HP 200 LX with 40MB PCMCIA storage. Tried to run a cut-down 16-bit version of Linux on it, but I don't think I ever got that running properly.
Original Sharp Zaurus, the first Linux PDA. Tried to run Linux on a Compaq iPaq at some point too.
Asus EEE PC 401 with the 7in screen and 4GB of storage. The first of the netbooks. Performance and build quality were not good. But it was very cute.
HTC ADP1 (G1), the first Android phone. Decent keyboard, terrible battery life. Connectbot was awesome for SSHing into remote systems, and local development was slightly possible with a Linux chroot environment.
Samsung Sidekick 4G. By far the best keyboard on any handheld device I've ever tried. Great feel, and I could get up to 30wpm. I was also able to set up a chroot environment. Had to modify the keyboard map to enable the last few ASCII characters not normally available via Fn keypress.
The idea was that I'd be able to do some software development on the go. But that didn't really work out either.
The device I'm most happy with so far is my current Chromebook. I've got a full Ubuntu environment via Crouton on a 128GB SD card, though most of the time I'm just SSHing into a workstation. Light, cheap, and with a long battery life. The keyboard is good enough that I'm running at nearly full speed, though I do miss my dedicated caps-lock.
With a modern multitouch screen and a slide-out keyboard it could be both a capable tablet, and do a lot more... The surface book is too large.
edit: this thing too, the whole 2007 era "UMPC" fad:
imagine the same form factor but with modern processor/screen/battery tech, 802.11ac dual band wave2 wifi, a few USB type C ports on it.
Like you I've had an HP 200LX (the closest I've come to Connor's pocket Atari-or-whatever), a Compaq iPaq, a PSION Series 7 ‘netbook’, and (most recently, not Linux-related) an Apple eMate 300 (the clamshell, translucent, school-oriented Newton ‘laptop’ variant).
I always wanted the eMate 300 having never owned a Newton. I also was a PalmOS fanatic from about 1999 through the late 2000s, with my first "smartphone" a Treo 650 after having owned over a dozen Palm devices previously.
This setup obviously isn't the best or strongest, but it was good enough for me to get through university. Nowadays, I mostly use it for local password management, torrenting, uploading ebooks onto my kindle, and running network scans, then I use ChromeOS for the rest.
1. Flip it completely open and use it as a tablet. Unfortunately, at around 1kg in weight, it doesn't quite work as well as a regular tablet, and I haven't used that mode much.
2. Early support for Android apps. This works OK.
3. Decent keyboard. It is close enough to full-sized that I've got decent speed on it. I really miss caps-lock though.
4. Low weight (for a laptop) and good battery life.
5. 4GB RAM and decent processor (for a Chromebook). Lots of Chromebooks may only have 2GB.
6. SD Card slot.
1. 1366x768 screen. It doesn't bother me in practice, but I'd have preferred full HD.
2. Dual-core processor. At the time I bought it, Acer had quad-cores with 2GB of RAM, or dual-cores with 4GB RAM, and I opted for the latter. I've more recently seen them selling with quad cores, 4GB RAM, and 32GB internal storage.
I'm not super picky about the touchpad and scrolling, though I'm sure it is not as smooth as other devices. I do bump the touchpad with my palms enough that I've needed to disable tap-to-click though.
Acer make similar things. There are also things even cheaper from Light in the Box and other Chinese stores:
Actually, these things are so cheap that the it may well be part of what killed palm tops. Every time I look at a Palm top unless it's this kind of price it's too expensive. That and getting a keyboard and getting a shell on some Android device.
My next-favourite device is the GPD Pocket. Its simply a great Linux workstation - near-perfect hardware design (unibody: yay! shitty keyboard: boo!) and - since its Intel - pretty much everything you could want to run on a machine this size is just an "apt install" away. Paired with a couple of iControlPads' (lol!), this is pretty much the ideal portable gaming rig.
