PinePhone as Linux PDA?
#1
Hello, All,

I’m considering a PinePhone/Keyboard purchase and was wondering if folks here might answer a few questions.

I’m fairly versed in Linux and understand that the PP is an indefinite WIP. I don’t expect to use it as a daily driver phone (but certainly hope to someday), but more as a Linux PDA.

1) Will a licensed TextMaker run on PP’s stock Manjaro?

2) Does Manjaro run a full Thunderbird, albeit slowly?

3) Is Newsboat or another terminal RSS reader available?

4) Are the keyboard configs configurable in /usr/share/X11/xkb/ ? For instance, I would like to remap the ?/ key to a Right Shift, then remap ?/ to fn+key or something similar

5) I have read that the kb keys are physically swappable. Is that true?

Many thanks for any answer or advice,
Jake
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#2
I can‘t comment on every aspect of this (especially since I haven‘t been using the keyboard accessory much, as the resulting micro-laptop is just too wide screen for my liking):

1) I don’t think SoftMaker make an ARM (Aarch64) build available. Therefore you won’t be a able to run this easily. (You could attempt running it with box64 and binary translation, but I doubt it‘s going to be a good experience.)

2) It‘s packaged, but you are going to have to change the scaling - at stock scaling Thunderbird definitely won’t fit the screen.

3) It‘s packaged, and should run at a small enough text size. You can also try some graphical feed readers: https://linuxphoneapps.org/categories/feed-reader/

I‘ll leave the other ones to people that are more familiar with the keyboard.
Just one thing: The great thing with the PinePhone imho is, that you can try many distributions and graphical shells and find the one that fits you best. Your tiny laptop/PDA idea may indicate that AVMultiPhone (https://archivista.ch/cms/en/news/avmultiphone-v2/) is something you might enjoy.
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#3
Thank you for a hugely helpful answer. You've saved me many rabbit holes.

If TextMaker is not viable, would LibreOffice act as a substitute? LO is not my favorite, but I've had to use it on other ARM-based UMPCs, so I can manage. Abiword still can't produce manuscript-quality, tho I've had to use it on my Zaurus.
I've worked with Claws, so that might be an alternative to TB. But--please don't judge me Smile --I'm looking to sync cal/contacts with Google, and TB can often fit that bill. *.ics calendars can be nicely downloaded for a one-way sync with various cal apps; contacts are trickier.

Thank you, too, for the RSS alternatives. With low-powered devices, I usually opt for terminal apps, but your link shows interesting GUI options.

One thing: your link to AVMultiphone doesn't load. Is that me, or something else?

Again, very much appreciate your quick response,
Jake
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#4
I've only tried LO with a bluetooth keyboard, and it's not entirely trouble free. The main issue is that the UI just isn't built for the screen size. Other issues you might run into are:
* LO autodetection of desktop environment misfiring with some combinations of distro, desktop and versions. If you get a splashscreen then nothing else it's probably fallen back to headless mode and you'll have to add some environment variables to get it going
* sometimes it starts responding oddly, and I wonder if it's rendered something you need to click on off-screen.
More detail here:
https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=16614
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#5
Thank you for weighing in and thank you for the helpful link.

I could probably manage LO with just keystrokes, but you cite other issues as well, so perhaps Abiword is the best alternative. I haven't used it since v 2.8, so maybe it's sorted its doc conversion issues, etc.

I'm still hoping a veteran can post his/her kb remapping experiences,

Thank you again for your help.
  Reply


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