Archos 101 Tablet: Full blown Debian distribution on a tablet Part 2

Be sure to read yesterdays post about how we got here.

So now we should take stock of what we have: an Archos 101 internet tablet with Debian system 6.0 (Squeeze), with most, if not all of the device hardware functioning, since we stole it from the Angstrom distribution, wich really stole it from the Android system. Now it was time to set things up the way we wanted them. I plugged in a USB keyboard and got to work.

I needed to set the login to autologin as my principle user, which was named “debian” Since most of the time I would not have a keyboard plugged in, and I do not know of a DM that comes with a built in on-screen keyboard. All I needed to do was edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf with these two fields:

autologin-user=username
autologin-user-timeout=0

I then added “debian” to the sudoers file, and set it to have no password required to utilize. You can do that with visudo, and I think this is what I added to that file:

debian ALL=NOPASSWD:ALL

The next thing on the agenda was installing XFCE4. Now, I am a big fan of the lighter the better, but I needed this thing to work and work well and be pretty for my wonderful wife, so she could use it day to day.

$ sudo apt-get install xfce4

This tablet will only be useful, though, if it can go on the internet, so I worked on that next.

$ sudo apt-get install wicd

Here is where I ran into an interesting problem. Wicd works just fine, but only root has privileges on internet. I added “debian” to netdev group, bt, bt-net, inet, and net_raw groups, but it never allowed “debian” to use the internet. Opening a browser would simply say you are not connected, even though wicd would show that you are connected to the local wireless lan, and thus internet. I don’t know why, technically it should work. I believe it is a problem with the driver having a PARANOID setting from what I researched online.

This could be a showstopper, but I was pretty determined. After I decided to use chromium-browser, I simply made a launcher in the XFCE panel that would launch it as the root user, allowing you to surf the web. I then set the downloads folder to /home/debian/Downloads, but all items downloaded were owned by root. Not to be undone, I then created a launcher on the panel with a lock icon that ran a script that contained:

#!/bin/bash
sudo chown -R debian:debian /home/debian/
exit

This launcher, once clicked, would changed all the permissions of everything in “debian’s” home folder, making the items deletable, and editable. I then added things like flash, alsa, cups for printing, xpdf, xmms2 and the codecs for multimedia, openoffice for documents, a few games, and scrot, a screenshot tool, and made a launcher for a script that took time stamped screenshots when you clicked on it.

I added a launcher for the on screen keyboard, matchbox, since you will need one to type without a keyboard plugged in.

Finally finished with a well working system, I was surprised at how well the Archos held up in day to day use. I did find that I had to set the power saver to keep the screen alive, as when it goes to sleep, I could not make it wake up. I just set a screen save and would plug it back in when not using it. It was now fully functional, and I dressed it up a bit for my wife to use.

A few things that did not work:
-Screen rotation. It would not auto-rotate the display.
-Blue Tooth. The Blue tooth function would not work. It recognized that it had one, I just couldn’t get it to work.
-Sound volume. The sound did work, but it was very quiet, leaving me to believe that there was some sort of amplification that was not happening.

System stats:

HDD: About 1500mb free space, can extend with sdcard, or use android file system space.
RAM: 77mb in use for system to run, remainder of 256mb for programs you launch.
CPU: less than 10% for normal system operation, spikes out when you launch programs, but settles down once open.

Overall I was really pleased with the result. Enjoy the screenshot.

Linux – keep it simple.

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5 thoughts on “Archos 101 Tablet: Full blown Debian distribution on a tablet Part 2

  1. For completeness of information: Gnome 3 in Jessie comes with a built-in keyboard; you just have to switch it on in the accessibilities control panel program. It appears during log in, and also any time you select a text field.

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  2. I should mention – it looks like the default on-screen keyboard for Gnome 3 (mysteriously) does not have CTRL or ALT keys. If that was important to you, I believe you can adjust the settings to either assign those keys to tablet buttons, or have Gnome launch a different keyboard program. But I don’t have the time right now to research that myself.

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  3. Interesting work around for it not letting your user onto the internet! That was the main reason with my last few *nux systems, that I started just using the Root user ALL the time… getting net access permission was impossible otherwise.

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  4. It depends on your setup. I usually don’t need root or net access on other linux systems, but I just can’t get around it on this one!

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