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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Fatdog64 700 on Acer Iconia W500

Micko, also known by his nickname 01micko in the Puppy Linux Forum), managed to install Fatdog64 700 on Acer Iconia tablet W500 and got it to run quite smoothly. Here is his original announcement with pictures, and here is his step-by-step instructions to do.

Thanks Mick!

In case you wonder who Micko is: he is the prolific developer of Puppy Linux Slacko (the official Puppy Linux releases based on Slackware) - and has been holding the the torch for a couple of years now. He is also the co-maintainer of Woof-CE, the build system for Puppy Linux; as well several small desktop utilities. His latest work, Puppy Slacko6 beta is what gets re-packaged as 32-bit compatibility library package for Fatdog64.

He took a break for a few months but has just recently come back and we hope he will stay for a while

Mick has a blog here.

Posted on 3 Apr 2015, 5:07 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Updated 32-bit compatibility SFS

Fatdog64 is a 64-bit operating system so it cannot run 32-bit programs by default. To run 32-bit programs, the kernel must be compiled to support such and 32-bit version of the libraries are needed.

Both have always been provided since Fatdog64 launches back in the day. The 32-bit libraries are compiled together in an SFS called 32bit compatibility library.

Compiling libraries are time consuming (not to mention the testing) and we have our hands full taking care of 64-bit libraries (and ARM for me). So we have always out-sourced the job of making 32-bit libraries to someone else: instead, we usually take an existing, known good, and widely used version of Puppy Linux and re-package it.

The very first version of 32bit compatibility (for Fatdog64 500 series) was based on Puppy Linux Wary 5.0. The second version of 32bit libraries (for Fatdog64 600 series) was based on Puppy Linux Slacko 5.3.1, and for a while this was the only available 32-bit libraries for Fatdog64 700 too.

I have just compiled a new 32bit compatibility library based on Puppy Linux Slacko 6 beta (5.9.3), accounting for a new directory layout in Fatdog64 700 which has a clean separation between 64-bit and 32-bit libraries. All 32-bit libraries now lives in /lib and /usr/lib, as it shoud be (in 600 series this was still a bit mixed, forcing us to use /lib32 and /usr/lib32 instead). The non-shared configuration still lives in /etc32, and a "start32" is still provided for compatibility purposes.

The name of the new 32bit library is 32bit-slacko6.sfs and it is available from ibiblio and its mirrors with immediate effect.

Posted on 1 Apr 2015, 1:01 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Dual-boot Windows/Linux on Sony laptop with UEFI and Secure Boot

I haven't written an article for a very long time, so here is one: Dual-boot Windows/Linux on Sony laptop with UEFI and Secure Boot

Posted on 26 Mar 2015, 16:55 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Fatdog64 700 is released

Linux 3.18.7 and many enhancements and bug fixes over the 700rc release.

Release notes
Forum announcement

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

Posted on 25 Feb 2015, 3:10 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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