Remove the SIM?

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097665)

Look again. Samsung still sells the Galaxy Player 4" and 5". I have a 4 and it is great. I use it daily for work. While they are only running Gingerbread it is sufficient for anything I need to do. With access to Google play it is a great little unit. I does everything the big boys do.
http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/mp3-players

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,11 days | (#45099853)

Look again. Samsung still sells the Galaxy Player 4" and 5". I have a 4 and it is great. I use it daily for work. While they are only running Gingerbread it is sufficient for anything I need to do.

Unless I've misread something, CyanogenMod supports the Galaxy Player. That'll give you a version of Android that's pretty much as current as you can get. Easy to install, too.

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45098109)

Google for android media player. Cowon comes to mind

Archos 43 (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,11 days | (#45101185)

Last time I searched for that, I ended up buying an Archos 43 Internet Tablet. It's stuck on Android 2.2, and like Internet Explorer on Windows XP, Android Browser on Android 2.x gives a certificate error when one attempts to view an SSL site on shared hosting [velox.ch] . It has a resistive single-touch screen, which is fine for some apps (I borrow a stylus from my Nintendo DS Lite) but doesn't work for, say, games that use an on-screen gamepad. Nor does it ship with Google Play Store; one has to pirate com.android.vending.apk to install it. Do these Cowon products have Android 4, multitouch, and Google Play Store?

Re:Not an iPod-like? Too bad. (3, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098533)

Why not just get a second hand Android phone and throw the sim card away?

You cannot have privacy if you are using Ubuntu (2, Interesting)

elloz (3382559) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097407)

In 2009, Jane Silber became the CEO of Canonical in 2009. Canonical makes Ubuntu.

Jane Silber's previous job was at that military contractor, namely the C4 Division of General Dynamics. It turns out that at the C4 Systems division is all about using computers for spying.

From their website: "General Dynamics C4 Systems is a trusted leader in the development of intelligence and information gathering systems for national defense and homeland security. These systems are designed to receive, process, exploit and disseminate information -- in different forms and often from different networks -- and distribute relevant information to operators, both in the field and at higher headquarters."

I'm in (2)

davydagger (2566757) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097663)

if they ship for $249 as spec'd I buy one

Using the new PengPod in a restaurant or bar (3, Informative)

viewtouch (1479) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097695)

The normal minimum price for a ViewTouch point of sale system is about $3,000 plus $1,000 a year for unlimited support, training and other services. The offer of ViewTouch on the new PengPod cuts $2,500 from that price and $600 a year for support, training and other services.

PengPod Owner (5, Informative)

Stardo (465325) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097733)

I own the PengPod 700 and I contributed to this project for the 1040 for an upgrade. Here are some comments I have:

First, the PengPod 700 is great for what I need it for - which is mainly a mobile tablet that boots Linux for taking notes in Vim. I would do the same with a Rapsberry Pi, some USB display, and a battery, but it is all there in one package with the PengPod 700. It fits just fine in a case with a mobile keyboard. Some downsides to the original design: low processor speed + RAM - starting Firefox takes some time, but it still works. I feel like USB in Linux without autologin is a single point of failure - and it has been reported that the connector does suffer. It also doesn't have access to the backlight PWM/GPIO out of the box - so no brightness control, which directly affects battery life, which isn't that great. For what I use it for (taking notes at meetings or on the go), the issues aren't too bad. At $100ish for a Linux tablet, you can't go wrong if you set your expectations right.

Now, I want the 1040 because the specs are amazing for that pricepoint, especially with Linux. I would up my usage of it to playing some light games, spreadsheet, general web browsing - it would really be something that I wouldn't feel bad using from the couch or pulling out at a conference. I still would prefer multiple USB ports, but most tablets don't even have one.

I really wanted an Ubuntu Edge, but didn't really need to replace my current smartphone and honestly I could see myself using the 1040 a lot more. I probably still won't be doing heavy development on it or running WINE (both due to ARM), but I can't really find much that is cheaper from a mobile perspective with the full package running Linux.

