Information gathering about the Pandora.

Discussion in 'Guest Area' started by Drem Yol Lok, Greetings..., Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Always thought it was such a beautiful name. I love it.

    Hi!

    I'd like some information about this device. I've seen good and bad review about it, i can see some good addition for me to have it, but it depends on certain things, I'll try to keep it short and straight forward:

    *Can you format, and completely change the Operating System? (as long it is ARM-based of course)

    *Along with OS change, will the OS packages work properly?

    *What about wine?

    *What is the brand of the wifi card?

    *Is it possible to create a swap partition in the Pandora Gnu/Linux OS for more RAM?

    *Is it possible to boot live OS from an SD with the Pandora?

    *What about the BIOS can i access it at start up?

    *Dual boot possible with grub 2?

    And just for my childhood...

    *How well Golden eye is running on the N64 emulator?

    Despite the wonderful idea of a very sweet PDA-like device, i can think of improvements, such as a less bloated screen (make it bigger, i see lots of unused space!) and built-in microphone possibly? The price for such device is considerable how many does it cost to make a Pandora? i would definitely be interested for a 2GHz processor for 150$ more really.
     
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  2. pmprog

    pmprog Advanced Member

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    Yes, there's Slackware, Debian, and a couple of others I think
    Wine is useless because Windows apps are compiled for the x86 processor, and the Pandora runs an ARM processor. So even though you could build Wine, you can't run Windows apps without needing something like QEmu (which is available)
    Yes, though the partition would probably have to be created on your SD card than the internal flash
    Yes, that's how you will boot most alternative OSes (due to the size nature of Slack etc, you can't install them on the actual pandora)
    Holding down the right shoulder let's you access a boot menu, but it's not like a conventional BIOS
     
  3. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    *Can you format, and completely change the Operating System? (as long it is ARM-based of course)


    - You can, but the Internal NAND only fits 512MBs of space.. most distributions won't fit.. You can boot Alternate OSs from SD Cards we have two SD slots so it's pretty trivial to do so.

    *Along with OS change, will the OS packages work properly?


    - Don't see why not..

    *What about wine?


    - Wine will not work it requires an X86 Processor.. There has been some motion to use an x86 emulation layer.. but so far it's not feasible

    *What is the brand of the wifi card?

    - The Internal wifi, I'm not 100%.. someone else would need answer that.

    *Is it possible to create a swap partition in the Pandora Gnu/Linux OS for more RAM?


    - Sure you can, it's easier to enable a swap file on a SD card.. although 512MBs seems to work with almost everything.. Things on ARM and Linux in General are not memory hogs.

    *Is it possible to boot live OS from an SD with the Pandora?


    - Yes, answered that before

    *What about the BIOS can i access it at start up?

    - There is no BIOS, it's a PC only thing

    *Dual boot possible with grub 2?


    - Grub is also a PC only phenomenon.. Dual Booting is typically changing SD cards.. although u-boot may be able to run different OSs on an SD card if set up properly

    And just for my childhood...

    *How well Golden eye is running on the N64 emulator?


    - Works semi-decent on a 1Ghz unit, not so much on the older units.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  4. mindlord

    mindlord Notices Two Things

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    *Can you format, and completely change the Operating System? (as long it is ARM-based of course)

    Yes, but the NAND is only 512MB. It's far better to boot from SD. I never touch the NAND so I have a failsafe in case something goes horribly wrong. :D

    *Along with OS change, will the OS packages work properly?

    Yes and no. Most ARM based distros target ARM 4v, which is considerably older than the Pandora's arm7v core. Everything will likely run, but not at it's best.

    *What about wine?

    Yes and no. While winelib is known to work and there is a fast QEMU core made for the Pandora, Wine runs fair at best. You won't likely be running anything from the Windows 95/98 era.

    *What is the brand of the wifi card?

    Dunno, but I'm sure someone has the answer to that. It's pretty common stuff, but the driver Notaz has set up for the Pandora is tuned for the hardware. You'll want to use the Pandora driver in other OS whenever possible.

    *Is it possible to create a swap partition in the Pandora Gnu/Linux OS for more RAM?

    Yes. Works as expected.

    *Is it possible to boot live OS from an SD with the Pandora?

