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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 xombo (628858) * on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:21PM (#6146876)
    It now fits my main uses, which are reading academic papers, writing notes, and doing calculations.

    My only question to him is: How could those needs not be met in a Windows XP envrioment? I would hope that he didn't spend too much time durring class and such trying to install Linux durring a lecture. I thought the main idea of a Tablet PC was to keep you from having so much hassle.
  • addendum (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:24PM (#6146891)
    Since I know all you Lunix zealots are going to flame me, here's an addendum: yes, I know you can do plenty of things from a GUI in Debian. I use it myself. But you can't really do anything important (system-config type stuff) without resorting to a CLI, or at best an ncurses-based "gui" (that still requires use of a keyboard).
  • No kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:24PM (#6146893)
    I work for one of the "Top 5" that builds Tablet PCs, and a few of us there have been prodding for approval to look into getting Linux on the Tablet PC. We have even had people come to us representing various distros, but still, our management doesn't see the value in Linux on the Tablet PC.

    Another thing is that we get HUGE $$$$$ from Microsoft for advertising and development.
  • by Tancred (3904) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:25PM (#6146901)
    I thought handwriting recognition was one of the things people were attracted to when considering a tablet. Doesn't sound like he's got that (other than the graffiti-like app). Any OS programs that fit the bill?
  • by Tony.Tang (164961) <slashdot@NoSpam.sleek.hn.org> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:29PM (#6146939) Homepage Journal
    Congratulations on getting Linux working on TabletPC hardware. It's always neat to see linux on newer and different hardware.

    There are some obvious next steps here. What makes TabletPC is not merely its form-factor or the hardware bits -- it is also, in large part, the software that is running on the TabletPC. TabletPC has all sorts of software hooks to make applications function reasonably well with just ink input. Can someone out there create a linux-equivalent to the ink applications for TabletPC?

    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.

    Most linux and applications in X assume keyboard + mouse input. This is not an unreasonable assumption; however, it does mean that just being able to /run/ the application on this linux/tabletpc is not enough. Many will not be nearly as useful as if they were built assuming some sort of ink interface.

    Note: the Ink interface is /not/ the same as a mouse interface. It has different dynamics and unique properties. Applications, for instance, that make use of the wacom tablets will be best suited for the linux/tabletpc combo.
  • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron&hotmail,com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:32PM (#6146952) Homepage
    Yes, this is kind of neat.

    But for me, I won't bother with Linux on any stylus-only machine until you can get something resembling real HWR for Linux. Yes, there are softkeyboards and plenty of character recognition schemes. That isn't HWR.

    While I'd rather use Linux than Windows for a number of the usual reasons, if I had a tablet, I'd use Win2k on it. At least with Windows I can get real HWR- in the form of PenOffice/CalliGrapher.

    While the regular consumer cannot get real HWR for Linux, it does exist. Motorola's Lexicus division makes real HWR software for a number of platforms including Linux. However, you can't download it and install it for free, or even purchse it. You can as an OEM, but that doesn't do me much good. That, and it really blows- I've used Lexicus's HWR on a ProGear webpad under Linux. First, you have to write in a little box, not just anywhere on the screen. You cannot expand the dictionary- so you'll likely be going back to the softkb for names, etc. It is also very slow, at least on a 400 MHz Crusoe. Oh well...

    I'd love to be proven wrong. If anyonem knows of any other real HWR software for Linux commercial or free, please holler!
  • by brent_linux (460882) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:34PM (#6146962) Homepage
    There are a lot of things that I hope to use it for. First is that I have become as used to using X as I have using Windows, and there are times I like the flexability. Forwarding apps from my main desktop to it via the wireless is nice. Portable wired and wireless network scanner with etherape, and ettercap. Artistic work in the Gimp. Mine is a little bit different though since it is a laptop as well.
  • by damiam (409504) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#6146988)
    ATI provides full specifications for their cards to the open-source community. They provide a decent binary driver (not as good as NVidia's, admittedly), and they have submitted patches to XFree86 for the 2D open-source drivers. They haven't GPL'd their entire driver set, but then, neither has anyone else.
  • yes but ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vilim (615798) <ryan AT jabberwock DOT ca> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:38PM (#6146991) Homepage
    Aside from the "wow" factor of this, I am not sure that there are any real advantages to installing Linux on a tablet PC. One of the TPC's main selling points is the HWR, which isn't in linux. I use linux (gentoo) on the desktop, I love linux, however I have enough of an open mind to realise that linux is not the best solution to everything. I think that htis is one of those cases.
  • Re:but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by desideria (140436) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:42PM (#6147011)
    Well, I'm an artist and I want a Tablet PC to use for my digital art work. I don't think though that I can think of a really compelling reason to use Linux on it though.

