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Linux Software Hardware

Running Linux On Acer's C100 Tablet PC 249

Posted by timothy
from the slick-looking dept.
Christopher Coulter writes submitted a link to this detailed guide to putting Debian GNU/Linux on an Acer Tablet PC. That most manufacturers aren't leaping to provide Linux support on their tablet PCs doesn't mean it isn't possible ;)
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Running Linux On Acer's C100 Tablet PC

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  • by Tensor (102132) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:31PM (#6146947)
    There are lots of apps to resize the XP ntfs partition, safer and easier to use than the ntfsresize app. Like Partition Magic or Partition Manager, or this freeware one: http://www.ranish.com/part/

    I don't know why he went to all that trouble
  • by arose (644256) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:37PM (#6146983)
    As with most problems there is an Emacs package to solve it (strokes.el).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:52PM (#6147067)
    Linux Wacom: http://linuxwacom.sourceforge.net/

    (second result in a google search for wacom linux)
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:52PM (#6147068)
    Can someone out there create a linux-equivalent to the ink applications for TabletPC?

    Yes. In fact, a lot of software already exists. X11 has been used for more than a decade with tablets (Wacom, etc.), so all the pen input and character recognizer support is there. Furthermore, Gtk+ and a few other toolkits have low-level support for pen input.

    In addition, the Linux-based handhelds already use pen input, so there is experience with, and support for, Linux and X11-based pen-based applications, although those are, of course, for small-screen devices.

    For instance, the Journal is super cool. It lets you make notes in ink (or by text), it can translate, etc. Most importantly, you can /search/ using ink.

    I have tried using Journal for taking notes. It makes for a slick demo, but ultimately, I find a keyboard (even a one-handed keyboard) more efficient. Note that few of the features in Journal are novel--similar software has been around for decades.

    Note: the Ink interface is /not/ the same as a mouse interface.

    You should tell that to Microsoft: most of the software running on Tablet PC has been very poorly adapted to a pen interface and feels like it's been written for a mouse.
  • Re:addendum (Score:5, Informative)

    by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:57PM (#6147095)
    But you can't really do anything important (system-config type stuff) without resorting to a CLI

    Sure you can. You can use Webmin for a web-based GUI, and it lets you administer pretty much everything on a Debian system. As an added bonus, it works pretty much the same way with several other Linux and UNIX flavors.

    (There are a number of other GUI-based configuration tools for Linux as well.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:00PM (#6147110)
    "plus, linux doesn't come with "ink" software."

    umm, check out gsumi [gtk.org].

    Anyway, he had an itch and he scratched it. besides, although XP looks to be more workable practically and although some things can be easier to do in XP in terms of number of steps, etc, I know from experience that windows interfaces always irritate me. they just do. waaaaay too limiting.

  • Re:But what about? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:03PM (#6147133)
    ink integration and document annotation: alright, you got me there.
    however, if you read the webpage, you may just have seen that he had handwriting recognition and screen rotation working.
  • Re:but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by rosewood (99925) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:19PM (#6147212) Homepage Journal
    I would kill to have one for class. I already abuse the hell out of my pocket PC for notes and the idea of a tablet PC makes me swoon!

    However, if you can't think of a good use for one, YOU DON'T NEED IT!

    I saw some guy this weekend at best buy picking one up who said "Well, its supposed to be the cool new thing. It will probably just sit in my desk at the office while I play golf."
  • by Trogre (513942) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:21PM (#6147222) Homepage
    The Sharp Zaurus (5600, not the 5500) has good HWR and runs Linux.

  • by cbdavis (114685) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:24PM (#6147234)
    www.visionplate.com
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:37PM (#6147290) Journal
    This is something what MS "ink" does;
    http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/pocketpc/do wnloads /transcriber.asp

    It doesn't take single line drawings and translate them into letters, it takes written words (in my crappy hand writing) and translates it.

    There is also a version for the TabletPC.

    This is the single biggest advantage that MS has over Linux in PDAs and tablets.
  • by Wumpus (9548) <IAmWumpus AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:38PM (#6147291)
    You are misguided. nvidia's drivers are proprietary, and they won't release hardware information that would allow anyone to write open source drivers.

    ATI, besides supporting Linux with their proprietary drivers, also releases hardware documentation, and there are open source drivers for their cards as a result.