I can't wait for the Pyra, and if there's a GPDPocket2, I'm definitely in for that. I'd love to have a device that delivers the community and form-factor of the Pyra, with the materials (unibody) and architecture (Intel) of the GPD Pocket some day. In order that we get there, I'm supporting any of these companies that push us closer .. even though, of course, a Switch or an Android tablet would probably be a better investment for gaming needs. ;)
My ideal device would have unibody, swappable battery and 3g, so the Pyra. The Gemini seems great but not sure about the battery life on it. Or the Linux support although they seem serious about it.
Pyra is going to be great - only wish it had the Pocket form-factor/design ethos. The chunky plastic is a bit gauche for my tastes, and if we think the Pocket keyboard is terrible, well .. Pyra ain't no better! (Have played with a prototype for a few hours .. that muscle memory thing ..)
And yes you are right about the Pyra but I love the community. The lifetime of the thing will be long like the Pandora. It costs a lot but he, it outlives all phones by quite a bit with my usage. But yes for the casing my dream would be Pocket unibody, Zaurus swivel, a Gemini/Psion keyboard and exandable and community like Pyra.
With this pocket pc revival it might happen.
I mean... what else do you need?
I've never had much success programming on it, though. Not for want of trying. I even ported Propeller IDE for giggles. I think I've just never given the keyboard enough time to build up any sort of muscle memory with it. This is the same issue I have with the GPD Pocket- as much as I love the size and aesthetic, I'm convinced the keyboard will render the thing useless and relegate it to the bottom of my plastic tub of technology remnants.
I find it quite comfortable for 10 finger typing after getting used to it. I am not much more ineffective using it than a full keyboard. But it definiteiy needs practice; I think being a touch typist helps, but the q/tab are definitely really annoying to finally get out of your system.
The Pandora is far worse for that but even with that I wrote games on the device itself. It does make me feel a lot better on train/plane trips than just fiddling with my phone, but ofcourse that's a matter of taste.
I love having a complete set of Robert's visually consistent emulator front-ends.
Don't get me started on iControlPad :D I've never seen a "lol" so loaded!
I'm keeping a close eye on the Gemini since I love the form-factor and my phone is getting a little crusty. The GPD Pocket has definitely also tempted me.
For an example of a massive hardware screw-up, take a look at the Jolla tablet. They barely gave any updates, always pretending everything was great, and suddenly they're out of money and cancelling the whole thing. Springing that up out of nowhere completely killed my trust with them.
The Nokia N770-N9 saga was too good to be forgotten. IMHO, Librem should include some form of physical keyboard to take full advantage of Linux. GNOME is already quite touch friendly, but still.
Aside, Jolla seems to be going to be purchased quite soon. I hope the new owners try to come up with a new business model that involves open-source. Sailfish failed to attract a critical mass of developers due to closed components and never meeting their own open-sourcing promises.
Be aware, making software open source involves a lot of work. You don't just throw stuff over the fence and be done with it. You need to maintain it, review and apply patches, answer questions, write docs. That doesn't come free, and doesn't help the cause of surviving in the short term.
Just look around at all the businesses that have failed to make a sustainable business out of mobile linux phones. Ubuntu Touch is dead, and forked into UBports. Firefox OS is dead, and forked into something else. Purism has a good marketing team, but they are just starting. It is not easy to create a sustainable business out of this. And users are very critical and often demand feature parity with iOS and Android.
I don't understand this. None of that is necessary at all in order to release the source code. Just make it available to download. Heck, you can even "protect" it (nominally) with a download code that you ship along with the device, like you find with music.
I don't know anything about their team and their experience, but that Jan-2019 release date could shift quite a bit. Especially if they need custom tooling or non standard parts. 6 months will evaporate really really fast, when retooling or changes in material is involved.
I love the project though and I hope they succeed. I have been looking for something like this and I will surely buy one, if they can deliver.
My last Samsung phone ended up being more than twice as thick anyway due to needing a Mophie external battery case just to make it through a full day of ordinary use. My ideal is a phone with a huge battery and sturdy enough not to need a protective case, if that makes it 16mm+ thick I'm absolutely fine with that.
