Power Tool - (related to my post about Gnome plonking windows in inappropriate places)

Spotted this on social media today - about the Debian Logo :

Referenced this subreddit :

(scroll to the bottom)

Which also references one of my favourite writers, Neal Stephenson :


Who - incidentally, was a UNIX and sometime Linux user, until OS X came along and he’s now a 100% Mac user, because, macOS is a POSIX certified UNIX system (despite all the annoyances :smiley: ).

And here’s Debian running on a RISC processor (my RPi4) :

I know this is kinda “taboo” (replying to one’s own thread and post), but I’ve always been a heretic anyway - seriously considering upgrading this Pi4 (4 GB RAM model, “headless”) to bullseye (it’s running buster 64 bit). Mainly I want some things only available in later Debian releases (like wordgrinder 8 - my favourite curses / console based word processor - yeah I could grab the source and build it - but I prefer packages).

Anyone got any warnings or caveats? I think @Akito mostly uses DietPi on his Raspberrys - correct? Ever run OpenVPN on DietPi? Actually - I think I’d prefer to stay with a reasonably “stock” distro from the Foundation on this thing…

I’ve upgraded the firmware to allow booting from USB (3) and it boots off an external Samsung T5 512 GB SSD. I don’t use it for much these days… I’ve turned off and disabled Pi-Hole as it created more problems than it solved, the main problem was solved by using Brave browser anyway…

It’s another sync target for all my Resilio Sync shares, and I can SSH to it (on a non-standard port - root login disabled and running fail2ban) from the interwebs and it’s also my OpenVPN egress to my home network, from the wild interwebs… I also run a weekly backup on it (which I manually delete and only keep start of month long term, and EOM short term - and doesn’t backup my Resilio Sync targets - as I already have multiple “version controlled” copies of elsewhere [2 copies on my NAS]).

Note also : this particular build of Raspbian Buster, started life on one of my Pi3 systems (64 bit) booting off SD-Card… That Pi3 now runs Stretch off SD-Card and TVHeadend with a Pi Foundation TV-Tuner… I should really run a regular backup on that too, 'cause TVHeadend can be a real PITA to get setup (the longest most complex bit is getting it tuned to ALL the Australian free to air broadcasts for my region - I’m only interested in ABC and SBS, but also 7 for footy free to air broadcasts).

Also been tempted by the RPi 2W - shame it’s only 512 MB RAM, but at least it’s now FOUR CORES! The most limiting factor I found with NTC’s CHIP (and PocketCHIP) was the single core limitation (and I find this the case with the 3 Pi Zeroes in my house) - and now there’s this :

I am VERY tempted… that single core limitation is the main reason I barely ever turn on or use my PocketCHIP… It won’t be long now till Bryan Lunduke’s going to be raving about this device… I’ll probably “umm and aar” over this all afternoon, and cave in and chuck in to it… 2W is unavailable in Australia right now… so no rush… Who knows - by the time this gets sent out to backers, the Foundation might see fit to have a Zero with a gig of RAM in the same form factor! I’ve still got a stack of LiPo batteries lying around the place too… I hope they’re not dead… I also hacked a couple of old Nokia and Motorola phone handset batteries (with great ugly blobs of solder, I am a TERRIBLE solderer) I could use…

Indeed. Since I went DietPi, I didn’t look back. It has everything I need and want. And more.

Yes. There are a couple of convenience option for getting OpenVPN to run quickly on DietPi. Mostly stuff based on PiVPN.

I’d say it’s not only considerable, but also strongly recommended. Bullseye is currently stable, as of now.

Stable Debian is already old. I usually use Debian Testing, if possible, because that comes at least close to the timeframe I want to be in, package- and dependency-wise.

However, as you see and have already experienced yourself, it really depends on your use case. If you have tons of legacy software, that you should probably replace, then it might be fine for you to use an older distribution version. I remember, you had issues with newer Debian versions.

I prefer to stay up to date and, if not too breaking, like to be on the bleeding edge. If there is legacy software not running on the newest version, then I wait until the maintainers handle it, or if the project is not very active, I handle it myself. Most of the time there are already better & newer alternatives available, anyway. Even a huge success, like youtube-dl, with lots of invested effort & time had alternatives, while it was officially unavailable.

Wouldn’t that make it an ingress?


Indeed, remembering your story about it.

I personally almost always encounter issues with not enough RAM. I could always work around having too few and too weak cores, but when there was too little RAM, some stuff just wouldn’t work, at all. It just literally wouldn’t run. No workaround available. Not even swap or whatever pain.

Therefore, for my use case all the Raspberry Pi upgrades focusing on CPU power are a bit bizarre, to be honest. I would wish for a Raspi upgrade focusing on more RAM. Like, give me two weak cores, but at least 4GB or maybe something like 6GB RAM.

