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?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tiny Devices with Linux

A little while ago I acquired one of these. It's a cute little embedded ARM computer with some pretty impressive specs. People owning these things have done everything from running web servers on them all the way up to a full Linux desktop computer. Impressive, right? You bet, especially when you take into account that they use 5 watts of power! Whoa!

These things come with Ubuntu Jaunty for ARM pre-installed and ready to roll. So, what did I do with mine? Glad you asked! I've managed to offload most everything I used to use my high-powered HTPC/server for. It's running my MythTV backend, including wake-on-lan support for my HTPC (which now is off most of the time), running an IRC bot (wingnut on #wing-linux, you may have met him!), and managing my private domain so I can SSH in at will. I've even got a copy of Apache running on it, serving MythWeb, a web plug-in for MythTV.

I love tiny little ARM computers, especially with Linux on them. They're a lot of fun to work with, a challenge to program for, and it's simply amazing what you can make them do. Even with all that, I've still got a lot of horsepower left over to use. Just gotta figure out what to make it do!

On the Wing Linux front, things are well and moving steadily. Our latest 0.4pre4 development release seems to be a hit; lots of good results, few bugs reported so far. Sounds like we're getting close to releasing 0.4. We've now got 11 supported devices, with more on the horizon.

We've also been working hard with the Linwizard project bringing our kernel changes to the main-line kernel. So far, we've got a kernel booting with SD card support, up from not having any omap850 support at all. We're still waiting on our patches to be approved, but I'm hopeful we'll get them in soon. This work will give us lots of new things for our project, one of which is long-awaited sound support and wifi -- not to mention all the work on power management that's been done since our kernel was released.

Lots of good stuff coming -- Stay tuned!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Woo! Vacation! Woo!

Well, I just returned from vacation, and man am I feeling refreshed! Pretty short stint out, but well worth it nonetheless.

Living in the great Northwest is amazing, especially when things like the San Juan islands are practically in your back yard. As you might imagine, that's where we spent the weekend. We went on a two-day sea-kayaking trip that took us from Friday Harbor around many of the islands there, finally stopping at Stuart Island. We set up camp there and took a nice 5-mile hike to a beautiful view of the sunset, overlooking the sound. It was, well, see for yourself:

And, we saw Orcas! Lots of 'em! We didn't manage to get any good pictures of them, but someone else in our group did. I'll post some of them up once we have them. Also, starfish!

All credit goes to my lovely wife Tess for the pictures.

So now that we're back home, we'll be getting back into things as usual. Some good news to report on the Wing Linux end, it looks like HTC Opal and HTC Pharos support is coming along nicely, with touchscreen support having been implemented by their respective developers. Take a look at the forums for the Pharos and Opal to get in on some of that. Also, the Excalibur development has progressed, with a working directional pad now.

We're looking to put out a fourth development release of 0.4 pretty soon -- hopefully we can get the Pharos, Opal, and new Excalibur support in. Also, Elf and Elfin owners will be happy to learn the latest development kernel code fixes all issues with the keypad. Check here for Elf development, and also the new xda-developers thread started here. Lots of good stuff.

Soon, our project is going to take a little of a direction change. Up to now, we've been on the 2.6.25 kernel, holding things pretty steady. But we'd like to get our stuff moved into the main-line kernel so we don't have to keep maintaining separate development efforts from main kernel work. So, after the next development release, we're going to start working hard with the linwizard project (who's work made our project possible) to get all the changes we've made pushed into the main-line kernel. We'll still accept patches against the 2.6.25 kernel and keep that going, but we're going to focus our attention more at the upstream port work. Should be fun, and it should get us a better path towards upgrading to Android Donut -- not to mention things like power management, sound, and wifi support for a bunch of devices (hopefully).

As always, stay tuned. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Releases, Devices, Support, Oh My!

It's been rather hectic lately for the Wing Linux project since we did our most recent development release. What started as a small little project to try and get Linux and Android running on a Herald has turned into seemingly something much bigger -- we've got requests coming in for all kinds of device support now. Gene, Artemis, Opal, Elf and Elfin...whew! Sometimes I find myself having trouble keeping up with it all.

...Especially being one of the only developers on the project.

