Support for touchscreen devices (phones,etc.)


#1

I know there used to be a Ubuntu phone. So…
Is it possible to run Manjaro on a tablet?


#2

I tried to explain it a bit in this thread.

To expand on the Ubuntu Phone idea, they used a modified Android OS (used android kernel from what used to be called cyanogenmod and the android JVM) and just put an ubuntu system on top if it. Sort of like an overlay with added features. I think later in its stages it created its own low level software for the system but it was basically the same minus a chroot. It was android at its core and not too much different from running the stock android OS that came on the phone/tablet. As explained, integrating this into phones and tablets will be difficult and not logical from the user or developer standpoint. Manjaro-Arm was and will be tailored to Single Board computers like the raspberrypi and odroids that run the ARM SoC.

*** EDIT: I guess it is always possible to do it through a chroot and VNC or something of the sort. It wont be native and probably wont be useful, but neat to show off.


#3

Even if the bootloader is unlocked, does that mean it is currently not possible to install/flash a linux distro using the devices’ official open source kernel (that are published by it’s manufacturers)? For example, I’ve got a MI 3W and Xiaomi published not only the kernel but also the bootloader’s source code.

So actually, the problem here is that, currently, linux distros (with touchscreen support) do not support all the hardware on a smartphone like camera, sensors antenna/sim socket-slot, etc? I mean they can have driver support from the official or a custom kernel, but lacking an interface/software that makes use of them? Is that the problem, or am I not understanding what the actual problem is?

Not that I’m an expert, but (with the above addressed) I suppose it’s a matter of knowing how the bootloader works in order to be able to build a flashable file. Anyone knows how hard actually this would be? From what I’ve read I think the bootloader has to be modifed (and reflashed).

Thanks.


#4

If the bootloader is unlocked of course you could attempt to flash Linux on top of the kernel that they provide source for however, android kernels and linux kernels are not exactly the same so it would take quite a bit of modifications for it to work as a linux distro but it should work decently fine

This is the most difficult problem to solve yes. The camera, sensors, radios, and even alot of the touchscreen are generally not supported in the upstream kernel from Linux. Even when device manufactures release their kernel sources, they dont always release the driver source for these devices. This is one of the reasons over the past 10 years that android has been a thing (for consumers) there hasn’t been an easy way to just “install linux” to your android device. There have been some good attempts in the past that result in a mostly working and usable device but it required people to reverse engineer parts and hack together a driver to get things working. If for some reason everything about the device was 100% open source then yeah we could build a kernel with support for the device’s hardware and probably get the bootloader to boot it properly.

With some of the older devices before bootloader locking really became mainstream, there were some devices that could be modified to accept one or several kernels (similar to how grub works) which in turn would boot that kernel and mount the correct partitions in order to boot the proper OS. This is still somewhat possible with some tools like multiboot which alter the boot scripts in the bootloader. These scripts were put in place by the device manufacturer to allow a system update to be used without destroying the previous edition just in case the update corrupts the device. Its essentially a restore point that can be exploited and allow for a dual boot situation. As far as the difficulty of doing all of this, I cant speak to that. I used to be an android developer and have built many android kernels, recoverys, OSs, and even modified a bootloader or two but I can not imagine it being easy. Most devices have all of this stuff locked down pretty tight (it protects their assets from damage therefore decreases their liability to replace damaged devices, cant really blame them). There are some devices that have all of this open and these devices probably have linux ports that can be used. I personally wouldnt invest in the time or effort that it would take for a device that is usually replaced yearly or bi-yearly. If you are wanting a phone or tablet that runs Linux, it is much better to buy a device that can support this. The experience will be better and the work needed will be far less troublesome.

While Im not the project lead of Manjaro-Arm anymore, I know that @Strit and I agree on the idea of having manjaro arm available on devices like smartphones and tablets. We dont want to do it on a per device level. In order to do all of the above work for one device would take quite a while and we just dont have the resources available to us. We would obviously be okay if a device was to come about that has all it unlocked and supported to where we could just build a kernel and make a few modifications in our packaging of our images in order to get it working but, until one of these devices are released or at least brought to our attention (with someone that has the device that can test and report back), we will not work on anything like this.


#5

I’ve been struggling to figure out a use for my Nexus 7 since I bought it in 2012, and earlier today I was digging through old Arch and Bodhi threads seeing if I could do something with those. Bodhi images still exist and so do most of the Arch components, but bluez 4 isn’t available anymore, among other things and the kernel won’t work with bluez 5, so unless someone finds a way to port a newer kernel to these, I don’t see much happening with them. But if someone were to start somewhere, I’d suggest old Nexus devices since they have the most available source and obviously you’ll need unlockable bootloaders.
That Nexus 7 gets slower with every software update since it came out (4.4 is what it came with, and it ran great until 5.0, and never got better). It is 100% unused now so I am fine with a bit of beta testing if it comes with a chance it might be a useful device again. Plus, I really want to run (full)Linux on it :stuck_out_tongue:

That said, I am really excited for Manjaro on the Rpi. I’d love to give this Awesome Edition a try on my Pi 3. I don’t have a laptop but it looks perfect for one and the Pi is my travel computer.

While I’m here, if anyone can save me a ton of time and tell me where I can find a working image for the Pi, or instructions for dummies on how to put one together, I’d really appreciate the help avoiding that hollow thud that comes when I try to figure out how things work.


#6

Oh, and probably worth mentioning… Wifi is an obvious must have, as is the touchscreen. Bluetooth isn’t a must have, and the camera I can do without (if I ever have cause to take the thing apart, I will be mechanically removing the camera and microphones because I don’t use them and I don’t want someone else to be able to).
At this point, if we can put them to use as something, anything. Even if thats not as a typical tablet, its better than a in a drawer collecting dust until father time takes them to the landfill.