I think this is a shame, honestly. It’s really optimized for the needs of the minority and keeps it away from the majority.
But the majority of Linux users are "techies", thus the defaults should cater to them.
I can still remember when I first started using Linux how excited I was that you could customize everything. I spent hours tweaking KDE to look just how I wanted it. Right down to the appearance of the clock on the system tray. Then AIGLX came out - I spent even more time compiling kernel modules running custom compositors etc so I could have wobbly windows and a spinning cube to switch virtual desktops. You know what for all the time it took me to get everything working it solved precisely none of the issues I had.
Nowadays (10+ years later has it really been that long) I don't care about any of that I've come to the realization the desktop just doesn't matter it's the applications.
I use the computer to run applications (be it firefox, emacs, terminal emulator, whatever else I need to get work done) make it easy for me to launch applications and make it easy for me to toggle between applications. Other than that stay out of my way.
I think a lot of long time users end up feeling the same way which leads to conclusion a lot of techies don't care about the desktop. Which I think is true but not for the reason you think.
I'm really looking forward to their next release, especially ever since they've announced that they're gonna consider the next version to be the first one that's production ready (and therefore switching the version number from 0.4 to 5.0).
I'm for sure gonna get back to it as soon as they release the first beta.
Isn't this a contradiction? Pick for you, but still let you pick?
As I understand the issue most people have with GNOME is the choices the developers seem to be making are making the UI prettier, but making the UX a lot worse. Plus the out of the box defaults are pretty bad - if you install GNOME on Arch it's going to be completely different to a customised distribution like Fedora Workstation.
It just got a very different UI and somehow reworked userland.
Is this what you'd prefer on the desktop, too?
So I think you should probably update your experience.
All my development tools run on a native terminal (Emacs, SBCL, Erlang). SSH 'just works'. Android apps too, if I really need any of them.
Basically, for my needs, it's an ultra-portable computer with the benefits of telephony. (And protected - on trips - in an absurdly over-the-top armored case by Love Mei.)
There are various Docker images with everything necessary in the Dockerfile and user needs to only specify the device's model name (and any extra options, like build type).
Takes some time but the only thing one needs to trust is the source code (which is nearly impossible to fully audit, though)
It’s the world’s smallest and lightest handheld computer. And unlike most of these devices with tiny built-in keyboards, it features a modular docking system so you can dock it with a range of different keyboards, from a tiny thumb keyboard to a full-sized one, or a gamepad.
Noodle Pi can be assembled, disassembled, repaired and upgraded by users, with no soldering or tools required. Being powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero, it also runs entirely off a MicroSD card, which greatly facilitates physical security for your system. You can just remove the MicroSD card and keep it physically secure, rather than having to secure the whole device.
There are also a number of wearable configurations possible with Noodle Pi, including a wrist dock that enables wearing it as a wrist-watch, a belt holster, and a clip holster. Lanyard holes in all the docks facilitate even more wearable configurations.
Review of Noodle Pi by Bryan Lunduke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82_bPWyrPFc
Only for very specific definitions. Some phones are smaller than that, and there are GNU+Linux wrist watches.
I'm not aware of any Linux wristwatch or any other computer that's in production and available to buy that is smaller than Noodle Pi. If you know of a Linux wristwatch that's for sale commercially I'd love to know about it.
The only Linux wristwatches I see in a quick online search are two prototype devices, one made by Steve Mann and the other by IBM. Neither of those devices were actually usable as a PC, or available commercially. Mann's actually relied on a second hidden wearable computer to provide the actual processing power.
We have differing definitions. I might concede phones as separate from "PCs", but the original phrase was "handheld computer", which most phones are. Yes, many are locked down at the bootloader level, but they're still general-purpose computing devices. With Termux or a chroot, you can even get GNU goodness on them. Even without that, Android/iOS are as much computers as Windows S devices; they can run programs compiled for that OS, and have normal full-function CPUs, GPUs, and network stacks. The default use-cases are restricted, but worst case you can flip on the switch for sideloading APKs and run any code you want.
