Re: Dauphin Linux (?)

In article <3c472c$if8@magus.cs.utah.edu>, galt@asylum.cs.utah.edu (Greg Alt) says:
>1)  The battery life is short (I think someone said 1-3 hours).  I've seen mention
>    of an extra battery pack in the ads.  Is it possible to connect both batteries
>    at the same time and get double the time, or at least do a 'hot' battery switch?
>    Or does it just mean that when the battery is low, you turn it off, switch
>    batteries, and turn it back on?

There is a replacement battery upgrade that you can get from DAUPHIN, but
you need to send your DTR-1 in so they can apply the modifications to the
battery compartment for you.  Apparently the new battery lasts for 6 hours.

>2)  Is the pen proprietary, or will normal mouse drivers work with it?  I get the
>    impression that at first, I would have to use a serial port pointing device
>    under linux until a driver for the pen is written, and hope this is not the
>    case.  If it is the case, I hope that I would not be the only one working on
>    the driver, and I hope that tech info would be available to make the driver
>    not a difficult task...  I have never written a device driver in Linux before,
>    but I feel up to the challenge if I am not alone and have docs.

The pen uses the Kurta graphics tablet protocol, I believe.  At least on my DTR-1
it's loaded as a device driver at the DOS level.  However, X windows on the DTR-1
would be a bit of a joke -- you can only have 6 megs max in the DTR1.

>3)  Eventually, I would like to be able to do something like an xterm using only
>    the pen.  I have heard that some low-level handwriting recognition libraries
>    exist for X, but it would be necessary to squeeze them into the source for
>    xterm (or one of the leaner xterm-like clients, most likely).  I don't know
>    how much work would be involved or how many people might be working on a 
>    similar project...  Hopefully such a thing already exists... (finger-crossing :)

In my opinion, bail on the idea of getting the DTR-1, Linux, and handwriting
recognition all to work together.  It's going to be enough of a challenge just 
installing the base Linux system on a 40 meg hard drive.

>4)  I am under the impression that repartitioning the hard drive is impossible
>    unless you boot from another device.  If this is the case, I assume the 
>    external floppy drive is the only solution (if it is bootable).  Is it actually
>    possible, or would we be stuck with the umdos filesystem (not too big of a
>    deal, but not too great).

Yes, the external floppy drive is bootable.  If you need to boot off a floppy
in order to install linux, this is the only path.

>5)  How interesting of a system could you really set up on a 40 meg drive with
>    only 4 megs ram?  I imagine doing something like the MCC distribution with
>    X-lite (or whatever the minimal X installation is called) would be the way
>    to go.  

I have 6 megs in mine, but I'm not going to run X.  I'm going to attempt to 
install Linux on it this weekend.  I'll TRY the MCC X, but I'm not too confident.

>Anyway, all of that said, I am excited about possibly buying one of these
>neat little systems.  I am just afraid that the problems might be so great that
>I would end up not using it and essentially wasting the $600.  Maybe we should
>chip in and buy one for Linus, and that might get some momentum behind pen-based
>stuff for Linux... :)

Nah.  Better off buying him a real pen-based computer for development, not the
DTR-1, despite it's price.  6 megs max, and a 40 meg hard drive, as well as 
numerous silly proprietary things dealing with the modem and serial port make it
not worthwhile.  Not to mention that the max modem speed available for it is
2400 baud.

Don't get me wrong -- the DTR-1 is a great machine -- there's nothing like
plugging it into my Motorola MicroTac LITE and checking my e-mail from the
car, not to mention how cool it is to be able to take a network-able laptop
in my backpack (I have the network card too, NE2000 compatible).  It's just 
been designed for DOS and Windows use, and it has a bit too much proprietary
stuff in it to make it appealing to run Linux on it. 

>If anyone has one of these and is currently running Linux or considering it,
>please let us know what you think.  Also, it might be a good idea to start a
>mailing list if anyone buys it so that we could discuss solving the software

I'll pitch in and help on the mailing list idea -- as soon as I get my
host system up here at PML I'll install the mailing list package and get a list
going.  As for the Linux install, like I said I'm going to try it out this

|Jay Vaughan                 > jay@phxmedia.com                              |
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