    - Catherine
  • Re:No kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wwwillem (253720) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:42PM (#6147012) Homepage
    AC wrote: "I work for one of the "Top 5" that builds Tablet PCs ... our management doesn't see the value in Linux ... we get HUGE $$$$$ from Microsoft"

    So that demonstrates why it's good that Linux on Tablet PC's is tried and proven to be working. Not so much that it works, but way more that this guy needs to post this anonymously. If I would have been in his position (I'm a corporate worker as well) I would have done the same thing, but it's a shame that someone has to go underground to admit that his boss doesn't allow Linux, because Redmond pays too much.

    Thanks for posting this, AC!!!
  • by arose (644256) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:42PM (#6147013)
    It gives us freedom.
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:44PM (#6147023)
    I have a couple of Tablet PCs. The handwriting recognition that comes with Tablet PC is largely useless. Furthermore, ink handling is poorly integrated into the OS.

    That means that when you use a Tablet PC, you are reduced to using the PocketPC character recognizer or the on-screen keyboard. And for that, Linux has equivalents that are as good or better (xscribble and xvkdb).

    So far, there hasn't been much demand for connected handwriting recognition for Linux, or for ink software, because there haven't been many tablets. Now that tablets are fairly affordable, thanks to Microsoft, that is likely going to change. Open source operates in response to supply and demand; it's not usually first, but it usually fills the needs of users.
  • Re:No kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xombo (628858) * on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:02PM (#6147127)
    Another thing is that we get HUGE $$$$$ from Microsoft for advertising and development.

    Sounds like Microsoft trying to crush linux in the tablet pc industry the same way they did BeOS in the PC industry, sounds like there needs to be another suit against Microsoft by someone like RedHat to keep the same thing from happening to LinuxTabletPC as BeOS. Remember, Microsoft kept PC manufactures from dualbooting Windows and BeOS by telling them they couldn't. If Microsoft didn't bribe the dealers into being so Pro Windows, I bet the competition could be more open, especially if a company like RedHat played.
  • Re:No kidding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:15PM (#6147198)
    Well, I in fact work for the "Top 1" that builds Tablet PC's, and I can say that we ARE working on Linux packaging for them, and it will be announced in a few weeks.
  • screw handwriting! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twitter (104583) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:18PM (#6147209) Homepage Journal
    First we have to ask what do you want to use the device for? If you want to bang out lots of text, forget this and get a desktop with a good keyboard. If you want to do quick email and web browse, graphiti is all you need. I've used graphiti for data logging in a plant, and it worked well with templates. If you want a little more text in your email or want to take notes, go for speach recognition [debian.org]. Record, ogg, recognize at your later. I'm not very impressed by programs that take many letters at a time in a drawing and process them by graphiti, so that all the errors are left embeded.
  • by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:53PM (#6147354) Homepage Journal
    "It now fits my main uses, which are reading academic papers, writing notes, and doing calculations.

    My only question to him is: How could those needs not be met in a Windows XP envrioment?"

    Well i have a second question... why not have buy a cheapo laptop for 300 or 400 dollars and save big money over a tableyPC, and the laptop supports Linux fully? or why not just buy a palm?

  • by mallum (254267) on Monday June 09, 2003 @03:59AM (#6148235) Homepage
    See my notes here;
    http://handhelds.org/~mallum/tabletpc
    and a couple of screenshots here;
    http://handhelds.org/~mallum/matchbox/scree nshots. html

    Also it worth getting kdrive ( aka tinyX ) working as you'll then be able to rotate the display on the fly.
  • by Xylantiel (177496) on Monday June 09, 2003 @12:59PM (#6152355)
    My main reason was simple: stability and security. I simply don't trust that I can secure a windows XP box because of my inexperience with XP (it's a pretty young OS come to think of it) and MS's hush-hush policies (you recall XP was RELEASED with a known remote root exploit). Also acroread closes it's document on hibernate/resume, pretty annoying when you're reading a paper. And it crashed on me once when suspending and I lost some notes because as usual the "recover from autosave" function in the MS notes program didn't work!! I hate it when things go wrong that I can't even try to fix it.

    For a tablet PC to replace paper it has to be extremely stable. Even XP didn't fit the bill for me.

    (and I found the handwriting recognition essentially useless.)

    -Dean

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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