Pursuing the question of, whether a Linux subsystem, that runs under Android, due to the UserLAnd app, can be used for Web development.

It was a subject which I wrote about several months, or years ago, that I had installed the “UserLAnd” app on my Google Pixel C Tablet, so that I could install Debian Linux on it. And a question which one reader had asked me was, whether such an arrangement could be used, to carry out Web development. In fact, some question existed, as to whether proprietary software could be made to run, and my answer was, that it would be preferred to run only Free, Open-Source Software.

In the meantime, I’ve uninstalled Linux from the Pixel C, and installed it on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, which has 256GB of internal storage, so that this question can be examined more seriously.

The answer I’d give to this question is, that Web-development can be done in this way, as long as the developer accepts some severe restrictions.

  • Successful development of any kind will depend on whether the user has a real keyboard to type on.
  • The Open-Source application “Bluefish” runs out-of-the box, which is more than I can say for any sort of Python IDE.
  • Because there is little possibility to run a Web-server on the tablet, the features which Bluefish would normally have, to edit PHP Scripts as well, will simply need to be ignored. The ability to preview the Web-pages written, depends on the Guest System’s Firefox browser following the ‘prooted’ Guest System’s Filename-Paths, so that, when Bluefish opens Firefox, the HTML File will essentially be opened as if from the hard drive. And the feature works…

 

Screenshot_20200924-052525_VNC Viewer

Screenshot_20200924-052618_VNC Viewer

 

The main reason I would say, not to invest in paid-for software on this platform, is, because its full potential will not be realized.

The HTML and CSS Files created in this way will next need to be transferred to an actual Web-server, and some of the ways in which Bluefish would be set up on a real Linux box, would make this easier.

 

(Updated 10/03/2020, 4h00: )

Continue reading Pursuing the question of, whether a Linux subsystem, that runs under Android, due to the UserLAnd app, can be used for Web development.

Trying to turn an ARM-64 -based, Android-hosted, prooted Linux Guest System, into a software development platform.

In a preceding posting I described, how I had used an Android app that does not require or benefit from having ‘root’, to install a Linux Guest System on a tablet, that has an ARM-64 CPU, which is referred to more precisely as an ‘aarch64-linux-gnu’ architecture. The Android app sets up a basic Linux system, but the user can use apt-get to extend it – if he chose a Debian 10 / Buster -based system as I did. And then, for the most part, the user’s ability to run software depends on how well the Debian package maintainers cross-compiled their packages to ‘AARCH64′. Yet, on some occasions, even in this situation, a user might want to write and then run his own code.

To make things worse, the main alternative to a pure text interface, is a VNC Session, based on ‘TightVNC’, by the choice of the developers of this app. On a Chromebook, I chose differently, by setting up a ‘TigerVNC’ desktop instead, but on this tablet, the choice was up to the Android developers alone. What this means is, that the Linux applications are forced to render purely in software mode.

Many factors work against writing one’s own code, that include, the fact that executables will result, that have been compiled for the ‘ARM’ CPU, and linked against Linux libraries! :-D

But one of the immediate handicaps could be, that the user might want to program in Python, but can’t get any good IDEs to run. Every free IDE I could try would segfault, and I don’t even believe that these segfaults are due to problems with my Python libraries. The IDEs were themselves written in Python, using Qt5, Gtk3 or wxWidgets modules. These types of libraries are as notorious as the Qt5 Library, for relying on GPU acceleration, which is nowhere to be found, and one reason I think this is most often the culprit, is the fact that one of the IDE’s – “Eric” – actually manages to report with a gasp, that it could not create an OpenGL rendering surface – and then Segfaults. (:3)

 

(Edit 9/15/2020, 13h50: )

I want to avoid any misinterpretations of what I just wrote. This does not happen out of nowhere, because an application developer decided to build his applications using ‘python3-pyqt5′ etc… When I give the command:

 


# apt install eric

 

Doing so pulls in many dependencies, including an offending package. (:1) Therefore, the application developer who wrote ‘Eric’ not only chose to use one of the Python GUI libraries, but chose to use OpenGL as well.

