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Saturday 30 June 2012

Summertime and new builds

“Summertime, and the livin' is easy” (G. Gershwin), especially with DoudouLinux as you now know since this is our main goal ;). We've just uploaded several new dailybuilds to let you test our new features with your children during the long summer break. Here are some screenshots and screencasts:

New interface (2012-04)

MIDI piano keyboard + USB loudspeakers

Fichier vidéo intégré

(download in OGG format, 1.5MB)

You can download the dailybuilds from our Dailybuild download section. The file names follow the pattern doudoulinux-2012-06-*, LiveCD and LiveUSB images are available. We provide these builds in English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. An ARM™ version for Genesi Efika is available as well, in English and French only:

  • FR Image : Azerty (Belgian) and French language default configuration.
  • EN Image : Qwerty (US) and English language default configuration.

NB: root password is still efika in ARM™ builds ;-).

Our development version is still under intense work. The main new features are the following:

  • new application Piano Booster, to teach playing the piano
  • audio output selector can now identify HDMI audio outputs
  • automatically connects MIDI piano keyboards to Timidity at hotplug
  • automatically changes the audio output when an USB audio card is (un)plugged
  • automatically changes the monitor/screen when (un)plugged
  • automatically manages removable disks (the file manager is simply shown)
  • updated application icons translation
  • now sends DBus notifications when applications are started/quited

And the main bug fixes are the following:

  • fixed charge_full can be named energy_full on laptops
  • fixed screen brightness changed twice when keys are already mapped in hardware
  • fixed OSD not shown in GDM
  • fixed unable to quit session if the exit button is removed from launcher
  • fixed Timidity not restarted when audio output is changed
  • fixed GHelp issue (solves #462)

Although we still haven't brought all the feature we would like, we are getting closer to the final release that will replace our current stable release named Gondwana. The feature we are really lacking is a real and easy installer that doesn't require to be already installed on the LiveCD. You can help if you want to :). For this reason, the development version will not be turned into the next stable release before September, instead of June as planned initially.

Enjoy :]

Tuesday 17 January 2012

First “ready to use” DouDouLinux ARM™ images

Here it is, the promised DoudouLinux for Genesi Efika SmartBooks! It's a 4GB SD card image, ready to boot a DoudouLinux system built on top of Debian ARM™ Squeeze (armel flavour). This is a multi-language version of DoudouLinux (US English/French):

  • For Genesi/Efika SmartBook (armel)
  • Preconfigured for en_US/Qwerty keyboard
  • With iMX video driver
  • With GPU activated

Hare are some additional technical information:

  • root password efika
  • Genesi's Freescale source code
    • from Genesi's GIT
    • compiled by DrEagle
    • license Freescale “accepted”
  • non-free Freescale code (binary)
    • libz160 (GPU)
  • base distribution: Debian Squeeze, with the following sources
    • official Debian repositories
    • additional Debian-multimedia repository
    • custom DoudouLinux repository

You can get it from our official download pages:

If you wish to check the SHA1 sum, just issue the following command:

$ sha1sum efika-ddl-armel-ENU-gpu-4Go_20120116.img.xz
4630401386747fb2c46ef33e663795fd106bde45  efika-ddl-armel-ENU-gpu-4Go_20120116.img.xz

To build your LiveSD disk, you'll need a 4GB SD card. Then use this command:

$ xzcat efika-ddl-armel-ENU-gpu-4Go_20120116.img.xz | pv | sudo dd of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=8192

Don't forget to replace /dev/mmcblk0 with the actual SD card device path (and please double check you're not using your internal HD!!!).

Thursday 12 January 2012

DoudouLinux environment on Genesi Efika: we did it!

We're very glad to announce that our work to have DoudouLinux running on ARM™ devices has much progressed during the past few weeks. As shown on the photo below, we're now able to run the full DoudouLinux environment on the Efika MX smartbooks that Genesi graciously offered our project. Although not everything is perfect right now, this is an important step forward on our way to ARM™. We're now planning to upload a first Genesi/Efika disk image quite soon, to let enthusiastic people test and hopefully enjoy :).

DoudouLinux on Genesi/Efika

This work has been achieved by DrEagle for the Debian ARM™ base image and Jean-Michel (me) for the packaging of DoudouLinux tricks that turn a light installation of Debian Squeeze armel into a DoudouLinux environment. DrEagle has worked on writing a generic disk image generation process in order to be able to address any ARM™ hardware in the future. He first focused on producing a standard Debian image and he's now moving on to producing an armel DoudouLinux image directly. In the meanwhile I focused on splitting the DoudouLinux environment tricks into generic tricks and live-specific tricks[1], then put them into standard Debian packages. As a result, installing our latest custom packages should be enough to turn any Debian or Debian-like machine into a DoudouLinux computer, whatever the target architecture (no real test has been performed though ;) ). A dedicated post will be written soon.

Now next steps are the following:

  1. Setup a buildd package server in order to ease our work of releasing binary packages for 4 architectures and 3 distribution code names.
  2. Move from the slow armel port to the faster armhf port[2].
  3. Terminate the migration of the live environment tricks into Debian packages.
  4. Build images for other ARM™ hardware, especially the new Genesi hardware to come.
  5. Prepare our next official, stable release that will be the base for a first official ARM™ release.
  6. Test and debug – not too much we hope!

As you can see there is still quite a long way to go but we've shown that this is not wishes only but rather a matter of perseverance and hardware availability. Of course we're very thankful to Genesi to have supported us in our early ARM™ development stages. We're now eager to test DoudouLinux on the very latest ARM™ hardware available :). Stay tuned!

Notes

[1] Recall that DoudouLinux was basically designed to be a LiveCD, not a standard Linux system.

[2] We have to confess that currently the armel port combined with the quite low graphic performances of the old generation of ARM™ smartbooks doesn't allow all the DoudouLinux applications to run smoothly. While there is still uncertainty for real 3D games like SuperTuxKart, we believe that armhf on the latest generation of hardware should lead to a really attractive environment for children and… parents!

Saturday 19 November 2011

Efika MX SmartBook

Here they are,

3 Genesi Efika MX SMARTBOOK for the DouDouLinux Dev Team.

IMG_0114.JPG

Thanks again to Genesi for supporting us in this challenge.

IMG_0117.JPG

Just needed some work now from the dev team to make the first DouDouLinux release available on ARM.