Updated savedir support on FAT

"Save directory" (savedir for short) is way of persistence whereby the user-modified files are stored in a directory somewhere, as opposed to "savefile", in which they are stored to a big loopback-mounted file.

Savefile is very convenient and reliable method of persistence and it works across many different filesystems including networked, non-POSIX ones, because we can always choose the filesystem inside the savefile - usually one that is POSIX compatible.

However savefile has a minor irritation - you are limited by its size. Sure you can always resize it if it gets full, but it's a hassle. Savedir on the other hand doesn't have this limitation, but it must be located on a POSIX filesystem. Well not really, but if not, then you'll get a lot of odd behaviours.

Fatdog64 has supported savedir since version 620 (April 2013), this includes support for non-POSIX filesystems too such as NTFS and FAT.

The support for NTFS was upgraded in October 2015 to support true POSIX permissions made available from recent versions of ntfs-3g. NTFS is pervasive and is good compatibility filesystem for Windows OS, so this is an overdue update (although I personally still recommend that you use savefile on NTFS).

I've now upgraded the support for savedir on FAT as well, using posixovl; this gives savedir on FAT some support for rudimentary POSIX features, such as permissions, device nodes, and fifos.

However using posixovl as the base on savedir isn't without problem. For one thing, it cannot be unmounted cleanly - so you must always run fsck at boot ("dofsck" will do this for you). On another front, posixovl emulation of POSIX on FAT isn't perfect, and you will sure notice some oddities. And the last point is - FAT is much more corruption-prone as compared to modern filesystems (including NTFS). But if you're happy to play with fire, then - yeah, why not?

As a bonus, I also make posixovl to work with CIFS too - so now you can enjoy network-based savedir with full POSIX features (plus some unwanted oddities, as I said above).

I've made the usage of posixovl for FAT and CIFS not obligatory. You can always fallback to old method of using FAT and CIFS directly - which will unmount cleanly, but you will have to live with the limitations of non-POSIX filesystems (e.g. all files turned into executables; permissions are lost, etc). Or of course, just use savefile

This will be in the next release of Fatdog, whenever that will be.


Posted on 20 Dec 2015, 13:37 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
Comments - Edit - Delete


Updated article: New Apps on Old Glibc

Somebody asked me recently about my article, How to run new apps on older glibc. He tried to follow the instructions in the article but encountered an error.

As it turns out, when I wrote that article I only wrote half of it. I planned to write the other half but other things took my attention and I forgot about it.

I have now updated it and written the complete steps as well as re-testing the steps again to make sure that it works.

So if you're running a new application that depends on newer glibc but you can't re-compile or upgrade your OS for whatever reason, you may want to look at that article again.

Posted on 20 Dec 2015, 00:30 - Categories: Linux General
Comments - Edit - Delete


Fatdog64 lives on

There has been no posts about Fatdog64 lately. But it does not mean that its development has stopped. On the contrary, it is still actively maintained. I've received a lot of help from Puppy Linux forum members such as SFR, step, and L18L, to mention a prolific few.

If you want to follow what has been updated recently, you can look at an overview of the changes since 701 release here.

Also, recently somebody asked me what Fatdog could do, so I decided to write an article about it here.


Posted on 19 Nov 2015, 03:41 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
Comments - Edit - Delete


Puppy Linux Slacko 6.3.0 is released

Puppy Linux "Slacko" is the flagship Puppy Linux based on Slackware.

Mick has just released the latest and greatest version 6.3.0 of Puppy Linux Slacko, both 32-bit and 64-bit flavours (Slacko and Slacko64).

The Slacko64 is the first ever official (non-beta) release of 64-bit Puppy Linux, so it is exciting times!

Go grab and give them a test drive yourself, from Puppy Linux Slacko official homepage.

Note: Fatdog64's 32-bit compatibility SFS is based on 32-bit Slacko 5.96 (beta version of Slacko 6.x).



Posted on 18 Nov 2015, 02:06 - Categories: Linux General
Comments - Edit - Delete


Bluetooth support for Cubox-i

Bluetooth was the last feature of FatdogArm that wasn't working on Cubox-i (it works on the Nexus 7). The last time I looked on it was on April this year. My main problem was I always get the message "can't set hci protocol" near the end of firmware upload, when using the built-in hci driver with brcm_patchram_plus (similar message when using the external hciattach).

There were a lot of people who reported these, and only got the shrugs ... "works for me" type of replies. Most of the "solutions" to this problem concerns about variation of parameters to use on brcm_patchram_plus, as well various links to different versions of .hcd file dumps. However, most of the messages ended there. There were no confirmation whether or not the fix works, and whether there are possibly other causes. And no-one said anything about the kernel.

As it turns out, the kernel *was* the problem. The bluetooth host hardware in cubox-i is connected via MMC SDIO, using the serial interface. To support serial bluetooth devices correctly, the kernel needs BT_HCIUART_* to be enabled. The default defconfig from SolidRun 3.10 kernel did't enable these , and there were no notes whatsoever saying these configs are needed at all . I have been using Solidrun's defconfigs (= manufacturer knows best, etc) - and badly beaten by it, wasting hours on unnecessary debugging

Curiously, SolidRun 3.14 kernel defconfig *does* have these enabled - so they *do* know. Why this isn't documented elsewhere - I have no idea. Go and ask them.

Anyway, as soon as the kernel is rebuilt, bluetooth works. I tested it by getting it paired and connected with a bluetooth speaker and bluetooth keyboard. Both works nicely.

I have integrated these findings into a package called imx6-bluetooth, and have uploaded it to the repo. However, it won't work unless you use a kernel with those configs enabled.

I'm going to upload a new kernel for cubox-i later. If you're interested to use it *now*, then leave me a message.

