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#1 kwartel

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:08 PM

One simple Question: Can I install linux apps on the pandora? (Without porting or other stuff)

AWNSER \/\/\/

your question was answered, I assume you don`t understand the ARM?/Linux scene, it's tricky for a new user to understand the differences/ similarities

simple answer, yes!

slightly longer answer, as long as the application has been compiled for Pandora or ARM, yes!

longer answer, most applications (nearly all) for Linux are open source, this makes it relatively simple to compile them for different cpu chips, so as long as the application has been compiled for Pandora or ARM, yes!

long winded simplified answer

Linux on your laptop or desktop PC runs programs written with special instructions for the "brain" inside it, in almost all laptops and desktops this "brain" is called an "x86 architecture cpu", this applies to all devices with Intel/AMD or whatever "brains".

so all the devices you normally use have "brains" that understand a unique set of instructions, these instructions are seen by the "brain" as numbers, all these numbers mean just one thing to that type of "brain", for example "23" may mean "add the next number to the one after it", a huge list of these instruction numbers is what a program IS internally.

to make things easy for us mere mortals, and to save us having to memorise several hundred numbers and what they mean, we have programs that take English-like instructions (for example "print"), and the program then converts "print" into a string of numbers that instruct the "brain" to copy data to the screen so that we see it (printing it), this is what a compiler does.

the Pandora has a "ARM" "brain", this has a different set of instruction numbers to the "x86 brain", so the ARM "brain" may use the "23" mentioned above to mean "copy the number you have in your memory to the memory location pointed to by the following number"

obviously, since the instructions do different things then an x86 program will be garbage to an ARM "brain" and crash or do something evil to the system or whatever.

now Linux programs are mostly open source, that means that the "English" instructions are published openly on the web and you are basically free to copy and use them, so if you have a compiler that can output ARM instructions, then you can put these "English" instructions into the compiler and get a ARM program out of it.

what does this mean for the Pandora?

we can take any open source program in "English" and stick it into a compiler for the Pandora, and we get a working version back that will run on the Pandora, obviously, if the program uses some device or memory the Pandora doesn't have then you need to alter the "English" instructions, so that the program will use less memory or just use the instructions recognised by the Pandoras more compact 3d chip, for example.

people will take popular Linux programs, recompile and modify them for Pandora (1024x768 fullscreen wouldn`t work too well for eg), then release them in a .pnd package for people to install, as these programs are released they will appear on the app store, archives and developer websites, then you just pick what you want and copy it to your SD card, that's it, installed.

some people may not use the .pnd container for their programs, some programs may not be modified to work well with Pandora and scatter themselves across the file system, but they will almost all have some kind of installer, Pandora may also have some kind of GUI package manager, so all you need to do, is look at a list on your Pandora, select a game/application, and click install, then Pandora just downloads it from the repository, and away you go.

hope that explains it somewhat, seems a bit in depth, but like all simple questions, it doesn`t have a simple answer.

thank you, this should be pinned! The perfect noob explanation!

Edited by kwartel, 13 December 2009 - 07:31 PM.


#2 Exophase

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:12 PM

If they're for PC (x86) then no, you can't. If they're for ARM Linux then.. maybe.

#3 skeezix

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:20 PM

Its not that easy. For console apps, sure mostly. For GUI apps, well probably a lot of them will work since the Pandora has a pretty high res. But if it wants a really high res display.. maybe it'll just compile and run, but maybe it'll be crampy? Most apps should 'port' prett yeasilyt (recompile and be something), but some will need some serious 'porting' (aclimatizing an app to the target platform.) "port" is a very wide word -- just recompiling an app is considered a port, but rewriting half the apps UI to fit or better useful on a target platform is also 'a port'.

Most things will port easily, some may need some porting; hows that? :)

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#4 Vitel

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:23 PM

Most of Linux apps are free (open source). That means apps can be compiled for x86, arm and other architectures. That's why we have lots of GNU ports for ARM.
So if your app is not proprietary, most likely it will work on Pandora.

#5 lulzfish

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:44 PM

One simple Question: Can I install linux apps on the pandora? (Without porting or other stuff)

Porting is inherent in moving from native x86 code to native ARM code.
If you have a Python script or Java bytecode, you won't need to port anything, but C code will need to be re-compiled, and assembler will need to be re-written.

