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I opened this topic because we already have SailfishOS and Ubuntu touch topics, but I don't really consider them Linux. I'm interested in operating systems that are perhaps closer to Linux than Android. It's hard to talk about this while knowing: Android is Linux. That's why I prefer to write examples:
Plasma Mobile
PostmarketOS
Mobian (Debian)
PureOS (Librem)
Kai OS

Anyone have any experience with these?

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To make it clear, the drivers and whatnot of PRO¹-x are still not in mainline linux. That will happen, at the very least (if lucky!), next year.

Whatever OS uses mainline linux and its drivers to run won't work until then.

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2 minutes ago, brunoais said:

To make it clear, the drivers and whatnot of PRO¹-x are still not in mainline linux. That will happen, at the very least (if lucky!), next year.

Whatever OS uses mainline linux and its drivers to run won't work until then.

Is there no way to post-load the modules into the kernel to run on the device? (e.g. with modprobe)

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No one will have experience with those, as the Pro1-X was released only a few days ago.

For the Pro1, some success in mainlining has been made, resulting in (as far as I know) a PostmarketOS proof-of-principle. However, as the Pro1-X ended up being a totally different machine, nothing of that is likely portable easily.

On the bright side, F(x)tec hired a software engineer specifically to help in mainlining the Pro1-X (and also the original Pro1, I guess).

Just now, Adamyno said:

Is there no way to post-load the modules into the kernel to run on the device? (e.g. with modprobe)

The Pro1 and Pro1-X are not even using the same kernel, so even in the (standardized) x86-world, this would not be possible for binary drivers.

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9 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

On the bright side, F(x)tec hired a software engineer specifically to help in mainlining the Pro1-X (and also the original Pro1, I guess).

Actually, I have been thinking about that, as I have actually only found his name on commits to the Kernel that pertains to both Pro1 and Pro1X, or only to the Pro1, not anything particular only to the Pro1X.. Did I miss something? Looked in the wrong place perhaps? 

In the true spirit of F(x)tec, I dont recall them saying he was going to specifically work on the Pro1X? Or am I remembering incorrectly? Would be very happy to be proven wrong :)

Edited by toast
typos
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9 minutes ago, toast said:

I dont recall the saying he was going to specifically work on the Pro1X? Or am I remembering incorrectly? Would be very happy to be proven wrong 🙂

I do not know anything more than was in the September 2021 update:

Quote

Angelo [...] will work as our in-house engineer for Linux and mainline support, as well as adaptations and functionality of alternative OS’s for your devices.

Note the generic "your devices". As I own only an original Pro1, I would be quite happy if it was still given some (official) love, too ... 😉

On a more serious note, they probably hired him for his general skills in embedded ARM Linux systems, and will want to flexibly adapt his focus according to company needs (which makes perfect sense to me).

Edited by claude0001
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1 hour ago, claude0001 said:

Note the generic "your devices". As I own only an original Pro1, I would be quite happy if it was still given some (official) love, too ... 😉

On a more serious note, they probably hired him for his general skills in embedded ARM Linux systems, and will want to flexibly adapt his focus according to company needs (which makes perfect sense to me).

I highly doubt that we will get anything that are not community driven for our beloved Pro1s
I think they will be focussing on the Pro1X (and any possible future successors)

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42 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

I highly doubt that we will get anything that are not community driven for our beloved Pro1s
I think they will be focussing on the Pro1X (and any possible future successors)

Anyway, I have just received my Pro1X which should be a very early one of IGG orders and it has a serial number somewhat above 5000 which may mean (if they are not numbering inconsistently or randomly inside batches) it may be near 5000 Pro1s (or let's say more than 4000) around the world... or may not if the numbering does not reflect the queue.

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The closer you can get to Linux in the way you mean it, currently, is Droidian, which is like Mobian but based on the Android kernel.. They already have a port working, which I aim to test later this week. But no news on mainline yet. Techwizz on the Discord is motivated to work on it, but it's a huge task so I don't know how far they can get alone.

