Home Messages Index
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index

Re: [News] Nokia N900 Looks Great and Runs GNU/Linux

GPS wrote:

I have one of the early Nokia Linux tablet devices.

I like it somewhat, but it tends to have some negative aspects:

1. crashes and lockups were common in the initial release of the firmware.

I have the latest firmware installed and it is rock solid.

2. It uses Opera and only supports Flash 9 (most popular sites use Flash 10 now).

The latest OS2008 did away with Opera and uses Mozilla. I can't think of any site that required Flash 10 thus far.

3. Java support (last I checked) is non-existent.

That would be useful if the performance was tweaked. In some ways, it's better that there is no Java support because there are more native applications available. Java apps sometimes have very poor performance on mobile devices (much as they can on desktop systems).

4. Maemo (the desktop) isn't ideal. It's a single fullscreen window interface. It's not generally conducive to multitasking. It's Gtk-based, and there were some issues, even after flashing the firmware.

The screen size isn't big enough to make windowing feasible so that's a non-issue. Switching between applications is simply a matter of tapping on the icon, and in full screen mode there is a button that brings up the application switcher. The latest firmware seems to have no issues.

5. There is no root account enabled by default, so it's effectively a closed system out of the box.

I don't find that's a problem as there is nothing you can do as root with the latest firmware that you can't do by default. Root access was necessary on OS2007 to install Pan and perhaps one or two other things but it's not available for OS2008 :(

6. The only toolkit/framework you can use is based on Gtk+/Maemo, so any useful Qt/KDE/Xt/Xaw/Tk apps won't work.

To be fair, it makes sense to choose a graphics library and stick to it otherwise you have unnecessary bloat. I believe that other tookits are available as addons for OS2008.

7. The out of memory handling wasn't great. I think this was a kernel bug. When I used the removable flash memory card for a swap file it worked better.

I haven't run out of memory yet - mine might have more available RAM.

8. There seems to be more of an emphasis on making it look pretty, than making it look useful. The borders of windows are huge, and I would rather in general have more screen space for useful information. There is a fullscreen mode for some apps, but it often means that you have to switch in and out of fullscreen mode to scroll around (depending on the app).

The title bar is fairly large but there is no other window border to speak of. Fullscreen mode works really well on OS2008 although it seems you have to put it back to non-fullscreen mode in order to access the application's menu as it is part of the title bar. Aside from that, my only criticism of the interface is that there is no left-handed option. Using the scrollbar left-handed means that my hand obscures the screen because the scrollbars are always on the right hand side.

9. Opera for ARM tends to crash a lot.

I really dislike Opera for ARM. I have it on my Archos 605WiFi and it crashes all the time. I'm glad the latest OS2008 has Mozilla by default because it has been rock solid so far.

10. (last I checked) no support for some common multimedia codecs.

I can't remember what the default media player supports but MPlayer is available.

11. it doesn't come with a terminal or any terminal support out of the box.

OS2008 does. For some reason, kill doesn't accept signals - it seems to use -s 9 by default.

13. playing videos seemed to be hit or miss. Some would play very slowly, unless converted to a format that required less translation.

Get MPlayer.

5 can be fixed by flashing the device in Windows, or Linux, with a proprietary tool (binary executable) with a flag that enables a root account (I did this eventually).

On OS2008, you can install openssh and opensshd and change the root password that way. I believe enabling the root account puts the device in R&D mode, which adversely affects performance due to debugging being enabled. This could be why you are having problems with video. Use openssh to gain root instead.

It's not the most open device, but it's more open than some.

In terms of lock-down, try Archos devices ;)

For a developer the Nokia tablets are probably not ideal, but for users with simple needs they are good. It's good for playing music, or general web browsing, and sometimes reading PDFs.

I wouldn't develop on such a small device - it's better to get the development kit provided by Maemo and develop on the desktop.

It would help a lot if Nokia opened up the firmware tools, and the firmware itself, and allowed the device to have root access without having to flash the firmware. It's basically an "idiot box Linux."

Given that many idiots are likely to buy it, it's understandable that they did that.

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index