ANN: OpenSIMpad 0.8.1 released

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The OpenSIMpad team is proud to announce the immediate availability of
our alternative Operating System for the SIEMENS SIMpad webpad family.

Release notes:

#########################################
#
# OpenSIMpad 0.8.1
# Based on OpenEmbedded 3.3.4 and
# Opie 1.0.1.1-snapshot (=1.0.2-pre1)
#
#########################################

Why should I use OpenSIMpad?
OpenSIMpad has a number of different advantages and even some disadvantages
compared to the original WindowsCE. Hopefully this will help you make an
informed decision about which is right for you and give you a good idea of
some of the features OpenSIMpad offers.

Why shouldn't I use OpenSIMpad?
OpenSIMpad is a work in progress!


This is the second official release of OpenSIMpad based on OpenEmbedded.
Since the Opie implementation on the SIMpad is not quite as far as
Opie on other devices (e.g. Zaurus and iPAQ), we settled with a version
number of 0.8.1. Opie on those other devices is at version 1. Only a few
applications
have been adapted to work with the SIMpad and the rest are still mainly aimed at
other devices, so don't expect everything to work at the moment.

What's Opie?
Opie is a fork of the Qtopia windowing environment normally used by the Sharp
Zaurus rom. Opie takes advantage of more recent updates to Qt than the static
version included with the Sharp Zaurus rom, and is developed by a community
of volunteer developers.

What's OpenSIMpad/OpenEmbedded?
OpenEmbedded is all about freedom of choice. You should choose which operating
system and software you want installed on your SIMpad!
While Opie is right now the default interface to OpenEmbedded, PicoGui and
X windowing environments are under development for inclusion as their own
versions of the standard OpenEmbedded image.
OpenEmbedded also has better Hardware support out of the box than Windows CE
offers. Some Wireless LAN cards, for example, that are not supported by CE are
known to function under OpenEmbedded.
It is also possible to install additional software from remote sites (aka
feeds).
This is a powerful feature that's not available under CE.



OpenSIMpad contains the Linux kernel 2.4.19-rmk7-jpm2. In addition, it contains
the following patches and upgrades:
- Latest HostAP Prism2 wireless drivers.
- Latest socket/symbol spectrum drivers and orinoco drivers.
- Compile fix in af_irda to build irda as modules.
- Support for wireless extensions.
Many modules are also compiled with the most recent patches, so things like
wireless sniffing is possible ;-).

About the files:
#################

All the *.bin files are flashable files. Those beginning with "zImage" are
kernel-only images to allow for different RAM-to-storage configurations. You
must install an appropriate initrd* image first. The initrd* image includes
a kernel without a RAMdisk allocation. So with the initrd* image you have all
RAM available as RAM.

The zImage* images allocate part of RAM to a RAMdisk so you can install software
packages to it. As long as you only "suspend" your device these software
packages are available. The RAMdisk does not survive a hard reset or a reboot.
So after a reset your data on the RAMdisk is lost.

Installing:
############

NOTE: You must have a bootloader >=2.5.3 in order to successfully work with
these images.

So install the newest version of the bootloader. If you don't know which one to
install consult the FAQs at http://www.opensimpad.org .

To keep things short the serload installation method will only be described

here. Please download the appropriate version of serload from the downloads
section of our homepage.

1. Connect your device to AC Power and to the serial port of your PC.
2. Open a terminal session on the serial port your device is connected to.
   Use 38400 8N1 as terminal settings in your program (Hyperterminal, minicom)
3. Reset the device while pressing the bottom most button on the SIMpad
   (The one with the rectangle on it)
4. You should see this in your terminal:
   =====================
   Monitor:
   =====================
   Boot from Flash   'f'
   Boot from Net     'n'
   Power Off         'o'
   Erase PSM+Registry'r'
   Erase Flash       'y'
   Soft  Reset       's'
   Print Fab-String  'w'

   Press 'y' to erase the flash.
5. After that finishes exit the terminal session.
6. Start serload with the initrd*.bin
   serload initrd-SL4.bin 0 (for linux connected to ttyS0)
   or
   serload initrd-SL4.bin   (for windows on COM1)
7. Reset the device without pressing the bottom button this time.
   serload detects a file upload request and starts uploading the image.
8. After the flashing process is finished, reset the device again and let it
boot.

The first boot takes a while, but you are greeted with a status message. So be
patient.

If you decide you want on of the zImage*.bin files uploaded for a RAM-to-storage
configuration, follow steps 1, 6-8. You should not erase flash when installing
kernel-only images!

Highlights of this release:
######################

* Opie 1.0.2-pre1 featuring
    - lots of bugfixes in core and non-core applications
    - a new launcher with drastically reduced application startup time
    - lots of new applications in the feed, e.g. Opie-RDesktop, Opie-Yatzee and
Opie-ZSafe.

* Screen refreshes after resume

* Splash Screen with integrated Linux kernel Console output

* Use of virtual terminals. This has several benefits:
    - A serial login is now always available
    - You can switch between Opie and the Console from serial login.
    - There are two scripts included in the image for this: console2fb and
opie2fb
    - Attaching a serial keyboard and have a Console login will eventually be
possible

Bugs'n'Issues:
##############

* Suspending via Button doesn't work

    - This is a known bug which will be fixed in 0.9
    - At the time you must use the O-menu->Suspend manually

* Some Devices don't wake up after suspend

    - This is due to our incomplete apm implementation and will be fixed in 1.0
    - As for now, be sure to 'cardctl eject' before suspending to be on the safe
side

* Opie audio handling is corrupt
    - This is a known bug which will be fixed in 1.0

* The touchscreen emits noises on press
    - This is a known bug which will be fixed in 1.0
    - After suspend and resume the noise in the speaker is gone

* Application layout is sometimes not optimal
    - This is due to Opie's origin in the PDA field. The Opie team is aware of
this
      problem and works on the BigScreen-Extension which will lead to the better
      use of screen estate in the next release.

Enjoy anyway!
snipped-for-privacy@opensimpad.org
snipped-for-privacy@opensimpad.org



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