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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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  • isn't table PC sales dropping ?
    besides the cool factor, what benefit would this be of ?
    • Re:but... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What do you mean BESIDES the cool factor. That's like saying "besides avoiding death and sickness of millions of people what benefits did vaccines offer?"
    • Re:but... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by desideria (140436)
      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:but... (Score:3, Informative)

      by rosewood (99925)
      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."
    • Re:but... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by techturtle (528069) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:45PM (#6147560)
      My $.02: Besides just the general coolness of being able to read e-docs like you would read the newspaper or a book, my biggest use for something like this would be for all of the meetings, requirement gathering sesions, reviews, etc. I have to attend.

      Something I've wanted to do for a long time is have an application or set of apps to record audio from a meeting (this thing has a built in microphone) and have a handy note pad to hand write notes on at the same time (I'm talking pages and pages of notes, diagrams, etc.). Most of the PDAs I've tried are too small for my taste and are cumbersome when taking lots of notes or don't have enough memory for the amount of audio I'd like to record (maybe with external media?). My laptop doesn't have a microphone (easy to resolve though), but my biggest issues with taking a laptop to meetings is typing on it is kind of annoying for everybody and you always have the screen between you and people across a table from you.

      Obviously this could be done with M$ OS and software. But, that's where the big coolness factor comes in. Add in the shear number of *nix tools that I normally use to do other things simultaniously while in meetings on my laptop and I think it'd rock! I think I just convinced myself to buy one! ;-)
  • 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.
    • by cscx (541332) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:22PM (#6146884) Homepage
      Plus, linux doesn't come with the "ink" software, which makes this sorta pointless.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "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.

        • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:37PM (#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.
          • This is the single biggest advantage that MS has over Linux in PDAs and tablets.

            I think that amounts to saying that Tablet PC and PocketPC doesn't really have an advantage over Linux on PDAs and tablets, because that kind of software is essentially useless in practice.

            People use character-at-a-time recognizers because they work better. If they are well-designed, character-at-a-time recognizers are even faster than regular handwriting. That's, ultimately, why Palm won out over Newton.
            • I'd like to know if you've ever actually used the MS ink software - we use it here for interactive whiteboard we have, and the character regognition is stunning.

              I can scrawl something onto the board (never a particularly inspiring sight), and it will usually interpret it how I wanted it to - the times it didn't, you wouldn't fault a human for reading it wrong.
              • As resellers to a corporate market, my organisation regularly attempts to demo the ink software on tablets. the demo's invariably fail to impress, with most users switching to the keyboard within five minutes. Many people and "anal-ysts" claim that price is keeping sales low, however, that is total bullocks. They are not selling because it doesn't do what it says on the tin: flawless handwriting recognition, and effortless computing. MS is selling this as the digital equivalent of a notepad - something th
                • I may actually have got my facts wrong there - I'm not sure if the software that comes with our whiteboard actually uses the MS engine, but it does bear a striking resemblance to the software with Office XP.

                  Whatever it is though - I want more of it ;)
              • I'd like to know if you've ever actually used the MS ink software

                Yes. I don't comment on things I haven't used.

                we use it here for interactive whiteboard we have, and the character regognition is stunning.

                I'd agree it's "stunning", but not in a good sense.

                I can scrawl something onto the board (never a particularly inspiring sight), and it will usually interpret it how I wanted it to - the times it didn't, you wouldn't fault a human for reading it wrong.

                Unfortunately, the software hallucinates: it
            • "PocketPC doesn't really have an advantage over Linux on PDAs ...
              That's, ultimately, why Palm won out over Newton."

              Well, PocketPC may win the PDA war.

              July's issue of "PocketPC" [pocketpcmag.com] magazine, as well as Issue 11 of "PDA Essentials", a British PDA mag published every 6 weeks, both report a Gartner study of PDA shipments in 2002. In general, PDA sales declined by 9% in 2002. However, while Palm lost 12% of it's market share (down to 55%), PocketPC *gained* 5% market share (up to 25.7%). Total sales were 12.1 mil
              • Those numbers don't mean much: the best-selling PDA was the Zire, at sub-$100 prices. That skews dollar-based market share numbers in favor of the more expensive PocketPC handhelds.

                In any case, Palm still has a better UI and applications, while Pocket PC has a slightly better OS. But both are pretty awful. It's MacOS vs. Windows all over again. One company can't do operating systems to save their lives, and the other one does a uniformly mediocre job. Let's hope that Linux gives us a serious alternati
                • "Those numbers don't mean much: the best-selling PDA was the Zire, at sub-$100 prices. That skews dollar-based market share numbers in favor of the more expensive PocketPC handhelds.

                  Hi 73939133 - it appears these numbers aren't dollar-figures -- they are based on units sold. For instance, the report states PocketPC sales went up from 2,800,000 to 3,100,000 units in 2002. "3,100,000 units" tallies with the 25.7% share of 12.1 million units that the Gartner report estimates for PocketPC.

