I now have Linux installed on my Google Pixel C tablet.

As the title of this posting suggests.

I used the Android app “UserLAnd“, which does not require root. The most recent versions of this app offer a VNC Server, which emulates an X-Server within the Linux system. And the implementation of VNC is ‘TightVNC’. Plus, the latest versions of this app offer a built-in VNC Viewer, that I find makes the most, out of the tiny icons that display on the high-res screen, as well as out of the fact that often, users will want to operate the GUI with their fingers, along with the physical keyboard that my Pixel C pairs with (:7) …

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The setup of this Linux Guest System is much easier than my earlier experience was because the basic Linux distribution, the desktop manager, and certain apps can all be installed just by tapping on a few icons. And then, using the ‘sudo apt-get’ command-line, additional Debian packages can be installed.

There is an interesting side effect to this project: When I give the command:

$ cat /etc/debian_version

I obtain the result ‘10.0‘. This would mean that the Linux version which I’m getting, is the new Debian / Buster, which none of my PCs nor my Laptop are even running. However, the repositories that I’m subscribed to are labelled ‘stable’. The CPU is an ‘arm64′. And the desktop manager I chose was ‘LXDE’. I installed a full productivity suite, including LaTeX. But, I found that three Linux applications did not run:

  • LyX – The graphical, WYSIWYM LaTeX Editor (:2).
  • Synaptic – A GUI for apt-get that makes it particularly easy to browse package-repositories, before selecting which packages to install.
  • Latexdraw‘ (:1) (:6).

Everything else I tried seems to work, including “LibreOffice”, “GIMP”, “InkScape”, “Firefox ESR”. On my own, without the aid of simple GUI-buttons, I was also able to install and run “Texmaker”, “Dia”, “Xfig”, “OpenClipArt”, “Maxima” and “wxMaxima”, the Computer Algebra System and its Graphics Front-End. Getting that last item to work properly actually required that I install the package ‘fonts-jsmath’.

The Linux Guest System is currently taking up 5.37GB of my internal storage, and I finally also found out how to share files between the Guest System and the Host System. Within the Guest System, if on the Host System the root of the user folders is ‘/root/<sdcard>’, then this Host System root is mounted at ‘/host-rootfs/<sdcard>’ (within the Guest System). This means that I can open a path directly to this folder in the file-manager ‘PCManFM’, and bookmark it. (:3)

(Updated 9/07/2019, 17h40 … )

Continue reading I now have Linux installed on my Google Pixel C tablet.

Latest Android Update Breaks ‘kdeconnect’ on Debian Stretch (Already Resolved).

One of the apps which I have installed on my Android phone, is called ‘kdeconnect’, and I’ve blogged about it before. This is an app that allows a compatible Linux widget to sync certain data with the smart-phone.

Screenshot_20190216_130006

(Screen-Shot from some earlier version of this app, which did not constrain the available directories.)

The version which I have installed on the Debian / Stretch computer I name ‘Phosphene’, is 1.0.3~bpo9+0 . I actually needed to patch this package, so that for the following few months, it was able to browse the file-system of my phone, specifically, directories which I authorized on the phone app, from my Linux computer.

Well the Android companion to this app has just received an update through Google Play. This update broke the ability of my Linux computer to mount the remote file system – i.e., to browse any directories on the phone.

(Update at 18h25 : )

But what seems to have happened is that two updates were pushed to my phone in rapid succession, the second of which put the Android app version to 1.12.9 . The reason for which I’m inferring this, is the fact that this remote mounting of the phone’s chosen directories works now, with no actual intervention from me:

Screenshot_20190615_181900

The detail of this experience which puzzles me, is the thought that I had in fact been testing v1.12.9, when I first reported the app as broken… :-?

However, this ‘broken’ result can also occur, just because of faulty communication between the two devices.

(Update 7/6/2019, 21h25 : )

Continue reading Latest Android Update Breaks ‘kdeconnect’ on Debian Stretch (Already Resolved).

Issues in getting ‘kdeconnect’ to browse the Android phone’s file system.

