Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Handhelds Education Hardware Hacking Math Linux Hardware

Linux On the TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator 49

Posted by timothy
from the awesomeness-alert dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Developers been working hard for the past few months to get Linux ported to the TI-Nspire calculator. The port is not yet fully stabilized nor quite ready for broad consumption and requires some user-level knowledge of Linux systems, but is definitely worth a try. Experimental support for root filesystem installed on USB mass storage is being worked on, so that Datalight's proprietary Flash FX/Reliance filesystem used by TI's OS isn't a limit anymore. This also means that the native TI-Nspire OS image is not replaced by the Linux system, and Linux can been booted on demand. Support for USB keyboard, X server, directFB, Wi-Fi (with the help of a powered USB hub) and text-based Internet browsing is progressively being added and tested."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linux On the TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator

Comments Filter:
  • And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by stevenh2 (1853442) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @04:25PM (#42021551)
    I bet you TI would do anything to stop it. Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_signing_key_controversy [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fufufang (2603203)

      I bet you TI would do anything to stop it. Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_signing_key_controversy [wikipedia.org]

      That's because TI's calculators are used in academic exams... Teachers don't want the kids to cheat.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I bet you TI would do anything to stop it. Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_signing_key_controversy [wikipedia.org]

        That's because TI's calculators are used in academic exams... Teachers don't want the kids to cheat.

        Wrong. TI wants to sell calculators. Period. They are a business.

        And if they really wanted to solve the cheating issue on academic exams, then TI would push for sales directly to schools in order for them to issue the (virgin) devices to the test-takers when needed.

        But selling/issuing calculators per test seat does not create near the revenue for TI in the same way that forcing or pressuring every damn student to buy one does.

        Cheating on exams using these devices is not the real problem here, which as yo

  • As something with a worthwhile purpose? Umm , not sure about that one. Slow CPU, bugger all memory or storage , tiny screen and a lousy keyboard. Not really my idea of useful general purpose computer. And do you really want to risk screwing up a rather (for a calculator) expensive bit of kit?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by V!NCENT (1105021)

      Does chess have a worthwile purpose? Is this made for your benifit?

      This is news for nerds, remember. The question should be "Why not?".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Viol8 (599362)

        "Does chess have a worthwile purpose?"

        Does your comment have a worthwhile purpose? As for why not - this project makes the calculator less useful since it'll be crap as a general purpose computer and now it'll be crap as a calculator too. Which rather defeats the point of most "nerd" projects which is generally to improve things.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No, the point is to do things that will impress other people. That means doing neat things that nerds like, or fancy things that will impress the masses.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Which rather defeats the point of most "nerd" projects which is generally to improve things.

          How about improving yourself? While Linux on nspire isn't very useful, the skills learnt in putting it there probably are.

        • Does your comment have a worthwhile purpose?

          Yes. Try reading the comment.

          As for why not - this project makes the calculator less useful since

          That's your opinion.

          it'll be crap as a general purpose computer

          Again, your opinion. It's not a general purpose replacement for a PC. Is there any other generally programmable machine which is as low power, has as long a battery life, screen which can be as easily read in sunlight etc etc.

          and now it'll be crap as a calculator too.

          I don't see why. One could certainly

        • by toddestan (632714)

          And I thought the point of most nerd projects is "because I can".

      • by Inda (580031)
        This was News for Nerds, remember?

        There was a branding change a few months back. You'll not see any stuff that matters either.
    • by bmo (77928)

      Then why do anything fun at all? Why must everything have a purpose?

      Your world must be a dreary rainy day in December.

      --
      BMO

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        Which bit of the subject line didn't you understand?

    • Here's an idea, why don't you leave Slashdot and return to studying for your MBA or whatever it is douchebags do these days?
  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @04:27PM (#42021563)
    I ported Linux onto a piece of whole wheat bread. I don't have support for the root filesystem, USB keyboard, X server, Wi-Fi, or internet browsing yet, but it is ready for broad consumption.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#42021795)

    What every US student has been asking for for decades: The ability to install a decent calculator on their TI.

  • Once people get QT ported to this thing, you will have reinvented the Sharp Zaurus. Just with more buttons.

  • by digiZen (535342) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @09:24PM (#42023319)

    There are a couple of things that make TI calculators different from your average hackable smartphone or Raspberry Pi device.

    First, they have terrible specs. The TI-NSpire, which is the creme-de-la-creme of these calculators has 20 MB of RAM. Compare to a recent Galaxy S3 smartphone - 2 GB, or even a $35 Raspberry Pi - 512 MB. The CPU is also woeful in spec, as is the flash, etc. They're also locked down to their dumbed down operating system which is extraordinarily limited, even when you consider the lack of the device's hardware prowess.

    Second is the fact that these TI calculators are allowed on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. This in my opinion is the reason for the awful specs. That they are allowed is precisely because the calculators are limited. It would be much easier to put a whole bunch of cheating software on a Galaxy S3. Heck, I could see apps like that in the Android marketplace for sale for $9.95! Or imagine - you could "ask an expert" during the test and have the answer transmitted to you over the smartphone's 4G coverage. Doesn't it make sense that the TI calculators have no built-in-networking, not even Bluetooth?

    TI has to balance the fact that people want to cheat their way through these tests or math class and yet give them a nice calculator, one that can aid students in relieving the drudgery of basic arithmetic and maybe even have features that make people's lives easier. But again, this cannot come at the expense of having a platform that's ready for cheaters.

    So in my opinion, this concept of putting Linux on the TI N-Spire is probably not a good idea, for a number of reasons. First, TI will likely try their darndest to prevent the calculators from being loaded up with a custom OS that could then be loaded up with cheatware. Moreover, if cheatware became easy to load, the people that run the SAT and ACT test would look to disqualify the TI from being used on these tests. This would then hurt the people that are honestly looking to use the calculator as intended on those exams.

    If you're looking to hack on a piece of hardware, buy a Raspberry Pi, load a custom ROM on your smartphone. You're not doing anyone any favors by hacking Linux to run on the TI calculators except cheaters, and even that would only last a short while.

    • There are a couple of things that make TI calculators different from your average hackable smartphone or Raspberry Pi device.

      Indeed, another whole class of device with didderent specs to play with!

      First, they have terrible specs. The TI-NSpire, which is the creme-de-la-creme of these calculators has 20 MB of RAM. Compare to a recent Galaxy S3 smartphone - 2 GB, or even a $35 Raspberry Pi - 512 MB. The CPU is also woeful in spec, as is the flash, etc.

      Not terrible, just differet. A PIC12F675 has a whole 64 by

  • by lastx33 (2097770)
    Maybe I could run an HP emulator on it then? RPN or RPL on a TI would be very cool - probably not to TI though.
  • Why? Because we can. TI's are always going to be terrible. That's not the point. The fact that someone can get Linux running on such an abstract platform is where all the fun comes from. Hacking on an Android device or RBP isn't fun because you're doing what they're intended for. Doing so on a TI is because you're pushing it to do something it wasn't meant to do.
  • by Jon_S (15368) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:40PM (#42028055)

    What, this story has been up for a whole day so far and nobody has yet imagined a Beowolf cluster of these?

    What's Slashdot coming to these days?

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder

Working...