Friday, November 5, 2010

Wing Linux, the Sleeping Robot

So it's been a while since I wrote here, and in that time a number of you have been wondering (rightfully so) what's been happening.

Let me start off: We haven't stopped! I promise! We've just...slowed down a bit. I think things will start to pick up soon.

So, what's been keeping us for so long? Well, this is a volunteer project, primarily run by one. And that one has been REALLY REALLY busy lately. So, unfortunately not much has been done.

That being said, the linwizard folks have been working pretty steadily on LCD detection code that we hope will ease the inclusion of all those board files we wrote in our kernel sprint into the mainline kernel.

To that end, they've posted a request on their mailing list -- go check it out!

More kernel patches continue to be merged upstream, and we're slowly closing in towards not needing to maintain our own kernel tree anymore. However, with only one or two of us working on this, it's hard to keep it going sometimes.

As far as a 0.5.0 release goes, there's no timeframe for that at the moment. Since most of our work lately has focused on the kernel, we don't have very many user-visible features in place right now (and we haven't been working on much of that either).

So, more than ever, if you or anyone you know is a developer and would like to get in on this stuff, feel free! The code is out there, free for the taking and hacking on. The only way we can go faster is with more time or hands, and time is hard to come by. So please, help out if you can! (Hint hint, Android work is there for the taking -- we're all doing kernel work right now :)

The documentation on our site should be enough to get you going with a checkout. If you run into trouble, though, please let us know so we can fix/extend the documents. I want to make this as easy for people to get into as possible, so please let me know what I can do to that end!

Happy hacking!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kernel Sprint a Huge Success!

Well, we had our first ever kernel sprint yesterday, and I'm happy to report that it was a massive success! We had somewhere around 14 active testers and developers throughout the day, and we got 8 boards successfully ported over and tested!

Thanks to everone that participated. This gets us that much closer to being able to release a new version of Wing Linux, based on the very latest kernel.

We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, though. This sprint got us to basic functionality -- we still need things like the touchscreen drivers, GSM, and all the other goodies (hopefully to include sound and camera drivers, among them). That, and all this has to be accepted upstream. Whew!

With that said, the road to there has shortened quite a bit after yesterday.

I'll be wanting to set up another sprint soon to iron out some outstanding Android issues, in particular the GPRS connection problem that plagues so many. More details on that to come as I plan it out.

Again, I want to throw out a huge thank you to all that participated yesterday -- you're awesome!

If you were one of the testers yesterday, please email me with the following:

  • Your real name
  • Your email address
  • What your IRC nickname was

I'd like to collect this information so that when we submit our changes upstream, I can give you credit for testing. You'll get a line in our commit messages like this:

Tested-by: Your Name <>

This not only helps us get things upstream faster (by giving our reviewers some confidence that the code works), it also gives you credit in the kernel testing history, as well as some google visibility. I completely understand if you'd rather not submit, but I would definitely encourage you to. You deserve the credit.

I'll have information about the next sprint here in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wing Linux has a New Web Site!

So, yeah. We've got a new site!

For a while, we've been graciously using SourceForge's hosted app functionality for our web site. However, we've outgrown the capabilities of that service a bit and have switched over to a new web site engine. We're still hosted on SourceForge, but now we have our own Trac installation, which lets us do all sorts of neat things, like modify the way tickets work, change themes, add functionality to the wiki, plugins galore!

So check it out! All the old content has been moved over to the new site (including all the history), and if you've been using our main address, you'll go straight there.

For those who don't have it, you can get to us via

There's only one downside I can see so far to this transition -- no email notification of changes. However, that can be mitigated by RSS feed subscriptions. You can subscribe to three different feeds:

  • In the "Timeline" section, this feed will give you all site activity changes when they happen. This includes ticket changes, wiki updates, etc.
  • In the "View Tickets" section, this feed will give you updates whenever tickets are added or removed from a report.
  • Individual ticket changes can be subscribed to with their RSS feeds as well. If you submit a bug, this is a good feed to subscribe to so you can track the changes.

So, enjoy the new site, lemme know if something goes wrong. This site, unlike the other one, allows wiki edits by anyone registered (and registration is free and open to anyone, with or without a sourceforge account [please don't abuse it!]). So feel free to make updates and fix things if you see them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Linwizard and Wing Linux Join Forces for Kernel Sprint

For a while now, we've been slowly making progress in moving our Wing Linux kernel code into mainstream Linux. We're hoping to change that soon...

When:Saturday, July 31st @ 9:00pm UTC
Where:#wing-linux and #linwizard on freenode
What:The first ever Linwizard / Wing Linux Kernel Sprint (click for details)

We're joining forces with the Linwizard project for a day of hacking, testing, and Making Stuff Work™. The Linwizard project (specifically ali1234 and miknix, thanks!) have worked hard in the last few weeks to organize this event, and we're hoping for a good turnout.

Here's what's going to happen -- we're taking the current mainline Linux tree and we're porting all the board support drivers we have for all devices in Wing Linux over to it. What this means in particular is that we will be closer to no longer needing to support our own kernel tree. This'll mean easier development effort, and faster releases (I'm talking about 0.5 here!), not to mention a much better chance at supporting new Android releases (2.x and beyond).

We want testers.

We want developers.

