New Pyra pre-order - General questions


Mundgeirr

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Hi all! After some years checking the development of the Pyra, and being very interested in the project, I finally made my pre-order yesterday :D

I really love the philosophy behind the Pyra: being open, having replaceable parts, being both computer and handheld console. I am however not the best with informatic-related stuff to be honest, and have 0 experience with linux (although I am very willing to learn). Therefore, I would like to ask some specific questions regarding uses I would like to have on the Pyra:

1- I am a language nerd and on my pc I make customizable keyboards to use special symbols, especially Norse related (e.g. ǫ, þ, ᚠ) or IPA symbols. How good is unicode support and to switch between keyboard configurations on the Pyra?

2- I use google drive a lot to share documents between my computers, mostly pdfs and office related (presentations, excel sheets, word processors). Are there good alternatives that would work for Pyra and a windows pc?

3- I've seen many people can easily code on the Pyra, mostly thanks to the good keyboard. Are there good Python and Julia environments and interfaces that can be installed on the pyra? Like anaconda, pycharm, jupyter, spyder etc. What about the use of dabases like sqlite?

4- I plan to use my Pyra also to watch TV/youtube/play music now and then. How well do you think it will be possible to use mainstream services like netflix, watch national TV, youtube, spotify? Probably it should be decent on firefox, but I am not sure.

I believe that's it so far, thank you very much in advance, you seem like a very nice community :)

PS: sorry for the very noobie questions
 

daveshah

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3- I've seen many people can easily code on the Pyra, mostly thanks to the good keyboard. Are there good Python and Julia environments and interfaces that can be installed on the pyra? Like anaconda, pycharm, jupyter, spyder etc. What about the use of dabases like sqlite?
Anything that is in the Debian armhf repo and/or provides its own armhf binaries will work. In the latter case, these might be "Raspberry Pi" builds.
 

pyrat

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Hi all! After some years checking the development of the Pyra, and being very interested in the project, I finally made my pre-order yesterday :D
:) So you reaaly did't need to know these answers if you already ordered, do you ?

I really love the philosophy behind the Pyra: being open, having replaceable parts, being both computer and handheld console. I am however not the best with informatic-related stuff to be honest, and have 0 experience with linux (although I am very willing to learn). Therefore, I would like to ask some specific questions regarding uses I would like to have on the Pyra:
You do what you feel like doing and I don't know how easy it is for you, but maybe you don't need to wait for the Pyra to start learning Linux.
Maybe install Debian in some computer you have and start trying things out. Or just use a LiveCD (or LiveUSB) which you can boot from withouy changing your computer.
Then you can try for yourself how confortable this is for you.

1- I am a language nerd and on my pc I make customizable keyboards to use special symbols, especially Norse related (e.g. ǫ, þ, ᚠ) or IPA symbols. How good is unicode support and to switch between keyboard configurations on the Pyra?
I'm not so demanding but It should just as easy as with any Linux. I would say very versatile, but I'm not sure how easy for you it would be to set it up.
There was even an unconfirmed option to buy a blank keyboard mat so that one could print their own glyph to show in the keyboard. But that seems low priority right now, so it might not happen.
Worse case you can do just as much as on a PC. Best case, maybe a little more.

2- I use google drive a lot to share documents between my computers, mostly pdfs and office related (presentations, excel sheets, word processors). Are there good alternatives that would work for Pyra and a windows pc?
I don't use google, but I think those are web service that will work just the same on a pyra. It might be somewhat slower, but I don't think that's likely.
On the Pyra you can use Libreoffice if you want. Or TeX, LaTeX, LyX and friends. There are other (simpler?) office suites.

3- I've seen many people can easily code on the Pyra, mostly thanks to the good keyboard. Are there good Python and Julia environments and interfaces that can be installed on the pyra? Like anaconda, pycharm, jupyter, spyder etc. What about the use of dabases like sqlite?
I don't know them.
anaconda, pycham, I didn't find it in a simple debian package search. Might be unavailable or likely just too litle effort on my side. Python software is usually multiplatform so as long as they're free software should be compilable and installable. I don't know.
Jupyter 4.4.0 and Spyder 3.3.3 should be available, it's in Debian Buster main and architecture all. It might not be installed by default but you'd only need internet and a one line command:
apt install jupyter spyder
or the equivalent with aptitude or a GUI package manager.
Debian has plenty of databases, including sql, postgresql, mariadb ... , although I don't know how fast they'll run on a Pyra.
debtags search "works-with::db"
returns 945 lines

You can use
https://packages.debian.org
or
https://debtags.debian.org/search/
to search

4- I plan to use my Pyra also to watch TV/youtube/play music now and then. How well do you think it will be possible to use mainstream services like netflix, watch national TV, youtube, spotify? Probably it should be decent on firefox, but I am not sure.
I hope strict DRM will not work.
Youtube will, unless you install privacy protections that protect you against it.

I believe that's it so far, thank you very much in advance, you seem like a very nice community :)

PS: sorry for the very noobie questions
Welcome.
 

docbroke

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Regarding point 3 default Debian comes with python which shall work fine unless there is very specific need for anaconda or some other python environment.
 

λ the β-Redex Reducer

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You do what you feel like doing and I don't know how easy it is for you, but maybe you don't need to wait for the Pyra to start learning Linux.
I started learning about GNU/Linux using Linux From Scratch. At that time the book included a reading list of which I read a lot of the recommendations listed there before starting with building LFS. It took a while but it's a good start. And it's even good for people long after they started as well.
 