                  If Palm lost numer
      • Well, first you get Linux to run on Tablet PC hardware, then you develop the ink software. This may take Microsoft years to do and billions of dollars, but I suspect it will take Linux developers a few months, provided anybody really cares.
      • As far as I know, the winXP software isn't fully internationalized yet, so the difference in user experience and usefulness may not be that much if your native language isn't english.

        But in Linux you have the source and can improve on the situation. In the MS case, the only thing you can do is wait and hope.

      • In response to your sig..

        What the hell are you and everyone else doing wrong?

        They connect to the internet. An office LAN not connected to the internet doesn't count. ;-)
    • by Little Brother (122447) <kg4wwn@qsl.net> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:29PM (#6146938) Journal
      Hmm I think this is more of a statement that linux is catching up with Microsoft in another niche market, not saying that what he can't do with Microsoft he can do with linux. No, nothing is wrong with Microsoft on a tablet (for the sake of the argument) but look, I can do enough with linux too, let's keep working and we can make linux better, we sure can't do much to improve Microsoft (as we don't have the code)
    • 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.
    • You're questioning a hackers reasoning for doing something?

      There generally doesn't need to be a reason. He had an itch and scratched it.
    • To all mods calling this a troll: I am not trying to down the Linux-Tablet PC idea, I am just saying it isn't ready and that there isn't a real advantage to it, the whole Linix-Tablet idea could turn out really well if someone like RedHat or SuSe or SC...Oh yeah. pitched in to help intergrate all the features like the Digital Ink stuff and handwriting recognition, and some interface lifts to help with better navigation, etc. If Konqueror or Nautilus (sp?) could be optimised for Tablet PC, that would be wond
    • Take two those tabletpc's and wipe their disks out. Now, try to intsall Linux on one of them and Windows XP on the other. Statistically, you have equal chances for equal installation times.

      Now, give on tabletpc with Linux pre-installed, and the other with Windows Xp pre-installed. What the difference in "hassle"?

      The point is that hardware vendors are still slaves of Microsoft. Everything what's done to help to liberate them is good. Good for them, vendors, and good for us, customers.

    • "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?

    • That's all well and good if you use Windows. I work in a 100% unix environment, so I'd have to go to extra work to integrate a WinXP machine into my work. I could do it, but it'd be an inconvenience. In fact, one of the major deterents against me buying a tablet PC has been the fact that I couldn't put Linux on them. This makes them much more usable.

      Just because you don't have a need for Linux doesn't mean it's just a hobby for everyone else.
    • Many people need a stable and familiar environment, xp does not provide this.
    • 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 no
  • wonderful (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:22PM (#6146883)
    Because the CLI is particularly well-suited to tablet PCs, you know.
    • addendum (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trepidity (597)
      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).
      • Re:addendum (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Holy shit, you have a UID 600 and you used the word 'Lunix...' boy am I confused or what
      • Re:addendum (Score:5, Informative)

        by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:57PM (#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.)
      • Whenever I'm on a windows box (without PuTTY for ssh), I use Webmin. It provides all the functionality for remote configuration graphically through a web browser.

        Linuxconf used to (and still is?) a good tool for configuration. Drakconf, shipped with Mandrake, can configure the entire system graphically.

        Debian is written by and for those who know what they are doing. "ifdown eth1 && ifup eth0" can save a LOT of clicking. If you want to compare windows (the OS for idiots) with Linux, at leas
        • I run Debian for that very reason. But I of course run it on a real computer. I just don't see how Debian is well-suited to a keyboardless setup.
      • you can't really do anything important (system-config type stuff) without resorting to a CLI,

        I know it will come as a shock to you, but some of us use our computers to do (supposedly) useful things, not just to endlessly reconfigure.

        Besides which, while I haven't used Debian, in most of the unix systems I have administered the primary configuration interface is not the command line, but emacs (or vi or your choice). The exception would be Solaris where they made a half-arsed attempt to provide GUI confi

    • I would argue that a Tablet PC would actually be quite nice for CLI duty, if it had good handwriting recognition and a good CLI (WinXP tablet edition handwriting recognition and cmd.exe do not necessarily fit the bill).

      Think of that Harry Potter book, where he's writing in a diary to an entity contained in the diary, and the entity is replying as lines of text in the diary...
    • ...if we had CLI's that worked through handwriting recognition.

      I foresee a lot of funny little accidents. "No, no! Don't recompile now!"
    • Re:wonderful (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kenja (541830)
      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.
  • 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.
    • 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!!!
    • Tell 'em I'd buy one. And I will never buy one with Windows.