Re:PengPod Owner (1)

csumpi (2258986) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098551)

tablet that boots Linux for taking notes in Vim

vi sans keyboard? how on earth does that work? and if you tell me that you also lug an external keyboard around with it, then sorry, i just don't get it.

Re:PengPod Owner (2)

Stardo (465325) | 1 year,11 days | (#45099997)

No - Linux sans keyboard at the moment isn't doable. I have a case the PengPod sits in (see Amazon - search Tablet Keyboard Case). The original PengPod does not support Bluetooth - which is fine because the tablet keyboard cases are like $10. It doesn't fit in my pocket but it is still easy to carry. There is a little cord that plugs into the USB. That is what I meant by single point of failure - if the USB goes out my tablet is effectively bricked because I can't log in.

I find I don't need a mouse most of the time because I use OpenBox with keyboard bindings for just about everything, and Vim for most of my editing (which, again, requires no mouse). Linux handles the touch screen just fine as though it were mouse input for when I need it.

The Pengpod 1040 supports Bluetooth, so it is probably possible to pair a bluetooth keyboard with it, again in some sort of tablet case. In fact, one of the bundles includes Bluetooth accessories. I still worry about what the pairing looks like pre-login, though.

For serious typing I usually carry around my happy hacking keyboard. It is small, comfortable, and fits in a backpack.

Re:PengPod Owner (1)

fredrickleo (711335) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100681)

If you're worried about the USB failing and leaving you locked out you should probably set up openssh.

Re:PengPod Owner (1)

Stardo (465325) | 1 year,11 days | (#45104683)

I thought about it. I don't enable Wifi by default to save on battery and there is no built-in ethernet, only through the USB (which has the same problem as a keyboard). My best shot would be enabling Wifi at startup then disabling it with a login script, if I were concerned enough about it. If it had 2 USB ports I probably wouldn't even think twice about it.

Re:PengPod Owner (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | 1 year,11 days | (#45099729)

>>I would do the same with a Rapsberry Pi, some USB display, and a battery,

LOL!

Wow! (2)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097787)

Now you can be disappointed with *all* the open source software support for ARM systems simply by rebooting!

Im on the project, ask me anything (2)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097911)

I'm on the project so if you have any questions ask away and I'll try and answer.

Rebootless switching (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,11 days | (#45097997)

I have two questions, and I will ask one per post, as is customary for Slashdot interviews. The first: Android runs on a kernel that's Linux with a few modifications. Ubuntu also runs on Linux. Is there a possibility of rebootless switching between Android and Ubuntu by running Ubuntu in a chroot? Canonical seems to think so [ubuntu.com] .

Re:Rebootless switching (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098397)

Yes, it should be possible but I'm not sure what improvement Ubuntu has now for this method. I used to mess around with this on some of the early Android tablets and its actually what got me interested in booting just Linux on the devices to improve performance. It was fairly easy to setup a chroot on these systems but you ahd to do something goody like vnc into it, which was very, very slow. I scanned that page and it also sounds like a precursor to Ubuntu Touch but I didn't see any technical links to find more.

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45098153)

Here's a question:

will this product be offered for six weeks and then disappear forever? Just before I deployed overseas, the pengpod 700 was "around the corner." By the time I got back from a six-month trip, it was out of stock. Will you people address this problem with your next product, or is it going to be another 100-unit order and then gone forever?

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (4, Informative)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098445)

I'll respond to this in two parts, first about the old devices. We sold a lot more than 100 in the 6 months or so they were generally available, so it wasn't 1 order and done. We were told we would have some notice when they were going away so we would have a chance to 'stock up' based on our estimated sales volume. That didn't happen and in fact our last regular order was cancelled and refunded after being delayed several weeks. We had some alternate choices but everyone was switching to a new touch screen control and nand chip but no one had working source for them. We didn't see enough demand to justify reverse engineering the drivers. These things happen at small volume and we no longer using the original supplier.

Second, about the 1040. We have to order these in larger lots, so the good news is we will generally have a larger supply for fewer surprises. Also at this volume they are being manufactured, PCB and all in custom runs. So as long as the A31 is available, we can have them made, assuming their is demand. A finally because our new supplier actually creates and shares the source improvements needed to run the device, even if small changes come as peripheral chips reach EOL, we will have their source for the new parts directly from our supplier.

