Muffinman Preview Release

Since when I (B_Lizzard/Alex Ferguson) got my Nanonote (thanks Jlime!) and for the past few months I've been working on integrating rafa's work in OpenEmbedded (our cross-compilation environment) for easier access and reusability. In the course of integrating his work I have shaped Muffinman according to my own opinions toward design.

What follows is a short preview of Muffinman as it is now in OE. Hope you'll like it.

Visuals

First, some screenshots, because we all love screenshots. Click to enlarge.

The most striking visual aspect is the icon-set (Faenza, courtesy of tiheum) used in the main menu. We also have a classic status bar running across the top of the screen, providing persistent information. The left part of the top panel displays the current application's title as it would appear on a window manager's titlebar, while the right part contains some simple applets (battery and clock applets showing, with cpu and memory applets also available). GTK-1.2 uses the Industrial theme engine with the Helvetica font (shown in the third and fifth screenshots).

Technical Stuff

The Muffinman preview is not hugely different from rafa's beta releases, technically speaking. We still use Xfbdev, matchbox-desktop and mixed GTK-1.2/SDL-based applications.

Unlike the Muffinman betas, I elected to use a tiling window manager (echinus) which displays all windows (except modal windows, of course) fullscreen by default. I used echinus due to its low overhead, its simplicity and because it works well for our purposes. The panel is based on ourico (which comes with echinus) and dzen for the applets.

Problems?

One of the most important issues with the Nanonote (and other small devices running Linux) is certainly the lack of suitable applications. Most applications assume larger screen sizes, and are therefore unusable. Most GTK2 applications are too slow for operation, due to its overt reliance on floating point math (which is slow on devices with no FPU, i.e. most embedded devices). I am optimistic, though.

Other Stuff

Muffinman isn't just for the Nanonote. I've tested it on my Jornada 6xx and anarsoul has tested it on his HP rx1950 PDA. Of course, there is still progress to be made but I believe I've tried to make the environment as generic as possible.

What comes next?

Well, porting more applications is my number one priority right now. I'm also looking into porting some Java ME implementation (either Mika VM or Microemulator) which might be cool. People are encouraged to help with finding or even porting applications.

A full feed is being built and will make its appearance these next days.

Download

Do you want to test Muffinman on your Nanonote?

Download Jlime Muffinman Preview

This is a tar.bz2 file, which you are supposed to extract on the first partition of your MicroSD card, formatted as 'ext2', which you will then boot by holding 'M' while the device is powering on.

You may comment on this story in this thread on the Jlime forum.

That is all.