Firmware suggestions and contributions


gruso

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This thread is intended to be a discussion point for suggestions and contributions to the Pandora OS. I want it to be a conversation with the guys who ultimately bear the workload, and I hope that ED, Notaz, Skeezix, DJWillis etc can add any information that would help us help them. It’s not just a wishlist thread – the aim is to get more people involved.


There are many ways you can help, from kernel contributions through to libpnd, scripting, GUI stuff, documentation, pre-installed software or just good ideas. We’ve recently had a “Developers” section added to the forum menu bar which is a handy gateway for devs of all levels, particularly those wanting to help with the OS. But almost any of us can get involved in some way.


Assuming this thread gains any momentum it will be moderated tightly.

  • Please keep the thread focused and on topic.
  • The topic is our current OS, on our current hardware. Suggestions for other operating systems are well covered elsewhere.
  • Make sensible, realistic suggestions. Link to resources or your own work where you can.
  • Don't just dump your wishlist and hope someone does it.
  • Don’t assume you're not qualified to contribute. If you’ve used a Pandora you’ve probably got something of value to say about the OS, and you can probably learn how to help.


Note: This isn’t a bug reporting thread. Please continue to report any issues in the current Super Zaxxon beta thread.
 
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gruso

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To get the ball rolling...


NAND CHEAT SHEET FOR NEWBIES


I was getting ready for work this morning, and for some reason thinking about newbies and NAND disasters. I made a draft ‘infographic’ some time ago, which I envisioned being placed as a file in the homedir, so it would be the first thing new users see when they open Thunar:



Lo and behold, this thread happened. I know plenty of users have hit problems because they didn’t know this stuff, and there will be more. Yes, the info is available if people RTFM (or RTFW), but that doesn’t mean we can’t take extra steps to spread the knowledge. I think this should be put together as a HTML file with a catchy name (“Welcome to Pandora” or “Hello. Read this!”) so anyone who opens Thunar gets a quick education on the filesystem.


Who can help, and how: A graphic designer who can also throw together a trivial HTML file. It needs to be clear & readable in Links on the Pandora without zooming or sidescrolling. The lines pointing to external devices should probably be green instead of red. Keep the whole thing small, say under 100KB.
 
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pmprog

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I saw those new menus and went a bit Kiwi "Sweet as".


What's the preference with regards to "Firmware and Kernel GIT" to "Upcoming OS GIT" when looking for stuff. That said, maybe some sort of interactive guide would be pretty good to add (ie, when you open Thunar, it shows some details on the file system, when you open a window that's too big for the screen, it tells you about the shoulder button scroll (I didn't know about this)).
 

gruso

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^ Hmm, I wonder if XFCE could do a one off notify-send to explain use of L when it detects a window bigger than the screen.


Next suggestion. Notaz knows about this so I'm really just posting it by way of example. (And maybe to attract an awk guru to fix it.)


ADD HOTKEY & TIMER TRIGGERED SCREENSHOT FUNCTION


'fbgrab' is already on the NAND of course. SnapSnap is just a couple of scripts that make it accessible and easy to use (repo | thread). Nice PND if I may say so, but it would be better off as part of the OS. But it needs help before it's ready. Clop's bug report and my failure to fix it in this post.


Who can help: An awk guru.
 
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renegadechic

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Networking for new users like myself is a bit of a struggle. Personally I even struggle on Windows systems, let alone Linux so some kind of guide and documentation on this would be helpful.


In my case, I was looking to connect my DLink Share Centre DNS-320 to my Pandora to hopefully stream videos, music and maybe even roms to play over a network with a fixed central storage space rather than over removable media. I did spend some time searching forums for help but I was not entirely sure what I was looking for. After some pointing in the right direction from sebt3 I got going with Gigolo to create an SMB share which works quite well (it does come up as a hidden file though on ./gvfs which though is accessible on something like PanPlayer with a config change, this isn't possible in every instance i.e. comix). aTc also pointed me in the direction of DJMount and though the command line instructions had me lost for a while (its amazing how instinctive it is to overcomplicate things) that works as an option.