      Well, if Sharp ships the Zaurus clamshell in the US I'll probably get that...
    • 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.
      • Or the way Apple did to crush BeOS on the Mac platform.
      • "Sounds like Microsoft trying to crush linux in the tablet pc industry the same way they did BeOS in the PC industry..."

        No, to me it sounds like Mircosoft trying to create a demand for what they supply... Convince users that they need a tabletPC rather than a laptop, and then sell them that tabletPC for a nice profit.

    • Re:No kidding (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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.
  • 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?
    • As with most problems there is an Emacs package to solve it (strokes.el).
    • screw handwriting! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583)
      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
  • But what about? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:25PM (#6146905)
    1) Ink integration into applications?
    2) Handwriting recognition?
    3) Documentation annotation?
    4) Screen rotation?

    If you're going to drop the cash on a tablet pc (over that of a laptop) don't you think that we need to come up with this stuff?
    • Re:But what about? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dcstimm (556797)
      thats the beauty of linux, WRITE THE SOFTWARE your self. Opensource it then you will be all set, plus if you look at the article they show that screen rotation works perfectly. ALso microsoft has been very lazy with the tablet and hasnt intergrated ink support into anything but Windows Journal.
      • >thats the beauty of linux, WRITE THE SOFTWARE your self.

        You have to be kidding me. Have you ever seen what "ink applications" does? You are going to redo the work which exists right now, because you don't want to use something from a company which you have paid for?

        If you, as a sole person, can write it, don't OpenSource it, sell it.
      • That's the beauty of mail-order transistors, you can just build your own tablet PC!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I remember back when Henry Ford submitted his work to slashdot and everybody complained "Where's the power steering?", "Who would buy this thing without air conditioning?", and "What's the point of doing this when horse and buggy is already saturating the market?"... some things never change...
  • by El Cubano (631386) <robertoNO@SPAMconnexer.com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:27PM (#6146915) Homepage

    That most manufacturers aren't leaping to provide Linux support on their tablet PCs doesn't mean it isn't possible ;)

    When will manufacturers (not just tablet PCs, but hardware across the board) realize that supporting Linux will benefit them greatly? I mean, even the small steps that nVidia has taken has won the hearts of many a geek.

    I guess they just don't realize it. Funny thing is, I have a friend who works for ATI and says that they use Linux workstations do big chunks of their development, but have never considered explicitly supporting their stuff on Linux. Maybe we should be more vocal as a community.

    • It would be hard to imagine a group of people online who are more vocal than slashdot :)

      It's just that it isn't, as a whole, yet seen as a priority by the business community to put all that effort into Linux work - and after all, Linux users can do the works themselves, yes?
    • 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.
  • by rjch (544288)
    Maybe I'm just not nerd enough, but just because you can run Linux on something, does that necessarily mean that you have to do it?

    "Look ma! I've got the toaster running Linux!"

    But what does that really acheive, apart from proving to the world that you need to get a life? We already know that Linux is a highly flexible operting system, but unless there's a concrete reason for running Linux on something, it's pointless really. I'm already waiting for the first person to announce that they've converted

    • In the cnet article about the 'net fridge, they mention that soon, the Internet Fridge might be converted to Linux anyway, by the manufacturers. At which point thousands of geeks will either a) Sue them for some odd GPL violation, b) buy millions for no reason, c) complain that it's not using the right distro, or d) bitch about the fact that they have to pay for it at all. :-P (notice the smiley at the end... dont hurt me!)
    • It gives us freedom.
    • My thoughts exactly. Perhaps I should write an article "Don't fuck with it! A guide to leaving OS X on an iBook"?

      Dave
  • 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 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:52PM (#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.
      • >all the pen input and character recognizer support is there.

        >Linux-based handhelds already use pen input,

        No its not the same software. 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.

        And to alot of people who are used to writing notes with a pen and paper, its a big difference.
        • 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 act
    • Open Zaurus has handwriting recongition, though I like the keyboard. Qt/Embeded is GPL. The picture on the front page shows GIMP clearly taking input from the stylus, so it would not be too much to imagine the rest coming along quickly. Any nifty features ink has will come, unless they have patents.

      The combination of X and ordinary free software on this platform blows away M$ offerings which restrict you to one user one computer one program, DOS days limits. Find and grep are powerful search tools and

    • Well, you have a point -- if you assume that ink or gestures is the only way to interact with a tablet.

      I'm sort of physically impaired, so I'm not a good example. But my experience with ink and gestures on the PDA suggests that not everybody finds them productive.

      I started out with a Newton. Of course, early Newtons had terrible handwriting recognition. Which they more or less fixed -- about the time Jobs pulled the plug on the product. But even if I had one of the later Newton's, I'm not sure I'd rely

  • 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
  • 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 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.
      • 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... :)
    • The Sharp Zaurus (5600, not the 5500) has good HWR and runs Linux.