I believe Angelo no longer works officially for F(x)tec, but don't know what is the reason for that. I heard he is in an community dev group though, but no idea if he is active at the moment.

Edited by matf
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9 hours ago, VaZso said:

Anyway, I have just received my Pro1X which should be a very early one of IGG orders and it has a serial number somewhat above 5000 which may mean (if they are not numbering inconsistently or randomly inside batches) it may be near 5000 Pro1s (or let's say more than 4000) around the world... or may not if the numbering does not reflect the queue.

Mine is above 7000... 😉

5 hours ago, matf said:

I believe Angelo no longer works officially for F(x)tec, but don't know what is the reason for that. I heard he is in an community dev group though, but no idea if he is active at the moment.

What made you believe that? 😢

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3 hours ago, brunoais said:

Mine is above 7000... 😉

What made you believe that? 😢

Pretty sure I read that somewhere from someone who would know. Fortunately we have a Pro1x preorderer who seems to be able to work on mainline too, and even if Angelo is independent again, he might still want to work towards mainlining both devices (after all his work on msm8998 was long before F(x)tec said he was part of the team), so all hope is not lost.

Edited by matf
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16 hours ago, brunoais said:

To make it clear, the drivers and whatnot of PRO¹-x are still not in mainline linux

What is the status for the original Pro1 and mainline Linux? Are there guides for setting up a classic Linux (any distribution, I don't care) on the old devices? I received my Pro1-X last week but would kill for a real pocket Linux experience on a keyboard phone (rather than containers on Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish, or Termux or whatever on Android), and I might buy a used Pro1 if I know it can run something like Debian or Ubuntu or Arch.

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1 hour ago, sspiff said:

and I might buy a used Pro1 if I know it can run something like Debian or Ubuntu or Arch.

It is a good idea but I would not think it is an easy job hunting for a used Pro1.

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1 hour ago, sspiff said:

What is the status for the original Pro1 and mainline Linux? Are there guides for setting up a classic Linux (any distribution, I don't care) on the old devices? I received my Pro1-X last week but would kill for a real pocket Linux experience on a keyboard phone (rather than containers on Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish, or Termux or whatever on Android), and I might buy a used Pro1 if I know it can run something like Debian or Ubuntu or Arch.

Sadly there's nothing fully working yet, and it's hard to know the status of things that were promising.

- Kholk/Angelo showed very encouraging progress with mainline on the Pro1 (msm8998) more than 1.5 years ago, but then I didn't see more news about it or instructions (but we may have to check his commit history somewhere?): 

- Then, as @claude0001mentioned, @Danct12managed to boot Arch ARM on Pro1, but I think it's stalled and he is not working on it anymore (due to touch noise that mainline doesn't dampen): 

- And then, the same @Danct12 ported postmarketOS to Pro1 (something that Kholk/Angelo probably did too earlier since his tweet shows postmarketOS too), but encountered the same nasty touch noise that made it almost unusable, and did not continue the work. This is my post here reporting the status of it: https://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?p=1573761#post1573761 

However it seems from his tweet that Kholk/Angelo didn't have this issue with his earlier port, so it would be good if we could establish contact with him. Techwizz on Discord said he vaguely remembers someone fixing a similar issue in mainline with some proprietary blobs, so there's hope on that front too, but it's very fragile as it depends on a handful of people skilled enough, which may or may not be motivated in continuing this work.

 

 

 

Edited by matf-kabouik
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How about the approach of running some kind of Linux using Termux and PRoot, like AnLinux? You don't even need a rooted Android.

I quickly tried a minimal setup of AnLinux (minimal Ubuntu + Xfce) which installed in a few seconds and does look like fun, except that after first install it doesn't come in native resolution and the RealVNC viewer I've used here (it uses VNC to display itself) doesn't seem too user-friendly, either, at least not at first glance.