So, to me, the upgrade to four cores is much much smaller than what the remaining little RAM is causing in damages. Which is also the reason why I’m not tempted or too much into the new Raspi W2. I don’t need cores. I can handle slowness. I just cannot handle when something’s not running at all, which is often the case with not enough RAM.

I’ve had a short skim over it.

It’s so expensive, even their own comparison table admits it.

To me SBCs and other tiny devices like that always are a cost-effective solution to a bigger problem. This is at least how I see things. The point of a Raspberry Pi is, that it uses a tiny amount of space, uses a tiny amount of power, is reasonably priced and still has lots of features & abilities to offer for general purposes.

I most of the time see not much of a point in getting a device similar to a Raspberry Pi, but paying twice to thrice the price for it.

Sometimes it may even seem like such devices are out there to milk geeks like you and me, who are into the Raspberry Pi and SBC world.

Additionally, I don’t understand the design of this device. This obviously needs to be further assembled and protected, which would cost another 50 bucks or more. However, I couldn’t find a place where they would mention it and all pictures show it bare & naked, as if it would be usable that way.

The most ironic part about the whole presentation is the example with having it on the beach.

Nowhere in hell would I get out that breakable and tender little thing on a hell hole for mechanical and electronical devices, like a beach.

It just does not make sense.

The problem with such a design is that we all love Raspberry Pis, then we see something like this with a display and “keyboard” (not a real keyboard, though) and think “wow, it’s like a Raspberry Pi, but with a keyboard and a display, so I can use it anywhere”.
That’s bullshit.

The reason why Raspberry Pis are so open and accessible is not only due to cost-effectiveness, but because these devices are always built into something or at least stay at home in a safe place, where nothing hits them. So, it’s fine if they are open and bare naked like that.

Now, imagine taking out such a fragile device outside and even typing on those tiny buttons which are not design to be used in a keyboard manner. It’s terrible.

Actually, now that I think of all these reasons and really imagine how it would be to use that device in the real world, outside, I consider this device a joke. It’s not usable outside. It does not make sense. It’s a waste of money & resources.

I mean, even if you would only use it at home, what’s the point then? Then you can just attach a real keyboard and a tiny display to an actual Raspberry Pi and the experience will be much more solid and simply better.

This device is a joke.

Luckily, I’m not the type of person to care about whatever relatively famous person has to say. I have my own opinions, made by me. No need for some dude telling me what he thinks is great. :laughing:

Before going through that, I would recommend looking at all the devices you have at home. Especially the ones you ummed and aared over some time ago and did not use or barely used, yet. I’m not a fan of buying stuff that I would use or that I see insufficient value in. Hell, I didn’t even pre-order the Steam Deck, because I knew I wasn’t gonna spend enough time with it, to justify the cost for it.

My friend showed me his Steam Deck and the more he finds out about it, the greater it gets. It’s simply amazing. But what’s the point of having the greatest device on earth, when I still would barely use it, at all.

Same with SBCs. There is one Raspberry Pi lying around here, that I bought a couple of years ago. I admit, to this day, I almost never have used it, ever. This is daunting.

Therefore, I would strongly recommend thinking over your temptation. You could spend those 150 bucks for something that you would actually use. Maybe not as cool and fresh as this device, however, if you would actually use that other thing frequently, the money spent would be actually worth it, making it a good choice.


Add 18 bucks shipping to that mess… :woman_facepalming:


Wait… Am I stupid or what – this is just a shield? Are you fucking serious? Adding the Raspberry Pi Zero W2 price to it?!

This is just stupid. I’m so disappointed.

(Okay, you have plenty of those lying around. Still. This is just insane, in my opinion.)

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You’re right of course - my PocketCHIP only cost me maybe ~$50…

Was just looking if there was a way to retrofit a Pi Zero, into a PocketCHIP chassis, if it is, it’s way beyond my skillset - e.g. :

The main thing is that the CHIP modules are pretty much unsupported - can only run Jessie on them and that’s about it… They’re also limited to either 4 or 8 GB storage, which is not easily expandable, and the do seem prone to corruption and failure (the onboard NAND storage). It was a neat idea at the time, but they’d be way more “future” proof it NTC had gone for SD card storage instead of NAND… Oh well…

But even so - this looks like a neat toy… But just a toy… Heck - I don’t even work “mobile” at all anymore, I’m 100% monday to friday, “work from home”… And even if I did work mobile, I can use TermUX on my android - and the form factor would be about the same with the crappy samsung OSK taking up 2/3 of the screen…

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Precisely. This came as an afterthought when I had this project in mind later in the back of my head.

I really do not see any real life purpose in this device, it’s indeed just a toy.

