Ben's software: a user perspective

nebajoth nebajoth at
Sat May 8 09:28:17 EDT 2010

Although I am one of the consolephiles you allude to, I am essentially
in agreement with your position.  But I don't like the word "suite".  It
makes my open source hackles raise.

Rather than develop a monolithic suite of PIM utilities however, I would
highly recommend adopting a more granular approach and just producing
the components so that people can mix and match as they choose/have need
of.  We need to adopt the Unix philosophy of "Do one thing and do it
well" on an application-by-application basis.

Why?  Because the price and linuxy power of this unit threatens with
explosive potential.  We are innovating in a frontier-space in terms of
screen size and interaction.  We need to pause and figure out the best
way to display information and inputs to the user on this greatly
reduced screen.

The recent movements of the Gnome Desktop and the KDE Desktop, and via
them the large distros, into the netbook space is an encouraging step.
People are discovering how to display information more efficiently in
smaller spaces.  It's becoming a science.

But a netbook is still many times the size of a nanobook, and Canonical
isn't throwing money at interface designers for a 320x240 screen...yet.
 Actually, probably ever. They already ave for the iphone/droid actually.

We basically have to do that innovation ourselves.  And there will
always be a place for 320x240 design.  It just might be running on the
wrist watches of 2015.

On 05/07/2010 06:40 AM, Fernando Carello wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I'd like to share with you my personal view on the Ben. I hope I'm not going to be flamed, anyway I have my flame suite on. :D
> Let me start with a brief introduction.
> I have the Ben and like it, it's really nice.
> I like Linux, I work with it since 1992.
> I like programming; I work with image recognition stuff and GPU computing.
> But, I think (personal opinion...) that the Ben should be graced with a reasonable suite of user-friendly GUI utilities, properly integrated with gmenu2x. Like gmu, as an example.
> I know, many of you think that command-line utilies like "gcal" and "bc" are great and all that's needed; I beg to disagree, because of Ben's limitations (keyboard and screen limitations, that is).
> We already have:
> - graphic launcher (gmenu2x). Could use some specific Ben tweaks (keyboard mapping, help file)
> - PDF reader (nupdf)
> - multimedia player (gmu)
> I think that the Ben would shine with:
> - a decent PIM suite with a nice GUI (QT-based, maybe): address book, clock/alarm, calendar, todo list, notes and the like 
> - a simple, nice graphical calculator and unit conversion utility
> - a basic spreadsheet (simpler and lighter than SIAG, if possible)
> It's my opinion that, with such a software suite, Ben's adoption could spread beyond reasearches, uber-geeks and gadget freaks. This in turn could raise Ben's popularity, Sharism concepts and ultimately could help Sharism collecting resources (money, user base etc.) for future projects.
> I think we also need to address some long standing bugs:
> - fully working, flexible power saving mode (clock speed modulation, backlight levels, ...). Such a device really needs accurate power management in my humble opinion
> - fast SD access (DMA)
> - screen flickering. Mine flickers like crazy in graphic mode
> Now, I can foresee the typical "Well, and so? Fix it by yourself, it's open source baby!", but really, do you think an individual with little spare time can reasonably "fix by himself" everything?
> Maybe, if some of you share my point of view, we could try and organize a developing team.
> In my opinion, this team should be actively driven by Sharism/QI staff people and work steadily (if slowly), by milestones, in order not to waste resources.
> That said, all I can offer (besides this message :-) ) is a bit of my time as a C developer.
> I don't know much about Linux kernel, but if properly instructed, I can work on whatever C project.
> Love,
> Fernando
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