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Re: Debian running on handhelds (or for terminals)

+++ patrick295767 patrick295767 [2013-08-26 12:34 +0200]:
>    Hello,
>    I wonder what's Debian position in regards to installations on Handhelds.
>    Over the years, I have installed/contributed in installing Debian on
>    various handheld machines, including�for instance HP Jornadas (Sarge -
>    archive), Psion Revo, Psion 5mx, ... armel, and finally the best of best
>    the Pandora. (The default OS of the Pandora is Angstrom).
>    As shown, Debian can be readily installed on various platforms / machines,
>    even with a very limited hardware.

This is true, although debian installer and kernel supprt for most of
these machines has been poor/missing.

>    My question is as follows:
>    �- Have we missed something? Publicity?�
>    - How to fix that? A temptative...

One very useful resource is the Wiki.debian.org/DebianOn<machine>
pages. There are loads of things Debian will install on that do not
have a page there, and it would enormously help others. 

Debian-installer support is another really useful thing. For a long
time we were hampered by the fact that parted had no support for
flash-only devices, and D-I depended on parted. These days nearly
everything has something that looks like a block device and parted has
got smarter so this is largely no longer a blocker.

Making stuff 'just work' in D-I and kernel support would be a great

>    I believe that Debian shall also propose more packages that are suited to
>    terminals, maybe to show that we can run Debian and have also lightweight
>    fast X11 applications. More publicity on lightweight applications? More
>    terminal applications in our repos?
>    OPIE / GPE (in particular GPE added to our repos) are also a point for
>    having Debian for Handelds.

We've had GPE in debian for may years, but not well-maintained. Taking
care of that would be great if you are interested in it.

>    I believed we might lack of publicity on own easily Debian is installable
>    on handhelds.
>    Debian can be installed very light.

This is true but the results are often less than ideal due to missing
bits of UI. We could really use people doing _actual work_ to make
this better. I'd hesitate to recommend it to many users without some
more work to take off some of the rough edges (unless things have
improved greatly since last time I looked about a year ago). 

>    And more recently, how manage with ARMs?�
>    [1]http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/linus-torvalds-threatens-to-cut-off-arm

This is old news and has been essentially sorted by linaro (and
others). The new(ish) multi-device support will make our lives as a
distro much easier as we don't have to build loads of different
kernels to get reasonable device coverage.

>    Another example on publicity, is our webpage (wiki) is out-dated (well it
>    is difficult to keep all up to date).
>    [2]https://wiki.debian.org/DebianOnHandhelds

It a wiki - please update it. 

>    I would say that Handhelds (and also older computers) are the future way
>    to go for Debian.

Well, one aspect. Many of us still want to use it on new and
non-mobile hardware too, but I agree it is underappreciated in this
area, and it's an increasingly important area.

This stuff is co-ordinated on the debian-mobile list. Please join
there if you haven't already. We could really use more people doing
actual work to make things better - much of which isn't actually hard
(updating wiki pages, flash-kernel and D-I support for more devices,
updating handheld-relevant packages).

Lots of people are 'interested' in this are, but I'm not aware of much
actual work being done. A bit of action could well generate quite a
lot more interest. 

Principal hats:  Linaro, Emdebian, Wookware, Balloonboard, ARM

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