We want anyone interested in the project.

If this is you, join us on IRC this Saturday for a day of hacking, testing, and (hopefully) fun! Everyone is welcome -- no experience necessary! So break out your old device and let's see if we can breath new life into it!

EDIT: For those of you who aren't familiar with IRC, you can join us easily by going here. Just fill in a username and click "connect"!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Of Puppies and...well, Puppies

Wow, have I seriously not posted since the end of January? Wow, guess that's one new year's resolution I'm not sticking too.

So, uh, things have been busy for me, though sadly not with Wing Linux. In early February we got a new border collie puppy named Rigel. If you've ever had a puppy, you know how much of a handful they can be. Even worse if they're a border collie puppy -- they're smart, full of energy, and get into all kinds of trouble.

...Which explains the last couple of months. Yes, he's cute. Yes, he's trouble. Behold:

Yeah, that's four-month old Rigel jumping our baby gate. He discovered he could do that about two weeks after we got him.

So, as you might imagine, he's been very busy (as have we) with puppy training classes. He's just finished the first 6-week course of puppy kindergarten and we're in the waiting period for puppy junior high.

Sadly, this means I haven't had much time at all to devote to this project, and it seems many of the other devs have become very busy themselves. I really am hoping to be able to get back to it soon, but things aren't looking too promising right now, which is a real shame, because we have a lot of exciting things on the horizon. We'll see, maybe I'll be able to get into it soon. As always, help is welcomed.

As for me, I'll be busy turning a rather cute but very energetic puppy into a really sweet dog (which he's rapidly becoming). And after that: agility!

Oh, and by the way, if any of you have or are looking into getting a puppy any time soon, consider going into clicker training. We were skeptical of it at first, but it has proved to be an amazing technique for training quickly. We've even taught our other 6-year-old dog new tricks! Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blog posting: FAIL

So I apparently fail at keeping an up-to-date blog about my happenings and whatnot, seeing as I haven't posted since Thanksgiving last year. So, um...Happy holidays, happy new year, and all that stuff!

With that out of the way, let's get down to business.

A lot has happened over the past month or two (or three...). In short:

  • I'm now a certified Scrum Master! Woo! For those not familiar with Scrum, it's an Agile methodology for software project management. I got it primarily for work, but there's a lot of things that can be applied to development in general, I've found.

  • A friend of mine gave me a couple free phones, one of which is an HTC Kaiser. This thing is neat! Twice as fast and twice as much memory as my HTC Herald, and runs Android Eclair like a dream! Don't fear though, I won't be giving up my Wing anytime soon -- I gave the device to my wife, as she's been wanting to try and Android phone for a while. And, quite frankly, the Android on HTC project is just too complete. :) I did learn something interesting out while working with their project though: They use linux 2.6.25, same as Wing Linux. Which leads to...

  • Hacking on Android Eclair for Wing Linux is underway. Having found that we indeed don't need a newer kernel, I've built a test image or two and have been working on making it usable. Still a ways to go, but pretty neat watching the Nexus One boot splash on my device. :)

  • Audio support for Wing Linux is very nearly complete! This means MP3's, ring tones, and possibly even two-way audio during calls without having to boot in during a call. Imagine that! Thanks to everyone who's made this possible (and there's a lot)!

  • Two new devices have entered patches for our next version -- the HTC Vox and the HTC Charmer. Awesome!

  • Our IRC channel, #wing-linux, has reached a record number of users this week at 23! We're growing...
OK, maybe not that short. But definitely some cool stuff. Maybe I can shorten the time between posts here too... :)

Happy hacking!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Many of you may be wondering where I've been and what I've been up to this last month or so. Well, the month of November has brought with it a lot of chaos -- where to begin...

Right off the bat, our dog Pixel managed to get himself lost. This was late October, but bled into November with our search finally ending on Friday, November 6th, when a kind man picked me up as I was posting lost dog signs. He drove me around to where he had seen Pixel last, and with the help of several residents around the area, we finally found him, wet, scared, but so very happy to see me. Hardest. Week. Evar. On the bright side, using Google Earth to track the tips we got made the process much easier. Still a very hard week though.

Then, I found myself with a lot of Wing Linux stuff to do -- putting the final touches on the 0.4 release and getting started on the 0.4.1 (and later 0.4.2) releases. Not to mention all the upstream work that's been going on (which I'm happy to say has paid off, since it looks like support for HTC Herald will be included in Linux 2.6.33).

And now, it seems things are finally winding down a bit as we head towards Thanksgiving. Which I'm SOO anxious for -- we're going to Cancun! We had been planning to get with friends and host Thanksgiving at home, but that fell through, so we decided to cut our losses and just go on vacation. Can't wait!

So in light of Thanksgiving's pending arrival, I think it's fitting to talk about some of the things I'm thankful for this year. The first that comes to mind is that we got our dog back safe and sound -- can't ask for more than that! I'm thankful to everyone who has made the Wing Linux project the success that it is, and I'm so very thankful that I've survived the layoff cycles at my job (and wish those that haven't the best of luck -- it's a tough market out there now). But most of all, I'm thankful for my lovely wife Tess and the wonderful life we have together. She has made everything possible and always brightens my day -- there's a lot I couldn't do without her.

So what about you? What are you thankful for this year?