    Now go take that nvidia card back to the store, and let your wallet talk to the right company...
  • by bassomatic (26326) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:58PM (#6147379) Homepage
    There's also a mailing list [mit.edu] and another web site [mit.edu] for putting Linux on the Acer TM100.
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:59PM (#6147380)
    Character support is like Palm input. One character at a time. The "ink" is one word at a time, like you were actually writing notes.

    That's exactly what I said. X11 has support for pen input, so you can build whatever recognizer you like. And there are several character recognizers available already, but no good word-level recognizers.

    And to alot of people who are used to writing notes with a pen and paper, its a big difference.

    It would be if Tablet PC's word-level recognizer and ink support was actually usable. It isn't. It's basically junk. Maybe they'll get it right in another couple of releases, but by then, you'll probably see good Linux alternatives already.

    Until then, Linux and Tablet PC are about equal when it comes to ink: character-at-a-time and on-screen keyboard input is the only stuff that really works for entering text.
  • I agree- the way MS has it setup by default in Tablet PC XP is ... suboptimal. Digital Ink is stupid unless the whole OS supports it- the Newton is a good example of how that can be done well. Non-ink-based HWR works fine in an OS which wasn't built around it- you draw and it makes text. You can edit the text, and the HWR software takes care of faking keystrokes. A good setup.

    I've used a PC with CalliGrapher/PenOffice on it and it worked pretty well. Naturally, nothing as nice as the integration that you get with an OS designed with the pen in mind from the start, but still.

    Yo're not reduced to that on the tabletPC- no reason you cannot install PenOffice. I agree that you can get soft-kbs and stroke recognition on Linux that are as good as anything like that will get.

    I think the lack of real HWR for Linux goes beyond just there not being many tablets. I think there is a deeper issue, although the lack of tablet-x86-ish hardware is a factor. From my discussions on a number of forums and irc channels, it seems that most Linux developers and users don't think there is any value in connected handwriting recognition. They often think that there is no psychological difference between writing a *word* just as you'd write it on paper and having the system be intelligent enough to translate that into plain-old text and picking apart each word you want to input into letters, seperating it all into the strokes which match up with them.

    I am not saying there will never be real HWR for Linux, but it is likely a long way off. For one, as I mused about above, too many Linux users and developers think that real HWR is a good for nothing "Eat Up Martha." Second, real HWR that is accurate, consistent, and fast enough on semi-modern hardware isn't the easiest thing to code. It's the kind of thing people do real research on, spending a lot of man-hours developing. Not to say that kind of work isn't or hasn't been done in the OSS community- it certainly has. It just seems to be a level beyond the majority of OSS projects. Granted, a good HWR system is a level beyond most software projects in general... I hope I'm proven wrong! It may take a number of years, but I'd love to be able to have my handwriting recognizer be open source.

    Ink software is something I think will come even slower. Sure, folks will probably hack something on ala Microsoft, but creating a good Ink/Text system will require the rewrite of GUI toolkits. Who knows? Perhaps we'll see a new GUI or X11 toolkit integrate this at the ground floor, and take over within a few short years... :)
  • Re:wonderful (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kenja (541830) on Monday June 09, 2003 @12:34AM (#6147526)
    I have a 486 based pen computer that runs IBM PCDOS 5 with pen support. It works very well indeed and I see no reason one could not do somthing along the same lines for Linux.
  • by non-poster (529123) on Monday June 09, 2003 @12:35AM (#6147529)
    I've had this [no-ip.org] page up for about a month, which describes my efforts to get Linux working on a Toshiba Portege 3500 tablet PC. It has slightly different hardware than the other guy's machine, but probably similar enough for most people...
  • Why not Wine? (Score:2, Informative)

    by thadk-- (182389) on Monday June 09, 2003 @05:10AM (#6148267) Homepage
    Everyone is talking about the fundamental problem with using linux on a tablet pc is that it's missing certain components which you paid for when you recieved XP Tablet ed preinstalled.

    I'd imagine the tablet functionality is just a central library or two and could be wine'd to work with the linux tablet drivers which have been around for a while. The writing recognition app/keyboard would be the most important piece and why shouldn't it be able to return input to linux apps just like it does for Windows?

    It'd no longer be pure linux but if you can run your personal favorite WM and use all your POSIX apps, whats the difference?

    Can anyone knowledgable comment?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2003 @05:41AM (#6148353)
    ATI [...] also releases hardware documentation

    Oh really, so where can I download them? I can't without signing an NDA? What good is it then?

    The opensource ATI drivers suck (buggy and lacks alot of features) beacuse the specs aren't publicaly available.

Cobol programmers are down in the dumps.

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