[maemo-users] Hacker Edition: a short review

From: Krischan Keitsch krischan.keitsch at alumni.tu-berlin.de
Date: Sat Oct 20 22:39:12 EEST 2007
when the latest Hacker Edition (4.2007.36-2) came out [1] I just couldn't 
resist and flashed it on my 770. Now after some weeks I can honestly say that 
I do not regret it. (Neither did I regret to flash HE 2.2006.47-17 ;-)  [2])

Flashing and restoring my backups worked flawlessly. As soon as I was logged 
on my network I started installing all needed apps such as xterm, mplayer for 
770 (!) [3], nano and ssh as well as many other great apps. For some of them 
you will need the “red pill mode” [4].

I prefer to use the ext2 filesystem on my mmc. All I had to do was to add 

/sbin/insmod /mnt/initfs/lib/modules/current/mbcache.ko
/sbin/insmod /mnt/initfs/lib/modules/current/ext2.ko

to /etc/init.d/rcS.

That will load the necessary kernel module for ext2 support during the start 
up process. That's it. Automatic mounting of ext2 formated mmcs works out of 
the box.

The 770 is a great device but its resources are highly limited. 64mb ram is 
not much – therefore a swap file is a necessity. There is a garage project 
called “seatbelt” [5] which will  change the 'swappiness' kernel parameters. 
Higher values will instruct the kernel to use the swap file more often 
instead cleaning the cache first.

You can check the actual value  with:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

The default is 1. Seatbelt will set this value to 100.

It has been discussed that the lac of free memory causes the web browser and 
sometimes the whole tablet to crash. I can confirm that I have not managed to 
crash neither the web browser nor the 770 yet. Even under hight load, with 
many web pages open, streaming audio in the background and other resource 
intensive tasks running the system remained stable (although it became very 

The whole system seems more reliable and stable with the latest Hacker Edition 
and seatbelt running. Also audio playback is more fluid.

Wlan connections
One disadvantage I noticed was that the 770 will drop connections more often 
when the power saving timeout value is set to low. I had to increase the wlan 
power saving timeout (psm) to a value above 300 by either using the 
gconf-editor or by applying:

gconftool-2 --set --type 
int '/system/osso/connectivity/IAP/wlan_sleep_timeout' '300'

Now video centre, radio streams or videos over a upnp share will work (at 
least for me and my ap). 

The Hacker Edition for Nokias 770 has become way more than just a way to 
develop for bora (in case you don't have a n800). The 770 is a great device 
and the Hacker Edition takes advantage of its capabilities! Sure, not 
everything will work such as skype and microb browser, but it fits my needs. 
I can recommend the Hacker Edition to everyone who is willing to learn more 
about Linux on embedded devices and who wants to release the whole potential 
of the 770. 

Regards Krischan

[1] http://maemo.org/news/announcements/view/1189171468.html
[2] http://maemo.org/community/wiki/os2007hackereditionarchives/
[3] https://garage.maemo.org/projects/mplayer/
[4] http://maemo.org/community/wiki/applicationmanagerredpillmode/
[5] https://garage.maemo.org/projects/seatbelt

More information about the maemo-users mailing list