Of course, after I next give the command to remove ‘eric’, I also follow up with the command:

 


# apt autoremove

 

Just so that the offending dependencies are no longer installed.

 

(End of Edit, 9/15/2020, 13h50.)

 

Writing convoluted code is more agreeable, if at the very least we have an IDE in front of us, that can highlight certain syntax errors, and scan includes for code completion, etc. (:2)

Well, there is a Text Editor cut out for that exact situation, named “CudaText“. I must warn the reader though, that there is a learning curve with this text editor. But, just to prove that the AARCH64-ported Python 3.7 engine is not itself buggy, the text editor’s plug-in framework is written in Python 3, and as soon as the user has learned his first lesson in how to configure CudaText, the plug-in system comes to full life, and without any Segfaults, running the Guest System’s Python engine. I think CudaText is based on Gtk2.

Screenshot_20200914-124954_VNC Viewer

This might just turn out to be the correct IDE for that tablet.

 

(Updated 9/19/2020, 20h10… )

Continue reading Trying to turn an ARM-64 -based, Android-hosted, prooted Linux Guest System, into a software development platform.

I now have a new tablet.

According to This Earlier Posting, an Android-based tablet which I’ve owned for several years, is dying. I have now received my replacement for it, in the form of a “Samsung Galaxy Tab S6″, and the version of that tablet which I have, is not the ‘Lite’ version.

Beyond that, I have read that many other customers were having problems, attaching the (dedicated, Samsung-provided) Keyboard / Case, for which reason I did not buy that. Instead, to go with that tablet, I have purchased the “Feitenn Galaxy Tab S6 Keyboard / Case“. One fact which must be expected, however, from this third-party Keyboard, is that it will connect to the Tab S6 – electronically at least – the same way any Bluetooth Keyboard would connect, and in so doing, it will also fail to trigger the ‘Samsung DeX mode’, by which that brand of tablet can behave more, the way a regular desktop or laptop would behave. (:1)

For the moment, the new tablet will just continue to behave, as an Android tablet. Yet, Samsung left in the possibility of their famous Multi-View feature, which is available as long as ‘DeX mode’ is not.

As for the question of, whether that amounts to a positive experience, only time will tell.

What I do know is the fact that, the Feitenn Keyboard / Case attaches mechanically, while the dedicated case from Samsung would have attached partially by way of suction, and partially, magnetically.

Additionally, I benefit from the “Samsung S-Pen” – supplied with the tablet – that attaches to the outside of the case magnetically, and that charges wirelessly, as long as it has been attached, oriented correctly. With the Feitenn Case, that S-Pen also receives protection from ‘just falling loose’, while the case is fully closed. (:2)  The flap of the Feitenn Case has magnets to hold it closed against the back of the tablet, as well as, to signal to the tablet to go into standby.

20200625_170411_c

 

(Updated 7/19/2020, 16h40… )

Continue reading I now have a new tablet.

My Google Pixel C tablet is nearing the end of its life.

One of the facts which I did blog about was that, around April of 2017, I had purchased a Google Pixel C Tablet, which, in the meantime, had an O/S Upgrade to Android 8.1.0. That tablet is nearing the end of its life, and it’s barely 3 years old.

Firstly, it has not been receiving any system upgrades since 2019.

Secondly, as of a few months ago, it has started the behaviour of ‘spontaneously rebooting’ every few weeks, even though all I’ve been doing with it was, to keep it idling.

Some people tend to dismiss this behaviour of certain Android devices, just spontaneously to reboot, as if it was insignificant. But to the contrary, I tend to look at this as a crash each time, just as if a PC running Windows had suddenly received a Blue Screen. It can be caused by several things, but in this case I’m afraid, it might be a hardware problem, especially, since I have not been installing much software on it, nor receiving System Upgrades, at least, in the recent months.

Therefore, I am looking for a replacement, Android, Tablet.

BTW, The dedicated keyboard that came with this tablet has continued to work, to this day. I guess that I was lucky, not to receive a keyboard with a degraded built-in battery.

Dirk