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Re: Debian on the Sharp Zaurus/SL-5xxx

On Tue 18 Jun, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Le Tue, Jun 18, 2002 at 09:48:28AM +0200, Andreas Schuldei crivait:
> > * Raphael Hertzog (hertzog@debian.org) [020618 09:43]:
> > > I'm surprised that nobody in this thread mentionned the work of
> > > wookey on emdebian. It provides a packaged ARM cross compiler.
> > 
> > perhaps because it is dead?
> Wookey at least is not dead and is interested to work on Emdebian since
> he contacted me about this during the last leader election.
> So maybe, you could help him instead of reinventing the wheel ? At
> least, it would be intelligent to contact him to seek his opinion.
> I cced him this mail.

thanx for that raphael.

Yep I'm still here, and emdebian is not quite as dead as it web-pages make it
look. There was a lot of work on emdebsys oct2001-Jan2002 to get it to quite
a useful state. I am giving a talk on emdebsys at the UK Unix developer's
conference in July to try and get a bit more interest and activity. There is
one small commercial developer hoping to use emdebsys for one of their
projects (which I think is _exactly_ what it needs to get it to a
production-grade tool).

I'd _love_ to have got round to documenting this stuff on the site, but you
know how it is. (I looked last night, and it really is embarrassing how far
out of date it is).

There are also a host of related projects for debian-on-PDAs. Familiar on the
ipaq is the most active and is an ipkg-based distribution, but dkpg-based
distributions have been created for both ipaq (intimate) and the Psion
5mx.mxpro ('distorted woody' by brian Dushaw). This is as part of the
psilinux project. There is also an ipkg-based distribution for the Psion PDAs
which I am working on getting to 'commercial grade' so it can be sold and
supported by POS Limited who are keen to see this stuff promulgated to a
wider audience.

Dpkg has serious problems on small-memory devices as it can easily run out of
space. ipkg seems much better-suited, although it may be possible to beat
dpkg into submission for larger-memoried devices, and investigating exactly
why it's consumption is sometimes so high.

The main thing that is needed by all these projects is the equivalent of the
debian infrastructure to autobuild things and keep depednencies correct, as
well as ways of setting out policy for different devices and distributions to
make sure packages interact properly. And of course plenty of development of
suitably-small packages to do all those PDA-tasks on limited machines.

This is particularly acute on the Psions where only an ARM7 is available so
things like python for scripting are not really practical as apps take 15
seconds to start-up every time.

Emdebian is currently aimed at something slightly different to PDA
distributions. I is not aimed at a package-system which is controlled from
the device but at generating a minimal-possible system for a particular
function on a host machine. This is best for genuinely embedded stuff as
opposed to PDAs where people need live control of the package-set.

However emdebian could well be a focus for the creation of tools an systems
for both these types of devices, if that's what people want to do.

I hope that's a useful summary of how I see things at the moment. I'd be very
pleased to hear from anyone wanting to start on new or existing embedded- or
PDA- debian projects.

Aleph One Ltd, Bottisham, CAMBRIDGE, CB5 9BA, UK  Tel +44 (0) 1223 811679
work: http://www.aleph1.co.uk/     play: http://www.chaos.org.uk/~wookey/

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