One Plasma 5 application which I’m a fan of, is the ‘kdeconnect’ application, which, if The corresponding Android app is installed on a smart-phone or tablet, allows synchronizing data and use between the phone, and our desktop environment.

Here is what the widget looks like on the Linux computer’s desktop, when it’s showing no notifications from the phone:

Screenshot_20190216_125813

(It has the capacity to display notifications which appear on the phone, but on the Linux desktop, as well as numerous other capabilities.)

Under Plasma 5.8, most of what it has to offer works out-of-the-box. But there has been one issue, when trying to browse the phone or tablet’s file system, from the desktop, and which is a known issue. This does not work out-of-the-box. I know why it does not.

What ‘kdeconnect’ will do from the client, which is the desktop, is use an ssh-mount to mount the file system of the phone or tablet, virtually, on the Linux computer, after which that virtual file-system can be read from and written to, on the Linux computer. In order for this to work, the app on the phone needs to act as a file-server, and as far as I can tell, the Android app does so without flaw.

(Updated 3/27/2019, 7h40 … )

Continue reading Issues in getting ‘kdeconnect’ to browse the Android phone’s file system.

I’ve just tested the Android app(s) ‘LectureNotes’…

One of the subjects which has fascinated me for the past few days, is note-taking apps for the Android operating system.

As long as the tablet does not possess active stylus technology – which would need to pair a specific stylus-type with a specific tablet model, so that the hardware will be compatible – software that aims to allow input via a passive stylus works against a handicap. That handicap exists in the fact, that people will want to rest the side of their hand on the tablet’s screen, while also using the stylus to draw. In turn, the most basic touch-sensors, which are based on capacitance, cannot inherently distinguish between these two, simultaneous forms of contact.

In an earlier posting, and due to failure years ago to find suitable solutions, I had declared this aspiration to be a lost cause. But since that recent posting, I’ve found some software solutions that actually seem to work well, and that have hit the Google Play Store more recently. One such app is called “LectureNotes“, and is being published by the company named “Acadoid”.

This app requires configuration before use, which must at least state what level of hardware support the device provides. Thus, its higher modes will recognize a ‘Samsung S Pen’ – an active stylus, which will never create any ambiguity with the resting palm, and its lowest level of compatibility seems to use an API, to declare a rectangle on the screen to be a ‘Safe Zone’ , as the app calls it, or a ‘Palm Guard’ , as it might generically be called. This lowest compatibility level is likely to be supported by all the tablets, which have Android 4.1 or later running.

(Edit 1/03/2019, 16h10 : )

Actually, this Palm Guard feature does not use an API after all. Instead, it simply accepts points of contact from the O/S and ignores ones, which are either inside this safe zone, or outside an active input zone, if that has been configured in the app.

The reason I claim to know this is the observation that if the app is installed on a Samsung Tab S, First Generation, which can only input two points of contact, and if the palm already causes two points of contact to appear in the safe zone, then a third point of contact on the document, from the stylus, will simply fail to register…

(As of 12/28/2018 : )

I, personally, have just given this app a spin, on the Android 8 -based ‘Pixel C’ , using the lowest, passive stylus, compatibility mode, and discovered that the Palm Guard / Palm Rejection works well.

screenshot_20181227-191008

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One detail about this app which I particularly like, is the fact that it offers many features in one place, that all have in common, suitability either for taking notes while a lecture is being given, or for giving lectures. And when one is using the app in sketching-mode, the rectangular Palm Guard region can either be resized and repositioned using two fingers, or have its position arrested, so that it doesn’t move around contrarily to the user’s intentions.

Additionally, as long as we may assume that the tablet has a working camera app, and a working file-manager app, photos can also be imported into the notebook. This means that a photo could be taken of a classroom whiteboard, or that an image from a file could be inserted, either of which may be resized and positioned, before the addition to the notebook is finalized…

At the same time, its tool-bar, which shows “action buttons”, defaults to displaying only a few of these buttons, the first few of which have fly-outs. But the tool-bar can be reconfigured in the settings, to display a much larger set of action buttons / icons.

Continue reading I’ve just tested the Android app(s) ‘LectureNotes’…