PowerGod

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The best (and maybe the only) way to learn GNU and Linux is to use them, even by force, like if there's something you already know how to do it on Windows, try instead to obtain the same result on Debian Linux.

You can already start practicing with Bash stuff using Cygwin (its basically a GNU environment), that is easy to install, and an essential (at least for me) addition to Windows capabilities, because it works mostly as how a Linux console does, but it's compatible with Windows stuff.
Most of the scripts you can make in Cygwin will be 100% working on the Pyra.

You can also try a Live Debian distribution on your PC, so you can play with that OS without actually installing it.
The only restriction here is that maybe not all the packages will be present in the version of the OS on the Pyra (at least at the beginning), but this depends heavily on your use case and what specific necessities you have.
 

Mundgeirr

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Thank you all very much for your help, I believe it's much more clear now :) I already had a lot of plans for the Pyra, but with your explanations I think I can expand it a lot and effectively use it as a small pc I can carry anywhere.

I agree learning Linux in advance can be a very good idea, I have already checked some videos, but your recommendations are extra helpful. I've also learnt to just go and check debian packages, there is a lot indeed. But that makes me wonder about the architecture type: if I am not mistaken the Pyra has a arm32 architecture. Does that mean that only packages with the tag arm32 will work? Sorry again if this is an elementary question, I've read the forums quite in detail but is still not clear to me.
 

levi

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1- I am a language nerd and on my pc I make customizable keyboards to use special symbols, especially Norse related (e.g. ǫ, þ, ᚠ) or IPA symbols. How good is unicode support and to switch between keyboard configurations on the Pyra?
These days, most linux things including my bash terminal and firefox support the entry of unicode symbols by pressing ctrl+shift+u then typing in the number and pressing enter. The Pyra I think also has a compose key by default, so you might be able to get for example 'ǫ' by pressing compose+, plus o or something like that, although that might be the entry for o with a cedilla I'm not sure.
 

HelenF

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1. I'm pretty sure keyboard customization/switching will be fine.

2. You'll be able to use Google Drive on the website, but I guess you're asking about automatic file sync between Pyra and Windows?

3. Some software won't work, e.g. looks like Pycharm isn't open-source and they don't provide an ARM version.
 

FBnil

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1- I am a language nerd and on my pc I make customizable keyboards to use special symbols, especially Norse related (e.g. ǫ, þ, ᚠ) or IPA symbols. How good is unicode support and to switch between keyboard configurations on the Pyra?
Right off the bat you get the compose features from the default Linux
Things like LibreOffice support unicode out of the box (a version of unicode), for xterm you'll need to use uxterm to display them there.

As for composing your own characters, here is the gist (a keyboard layout you can already start defining by using any Linux)

As for switching from keyboard layout, we still have a usr1 key on the Pyra keyboard that is undefined. It can be defined to switch to another keyboard layout

Tried to find a futhark layout for Linux, but I could not find one.
Here is one: https://webbmaster.com/2017/11/write-runes-on-your-computer
specifically, this page contains a xkb_symbols file: https://github.com/osakared/futhorc-keyboard-linux


XIM is deprecated, it seems, but was fairly easy to add things:
So more study is required to create your own xkb layout:


Windows layout: https://sites.google.com/site/windowskeyboards/Home
Overloaded layout: http://www.beljon.de/Intro/Runen/Odins-ABC-Runes.htm


note to self: start here: https://rlog.rgtti.com/2014/05/01/how-to-modify-a-keyboard-layout-in-linux/


----

Todo: This PyGTK program helps create or edit XKB keyboard layouts.

https://github.com/simos/keyboardlayouteditor

 
Last edited:

Silent-Hunter

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I hope Spotify's Linux desktop program will work with Box86, I really like the idea of being able to listen on the Pyra.
 

Swordfish II

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I hope strict DRM will not work.
It's interesting to me. In the davesha thread people are bending over backwards regarding led color for the exceedingly rare colorblind use case (most cases are not anywhere extreme enough to completely not see those colors).

Yet you want to eliminate a use case that most of the population has in netflix, Hulu, music.

In any case Netflix should work with chrome or Firefox. The resolution might be limited to lower without widevine.

Additionally there is a kodi plugin that I use for Netflix on my raspberry pi that works fine but is limited to 640p that uses software decoding and widevine from a chromebook image.
 

docbroke

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Right off the bat you get the compose features from the default Linux
Things like LibreOffice support unicode out of the box (a version of unicode), for xterm you'll need to use uxterm to display them there.

As for composing your own characters, here is the gist (a keyboard layout you can already start defining by using any Linux)

As for switching from keyboard layout, we still have a usr1 key on the Pyra keyboard that is undefined. It can be defined to switch to another keyboard layout

Tried to find a futhark layout for Linux, but I could not find one.
Here is one: https://webbmaster.com/2017/11/write-runes-on-your-computer
specifically, this page contains a xkb_symbols file: https://github.com/osakared/futhorc-keyboard-linux


XIM is deprecated, it seems, but was fairly easy to add things:
So more study is required to create your own xkb layout:


Windows layout: https://sites.google.com/site/windowskeyboards/Home
Overloaded layout: http://www.beljon.de/Intro/Runen/Odins-ABC-Runes.htm


note to self: start here: https://rlog.rgtti.com/2014/05/01/how-to-modify-a-keyboard-layout-in-linux/


----

Todo: This PyGTK program helps create or edit XKB keyboard layouts.

https://github.com/simos/keyboardlayouteditor

Keyboard layouts can be changed on the fly using either of ibus/scim/fcitx. All are in Debian repo and support many different languages and layout. I have used ibus and scim for indic languages for my daily requirements.
 
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