In both cases though I was able to do some caching with mplayer that lasted a minute or so, the connection was too slow to stream video fluidly over wifi. It also takes a while to populate and explore all the folders on the server. I tested this with a Edimax EW-7811UN dongle hoping that it might circumvent the internal wifi issues but it didn't make enough of a difference. I did manage to use the SMB share to play Castle of Illusion on Picodrive. It took a little while to load the rom, but when it was loaded it ran fine. I expect the larger the rom and the more reads it needed to make, the less effective it would be i.e. with playstation ISOs.


This has all become a bit of a tangent but I guess ultimately, it was something I would assume numerous people would want to do with their Pandora but not something easy to find information on. It might also be the case that we just have not come across an ideal solution yet too. Either way an idiots guide to networking would be really awesome, at least to resolve connections on the Pandora end since we cannot expect everyone's home systems to be the same.


As another slight aside, it was mentioned that NFS would be better than SMB for what I am trying to do, but I don't actually know where to begin with that.
 
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EvilDragon

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I've started a basic Tutorial for the Pandora in HTML a while ago, just didn't have the time to work much on it.


However, the main page has been finished and features some nice button and basic HTML layout.


I can upload that later in case anyone wants to look at it.


Right now, we only have Links2 as browser on the NAND, but it would do the job for the tutorial.


The only thing I didn't like was that you can't exit it using HTML or Javascript, so you'd need to press ALT-Q (or whatever it was) to quit links.


To make the tutorial as user friendly as possible, we'd need a browser that runs fullscreen on the Pandora and is able to quit using Javascript.
 

Linux-SWAT

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I'm currently writing some straight Linux tutorials on the wiki. After the big work is done, i or anybody may enhance them for Zaxxon and a wider audience.


Gigolo don't "create" an SMB share, it connects to an SMB share.


NFS is indeed faster.


Can your DLink Share Centre DNS-320 act as a NFS server ?


You should post this in another thread.

To make the tutorial as user friendly as possible, we'd need a browser that runs fullscreen on the Pandora and is able to quit using Javascript.
Does it cover some step-by step guides ?


Because it's not practical to be fullscreen for someone wanting to read while applying the steps.
 

renegadechic

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I'm currently writing some straight Linux tutorials on the wiki. After the big work is done, i or anybody may enhance them for Zaxxon and a wider audience.


Gigolo don't "create" an SMB share, it connects to an SMB share.


NFS is indeed faster.


Can your DLink Share Centre DNS-320 act as a NFS server ?


You should post this in another thread.
It can, and yes, it was kind of a two sided post since the documentation/help part was relevant but the finer details of my experience were not!


Great to hear about the linux tutorials though, thanks :)
 

Mr_Loon

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Great thread Gruso. :)


PANDORA SETTINGS


I'd love to see an easy way to configure multiple aspects of the Pandora from a single application, this would be used to put the Pandora into a desired state based upon planned usage and possibly also launch a desired application. For example if you wanted to use the Pandora to play music then the clock speed could be lowered, the screen blanking could be enabled and your chosen music player launched. If you wanted to use the Pandora to view video then the screen brightness could be set to maximum, the LEDs turned off and screen blanking disabled.


From my understanding changes to settings (CPU speed, screen brightness etc.) are made by running preconfigured scripts, what the settings application would do would be to allow users a simple way of running multiple scripts.


It would seem sensible to have a tabbed layout for the states application with each tab covering a particular aspect ,such as clock speed, wireless/bluetooth, screen settings, TV out settings, etc.


When your settings for the desired state had been entered then this state could be saved and easily shared with other users, multiple example states could be included with the application.


Settings for the following (and more) could be controlled :

  • Screen - Brightness, filter, Blanking
  • CPU Speed - Speed & Voltage
  • Wireless - Wifi & Bluetooth
  • Nubs - Mouse/Joystick mode, Sensitivity
  • TV-Out - On/Off, Pal/NTSC
  • LEDs - On/Off, Change default behaviour
 
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Wally

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Wouldn't it be worth looking into including GCC / various tools into the firmware releases if removing the old kernel frees up some space? It'd save some of us a bit of time configuring after reflashing the nand.
 

Linux-SWAT

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It can, and yes, it was kind of a two sided post since the documentation/help part was relevant but the finer details of my experience were not!
Said "in another post" in case you want more explanations on how to set up NFS ^^.