Luckily, as everyone said, most Linux stuff is open-source and not very architecture-dependent, so the most common applications are already ported.

#6 Wheels

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:54 PM

One simple Question: Can I install linux apps on the pandora? (Without porting or other stuff)

Should be easier if the "apps" you're talking about come from the Angstrom Linux repositories, for example, because that distro targets ARM-based hardware.

If you mean going to a random project's page and downloading a pre-compiled .deb or .rpm, you're probably out of luck because those are compiled against desktop/laptop hardware 99% of the time. The Pandora uses a very different style of CPU from those machines so the source code often needs to be specifically compiled for it.

#7 WizardStan

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:01 PM

I think everyone is missing something very important.
The simple answer to the simple question is "it's not that simple".
A lot of programs will just work. A lot more simply need to be recompiled from source. A lot of those that need to be recompiled already have been, so there's no fear there. A lot will need some adjusting to use different libraries (for instance, we don't have OpenGL, only OpenGLES, so anything that uses OpenGL will need to be changed in some ways). A lot of programs (notably emulators) rely heavily on x86 specific instructions, and are unlikely to be ported, or will be only at great difficulty (fortunately there's a large selection of emulators already written). Finally, there's a lot of programs that are binary only: we have no access to the source code whatsoever, so they're quite unlikely to ever run.
The best way to answer the question is to ask "exactly which programs do you want to use?" and we tick off each one by one that will run, can run, or won't run.

#8 Wheels

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:06 PM

So the simple answer is a definite "maybe."

#9 aliking

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:08 PM

Hopefully what we'll start to see is applications start to get ported and wrapped as PNDs (with proper attribution of course) and put up on the Pandora App store(whatever it's called).

a

#10 emcp

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:20 PM

The only thing i truly care that gets ported to pandora easily (recompile) is

Google Chrome

so i can keep getting the latest version

Edited by emcp, 11 December 2009 - 10:20 PM.


#11 second exodous

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:08 AM

The only thing i truly care that gets ported to pandora easily (recompile) is

Google Chrome

so i can keep getting the latest version

Hmm, I haven't tried Google Chrome yet. I think I'm too stuck in my ways with Firefox to switch though. If Firefox does something really stupid I might switch. Well, or Google has to do something really awesome.

Hopefully what we'll start to see is applications start to get ported and wrapped as PNDs (with proper attribution of course) and put up on the Pandora App store(whatever it's called).

I just hope people obey software licenses and supply source code for ports if it calls for it. All this porting is good for Ångström and every other Linux on ARM.

Of course if licenses aren't obeyed the FSF might sue some people. It's sad but in this world you even have to take legal action to keep free code free.

Edited by second exodous, 12 December 2009 - 01:12 AM.


#12 Vitel

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:31 AM

Don't use Google Chrome, they don't respect your privacy: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/07/schmidt_on_privacy/

#13 lulzfish

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 04:23 AM

Chromium is the open-source bit, it should be ported easily enough.
However, I actually moved back to Firefox.
Firefox 3.5 isn't as fast as Chrome, but it fixed the problems that 3.0 had for me, and it has all my adblock extensions and opens tabs the way I like and doesn't randomly fail to load a page.

#14 second exodous

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 04:53 AM

Chromium is the open-source bit, it should be ported easily enough.
However, I actually moved back to Firefox.
Firefox 3.5 isn't as fast as Chrome, but it fixed the problems that 3.0 had for me, and it has all my adblock extensions and opens tabs the way I like and doesn't randomly fail to load a page.

Yeah, I was reading that their Chrome ad-block equivalent doesn't work, and why should it, Google makes all it's money off of ads. This is the reason that I'll never use it, I see ads in print, on TV, hear it on the radio, see bill boards along the road, I can't go to a public place without ads being in my face, but using the internet with Firefox that has the ad-block extension at least I can have some peace.

#15 WizardStan

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 05:12 AM

There are ads on the internet still? I just don't see them anymore.

Edited by WizardStan, 12 December 2009 - 05:12 AM.