FAQ for Angstrom project
Q: When will Angstrom 1.0 be released?
- A: Angstrom uses the Ubuntu/Gentoo versioning scheme, YYYY.MM. The first release of Angstrom bears version 2007.12 and was released a few days before New Year 2008, representing more than 2 years of release planning, development, and community-building. New releases are expected at least yearly.
Q: What GUI environments are supported by Angstrom?
- A: At this time, only GPE and Opie have "supported" status. However, Enlightenment (E17) image building is possible.
Q: Why are there so few programs in Angstrom?
A: Angstrom is a Linux distribution, and leverages best practices in software management. It provides basic, lean images as well as a tool called package manager (ipkg) which can be used to install vast amounts of software from the "feeds". Thus, any user can customize installation to one's own needs - be that classical PDA usage (PIM applications), Internet tablet (web browser, IM applications, etc), Navigator (GPS and mapping software), etc. - in other words, Angstrom provides on PDA the same killer feature as users of "desktop" distributions enjoy for years.
Q: Is Angstrom secure?
A: Security issues are rather varied and may have very diverse impact depending on your device and how you use it. It is very wise to study the various aspects of security, and the AngstromSecurity page will get you started.
Questions about specific software
Q: Is Opie supported in Angstrom?
- A: Yes! As of 2008-09-15, Opie (version 1.2.3) is now supported in Angstrom. Opie-based images are now available in addition to the previous x11 and GPE images, and packages for various additional applications have been added to the feeds.
Q: Will Qtopia4/Opie2 be supported in Angstrom?
A: Possibly, if there will be community to support it. In the meantime, there are no Qtopia4/Opie2 recipes in OpenEmbedded at all, so the first task would be to add them (different parties may already work on this). ask on irc #oe or #qtopia
Q: Is ipkg-link tool to simplify installing package on a card available?
- A: No. Based on the experience with supporting previous distributions which provided this tool, it produced more problems than it solved. This is because:
- It has limited application and does not work for every package
- When it doesn't work, this is usually goes undetected initially, but causes subtle and hard-to-track issues later, making a support nightmare.
Questions about specific hardware
Q: Is the Linksys NSLU2 supported in Angstrom?
A: Yes, BUT the most recent binary firmware image ('Angstrom-base-image-glibc-ipk-2007.12-ixp4xxbe-nslu2.bin') is unusable. The only user with SSH access is root ... and the SSH server in the distribution will not allow root login! So, even if you successfully install Angstrom on your NSLU2, you will not be able to access it or use it in any way. One user was able to successfully install an older firmware binary, so that may be suitable for some users.
Q: Is the HP hx4700 supported in Angstrom?
- A: Yes, but a how-to guide is needed.
Q: How can the psplash the boot splash screen be disabled?
- A: Pass "psplash=false" as a parameter on the kernel command line.
Q: What is the boot procedure on Angstrom?
- A: Roughly, the process is:
- the machine-specific bootloader loads the kernel (zImage*) from flash or another medium (memory card, native file for non-Linux devices);
- the kernel mounts the rootfs (defined at compile time or by root= parameter on kernel command line);
- the kernel runs a standard sysvinit sequence using /sbin/init.
As of now, Angstrom doesn't handle the initial bootloading process. The idea of some universal bootloader, like LAB, has been discussed, but it would take time to become a reality, and the machine-specific solution (Zaurus bootloader, PocketPC bootloader, HH.og bootloader, or HaRET, etc.) will always be needed, like a motherboard requires its own BIOS. To boot from different storage devices, Altboot may be a solution; it is not included in Angstrom for the moment, and only supports Zaurus, but this may change in the future.
Q: Where is /var/log/messages?
A: UPDATE: Since 2007-04-26, Angstrom syslogd logs to a standard file, /var/log/messages. /var/log is mounted on tmpfs to preclude wear of the flash due to frequent updates, and the log file is rotated with both limits on the size before rotation and preserved number of rotated files, to keep the log from hogging the memory. Previously, a circular buffer logging was used, as commonly used by embedded systems. You can change syslogd settings in /etc/syslog.conf and restart the logging daemon (/etc/init.d/syslog restart). Use "readlog" command to dump contents of the circular buffer if you enabled it.
Q: How can I get the USB Host working (on machines with USB Host HW)?
- A: The ohci-hcd module is mandatory for USB connections; load it with "modprobe ohci-hcd". To have it loaded at boot time, create a file called "/etc/modutils/ohci-hcd", with the single line "ohci-hcd", and run "update-modules". Don't forget that some machines (Zaurus, for example) can't deliver much power to usb devices (disks, network adapters, ...); you may need a powered usb hub.
Q: How to browse the ipk-package contents?