I'd love to see an easy way to configure multiple aspects of the Pandora from a single application, this would be used to put the Pandora into a desired state based upon planned usage and possibly also launch a desired application. For example if you wanted to use the Pandora to play music then the clock speed could be lowered, the screen blanking could be enabled and your desired music player launched. If you wanted to use the Pandora to view video then the screen brightness could be set to maximum, the LEDs turned off and screen blanking disabled.


From my understanding changes to settings (CPU speed, screen brightness etc.) are made by running preconfigured scripts, what the settings application would do would be to allow users a simple way of running multiple scripts.


It would seem sensible to have a tabbed layout for the states application with each tab covering a particular aspect ,such as clock speed, wireless/bluetooth, screen settings, TV out settings, etc.


When your settings for the desired state had been entered then this state could be saved and easily shared with other users, multiple example states could be included with the application.
It's not possible to cover all configurations. If someone wants to listen music while watching a video on overlay and browsing firefox...


The Xfce menu is not perfect. I already suggested to change the OP-specific names to ie. OP nub configurator, and OP TV-out settings etc.
 

Neelix

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I'd love to see an easy way to configure multiple aspects of the Pandora from a single application, this would be used to put the Pandora into a desired state based upon planned usage and possibly also launch a desired application. For example if you wanted to use the Pandora to play music then the clock speed could be lowered, the screen blanking could be enabled and your desired music player launched. If you wanted to use the Pandora to view video then the screen brightness could be set to maximum, the LEDs turned off and screen blanking disabled.


...


When your settings for the desired state had been entered then this state could be saved and easily shared with other users, multiple example states could be included with the application.
It's not possible to cover all configurations. If someone wants to listen music while watching a video on overlay and browsing firefox...


The Xfce menu is not perfect. I already suggested to change the OP-specific names to ie. OP nub configurator, and OP TV-out settings etc.
You wouldn't have to cover them all. The point is to make a central place to configure everything and way to save the configuration set, allowing the end user to use, tweak or create the configuration sets they require.


- Neelix
 
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Linux-SWAT

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Ah ok.


Again, the new overlay menu could be great to load these custom configs.
 

Mr_Loon

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@ Linux-SWAT : Apologies for my confusing wording, Neelix has it right, the idea is to give users an easy way of making multiple configuration changes with a single click and to easily share these settings with other users.


@ The firmware Devs : It would be useful if you could provide some kind of general idea of the goals for future firmware, it has been mentioned (by ED, I think) that we won't be seeing Yars Revenge until there are major changes to the OS, can you give us any clue as to what those changes might be? Or at least the broad aim of these changes, i.e. usability, performance, battery life, wifi stability etc.
 

Linux-SWAT

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Sounded like a mainstream compatibility with Angstrom, so an overall improvement.
 

Grench

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NAND & OS improvements?


Top of my list:


1. Have an option to lock the user session requiring password whenever the unit is coming out of standby (switch) or from lid closed.


2. Have an option for the unit to go into standby when lid closed (may be there?)


3. Have it set up root as it's own account - then allow multiple user accounts with icons/photos that can be selected from on the login/unlock screen from 1. and 2.


It's annoying that I log in once and then the unit is unsecured forever unless I purposely power it down.


You can keep the defaults as is for windows users. But please allow us to set up 'normal' Linux base security? I know it is only as secure as the removable SD card that someone could read in another device - but it would be nice to at least be able to lock out the curious.


Now the fun part - allow those of us who boot from SD to have an encrypted user directory. That might require some thought outside of this chain though.


Thank you!
 

eyecreate

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One thing that has irked me is my pandora is the only device I own that doesn't have an easy way for me to read/mount/sync to my webdav(technically owncloud) server. This can easily be solved by having webdav support added to GVFS.(Currently, it is only Obex, SSH, and Samba are enabled.) This would add mount support to Gigolo by extension. Don't think there'd be any side effects to this change and it should only be changing some flags on compile.
 

eyecreate

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You could try cadaver from angstromrepo for webdav.
I had thought(and almost done) that, but I want to have something that is more integrated with the system. This would allow other programs people make to take advantage of this too.(syncing/reading from) Also, cadaver is CLI based. I'd like something I can use graphically also and ideally make easy to sync.(with having webdav mountable, a simple backup tool could then sync things.) The reason I don't have something compiled on the repo for webdav is that I haven't found much good webdav software. Something like Cyberduck or GVFS/KIO would match closest what I have set up for my other devices.
 
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