One specific feature of the BOOX Max2 e-Reader falls short.

In a previous posting I wrote, that I am having a good experience so far, with my newly-acquired 13.3″ Onyx BOOX Max2 e-Reader. And a detail which I mentioned was, an eventual need to USB this device to a PC or Laptop. As an alternative, what many users expect, is some way to use Wi-Fi to transfer files. Yet, ‘SAMBA’ is Linux-software, while “SMB Protocol” is Windows-based, so that Onyx does not step outside its boundaries, to try to offer either. However, they try to make up for this.

If the user has the firmware update from December in 2018 installed, then under ‘Apps -> Transfer’, there is a modest app, which will act as a minimal Web-server and which, in addition to displaying a QR-code, also displays a URL with an IP-address and a port-number, which exist on the LAN, and which the user is meant to point a PC- or Laptop-based Web-browser at. There is no reason why the functionality of this URL would be limited to one O/S, under which the Web-browser is running.

A Web-page displays on the PC browser, that can use the inherent functionality of browsers to choose files on the PC, and to Upload those to the server, which resides on the e-Reader as long as the user doesn’t close this app.

  • This feature is mainly meant to allow e-Books to be transferred, and the choice of folders they appear in suggests, it wasn’t fully meant for other types of files, such as APK-Files.
  • Onyx could have tried a little harder and made it possible to transfer files in the opposite direction, let’s say from a specific folder on the e-Reader, to the Web-browser of the PC… Some people might think that this is redundant for an e-Reader because Books can be given to the e-Reader and later deleted on it. However, because the Max2 can also be used to store sketches with its Stylus, such a feature might not have truly been redundant.

So, because of the two bulleted reasons above, the need will ultimately remain, to USB this device to a PC.

However…

Continue reading One specific feature of the BOOX Max2 e-Reader falls short.

How to Add a Web-browser to GNURoot + XSDL.

In This earlier posting – out of several – I had explained, that I’ve installed the Android apps “GNURoot Debian” and “XSDL” to my old Samsung Galaxy Tab S (first generation). The purpose is, to install Linux software on that tablet, without requiring that I root it. This uses the Android variant of ‘chroot’, which is actually also called ‘proot’, and is quick and painless.

However, there are certain things which a ch-rooted Linux system cannot do. One of them is to start services to run in the background. Another is, to access hardware, as doing the latter would require access to the host’s ‘/dev’ folder, not the local, ch-root’s ‘/dev’ folder. Finally, because XSDL is acting as my X-server, when GNURoot’s guest-software tries to connect to one, there will be no hardware-acceleration, because this X-server is really just an Android app, and does not really correspond to a display device.

This last detail can be quite challenging, because in today’s world, even many Linux applications require, direct-rendering, and will not function properly, if left just to use X-server protocol, à la legacy-Unix. One such application is any serious Web-browser.

This does not result from any malfunction of either Android app, because it just follows from the logic, of what the apps are being asked to do.

But we’d like to have a Web-browser installed, and will find that “Firefox”, “Arora” etc., all fail over this issue. This initially leaves us in an untenable situation, because even if we were not to use our Linux guest-system for Web-browsing – because there is a ‘real’ Web-browser installed on the (Android) host-system – the happenstance can take place, by which a Web-document needs to be viewed anyway – let’s say, because we want to click on an HTML-file, that constitutes the online documentation for some Linux-application.

What can we do?

Continue reading How to Add a Web-browser to GNURoot + XSDL.