      • The Sharp Zaurus- all models- have character recognition, not HWR. Unless there is a 3rd party app I've not heard of. Granted, I owned a 5500, not a 5600, but I have been lucky enough to play with a 5600. Are you thinking of the input method sharp calls "Handwriting," in the input panel which is used for character recognition, or something completely different?
        • I am indeed thinking of the method Sharp calls "handwriting". According to reviews there was a large jump in HWR accuracy between the 5500 and 5600 models.

          Is it not considered proper handwriting recognition what the Zaurus does? I was under the impression this was handwriting recognition on a character basis? (ala Palm Pilots).

          • "The Sharp Zaurus- all models- have character recognition, not HWR. "
            "Is it not considered proper handwriting recognition what the Zaurus does?"

            (I haven't used the Zaurus) I have an IPaq Pocket PC - the MS-provided software includes a cursive writing recognizer which, for my writing, is about 90% accurate.

  • I like it! Nothing stops the Linux community!

    Next step: is there a good free handwriting recognition software? I mean one that can work in two languages on the same system? The one bundled with Windows restricts you to one language.

    I wanted to purchase a Tablet, but it is useless if it can't work both in my mother tongue and in English. There is an Internet here! You can't stick to one language unless you are born English.

  • Hitachi and Codehost to sell Linux-based tablet systems [lwn.net] : Whatever happened to this? I can't find a reference to the Hitachi Linux Tablet on neither Hitachi's nor Codehost's sites.

    I had intended to wonder why anyone needed to convert a Windows XP Tablet machine to Linux when a Linux solution exists, but I guess it was merely an announcement to gauge interest.

  • yes but ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vilim (615798)
    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.
  • by maliabu (665176) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @09:48PM (#6147049)
    Will it be cooler or "wower" to be able to install and run WindowsXP on a PunchCard MainFrame, so you scan or bluetooth (Plug'n'Play you see?) a bunch of punch hole signals and it'll produce a nicely formatted Word document?
  • What I'd like is a waterproof tablet PC. I messed up my knee so I've been regularly having to soak my legs in hot water for therapy. Being able to utilize that time just turning into a prune would be nice.
  • by maliabu (665176)
    I think the whole LOY [Linux On You!(tm)] thing is a bit pointless after a while. however i also reckon Linux is growing every day because it's showing the baby-brother syndrom, where the youngest sibling in the family always try to copy/emulate or even better what his elder siblings have done.

    So if i see my elder brother has successfully installed Linux on XBox, i for sure want to install Linux on C100 with ink feature!

    Where Do You Want Linux To Run Today?(tm)

  • by stevarooski (121971) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:21PM (#6147224) Homepage
    Honestly, I'd love to see anyone try and ssh anywhere with just ink for input!

    Having built Tablet PC apps, I can say that there are a number of reasons why the platform just ain't there yet, and a good number of these are because its really *really* hard to design an operating system that runs in an intuitive manner with nothing but ink input. As things stand now, you can't even log into XP TE with ink. . .you have to peck out a username and password. Same with saving documents and creating folders. I should note that updates to the platform are coming soon to address problems like these.

    Anyways, its great to see alternatives for the tablet, but unless some serious dev effort is put into making Linux work with an entirely different input profile, I can't see it as real useful here.
  • Sounds good if you want to hand write japanese. It's supposed to be one of the best kanjipad implementations. =)
  • There's also a mailing list [mit.edu] and another web site [mit.edu] for putting Linux on the Acer TM100.
  • 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...
  • Would VNC help? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gylle (531234) on Monday June 09, 2003 @12:09AM (#6147651)
    I must admit I run XP on my laptop at home. Reading the discussion above, I see that the reasons for running windows on a tablet PC are even greater. However, I don't use many windows apps. I run a VNC viewer on my laptop, which gives me a full-screen linux desktop. When I need a windows app to control something on the local laptop or use a windows app, I just hit alt-tab. I now wonder how good this use of VNC would be at solving/working around the missing features in Linux.
    • I guess I can rotate the screen, but I would probably have to restart vncviewer.
    • On what level is the handwriting stuff? Can I write on the tablet and get the writing as keystrokes through VNC?
    • [insert your issue from the discussion above here]?
  • 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.
  • Why not Wine? (Score:2, Informative)

    by thadk-- (182389)
    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?
  • I wonder why this is on the front page; it's no news IMO.
    I've installed SuSE 8.0 Pro on a OEM tablet pc and it was a breeze. Normal x86 hardware with normal hardware, partitioned with ReiserFS and resized the Win2k NTFS one.
    The only posible sticking point is power management and the touchscreen input (mine was PenMount from SALT salt.com.tw, didn't quite work as easy as expected).
    Oh, and one other thing. RH 9.0 hangs during the first post install boot up. Just doesn't like it....
    WiFi or Bluetooth can give

Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.

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