With this, the FatdogArm platform support for cubox-i is considered complete.

Posted on 17 Sep 2015, 00:02 - Categories: FatdogArm Linux Arm Fatdog64
Comments - Edit - Delete


Small web browser

Since we are in the subject of small programs, is there are any small GUI web browser? Less than 50K, perhaps? I must be joking, right?

Well, you _could_ make a small web browser like that. Just make GUI shell that links in libwebkit.so. Yeah. That would work. May as well create a shell script that launches firefox. Hey, small browser in 512 bytes!

Seriously, can we have a small browser, without external dependency, that weight less than 500K (excluding the weight of the GUI toolkits)?

The answer is you can; and the key to that is libgtkhtml2. This is a HTML 4.0, CSS2 compatible rendering engine that weighs less than 500K. Since it is small it makes sense to have this as part of the system library (it is used by the likes of Osmo, Claws mail, etc for example); and if you already have it as a system library then you can truly makes a browser with the size of less than 50K, linking in this library.

If you don't have it as system library, you can still link it statically and have final stripped executable that is less than 500K (the exact size depends on your compiler optimisation settings, etc).

I have made such a browser, and you can download the source here. In Fatdog64, that has libgtkhtml2 by default, the binary size is really 38K. Linked in statically, with -Os, the binary size is about 350K (on x86_64 build).

Note about libgtkhtml2 source: as you can probably see from the link given, libgtkhtml2 is a dead project. That gnome site listed version 2.11.1 as its final version, but there is (or was) a newer version from gnome-svn (which had also long been defunct) - which, fortunately, has been preserved by the Yocto project here. I took this version, applied as many forward patches I could find (mainly from the also defunct svn.o-hand.com - and also preserved by Yocto), and added my own stability patches. This final copy of libgtkhtml2 of mine is located here.

Final note: libgtkhtml2 is old. It *will* choke, hang or crash on newer CSS3 (and some CSS2.1) or HTML5 stuffs. It does not have Javascript. While its HTML parsing is not too bad (it uses libxml2's html parser - which *is* maintained), its CSS parsing is horrible - instead of a grammar-derived parsing, it uses ad-hoc string searches. I have fixed some of the low-hanging bugs but a lot more still lurks in it. So I strongly advise you against using it for general purpose web browsing - for that you can have netsurf, links2, or other excellent projects - and while they aren't as small as libgtkhtml2, they do work for modern Internet.

The only reason why I tried to resurrect this, is to use it as a small (local) help viewer for HTML contents - just like mdview, in my previous post. After all, you don't want a help viewer that links to multi-megabytes webkit libraries, do you?



Posted on 12 Jun 2015, 05:58 - Categories: Linux General
Comments - Edit - Delete


mdview: a small, GTK-based markdown viewer

I am quite annoyed by help-viewer programs that are huge and pull out a lot of dependencies, sometimes a lot more than the main programs themselves. After all, their purpose in life is just to support the main program and to provide a convenient UI to view some pre-formatted text files.

Then I found that hardinfo has a very nice help viewer which is very under-utilised (because there is hardly any help documents in it). It supports direct viewing of markdown-formatted files (well, a subset of markdown), and it has *no* dependencies other than GTK.

After playing with it for a while I decided to detach it out from hardinfo, polish it a little bit, fixed a few bugs and added some more features, and now I have mdview, a 60K-sized help/markdown viewer.




From the homepage:

mdview is a super light-weight, GTK-based markdown files viewer. It has no other dependencies other than GTK itself. It reads and displays text files in (a subset of) markdown format, and provide live links to other files as well as to the Internet. It is ideal for showing help files (its original purpose), user manuals, and other small set of hyperlinked markdown files.

Get it from here: https://chiselapp.com/user/jamesbond/repository/mdview3/home

Posted on 29 Apr 2015, 02:47 - Categories: Linux General
Comments - Edit - Delete


Fatdog64 701 is released

Maintenance update, mainly fixes and a few updated packages. New features including USB/bluetooth tethering, working bluetooth send/receive files, MTP browser, and Find'N'Run, and a few others.

Release notes
Forum announcement

Get it as usual from ibiblio or one of its mirrors: aarnet, uoc.gr, and nluug.nl.


Posted on 22 Apr 2015, 03:48 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
Comments - Edit - Delete


Misc updates - PSIP, FatdogArm, xlogin

I have implemented multi-account support in psip, a long-time asked feature. You can keep multiple accounts but only one can be active at a time. PSIP will be included in the upcoming Fatdog64 701 release.




FatdogArm Beta3 has been released - with new Nexus7 2012 support, dual-core support fror OLPC XO-4, and improved touch support overall. Thanks to 01micko and mavrothal for their tests, feedback and suggestions. Check out the release notes.




xlogin is a very small Xorg login manager, more basic that slim which is included in Fatdog, but it has one thing that slim does not - it supports network operation and XDMCP. Jon (the original author) stopped development long time ago (about 2008 looking at the file dates), but I found this useful, so I picked up the code, cleaned it, fixed it where it didn't work - and I have my fork here.

Among other changes, it now works with authorisation (MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE stuff), and I have re-coded xlogin-rootjpeg to use stb_image so it no longer depends on libjpeg - plus ability to resize the image on the fly.


Posted on 20 Apr 2015, 05:21 - Categories: FatdogArm Linux Arm Fatdog64
Comments - Edit - Delete


Making VirtualBox Guest Addition for Fatdog64, the easy way

The articles I have written in in my archives usually are generic ones. But today I am inspired to write one specifically for Fatdog64, so here it is. Enjoy.



Posted on 5 Apr 2015, 04:18 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
Comments - Edit - Delete


Pages: ... [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] ...