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

From: James Sparenberg james at linuxrebel.org
Date: Thu Jul 19 05:26:27 EEST 2007
On Wednesday 18 July 2007 17:41:23 Mike Klein wrote:
> 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.
> mike
  Note that the question on apt-get was why it was broken/avoided, not if it 
would be included, as to not use it required the greater effort.  On the 
other hand, the backup problem has been brought up since at least last 

  I understand Andrei's frustration and could offer him two stop gaps.  1 is 
the rsync backup program in the garage, and the other is using dselect with 
dpkg and having it "automate" the install of all of your programs.  

  Beyond that I've always been curious as to why the default file manager 
can't see /usr/home/user, but can see /usr/home/user/Mydocs?  

  Part of the problem (I'm peering in, not in the know on this) I can surmise 
surrounding the lack of a single 3rd party repository comes with Nokia (the 
company not individuals) and their legal Dept still working on getting a 
handle on OSS and what people are used to.  I can see where legal may have 
problems with liability in relation to what people install, if they perceive 
that Nokia endorses it.  (which the company supplied repo would imply)  This 
is why RH Mandriva Ubuntu etc require you to submit 3rd party packages in 
source form for them to build/vet as well as often requiring some means of 
verification as to who you really are.  Nokia  really does need a Dag Wiers 
for this I think.  

   I too would like some formality around some of this.  Perhaps a consensus 
on package categories.  Since clicking all and then scrolling is the only 
practical way to find out what is installable it seems that every dev has a 
different type of category and a different way of spelling it. ;)  and a 
simpler way of retaining the all important /etc/apt/sources.list  (which btw 
does get retained on the n800 most of the time.) for the 770 

  I'm not pitching this to argue but discuss so please don't take offense to 
what I'm pointing out.


> 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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