Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Nokia N9: Going for a spin

In short, I now have a Nokia n9, and setup a scratchbox for it, and compiled & installed abiword, clawmotia, unison, and libferris for and on the device. If that didn't enlarge your page down key, the longer version now follows ;-)

FWIW my impression of the device is very positive. Hardware wise the biggest issue I have is the inability to add more storage to it. A high gb microsd slotted in would make things a whole bunch nicer, mainly for using the device as a music box on the road. The speed of interaction is very nice, and the swipe interface is very easy to get used to. Just flick an app away to minimize it or flick from another screen edge to close it.

gstreamer works quite nicely for viewing network streams, though there is a deadzone bar on the logical "bottom" of the screen (left of screen in portrait mode). I noticed this bar in abiword too, so I assume it is an issue with going fullscreen for non Qt native apps.

There isn't much to show for unison, as I tend to drive that from the dekstop/laptop end of the connection. Getting it on the device is always a matter for first compiling ocaml and installing that into the scratchbox.

One very pleasant surprise is how snappy clawmotia runs on the n9. Startup time is significantly less than on the n900 and the screen operations like swiping the main controls left to get to the jog shuttle page is now at an acceptably smooth speed. I'll have to work up a video of this in action to show the speed of things...

I got libferris compiled for the n9 too. Using boost::spirit for some of the parsers has dropped one compile time dependency away. I did make both ferris and ferriscreate able to compile in glib2 only mode. You loose one or two apps by doing this, but it also makes the footprint smaller so that I can use it with QML apps without needing to pull in gtk2 from a third party repo just for those apps in ferris itself. Mainly some capplets, gfcreate, and the gfcp and other graphical coreutils reimplementations are lost in building this way.

And what is not complete without a screenshot of things on the device? Sorry for the quality of the picture, I need to work out lighting for some device shots a bit better than this adhoc quick shot. Just to tap into the ferris power a tiny bit I decided to mount an XML file as a filesystem and fcat directly into it.. A few of the fun things I plan are a QML client for index/search using the customized maemo index backend in libferris and using the mounted pulseaudio and mounted gstreamer to implement yet another audio player for the device. The index+search in both these apps should be blisteringly fast, given that I could index an NFS mount with 10x the data I could hold on an n810 and search as you type in real time...

Abiword proved to be the harder thing to compile for the n9. It seems GTK2/3 has fallen off the device so I got gtk2 from a third party repository. The downside is that the app doesn't run entirely fullscreen and has pretty much no finger friendlyness from gtk2 itself. Oh yeah, the virtual keyboard doesn't come up on text entries in gtk2 either. I might be compiling and installing gtk2 incorrectly on the device, so this complaint about device interaction might be my own fault?

I then got libwv and libwmf, following the dependency rabbit down the white hole. Of course my abiword compile has full ODF support in it too! The below screenshot is of one of my sample ODF+RDF documents with the content that links to RDF shown in purple. For more info on RDF in abiword see the abiword talk video from lca 2012.

More fun an games to follow, and I'll post a link to a repo with the debs once I work out where I'm going to host the 100mb odd of files. Not all those are for the device, some are mainly for scratchbox such as the dev packages and full ocaml compiler debs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mounting statusnet/identica as a filesystem

With the 1.5.12 release of libferris hot off the presses, I thought I'd blog about how to use the new statusnet mounting. I tried to do some testing against identica at the start, and managed to get myself silenced there ;) I was resurrected within hours once I put forward my case as not-a-trollbot^tm. Anyway, that led me to setup my own local statusnet server for testing against, and now libferris can mount and also one or more local servers if you so desire.... yay!

There is a little bit of setup required, web keys, secrets and oauth... the normal story.
The identica filesystem contains a directory for each server you have setup in ~/.ferris/identica. To update my public status I just write to the status file in my identica account:

$ echo "this is coming from the console via libferris, mounting the public statusnet ;-p" \
| ferris-redirect identica://identica/status

To see what has been going on I can list the timeline directory, using "-0" to get libferris to tell me what metadata is interesting for that directory instead of viewing the protection bits and other non interesting information.

$ fls -0 identica://identica/timeline
89868729 Welcome to, @monkeyiq! Welcome Bot 12 Feb 2 03:53

There is also support for direct messaging through the filesystem, seeing retweets, friends, and mentions.

Now for the details... Configuration happens through the virtual filesystem. Each statusnet server you want to mount has it's own directory inside ~/.ferris/identica. The configuration directory lists the base URL for performing REST requests on that server and the prefix of where the webkey and secret are to live. For the public server I have the following:

$ pwd
$ cat rest_base
$ cat token_prefix

And the webkeys go in a file in ~/.ferris prefixed with the token_prefix above:
$ cat ~/.ferris/identica-api-key.txt

I do not distribute web keys, so you need to go to and create one yourself.

If you have a private statusnet server foobar then you create ~/.ferris/identica/foobar with the REST url for it, and foobar as the token_prefix. Then put the web API key into ~/.ferris/foobar-api-key.txt.

To setup the oauth part, we use our old friend capplet-auth. Again for our foobar custom server replace the auth-with-site with foobar instead. This will give you a URL to visit to authorize your webapp (libferris) on your account. You'll be given a PIN to copy back onto the console and then you should be setup.

$ ferris-capplet-auth --auth-service identica --auth-with-site identica

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A time for Akad-au-me?

At LCA 2012 I was talking with one or two folks and the idea of a KDE miniconference at LCA 2013 came up. As I thought it was a worthwhile idea to bring Qt/KDE folks down under I sort of threw my hat in the ring to be the "local" aussie organizer for it. I say with quotes because the event in 2013 is 1000+km away from me anyway. I'll gladly defer the glory for this idea to those who suggested it save the issues and criticisms for myself.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw it out there on the k-planet, see if I should try to get onto the KDE-ev or where/if folks on the KDE side would like to further discuss the plan. My ideas involve using the official one day mini conf for KDE talks including some lightning intros to make sure everyone can put an hydrocarbon image to the @nicks and maybe using the Saturday &&|| Sunday after the event as a hackfest or two to get some stuff done. Normally the dorms for LCA are available through the sunday arvo (not that I'm an expert), so the hackfest weekend idea has some logistics help already.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mounting KDE pastebin

Ferris has extended its claws to allow the pastebin at to be mounted. Since bash doesn't know libferris at all, without fuse you can use ferris-redirect to pipe information into any file that libferris can use as shown below (-T truncates like ">" in bash).

mkdir /tmp/test
cd /tmp/test
date > df1.txt
cat df1.txt | ferris-redirect -T pastebin://

If you just have one file, then the "new" directory itself will act as a target too:

echo anyone, anyone... | ferris-redirect -T pastebin://

And because everybody knows that key protected pastebins are the new red, the following will need to have "goodkeyhere" on hand to read the data back...

echo this is secret, dudes | ferris-redirect -T pastebin://

The final directory is the "list" which contains virtual files allowing you to get a paste through the virtual filesystem. Of course, you could just fcat the http:// URL for the paste, but a nice tree is a nice tree.

fls pastebin://
... 199700
fcat pastebin://