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  1. #1

    DIY E-Reader needs GUI. Help!


    my first post on this forum, but by no means am I a linux noob. Used it for at least 8-9 years and helped out with Karoshi Linux (Free Server and Client Linux for UK Schools).

    And today I have a new project. I have ripped the guts from a Toshiba M200 tablet and will transplant them into the inside of a antique looking leather bound book. As I am a physicist I have preloaded all my pdf's and djvu files of Physics books/Papers/Journal etc and beyond needing to read these books I only need to use internet (Google Chrome) and Xournal (Writing App). And CW (I cant remember what it stands for as an on-screenkeyboard.

    It will be the big book of physics.

    As I only really need 4 apps (not including update, wireless networking and other obvious necessary apps) I would like to make a custom really lightweight gui thats inspired by e-readers or akin to the joojoo for my project.

    I am currently using Linux Mint 7 on my hardware, old but i am very familiar with it and I needed to work out how to rotate display and wacom input with an xorg i knew.

    So should I start off with GNOME/LXDE/XFCE and modify them to buggery or try and make an app overlay for either or even go whole hog and create a new Window Manger. It could be useful if anyone else is trying to make their own e-reader.
    Or does a linux for this purpose exist.

    Either way, help and suggestions appreciated


  2. #2
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    There are so many WindowManagers around. Just take the one that is closest to your goal and adapt it to match the rest.
    Matchbox is a good one for handhelds, by the way.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Where my hat is
    Nothing really useful to add to this other than I hope you post pics of that once you're finished. It sounds like it'll be a neat little gadget once it's finished.
    Registered Linux user #384279
    Vector Linux SOHO 7

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyhippy View Post
    As I only really need 4 apps (not including update, wireless networking and other obvious necessary apps) I would like to make a custom really lightweight gui thats inspired by e-readers or akin to the joojoo for my project.
    I'd take a look at ubuntu netbook remix - at least its launcher - it's ideal for simple user interfaces - just a left navbar of categories and then the rest of the page are items in those categories

  6. #5
    I don't know if this will help, but with regards to rotation/orientation, you might want to look into a linux distribution that supports restricted (proprietary) video drivers, and see if they support the video hardware on your target system. Otherwise, you could download the linux source for such drivers from the manufacturer and compile them. The point is, using these drivers, provided your video hardware has the capability, should easily let you rotate the display of your window manager (works for me in both gnome and kde).

    If you go this route: In your /etc/X111/xorg.conf you could enter the following in the "Device" section for the video card:
    Option   "Rotate"   "CCW"
    (or "CW" depending on whether you want clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation)

    This will give you a portrait display right from the login screen (but not from the progress bar, if there is one, on bootup). However, this disables some X extensions like xrandr - if you type "xrandr" at a terminal and get "extension RAndR missing" - you'll know.

    Alternately, in the same section in xorg.conf, you can enter:
    Option   "RandRRotation"   "on"
    In this case, the login will be in a landscape rotation (could be awkward for users expecting to run a tablet in vertical orientation), and users will need to set the rotation the first time they boot up, but once set, the windows manager will be portrait unless and until they change it again, and all the X extensions should work.

    At least this is how things are working on my end in Debian, Debian-based and Fedora-based distributions. Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian, so this should work for you as well.

    [I've verified all the "camelCase" in the above code entries before posting]


  7. #6
    Thank you for more input.

    I have previously discovered this X11 option to rotate CW, however its a bugger to get the wacom to rotate with it.
    (xrandr being disabled doesnt cause any problems)

    I have a script at login which rotates my wacom, but unfortunately i cannot figure out how to get either

    a) Wacom to always be rotated CW, or
    b) Wacom to have a rotate script at gdm startup as well as login

    On further news, with my project i have finished making the housing for the frankenreader and now all that remains is to upgrade the ram, buy a new battery, make a faceplate to mount the screen behind and finish the os. (And clean up the balls up i made making a coolling fan intake)

    Also I have decided to leave ubuntu/debian behind and build a DSL or other lightweight linux from the ground up to more accurately suit my needs.

    I found any debian or main distro to be to grumpy on my hardware so I am going for a small linux that boots from ram and adding all the packages I need.

    Ill post some pics of the thing (as it is) when I find a camera, and hopefully when DSL or puppy is nicely re-worked ill put up all the scripts and lines of code i used to get it working.

    On another note I have decided to call it the Grand Unified Textbook....

    Cheers Guys

  8. #7
    Hi guys

    Been pretty lazy uploading photos

    projects on hold as I need to buy a new batt and ram and the fact that im in france and all my stuff is the uk in boxes

    but heres some pictures for you

    and also a pic of my pc which i mounted an in old french Sonora radio just for shows

    a bientot
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Mason Texas
    The reader looks great. Congratulations. The radio is interesting, but being radio, how did you deal with the monitor/screen?

  10. #9

    The usb ports, sound, ethernet and DVI are all hidden from view facing downwards from underneath. I also have a right angle DVI mount so that it doesnt hit whatevers underneath the radio. I also mounted 2 usb ports in above the glass panel at the front.

    You also cant see but I put some red neon lights in to replicate the valves all shining hot.

    When i get back to UK ill get some photos done of its insides


  11. #10
    Wow, amazing!

    how far is your GUI?

    can you show some pictures, of what´s under the screen?


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