- A: First of all, ipk-package is a GNU ar archive, so you can see package contents by unpacking this archive:
ar x <your_package_name>.ipkAlso, the ipk-packages uses the same format as Debian deb-packages, so you can use dpkg tools to handle ipk-packages:
dpkg-deb -c <you_package_name>.ipk
Q: How do I find out which package provides a certain file?
- A: There is no obvious way to do it - "ipkg search" can search files only for packages that were already installed. The second issue is that ipkg expects you to pass file name with full path included, so if you wish to find which package of all the packages you have installed provide certain file, without specifying file name with full path, you should use regexp like this one:
ipkg search '*name_of_file_you_are_looking_for' ni
Q: when I follow the instructions to build Ångström by git-cloning the setup-scripts repository, how do I avoid getting a build environment that is at the 'bleeding edge' (kernel 3.x.x, etc)?
- A: read the manual for git. When you freshly clone a repository, the resulting directory by default reflects the latest current state of development (Master/HEAD). Unless you know what you are doing, you probably want to do something like 'git checkout -b local maintenance-2011.03' from within the setup-scripts directory, straight after you've done the initial git-clone.
Community and Governance
Q: Define Angstrom project
A: Angstrom is a real OpenSource project. Real in the sense that it not only uses lots of others' open sources, and put his own small sources for free download, but also is based on open interchange of code, ideas, and communication of participants interested in Angstrom. This interchange is the most important part of Angstrom, with distribution releases being just products of it.
Q: Define Angstrom community
- A: Angstrom community consists of users and developers, but there is actually no strict separation. Developers are just users (possibly, of other distributions) who liked and valued Angstrom so much that decided to contribute to its development directly. Developers may also become alumni, may move to other projects, etc. This process of users and developers coming and going is what keeps Angstrom alive and fresh of ideas and motivation.
As described above, Angstrom community interchanges. That means it is reciprocal, mutual community. There is no core clique of elite developers who deliver something to users waiting in row. OpenSource movement is oftentimes associated with the phrase "Free Speech, not Free Beer". This is fully true of Angstrom - it provides open environment to discuss and solve issues, not just gives something one can carry away in a pocket. One important implication of the above is that, if you come to Angstrom to just take something from it, you lose large share of what it can offer for you. Depending on your actual expectations, you may even become disappointed with Angstrom. Note that there's no authority to classify a given user as reciprocal or only taking, nor Angstrom community itself treats individual persons as belonging to this or that group. Instead, users know their motives themselves. And as a rule of thumb, OpenSource projects like Angstrom work better for those users who are prepared to interchange with the community.
Q: Does that work?
- A: Angstrom had its first release only recently, and its community is just forming. That means, there are not enough developers to fix all bugs, not enough document writers to write all documentation, not enough fellow users to answer newbie's questions. As long as you're ready to interact with an already existing and highly active community, and are willing to contribute back, to help solving any issues you can help with, while other users work arm in arm with you on other issues - then this should not be a big problem. In a month, spent in interesting and challenging interactions and meeting with interesting people, you will see noticeable improvements in the area that gave you worries in the beginning. If you can't participate at this time, then we'll have slightly less advanced progress.
Q: Will that ever work?
A: We should pay tribute to apostles of OpenSource and Linux movement - they didn't know the answer to that question; they only had vision and drive to do it that way. But they have done it, and now Linux is an important force in IT and computing. We have our vision, we use our drive, we stand on the shoulders of giants - we know it will, and does, work. Note that while we base our work on other OpenSource projects, we don't duplicate or reinvent the wheel - Angstrom is truly revolutionary Embedded Linux distribution, having ambitions and embracing opportunities unseen before. So, we'll get there, and how fast depends on how fast new users and developers come to us. We know we're doing it right, as we have already have confirmed users and developers. We're waiting for you, too!
Q: Given the above, should I install Angstrom?
A: YES, YES, YES! Oh, please bear with us, we're all Angstrom patriots here! We cannot say for sure if it, in its current release, will suit you or not. We do provide information (including known issues) for you to decide yourself. Nonetheless, it's oftentimes easier to see once, than to read megabytes of documentation. In this regard, we already in the first release tried to make it easy to install Angstrom, and remove it, if you don't like it. So, make a backup and try it yourself! If you decide to revert, we understand your choice. But please watch this space - Angstrom is an agile distribution, and a month can bring in big changes to the issues you experienced. Also, tell friends, tell family. For example, my grandma, once she saw that cool Angstrom game, told me she never would come back to WindowsMobile and its stupid "jaws"! She's a confirmed tester now. And if you find Angstrom's opportunities to outweigh its current shortcomings, we appreciate it, and welcome you to the community!
Q: What about sleeve support? does the 2xpcmcia sleeve work? What about the kernel support ? Where can i see kernel repositories ?
- A: ???
Q: Is it possible to make my local mirror of Angstrom repository ? By Rsync Git Svn...
A: Yes, use the console and enter: git clone [http://git.angstrom-distribution.org/|Projectfile]