Q8163096.thumb.jpg.1184f2a644cad5debe42d3ac068d4501.jpg

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This has been done here by others indeed (namely @claude0001and you for Android/Lineage, and others and I did it for Sailfish and Droidian too, but I believe I'm the one who used it the most on those two OSes: https://youtu.be/-dgD5jci8Dk, https://youtu.be/8PnDZtKzsSc, https://youtu.be/rgxrJj37xOs).

To some extent, running a custom WM onto Droidian (the host, not a LXC container) is feasible too. I have a Pro1 running Droidian with both Phosh and Sway (plus my i3wm container too), but there's a significant issue on the Sway side because the resolution is twice smaller unless I set scaling to 1x in Phosh, which makes it hard to use.

Those are all elegant solutions in my opinion and I wouldn't trade them for anything but mainline, but there are some limitations to be aware of. It tends to be a tad slower (but the benefit is you keep the mobile UI and applications alongside chroot/LXC so you don't sacrifice mobile use and telephony), there's usually no HW acceleration, and sometimes there are other limitations (I couldn't get sound working in my LXC container on Pro1x yet, while it works on Pro1).

I'm using Debian in a LXC container in SFOS since early 2020, for 90% of my use of the Pro1 (the rest is calls and sms). Getting that to work on the Pro1x was definitely on top of my list. And it's working well (except for audio, so far):

 

Edited by matf-kabouik
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9 hours ago, sspiff said:

I received my Pro1-X last week but would kill for a real pocket Linux experience on a keyboard phone (rather than containers on Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish, or Termux or whatever on Android) [...]

If you want to run mainline Linux out of principle, I totally respect that. 👍

But, on the practical side: what do you think you would miss if you ran your favourite GNU distro in a container of Android, Sailfish or UBTouch, as proposed by @matf-kabouik or @Rob. S.?

Many think of an Android/Lineage chroot or an UBTouch/Sailfish LXC as an "emulator" or a "virtual machine", and therefore have the gut feeling that any software installed in such environments would not be "really" running on their phone. That its speed of execution would be slower compared to the "host OS". That it would somehow not give you that "bare-metal experience".

None of this is technically true. A software distribution in a chroot runs natively on the given hardware, sharing the single Linux-kernel (in this case: the one of Android) with the "host OS". If the device is rooted, you have access to any (hardware) interfaces exposed by that kernel. All the chroot does is isolate the "guest OS" on the level of the filesystem, so it cannot accidentially modify files belonging to the "host OS". Otherwise the two run side-by-side. From a rooted GNU/Linux-chroot on Android, you can see Android processes in top, and actually manage them using tools like kill (whether or not this is a good idea)!

LXC is an expansion on the chroot concept, also securing the "host OS" against intentional (malicious?) modification by the "guest" and seperating the two environments also on the process level. Otherwise, also software in an LXC is being executed natively by the kernel of the "host OS".

As also @matf-kabouik pointed out, it is true that there are some limitations regarding hardware access. However, per se, this is not an consequence of running in a chroot/LXC. Rather:

1) Either, the given interface is being blocked permanently by access from the "host OS". This is the reason one cannot access an Android phone's built-in audio devices via ALSA, while access to a USB sound card sometimes works.

2) Or, the Android kernel does not implement some interface expected by "desktop" Linux software in the first place. This is why it is so difficult getting HW-accelerated graphics in chroot/LXC containers. The kernel and device drivers -- targeted at Android -- simply do not implement the DRM interface expected by MESA/Wayland/DRI as commonly used in desktop Linux workstations.

Edited by claude0001
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10 hours ago, claude0001 said:

If you want to run mainline Linux out of principle, I totally respect that. 👍

But, on the practical side: what do you think you would miss if you ran your favourite GNU distro in a container of Android, Sailfish or UBTouch, as proposed by @matf-kabouik or @Rob. S.?

I 100% agree that running inside a chroot or LXC container is 98% of what people would need. But one thing I would gain from using a mainline kernel, is kernel updates almost in perpetuity, rather than running a container on a fork of a 4 year old kernel. Additionally, it provides a path forward in de-blobbing many of the drivers and features inside our phones, which is a security improvement.

