Hal-info and Xorg

Lately I’m working on a project at work about installing and setting up a custom Linux distro in a small box (VIA EPIA Mini-ITX) with different touchscreens. Differences because there are going to be several of those box and some will be with one touchscreen and some with other.

The real goal is to run on those little boxes just a X with a java application other group have made. I can’t tell so much about the project because the contract say so… Anyway, that’s interesting stuff to do 🙂

My first thought was to use Moblin, a project I’ve already posted about. This project is designed for those kind of products, have a few sets of funcionalities over small distro base and it has a GUI application for building the distro in different formats and even try out via kvm.

All this sounds really cool to me. I knew the project from time ago, but I didn’t pay enough attention to the project (I wanted, but I didn’t find the moment before), so this was good excuse to have a closer look to the project.

The project is nice, with a lot of cool features and a lot of potential, but, actually, it didn’t fit well with my needs. I got to much troubles to get working a very basic Ubuntu based distro where to run the Xorg and the Java application. But now I’m working on fixing some bug and improve the system a bit…

But I needed to finish my tasks, so I took a different approach. Ubuntu Mobile, which was before with Moblin, now they go by their own (or kind of). They got some images already built so I download one and I started to clean things and installing what I needed.

Now we got the distro and the application running, but we’ve still some issues. The worst thing was to set up the Xorg with the Chrome C9 graphic card. We installed first a Ubuntu 8.04 (lpia) based distro and the graphic card didn’t work out the box. But on the Intrepid (Ubunu 8.10) version we got the last openchrome driver, so it did work 🙂

If some one is interesting on make it works on Hardy or another distro which has not the last version, we followed a easy good recipe from Ubuntu docs.

But on Intrepid we found some probles with this driver. The first one wasn’t actually this driver’s issue, it was Xorg’s. I mean, I realized on Intrepid Xorg use Hal and hal-info to for setting up itself.

I tried as a fool to configure the Xorg config file on the old fashion way (dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg), but the file was still empty…

After googling for a while and read some hal specs, docs and examples I learn a lot a bout hal-info. This is actually a really good stuff.Richard Hughes with his post about it open my eyes about Hal, which I’ve already known but I didn’t know its potential. Which is huge, I think.

If you are interesting on, here you have the git repository:

[via web]


[cloning the branch]

git clone git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/hal-info

I have to use this hal-info thing to let hal setting up the touchscreens properly, because, by default the cursor goes crazy. Don’t worry, I’ll post the quirks and the things I’ll learn when I finish the work 🙂

BTW, more interesting stuff here, on quirks docs:


Enjoy Hal and hal-info 🙂

Moblin – Linux on mobile devices

I found this project (I did remember to have read about it before, but I didn’t pay so much attention) browser into the o-hands‘ website. I use to check each some time their projects, I like them 🙂

Well, moblin is an interesting project from Intel, defined by them as:

“Moblin’s architecture is designed to support multiple platforms, such as Netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and various embedded usage models, such as In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems. Most of the software stack is a platform and usage model-independent layer we call “Moblin Foundations,” that provides one uniform way to develop applications for such usage models. Below the Moblin Foundations layer are the Linux Kernel and device drivers specific to the platform. On top of the Moblin Foundations layer are the specific applications, user interfaces, and user interaction models for the target device.”

Actually they have a lot of work done about different parts of a Linux distribution for mobile devices. No just for the intel processors ones, but other small devices.

They have tools for building the distro (with pyGtk UI), user interfaces based on clutter, support for fedora and ubuntu based distros and some stuff more.

I more interesting on the user interface thing (I use to think and chat a lot with my good friend Alberto about better user experience) and the building system. The building system is called moblin-image-creator (a.k.a. MIC).

I’m very interesting on this MIC because I know well the building systems (I wrote myself some before. For Metadistros, Guadalinex, etc) and I was working with the ones from Debian, Ubuntu, Knoppix, Morphix, Linux-Live and more. I like that stuff.

And it pretty interesting this one and his approach, so I like to help as much I can. By now I just send some patches which fixed some minor (but some times blocker) bugs and I’m doing the Spanish translation for the GUI. But I think the system need some improvement and some help the go smooth.

I’m trying to use it for a project at work, that’s why now I become more interested on it. I need to set up a very small distro for a small VIA processor device. I just meet to run a Java (with GUI) application there, so I tried to fit into the distro the less software is possible to run over the X the java application.

I got some problems with the MIC building that distro, because there was some issues with Ubuntu based distros, with virtualisation (I haven’t before the machine, so I had to run on kvm the images for testing) and some more. But I fix some of them and I’ll trying to fix the other as soon as posible (I need it for my project).

But, actually, I’m using MIC and working on it, no just for my work’s project, but because I like the project 🙂 I see it interesting and with a lot of posibilities and I like to bring the experience I’ve adquired during all these years to help the project.

I hope I can find time enough for that… :-/

Well, I got my bugzilla account, I join in the project, in the mail list, I create my git clone of the their repo to work in the project easily, so I’m ready to fight 🙂

Anyone else? 😉

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 España
This work by Juanje Ojeda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 España.