Rubén Berenguel ruben at
Tue Nov 16 05:16:47 EST 2010

Thanks for the information Wolfgang! I guess I'll need to install the
toolchain again to get that testing image up and running (I switched
from Ubuntu to Arch Linux a while ago, and didn't have the time to
reinstall it yet). Is fsck2 in this one? If my running debian ran out
of power, the fs got garbled and I needed my Linux laptop to fsck the
SD card... I would love to do it strictly from the Ben (if not, I
can't use it portably enough).

For the Ben to start being a "killer calculator" I think we need:

* yacas (have it!) algebra stuff (like a small wolfram's mathematica)
* gnuplot (looks like we have it!)
* number-crunching, mostly for number fields and number
theoretic people, but I am in applied analysis and use it quite a bit.
Hard to port: has lots of platform specific dependencies when "make".
If we can build packages directly on the Ben then it can be trivially
ported. If not... it would need quite a lot of work.
* a C compiler (looks like we have it already in the ben!)
* octave (I think we don't have it): I tried to port a long time ago
and stumbled into a non-trivial problem, gave up. Don't remember what
the issue was.
* python and python-num I don't use these, but some folks do and they
would do wonders to market it as a perfect calculator. I think they
are already there or almost there.

I think that would be "all" in some broad sense, I'm probably missing
something. But for me at least, I would need

* emacs. I know, there's a lot of vi lovers out there. But emacs has
interactive modes to run yacas, pari-gp and I think also octave and
python. This means that you can use emacs as a meta-calculator system,
interacting with everything right away, not needing several open
terminal sessions. Also, there's always viper-mode if you miss the
beeping ;) Emacs should be portable, but was not trivial enough for my

I think the Ben has lots of potential as a perfect pocket calculator.
My long-forgotten HP49G has less CPU power, less RAM and less options.
And the Ben has a color screen, full Linux system... What else could
we (mathematicians, engineers...) ask? We even have music & video!


On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 02:49, Wolfgang Spraul <wolfgang at> wrote:
> Ruben,
>> Today, after maybe 2 months of no use I picked my Ben to listen to
>> some music while shaving and showering (it has a very nice speaker
>> mounted in... and the battery was at 75 after that much time!). After
> Welcome back also (there was someone else who just reappeared... :-))
>> that, I decided to upgrade my system (I'm using a very old
>> installation these days, and run mostly debian through the microSD
>> card). But is not available on the server, returning
>> this:
> That was my mistake, I recently fixed some redirects, but not
> entirely right. Try again, I hope it works now.
> The redirect for goes to
> Our latest official image is still 2010-06-15, since then we are
> struggling a bit with making one where GTK/QT and SDL all work well,
> but we are getting closer. There is a testing image right now, see
> There have been many many fixes and improvements over time, see
> The Jlime images also have made good progress in recent months, no
> release yet but there is a beta4 image I think.
> Since you are back, I hope you can give us more guidance on how to
> make the Ben a really useful math device. You pointed us to and helped
> porting pmars, yacas, and others, and I would like to continue along
> these lines.
> Let's make a full list of apps that would turn the NanoNote into a great
> math device, and we will work on integrating them well.
> Cheers,
> Wolfgang
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