    Yes, see #1.

    *What about the BIOS can i access it at start up?

    There is not a BIOS, per se. There's a bootloader.

    *Dual boot possible with grub 2?

    Pandora offers a bootloader which allows for booting from NAND or SD. I suppose it's possible to partition the SD to allow more OSs to be installed.

    Haven't tried it, don't know. I haven't heard anyone complain.

    Look at them ninjas!  :ph34r:  
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  5. _wb_

    _wb_ Microbe Staff Member

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    It does have a microphone built-in.

    There are lots of reasons for its current price:

    - small-scale production

    - production in a not so low wage country (Germany)

    - newly sold units help to compensate for preorders who paid less than the actual production cost (because production turned out to be harder and more expensive than anticipated)

    What you are suggesting (2GHz cpu for $150) is probably not possible, even with mass production.

    Don't think of the Pandora as a fancy gameboy or a smartphone without phone.

    Try to think of the Pandora as a laptop that is extremely small (pocketable), has a huge battery life (20 hours under low/medium load), and has excellent game controls built-in. Then its price actually makes a lot of sense.
     
  6. DaMummy

    DaMummy Soldier Paste

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     he isnt asking for a 2ghz pandora for $150, hes asking for a 2ghz for $150 MORE to current price. which btw if pandora2 ever sees light of day, could be in that vicinity
     
  7. _wb_

    _wb_ Microbe Staff Member

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    Oops, misread that :)
     
  8. Woah, thanks for the replies guys!

    Oh i do actually see it as such!  The battery life is completely crazy! How in the word is that possible for a handheld device!?

    With it's full-size USB, i can think of controlling my 3D printer with it, perhaps write a plugin for it to control the printer's axis with the analog sticks... Wouldn't that be wonderful?

    However, as a 3D modeller, i do not see how Blender would run on this device, perhaps a swap partition may help. Emulators, portability and maybe a more powerful core can get me to buy this device!

    And the community is already appealing! :D
     
  9. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    It's got a battery (4200 MAh) which is about 3 times larger than a typical smart phone.
     
  10. ZXDunny

    ZXDunny Deep avatar

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  11. WizardStan

    WizardStan Mega GP Mania

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  12. Franko

    Franko Active Member

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  13. flowen8

    flowen8 Still Fresh

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    So with QEmu you could run windows programs, or is it like wine except that instead of working as an os compatibility layer its a hardware compatibility layer?
     
  14. steveway

    steveway Still Fresh

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    How about asking Google?

    Here is a good result: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QEMU
     
  15. WizardStan

    WizardStan Mega GP Mania

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    QEMU is an x86 emulator. It works in two modes: system and user. We currently have system mode working which emulates a full desktop. When you run it you can install Windows (requires a Windows install CD) which will allow you to play some older (Win95 era) games. There's no need for wine, the QEMU emulator does everything. Because it is doing everything is is regrettably slow but better than nothing. For example, Diablo runs perfectly and Diablo 2 runs pretty well (for various definitions of "well", some would argue).
    Someone is working on user mode. In user mode QEMU only emulates the CPU. It runs x86 code but whenever it encounters library calls (like for playing sounds or drawing to the screen) it passes those to the operating system. It is still slower than native because it has to do some emulation but since it isn't emulating a screen or input or anything like that it is theoretically a lot faster than system mode. Once user mode is working properly we should be able to run x86 Linux programs on the Pandora. One of the x86 Linux programs that we want to run is Wine which should let us play x86 Windows programs better than in system mode.
     
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  16. Franko

    Franko Active Member

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    OMG.....this is one of the most exciting things that I've heard in a while.  Yes, I probably need to get out more...but WOW.   :)
     
  17. WizardStan

    WizardStan Mega GP Mania

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  18. lingenfr

    lingenfr Member

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    So WS, you are saying we will run Qemu in user mode to run Wine to run the X86-based program? And that will be faster? Not doubting you, this just seems counterintuitive. I understand why that is necessary. I assume you are saying this method will avoid the non-value-added emulation/DOS/Windows overhead.
     
  19. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    That is what he's saying and in theory it should be faster than running Qemu in system mode running DOS/WIndows and then the application on top of that.
     

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