Current release: April 17, 2001 (micah)
What is Pico/Linux? What is a Helio?
Pico/Linux is a small OS distrobution for PDAs combining,
among other things, PicoGUI and Linux. The
Helio is an inexpensive PDA manufactured by
VTech, with a 160x160 LCD (same as Palm) and a 75mhz MIPS CPU. Due to the
outstanding efforts of the Linux VR,
PocketLinux projects, Linux now runs
pretty well on the Helio.
All the information below pertains to the current release, shown above.
Please read the release notes below before trying these out. See
here for a list of all files.
- Helio ROM image
- See this vhl-tools
page for info on flashing it to a Helio and booting
Kernel source - This is from the source in
distro, with patches applied for romdisk and power management. I also added a
hack to revive the touch panel after turning the Helio back on. See
Linux VR for info on cross-compilers
- Linux Kernel
binary - for making your own ROM images without downloading all the kernel
tarball - This is modified from the vhl-tools romdisk, with the W window
system removed and some PicoGUI stuff added. Lots of unnecessary files in
there and the client apps are statically linked, I'll fix this later.
This only covers Helio-specific issues
- Handle error on launching Blackout: this is safe to ignore for the moment (answer 'no' and you can still run Blackout)
- Various touchpanel / button oddities make checkboxes very hard to toggle
- Menu test segfaults when 'Array' is clicked
- Touchpanel calibrator (borrowed from Microwindows) is crufty
- The clock is only right if you boot up at midnight :)
It's probably safe to expect an on-screen keyboard and a working copy of Brandon's battleship game in the next release.
(I apologize for the picture quality, I took these with a video camera. I know
flatbed scanners work really well on handhelds, but I didn't have one handy)
The screen will be blank for about 10 seconds while it decompresses the kernel.
(I'll add a splashscreen later) After that, the framebuffer shows some kernel
Then, the tpcal touchscreen calibrator from Microwindows will run
PicoGUI starts up with the "lcdmono" theme and a modified version of omnibar.
(in the CVS as omnibar-helio.c) PicoGUI's interface is extremely customizable
because all UI parameters come from a flexible theme file.
I think this menu type of interface is
unsuitable for handhelds. Smartdata is working on a more PalmOS-style launcher,
but this is what I had available at the time. The battery meter does
work! The clock works, but there's no way to set it yet.
There aren't very many apps in this release
This is a known bug in the Helio port... It's safe to click 'no' to go ahead
and play Blackout
This is the game Blackout. It gets pretty hard around level 8 or so, let me
know how far you get :)
PicoGUI supports full multitasking. Programs run in non-overlapping panels,
designed with screen space economy in mind. The 'x' button on the panelbar
closes a program, the circular arrow rotates it, and the rectangular thing
'zooms' the panel. (it controls how the panels stack, and in the future
it will also trigger a fullscreen mode)
See more PicoGUI screenshots