Tizen: first impressions

During my stay in Oakland, CA (due to Ubuntu Developer Summit) I decided to attend also Tizen Developers Conference. Not that I have any relations with this platform — just wanted to meet some friends from Maemo times. And I did not had plans for Tuesday evening while Tizen visitors had social event planned in The California Academy of Sciences.

For those which do not know what Tizen is a bit of history. Years ago Nokia made few internet tablet devices (770, n800, n810) and phone (n900) which were running Linux distribution named Maemo. It was loosely based on Debian. In meantime Intel created Moblin which was their distribution for mobile devices. Few years passed and they joined forces and MeeGo was born. Nokia released N9 phone with it, ASUS had netbook running MeeGo and maybe few other devices appeared on market. Then history repeated: MeeGo merged with LiMo and they created Tizen project.

It is hard to tell was conference success or not because I did not attended any sessions there — just opening keynote by Jim Zemlin. On first day I also came for technical showcase and partner demos. But they were squeezed in very small room so it was hard to discuss with people showing their work. Maybe next time organizers will give at least 4m² per demo — this should be a minimum.

But today I got Tizen Developer Platform device and thumbdrive with SDK on it. So decided to play a bit with it. It was not enjoyable experience.

First ugly part was Tizen SDK “so-called” installer. 823MB shell script… I thought that those times passed long time ago. Anyway tried to run it. All I got was message that 64bits systems are not supported. Good to know that, but my x86-64 systems are able to run x86 binaries without problems. Ok, I made workaround and then got message about missing qemu, rpm, libsdl packages. No, I will not install rpm on my Ubuntu systems.

So I decided to cut that crappy shell script and take a look at tarball. Fast “tail -n+122 tizen-sdk-0423.bin >tizen-sdk.tar.gz” and I was able to extract SDK. Got 26 zip archives.

One of them contains rootfs created from packages based on Debian/Ubuntu packages. Some are from times when dinosaurs ruled the Earth (debianutils 2.17 was released in 2006), some are more fresh (like gcc-4.5 based on version from May 2011). In other words tradition started by Maemo is continued in Tizen and developers are given mix of fresh tools with long time forgotten ones. And Scratchbox 2.

To connect with device there is “sdb” tool. It introduces itself as “Smart Development Bridge” but in past it was named “Samsung Development Bridge” (run ‘strings’ on binary). And it’s father has a name “Android Development Bridge” and has some more options.

Anyway if you want to connect to device then few steps are required:

  1. On device go to settings and set USB to ‘USB debugging’ mode. This will switch it into cdc_ether gadget.
  2. On host do “sudo ifconfig usb0 192.168.129.1″ to configure networking.
  3. Connect to device: “ssh root@192.168.129.3″

And then you can enjoy system which is a mixture of few Debian/Ubuntu versions. And forget about updates — unless you know how to get to 165.213.180.233 and know password of “kb0929.kim” user there (taken from /etc/apt/sources.list file).

Device uses Linux 2.6.36 kernel with unknown patches on top including CMA and Android ones. Quite old one but works. Hope to get newer one from someone.

What I do not like is availability of sources. There is review.tizen.org website with git repositories but I want to vomit when I see commits like “let’s add 2.6.36 kernel in one commit”. Lovely lack of ideas how to help developers.

What I will do with device? Not decided yet. Waiting for instructions how to get into bootloader to boot own kernels. Then who knows… replacing Tizen with Android or Ubuntu?

15 thoughts on “Tizen: first impressions

  1. Ricardo

    Sounds a quite interesting device to get the Linaro builds and tools to work. Using Android should be quite simple, but Ubuntu might also get you a good change to work on getting the base system in place and even experiment with the KDE/Plasma enviroment for Tablet/Phones.

    1. Marcin Juszkiewicz Post author

      Linaro builds will probably work fine on it. Did not checked yet exact hardware configuration but in worst situation even 2.6.36 kernel may be used for start.

  2. Ricardo

    I wonder if we also could just enable the UI part of it in an Ubuntu based platform/rootfs. Guess it’d be similar as with WebOS soon.

  3. jezra

    Thank you for the information about using ssh to connect to the device. The “Tizen” way, installing and using sdb is far too bloated.

      1. jezra

        sdb is part of the Tizen SDK. In order for me to use sdb, I installed Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine, then installed Oracle Java and Tizen SDK. Then I copied the SDK from the Virtual Machine to my normal machine. From there, sdb works from the command-line.

  4. jezra

    Try Normal mode for USB, and start the sdb server before plugging in the USB. That’s how it worked for me.

  5. lxnay

    I was thinking about putting Android on it as well at some point. Mainly because the device is actually unusable for anything outside pure development and I am only planning to build a simple Lightstreamer HTML5 demo app.

    WTF with the SDK btw? Has anybody told him that we’re in 2012 and 32bit is dying? And how about other distros? Do they really think that everybody is using Ubuntu? /me shakes head

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