[maemo-users] my two big fustrations with the N800 - please help me find a workaround!

From: Mike Klein mklein at vxappliance.com
Date: Thu Jul 19 03:41:23 EEST 2007
It was mentioned in list just a few days ago I think that next firmware
would provide for backup/restore functionality of apps.

I also believe apt-updates for all was in future roadmap too.


andrei raevsky wrote:
> Dear friends,
> Let me begin my saying that I *love* by N800 and I wonder how I have
> ever lived without it in the past.  I use it all day long, to check my
> emails, get the news, listen to music, calculate my weekly spending,
> read ebooks, etc.  I looked long and hard for something like a
> internet-capable, ebook-reading handheld device and after careful
> consideration I choose the N800 and it is way better than my
> expectations.
> I love of OS, the interface, and I have found many truly excellent
> third party software.  So please do not take offense at what follows,
> but I am also really frustrated with the N800.  I want to tell you
> what bugs me so much and ask you whether you found a way around the
> two issues which make me grind my teeth and get gastric reflux.
> 1) OS updates and backups
> I am totally appalled that an operating system based on Debian was
> re-designed so much that the only way to update the OS is to download
> a file, use a flasher, then loose all the data and configuration on
> the unit and, even worse, use all the downloaded applications.  Not
> only that, but it turns out that the backup application does not
> always work between the backups and that when it works it does not
> really backup the configuration at all.  Holy cow!  How does one take
> something as beautiful as " apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade"
> and reduce it to such a total disaster?! To cap it all, there are
> entire threads on the Internet Tablet Forums
> <http://www.internettablettalk.com/forums/> which discuss all the
> crashes, bugs, and other problems with new version of the OS!  That
> is, in my mind, the single worst design flaw in the N800.
> I have 15 third party applications (taken from 12 'application
> catalogs), I have Xterm with such things as mc and wget installed, I
> have ssh installed and configured to give me root access when needed,
> I have 12 RSS feeds I use daily, I have a well-filled contacts list, a
> long internet radio list, etc.  IF I flash my unit it is going to take
> me hours to get all this back.  I will need to backup and restore
> /etc/apt/source.list manually only to try to remember where I got
> which app (but I still will not be able to apt-get).  It is going to
> take me hours...
> 2) Repositories:
> Nokia followed a rather strange repo policy.  There are the basic
> Nokia catalog and the Nokia 3rd party catalog.  And after that, you
> are on your own.  For example, one of the most amazing application on
> the N800 is the FBReader which has its own repo.  There is also a
> Maemo repo, and a maemo-hackers repo.  And a bora-extras.  And
> claws-mail repo.  And many more.  That's just crazy!  Why did Nokia
> not follow Ubuntu's policy of having a Main, Restricted, Universe and
> Multi-universe <https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu>
> repos in one place.  Multiple repos are just an stability/security
> risk for the unit, IMO.  It would take Nokia just a couple of
> employees to maintain such a one-place repository and it would
> immensely improve the capability of the unit.  Debian can boast that
> it now has 19000+ applications.  Of course, having a different
> architecture the N800 could not do that, but would it not be a good
> selling point to say, for example, the iPhone offers you 10
> applications (or whatever, I made this number up), the N800 offers 127
> (or whatever number).
> These two issues are, of course, linked and my best guess is that the
> folks who designed the N800 either were not truly used to the
> GNU/Linux way of doing things, or were overruled/micromanaged by a
> bunch of "suits".  I just cannot imagine anyone who has 'walked' the
> Debian way settling for this kind of nightmarish "updating" scenario...
> So here is my question to you:
> Has anyone figured a safe and easy way around all this mess?  Has
> anyone written an application which would *really* backup all the
> data, applications, source list and settings from an N800 to a single
> file which could then be used to restore?  Then the unit could be
> flashed, the OS updated, this one script downloaded and a real
> one-step (if not one click) backup would follow.
> Is there another workaround hack which would make it possible to
> update the OS safely, rapidly and painlessly?
> How are you all handling this?
> Last but not least, is there any hope at all to see an apt-get update
> && apt-get dist-upgrade -capable N800 in the future?
> Many thanks for any pointers,
> Andrei
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