I think, this is doable and you have already done lots of things you needed to learn. If you are a learner type like that, you can do anything, including this.

If you have enough motivation to do it, you should do it.

It would certainly be much more interesting and mind blowing than this pseudo Sharpi thing…

I just like the idea of having a GNU/Linux pocket computer I can take anywhere…

I’ve just learned, MaruOS (which I used to run on my main phone handset, a Nexus 5) is now “runnable” on a Samsuck Galaxy S9+… Due to work “things” which I need my phone for, I can’t risk doing this on my current S9+, but I can probably get another S9+ cheaper than my Nexus 5 cost me 7 years ago (and having a spare of something always appeals to me - much as I hate Samdung)…

Basically - get TWRP on the Samdung (sic) - then install MaruOS which now leverages LineageOS… From my brief TL;DR of the spiel about getting it on an S9+, I will break KNOX (Samsung’s boot logo bullshit with “Powered by KNOX” is utterly laughable, it’s not Powered by KNOX, its CRIPPLED by KNOX) but I don’t need to root it…

Best thing about using the S9+ I can run HDMI over the USB C connection, but with other MaruOS “compatible” handsets (other than the Nexus 5 - and that requires a usb mini b to HDMI dongle) you have to use something like a Chromecast, and that can only do 720p…

If I got another S9+ I can slowly incrementally get it running MaruOS, then the Google Play store, then the various MFA apps I need for work, get them running, then cutover my Sim and SD-Card storage to the handset… Then I can do the same on my old S9+ handset… Sure the S9+ is now 3 years old, but, I used my 2013 Nexus5 with MaruOS up till 2017 / 2018 … I also used a Galaxy Note 3 (2013 handset) up till 2020…

Remember Pi-Top?

It’s a beginning. Somewhat useful, but I found the keyboard and mouse tracking terrible.

I personally think that going with at least something that size is mandatory. Going with such tiny devices just does not make much sense. If you have an emergency, just use your smartphone. If you don’t have an emergency, there is no reasonable reason I could think of for having such a tiny, uncomfortable & unusable device available.

If that is one of the more recent smartphones from Samsuck Samdung, then it has knox “security” shit loaded onto it. If you root it, you will lose manufacturer’s warranty. Not sure, if this is an issue for you.

I should have read two more sentences, before babbling already… :laughing:

That’s a great feature.

Will that solve lots of issues? Isn’t that lots of work? I am wondering if it’s worth it to put so much effort into this, if the yield is not sufficient.

Yeah - not solving a problem or issue, but thinking about doing it - sounds like fun - but not disruptive (i.e. I’d NEVER contemplate doing this on my daily driver handset I need for work).

Note also - I got the S9+ 2nd hand on e-bay in 2020 (to replace my 2013 Galaxy Note 3), it’s a 2019 “flagship” - so out of warranty in 2020, and probably out of warranty by being resold as a refurbished item from e-bay…

The “killer app” feature for these is “DeX” mode, i.e. any USB C to HDMI (Samsung stopped blocking 3rd party devices) adapter will let you display a Desktop EXperience on an external display (and even remotely from a Mac or Windows)… Unfortunately Samdung killed off the Linux on DeX project… But having that support (it’s hardware / software based) allows things like DeX or MaruOS to create a “convergent” device, i.e. a Smartphone in your pocket becomes a desktop machine when it’s docked… I love this idea… Note : I have a “NextDoc” - which is basically a battery “dumb” powered display, keyboard and touchpad - becomes a computer when you add a smartphone or RPi onto it…

However - MaruOS have documentation about how to get MaruOS onto the S9+, but the project owner seems to have removed the download for this device… Just confirmed, my Exynos powered smartphone is compatible with TWRP and MaruOS - but there’s no download for it anymore…

But found a copy here : maruos-0.6.LOS15.1-star2lte.zip | by dianxxyyzz for Galaxy S9+

And links here :

Benefits being I get to run a fairly vanilla Android (like Android One) with LineageOS, but still have access to Google Play store (which I need for a number of Apps I need for work like Outlook, Teams, and three or four different MFA “soft token” apps)…

Indeed, that’s great. My friend got that NexDock and it’s pretty great for the niche purposes it was designed for. There is actually a new version now and the old one is kind of thrown away and forgotten by the creators, as if it never existed, to begin with.

That’s another issue I don’t like in the smartphone world. We have all the possibilities and methods of modifying the software on one of those devices, but if your device is older than a couple of years, suddenly all information becomes ancient, maybe not even working anymore and download links gradually disappear everywhere, to probably make space for newer devices. That’s very annoying.

Do you need to use banking apps or any other ones that fancy themselves “secure”?

There is a high probability these will refuse to work, because the device has been modified.

Back to Neal Stephenson, UNIX and OS X :