FatFingerShell vt with fullscreen keyboard

Rafael Ignacio Zurita rizurita at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 27 17:00:27 CET 2009

Hello Werner, 

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:34:31AM -0300, Werner Almesberger wrote:
> Rafael Ignacio Zurita wrote:
> >   it is a new virtual terminal for Openmoko, with a complete fullscreen
> > keyboard and sound.
> Wow, I love this idea ! Alas, it looks a little slow. (Haven't tried to
> run it yet, just looked at the videos.)

  the tar.gz package is faster than videos ;-) because I recorded those before
a few good changes in the code for perfomance. Anyway,

> Here's an idea how you could perhaps make it much faster:
> A long time ago, I discussed with Carsten about what the Glamo could
> do for us. Predictably, this quickly turned into some rather extensive
> bashing of this ill-fated chip. On item that came up is the lack of
> proper support for a feature X11 calls "compositing":
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compositing_window_manager
> The Glamo hardware has the ability to blend images, but, if I recall
> our discussion correctly, X11 expects the blending operation to support
> certain formats which the Glamo doesn't. So the conclusion was that it
> wouldn't be possible to accelerate full X11 compositing with the Glamo.
> However, perhaps what the Glamo can do is enough for your full-screen
> overlay. So you would put the X11 framebuffer in one (off-screen)
> memory area A, draw the keyboard in an area B, and whenever X11 or
> keyboard manager have updated their screen content, the Glamo would be
> told to merge screens A and B into the real frame buffer.

I would definitely like to use this idea. But, I don't know anything 
about glamo and if somebody is working in such features.

> This may also make it easy to do things like dynamically changing the
> respective brightness of the keyboard overlay and the background with
> the actual content. (*)

Ha!, good item for the TODO list. I will add this idea soon in the
current implementation :-)

> Now, having said all this, I have to admit that making the Glamo do
> anything is rather hard, and I've heard that X11 isn't trivial either.
> But several people have started to work on even more complicated things
> (DRM, GL, ...), so maybe there's someone who could help making an X
> server with such functionality.

Yes, I will stay tuned in this list. Maybe I would try to help if
that were possible (but I have read that it is either pretty hard
or not very useful at the end).

> (*) For this, you would have to have a means to "turn on" the keyboard.
>     This could be done by tapping an area where there's no key or where
>     there's a key that doesn't do anything unpleasant (Shift or so), by
>     just absorbing the first tap if the keyboard is dimmed, or perhaps
>     by distinguishing a light touch of the screen from a tap.
> Oh, and where are the applications ? :-) When Openmoko first announced
> the Linux-based GTA01, I read a lot of jokes about the kind of user
> interface a Linux phone would have. Usually they were of the kind
> "making a phone call is easy and intuitive:"
> # phone dial -d /dev/ttySAC0 --number=+123456789 --voice
> But I wonder if something that would make a call with simply
> # call foobar
> wouldn't be about as convenient to use as a GUI. Hang up with ^C,
> background and do something else with ^Z, etc. :-)

Well, the FatFingerShell has all the useful keys already there (ESC, Tab for
auto-completion, CTRL+whatever.. etc). So yes, I need easy-to-use
scripts to do everything from shell, like a real geek does :-)

Rafael Ignacio Zurita
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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