> Linux wristwatch
Prepare to be amazed(1) :) https://asteroidos.org/ is a proper GNU/Linux system for hardware that shipped with Android Wear. It's running a tiny QT GUI on the touchscreen, but you can SSH in (https://asteroidos.org/wiki/ssh/) and get a normal system, systemd and all.
(1) I mean this sincerely; it still amazes me every time I look at what they've built.
AsteroidOS looks very cool, thanks for the link. But a watch "running a tiny QT GUI on the touchscreen”, and which you can only really use as a computer by SSHing in via another computer, is not a PC, by any reasonable definition.
I'm aware of many little devices that can run Linux, but they're not full-fledged PCs unless they have reasonably sized screens and enough processing power to run regular PC apps in a usable manner.
Neither is a phone, which is neither marketed as a PC (or a “computer”), nor able to run any apps that aren't written specifically for Android / iOS, without all sorts of complicated shenanigans to jailbreak its lock-down, which is designed precisely to prevent it from being used as a general purpose computer.
Some people can “skate” on a bicycle while standing up on the seat and handlebar. That doesn’t mean a bicycle is a skateboard. Especially if they had to first break built-in protections in the bicycle specifically designed to prevent them from doing that.
Also sideloading APKs is a far cry from “run any code you want”. Can I run a GTK app written in Perl on an Android phone by sideloading an APK?
I agree the ad-copy is bad taste, and ignored it, until I came across the Noodle Pi mentioned again in another article. It's pretty interesting and tempting. The creator's talents is with the device, not the advertising.
the same can be said for the GPD2, but that does not make it "officially released" until you can purchase it anywhere, anytime.
How about graphic drivers? is the Mali GPU properly supported in the mainline kernel?
Apropos of the OP, anyone know what happened to LinuxDevices.com? It used to be a decent news site about the topic. Maybe it got acquired or closed down.
Thanks for the info. Interesting generally, and also that they plan to fix the USB connector. Will check out Neo900.
HMDs based on qualcomm's snapdragon 835 vr chipset are android, so perhaps someday linux on android on HMD.
But you can also think of HMDs as merely fancy monitors. And use a bluetooth keyboard (for flexibility). Leaving you with simply a portable headless linux box. Acting as a wifi hub. Serving say a WebVR RDP client to the HMD.
So imagine a standalone android HMD (like ), decorated with a linux single-board computer. Or several. Maybe with power from the HMD battery (~4k mAh) via USB. So power-on all, run chromium in the HMD, browse to the linux board, run Xpra RDP in stereo. For passthrough AR, one often wants more cameras and associated computes than an HMD provides out of the box (for dynamic range, and high-res narrow-FoV to see lecture slides, and fisheye for better situational awareness (eg on public transport), and optical tracking of hands and keyboard and such). So imagine a Pi-based ecosystem of linux HMD-mounted symbiotes. And any boards with their own battery, and not doing camera, can stay in a backpack or pocket, simply connected by wifi. Thoughts?
However, I still have to find an adequate solution to efficiently type code (offline or online, but both should be possible) using an android, as gboard is definitely not designed for it.
There are apps available that can run python or other interpreted languages, so you can connect a real keyboard on an android, but even small keyboards are rarely high quality.
I guess a solution would be some tactile keyboard app that is designed for programming.
Several users have had batteries swell, and GPD has not provided any avenue for these users to get replacements. Some members of the community have stepped up, but the batteries are subject to shipping rules, so people in some countries are still out of luck.
The unit also won't work without a battery on AC power only, because it looks like it was made with pre-existing tablet guts in that it only gets power from the battery irrespective of whether it's charging or not.
And given that the OEM batteries are subject to expansion, there's no reason to think that an OEM replacements wouldn't either.
FWIW, the GPD Win 2 doesn't have these issues, because it has a different design.
I've used VAIO UX with arch linux and the keyboard is sufficiently comfortable enough to run emacs for "mobile coding" :)