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45098881)

What code is not available?

For instance is there a non-free BIOS, Bootloader, graphics component (binary blobs, etc), wireless drivers/firmware, bluetooth firmware/drivers, etc?

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45101139)

The non available source:
PowerVR userspace 3D acceleration libraries.
Nand driver, though Allwinner has released v5 and v7 off this libraries source, we are working with v6. I think getting source would be a simple formality but upgrading to v7 is probably better anyway.
bluetooth firmware for the 8723as wifi/bt chip. We might be switching to a similar broadcom chip though before final release.

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,10 days | (#45110547)

Are there free userspace libraries for the PowerVR graphics? So that if I need to upgrade someday and PowerVR has lost interest I can still haave a usable system, albeit with slow 3D?

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,8 days | (#45122305)

Free as in open source? I don't think so. The ones we are using now are blobs but we can build the kernel modules that go with them, so they should remain usable from what I know about it. There hasn't been any serious effort to reverse engineer the PowerVR from what I can tell. I heard from the guy working on the Mali RE that PowerVR would be so much worse to work on, he doesn't think it will ever be done.

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,8 hours | (#45200775)

I meant to say we sold more than 1000 during that time, looks pretty trivial with the typo. Anyway....

Re:Im on the project, ask me anything (2)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45098459)

Also I should say, we didn't intend to have the gap between models. We spent 2 months chasing a imx6q tablet. In the end the LCD driver had no source and was too difficult to reverse engineer. If this funder succeeds we will be increasing the size of our engineering staff and feel confident we will be able to ready new devices more quickly so as to not have these gaps.

Crunchyroll (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100825)

Will it run the Crunchyroll appat reasonable speed?

stylus (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,11 days | (#45100857)

Is it just a finger-grade touchscreen? Or can I get the kind of precision needed for serious artwork? I'm thinking of a Wacom screen with a stylus here.

Re:stylus (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45101355)

I had used it with a stylus under GIMP. It works but I'm not prepared to say its art ready. I've got a bottom of the line capactive stylus, with it I get disconnects when drawing a long enough line and its got a fairly large point. Might work well with a better stylus though.

Re:stylus (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,10 days | (#45106533)

Capacitive touch screens tend not to have the precision I'm looking for. But I gather they are a lot cheaper than the more responsive Wacom tablets.

There are a few laptops that have Wacom-grade screens (Lenovo sells a few, and they fold up so they can be used as a tablet, but they're also heavy-duty beasts and rather heavy. They're really designed as heavy, large-battery laptop systems that happen to fold ... although they can, technically, act as tablets, their weight makes them not really practical in this role.

Re:stylus (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | 1 year,10 days | (#45110435)

And those Lenovo machines have power-hungry intel processors, as far aas I know, so they need the heavy batteries.

FAiIlZORS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45097971)

yikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45101525)

Projects like this are high-risk unless the hardware is something off-the-shelf---in which case you can get it today and run whatever OS you want on it.

Secondly, the idea of switching between OS ecosystems is abhorrent to most users: I still can't get my android phones to sync properly with my music on my desktop. No one has ever wanted to edit a spreadsheet on a device the size of a phone

This will be little more than a novelty.

Also, the NSA claim is absurd.

Re:yikes (1)

drachensun (2766139) | 1 year,11 days | (#45102031)

The device is 9.7", it is not the size of a phone.

We are using a stock design but having it build custom. You could buy an almost identical model from another vendor, it cost more, is only available in one country and does not come with Linux support. I think you underestimate the effort involved in getting Linux running on a new device, some people don't like to spend hours and hours and hours of their own time porting GNU/Linux to a new device just to use it.

os switching (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#45148289)

ever tried to code an OS using FPC libs from scratch on x86? switch is a misgnomer...they mean between ubuntu and droid no doubt...
This is trial THREE on SVN by the way for a simple tasking OS....

Telephone support for PengPod customers needed ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45213715)

Telephone support for PengPod customers needed !

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