Now that the focus of the project has opened up a bit, I'm finding it more and more difficult to keep up. I posted a help wanted on Sourceforge recently for anyone willing to put in some time to maintain the project for their particular device. If you're reading this and thinking you'd like to help, check it out -- I could use all the help I can get. Even help with answering questions on the forums would take a huge load off of me, but if you can write a little C code and are intersted in learning, we'd be glad to have you.

We're looking to start supporting more and more devices in the future. There's a lot of OMAP850-based devices out there, and I can't do it alone. Care to join? :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moving along...

So, we've somewhat changed the focus of the project.

No longer are we specifically targeting the Wing/Herald. We are now targeting OMAP850 based devices, in general. We aim to get a working and useful Linux and Android userspace on these devices.

We're nearing the 0.4pre3 release, which may be a release candidate.

HTC Gene/HTC Opal support is coming along nicely, and may be included soon.

We have a lot to look forward to, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giving Back to the OSS Community

Before I go into the topic of my post, lemme start with some background.

In the beginning, I was randomly searching the interwebs to try and find a source for a Linux kernel that would boot on my Wing. After a long while, I stumbled across the Linwizard project, whose kernel release booted without modification on my phone. Yay! Being the hacker that I am, I decided to grab the code to their kernel and see what things I could get it to do for me.

Two or three months later, I notice a thread on the XDA Developers forum about porting Google's Android to the Wing. Thus, the Wing Linux project was started.

Fast forward about 6 months from that, and we have Android running on our phones, with all kinds of peripheral goodies working for us -- touchscreen, keyboard, buttons, GSM. All through our own custom modifications of the kernel originally taken from Linwizard.

Being that we're an open-source project, I'd always had the intention of contributing our changes back to the Linwizard project, which brings me to our topic. Today marks the completion of the two or three-day process of merging our changes back into their project. With this merge, both projects benefit -- they benefit by having fixes we made added to their work, allowing the HTC Wizard to more fully function in Linux. They also have a much easier path to running Android on the Wizard. We benefit by having access to the very latest changes their project has introduced -- among them, GSM with sound and soon, full audio support.

In addition to all this, our patches, combined with their work, are being sent upstream to the main Linux kernel for inclusion in future released kernels. This means some day it will be possible to pull a kernel off of and build it for the Wing/Herald, Wizard, etc. instead of having to go scouring the internet trying to find a project working on it.

So all in all, this is a huge win for everyone, and I'd like to thank all that were involved in making this happen. Without you, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Greetings, from the Depths of Open Source-dom!

Hello and welcome to our humble blog! I'd like to take this time to introduce myself. I am Cory. Or, as I'm known on the interwebs, darkstar62. I'm one of the developers on this project of ours, and I'd like to tell you a bit about what's been going on lately.

We've been working like crazy to get our next release out, version 0.4. It's gonna be pretty sweet -- Angstrom Linux 2007.12, Android Cupcake 1.5r2, along with a lot of goodies. We've recently gotten GSM and GPRS support working, along with bluetooth support in Angstrom. And, we've got this really cool kernel module that uses compressed main memory as a swap partition. Pretty sweet, considering our poor little devices only have 64mb of SDRAM (for those that aren't familiar with it, Android runs best on 128mb of SDRAM). Cool!

We're also getting some preliminary support for the HTC Gene, another similar OMAP850-based smartphone, thanks to the contributions of kshaurya. (Yes, we're geeks. It's ok, We Know What We're DoingTM)

So, if this stuff interests you, check our our wiki -- we've got lots of stuff to play with. And the best part is, no flashing necessary! That's right, you don't have to worry about bricking your phone -- we use a Windows Mobile based boot loading app called HaRET to boot into Linux, all installed from an easy-to-use CAB file. So give it a try, let us know what you think! Oh, and grab the 0.4pre2 release we just put out today! It's a killer!

Thanks go out to UNFORGiVEN512 for setting all this up!

Oh, and I almost forgot...VIDEOS! (Thanks to kshaurya for this one!)

Who are we?

We are a group of people aimed at bringing Linux and Google's Android operating systems to the T-Mobile Wing and HTC Herald / Atlas platforms, and possibly more in the future.

You may ask: "Why would you want to do that?"

These devices typically run an operating system known as Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile is a closed OS. By bringing an open platform to our devices, we are unlocking the true potential of what they can do. Also, we're just having fun and learning new things along the way, so hey, why not?