Used Chromebook for few days

Some days ago I got Chromebook and have to say that device is amazing. Light, small and fast enough for conference laptop. During Linaro Connect I did some hacking on it with help from Olof Johansson and Andrew Wafaa (he brought Chromebook for me from Cambridge). I also used script from Jay Lee to get all information required to resize STATE partition and fit Ubuntu on internal storage.

Now I am running Ubuntu ‘raring’ on my Chromebook with XFCE as a desktop — all running from internal storage (16GB eMMC from SanDisk). So far I did not remove original Chromium from device as I keep it as a reference system to be able to compare what I got with how it works with system from Google.

So what works? Most of things — suspend/resume, wifi, bluetooth, sound, touchpad, usb ports, sd storage, camera. But why they should not work when I am using same kernel binary as Chromium OS does ;) So far did not yet came to rebuilding kernel — there were more important things to do first.

During Wednesday hacking evening I updated xf86-video-armsoc driver to X11 ABI 13 used by packages in ‘raring’ so I got 2D accelerated environment. Tried to find all sources required to build xf86-input-cmt driver but then got hint from Olof that “evdev” driver is enough — all it needs is small snippet of X11 configuration. And yes — it works but is not precise. Andrew told that he will try to build “cmt” driver for OpenSUSE so we will know how better it is.

What next? I have to create package for “cgpt” (GPT manipulation tool with support for Chromium OS extensions), tools and keys needed to sign kernel and kernel itself. Then some work would be needed for OpenGLES stuff but this can wait. I plan to upload everything needed into Debian and then request syncs to Ubuntu. From yesterday’s discussions I know which mailing lists I should go.

But I do not plan to cover everything. There will be no installation support from me. Users have to do it on their own cause there are several ways of getting other operating systems on Chromebook:

  • boot from SD card
  • boot from USB storage
  • resizing STATE partition to put system on internal eMMC (I did that)
  • removing Chromium OS completely to get more space for own system

Then there are also systems when user has developer firmware installed (that’s different that developer mode) or even setup where normal U-Boot is used as bootloader.

What was on GUADEC 2008

GUADEC is going to end for me today — I am going back home tomorrow. Was it worth going here? Yes, it was. I met interesting guys, spoke about nice projects which I will probably work on soon etc.


There was lot of interesting talks during this year GUADEC:

  • “Bob the Builder: How can he fix it?” by Rob Bradfort from OpenedHand — it was about Poky, developing for embedded targets, which tools are available and how to use them.
  • “Clutter guts” by Tomas Frydrych, Emmanuele Bassi and Øyvind Kolås from OpenedHand. This was was about Clutter — what it is, how to use, what it gives. For me it was interesting as I did not knew what exactly it is.
  • “Location-aware applications with GeoClue and Gypsy” by Henri Bergius (Nemein), Iain Holmes (OpenedHand), Jussi Kukkonen (also OH) — from clock applet which automatically change your timezone for shopping lists which reminds you about milk when you are near store. I wonder how those projects will change the way of writing applications. For those who does not know what Gypsy is — it is GPS multiplex daemon which does not have gpsd bugs.
  • “Breaking the Silence: Making Applications Talk with Telepathy” by Robert McQueen from Collabora. I think it was a bit too technical but otherwise it shown what Telepathy is and how cool can it be.

I see that some of Lighting Talks can be also interesting.


O yes… parties… Monday and Tuesday were easy days — we got some Turkish coffee somewhere (it was really good) and Turkish beer (was not good) but next days were different.

On Wednesday evening there was roof party at the University. Lot of people and red wine in plastic/paper cups. Get to sleep at ~02:00…

Thursday… Collabora boat party with “unlimited” beer… That was great event. At 21 we get on board and the party started. Carlsberg is quite good beer and after 3rd can you do not notice taste :) There were few places with stronger alcohols — 15 years old whiskey for example. We went under Europe<>Asia bridges — the first one has animated lights which looks very nice. I spoke a lot with Ken Gilmer from Bug Labs company and it was good spent time. Later from party to came to “bar” near the Golden Horn hotel and from there I walked to our hotel. Final bed time: 03:30…

Today there will be Google sponsored party but I do not plan to go there. I prefer to have some time for packing and rest before traveling home (Istanbul -> Berlin -> Szczecin) and going to the party would makes me look like zombie on Saturday… And I have family event on Sunday so I should look like normal person rather :)

BTW — after boat party I thought that conference could be named GUADEP as sometimes it looks like parties takes more time and attention then conferences :D


I will not write that it was worth going to GUADEC because it is widely known fact. I met interesting people (also few not interesting ones), discussed some projects with their managers (as talking is always better then exchanging emails).

Next year should be even more interesting as it will be merged with Akademy which is KDE conference (and I use KDE3/4 rather then GNOME on my machines).

Car navigation with N810

During last two weeks I did two 250km trips. First Poznań -> Szczecin, then return. Road into both directions is good and it is impossible to get lost but I took my N810 with me.

Before trip I started Maemo Mapper to generate route and fetch all needed maps (from Google Maps street view). This part was fast. I checked generated route does it have sense and stored on card as there is no offline route generation — you can do it only online by querying author’s website which send query to Google Maps, converts and returns XML.

Ok, time to go — I packed car with all our luggage and during that left N810 in car to get “gps fix” as internal GPS needs time for this operation. During trip we looked from time to time just to check are we on track. Few times tablet just rebooted which resulted in no GPS fix until next longer stop :( But it does not need to reboot to lose position — look at our return trip track (clean road, no tunnels etc):

I know that there are people who use Nokia tablets for car navigation. But how does it compare to TomTom Navigator which I had occasion to use one day…

Let’s see.

FunctionTomTomMaemo MapperWayfinder
price99 EUR for PDA edition1free (GPL)9 EUR (1 month)
69 EUR (year)
70 EUR (3 years)
1 week free trial2
offline routing+require licence
detour planning+
finger friendly keyboard+
address lists with prediction+no such lists+

So it looks like I will not buy HH-12 car holder to use N810 for car navigation but rather TomTom device or some Windows CE/Mobile navigator with TomTom software to have something usable.

  1. often comes pre-installed on Windows Mobile devices 

  2. after trial period each run shows requester with “enter license key or purchase” and settings window (on right side of screen) is not available 

Online map services and routing

During Friday I had a trip to my family city (Olecko, Poland) for my sister wedding. It was by car (not mine) and we had to visit brother to take him with us. As I never was in Toruń before I had to use some online services to see how to get to the place where he works.

Google Maps
Interface easy to use, checking directions can be done with few clicks, adding new points to trip is intuitive. But route is not optimal — force to use highways (Poland nearly does not have such ones) so I needed to add few extra points to get proper directions. Printing is unusable — most of space taken by driving instructions and maps in print are small.
Only Poland covered. Map is from AutoMapa navigation application. Interface also easy to use but lack scrollwhell support and need some time to understand buttons. Allow to create route with few points and do it well. As a bonus it show list of road repairs. Printing does not work.
Also only Poland covered. Flash interface :( Only routing from point to point. Printing use flash too.

Finally I checked route in Google Maps and Targeo. Needed part (Toruń, where we had to take my brother) was printed from GM screenshot.

Google Summer of Code T-Shirt arrived

When I was checking my mailbox (snail one) I met guy from FedEx who wanted to enter building and called my flat via intercom. I asked him does package is for my fiancee or for me and because it was for me I took it from him. At home I discovered that this unexpected package was from Google with black XL T-Shirt from GSoC program.

US sizes are bigger then Europe ones…