I understand that right now this is mostly philosophical and problems for future sspiff, but I've been into handheld Linux devices for long enough to have felt the pain of not being able to upgrade your kernel.

I've also been an embedded Linux developer in a past life, and I remember the pain of having hardware, compilers and kernels frozen in time forever (remember how long some platforms and distros stuck with Linux 2.6.32?)

So certainly, as a toy for today, containers on Android or whatever works fine. But I would like to have a good experience in 5 years time as well. Because let's be honest, for all the flaws with the QA and timeline of the Pro1-X, new handheld devices that appeal to hackers etc like these don't come along every 18 months.

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19 hours ago, VaZso said:

It is a good idea but I would not think it is an easy job hunting for a used Pro1.

There is one that's been for sale forever locally. They were willing to sell for cheap. Maybe I'll try lowballing them...

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You are obviously very skilled with Linux and embedded systems. Sorry for spamming you with technical details on chroots and LXCs that must be completely clear to you. 😄 Hopefully my post can still serve to encourage others who just want to run a GNU desktop environment on their handheld without sacrificing regular smartphone capabilities ...

All your points a perfectly valid, and I couldn't agree more that support in upstream Linux should be the ultimate goal, always. Unfortunately, the mobile phone world being what it is, this often means that the hardware reaches obsolescence before it is supported in a way to be practically useful. So us, who want to actually also use their phones, have to settle for pragmatic solutions like chroots ...

1 hour ago, sspiff said:

I've also been an embedded Linux developer in a past life, and I remember the pain of having hardware, compilers and kernels frozen in time forever (remember how long some platforms and distros stuck with Linux 2.6.32?)

This. I came to the Pro1 from an N900. Loved everything about it, but in 2020, we were still camping on 2.6.28 as some driver modules had never been open-sourced by Nokia ...

Edited by claude0001
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29 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

You are obviously very skilled with Linux and embedded systems. Sorry for spamming you with technical details on chroots and LXCs that must be completely clear to you. 😄 

I'm not very skilled, just been around long enough 🙂 No harm in trying to explain things, I don't mind or take offense to things like that pretending to be above learning things. There is no way for you to know what I understand or know or not, and you're trying to help.

 

31 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

This. I came to the Pro1 from an N900. Loved everything about it, but in 2020, we were still camping on 2.6.28 as some driver modules had never been open-sourced by Nokia ...

I still have my Nokia N810 and there is no modern kernel that supports its LCD or graphics chip, unfortunately. I used to have a ton of Sharp Zaurus (these used to be the gold standard) and a couple of HP Jornada & NEC MobilePro handheld PCs where we used Windows CE as a sort of bootloader for Linux/BSD.

33 minutes ago, claude0001 said:

Unfortunately, the mobile phone world being what it is, this often means that the hardware reaches obsolescence before it is supported in a way to be practically useful.

I hear you - but I don't need it to be really fast or anything (though native, accelerated graphics is something I do desire, ruling out solutions like VNC / qemu / ...) Since these phones have 6-8GB of memory, they will be good enough for a lot of basic things even in 5 or 10 years time, provided we can still get batteries for them at that point. CPU speeds will have changed significantly, but I'm not planning on using the phone for doing very compute intensive tasks, and I don't mind waiting on the CPU to catch up (as long as the device UI remains responsive in the mean time).

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1 hour ago, sspiff said:

I still have my Nokia N810 and there is no modern kernel that supports its LCD or graphics chip, unfortunately.

Thanks to MaemoLeste, the N900 can run a 5.x.y kernel now (I should try it at some point). However also here, they had to somehow reuse the original closed-source driver for 3D graphics, and sadly, also the remaining hardware is only mostly supported. And that is 13 years after the device was released ... Not to be misunderstood: the MaemoLeste people do great work here, they are just too late to the party. Pretty good illustration of my point above, about how obsolescence catches up with the phones before their support in mainline Linux matures sufficiently for being practically useful. 😞

Edited by claude0001
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