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Re: Debian on Nokia N900?

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 10:20:43AM +0200, Hector Oron wrote:
> 2011/10/28 Victor Nitu <victor@debian-linux.ro>:
> > Nokia released some time ago some smartphones using a
> > Debian-based OS, which they called Maemo.  I was wondering if
> > anybody on this list had any previous experience with the N900,
> > trying to setup a vanilla Debian system.

Yes, you can see my results on [2].

> > The arch used would be armel, and I guess the original phone
> > software (well, the important pieces) can still be installed via
> > apt-pinning from the Maemo repositories.

I wanted a true Debian system, so I didn't even try. I guess you
will end up pulling almost all parts of Maemo with this setup btw.
This includes non-free bits for sure!

> There is a new Debian port for ARM, which we have named 'armhf', you
> can get it from debian-ports.org.

I suggest to use the armhf port on your N900 to squeeze out all the
power. The only disadvantage is that chrooting from Maemo into your
Debian won't work this way.

> There is an armhf omap kernel which should have pure mainline
> RX-51 (N900) enabled.

The linux-2.6 source package in Debian is currently missing a
platform patch to support the Touchscreen (driver is there, but
platform data is missing). Expect this to be fixed in the near

> You might need extra fiddling as there are
> still few parts missing to be a well supported platform in Debian
> (debian-installer, flash-kernel, ..).

also the mainline kernel has not yet full support for the N900 (I
keep [0] up to date). Currently missing parts are:

 * Cameras (front & back)
   At least the front camera needs some kind of firmware. Upstream
   plans to improve the situation before getting this in the
   mainline kernel.
 * Modem (2G/3G/GPS)
   The driver depends on a framework missing in the current kernel
   (HSI). This framework will probably end up in linux 3.3.
 * Bluetooth, Infrared
   I have not yet checked why these are missing.

since you asked about 3D acceleration: this is *not* in Debian. It
consists of two parts, a kernel driver (which is available as source
under GPL) and a userspace X driver (which is closed source).

I may package the 3D stuff for Debian's non-free repository, but not
before the modem is working and the new omap KMS driver is ready.

PS: you should visit [1].

[0] http://elektranox.org/n900/status/kernel.html
[1] http://wiki.debian.org/pkg-n900
[2] http://elektranox.org/n900/

-- Sebastian

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