Running 9.04 packages on an armv6el-vfp netbook

Asked by Luiz Augusto


I and some guys from are excited with the Smart Q7 device --- a low cust netbook without a keyboard attached that can be used as a powerful ebook reader. More on this at [1]

The device's firmware is Ubuntu based. Both the firmware avaiable with the device and the newly released firmware version 3.0 [2] [3] are based on the 8.04 (Hausty), according to their own sources.list file [4] [5]. Apparently this repo is an intranet copy of the Mojo effort [6] to port Ubuntu to ARM based devices. And the problem starts here.

The Mojo project seens to be unhappily dead or hibernarting for a long time due to sponsor issues [7] and I'm unable to found someone making new .deb packages to armv6el-vfp machines. [8] The Canonical initiative to port Ubuntu softwares to ARM devices uses a different naming schema than the Mojo effort. [9] And we need to run updated packages not only due to bug fixes, but because softwares like FBReader have added support for more ebook file formats on the new releases.

Here is finally the questions:

* What are the possibilities to run updated software versions on Smart Q7?

* Is safe to do an sudo apt-get dist-upgrade using at least one of the packages family made avaiable by the ARM team from Canonical? If yes, what is the most recommended? If not, is possible to replace by the debs from Debian armel initiative or by the rpms from the Moblin project (if yes please give detailed information such as the most recommendable architecture)?
** By safe I mean "software that can have some bugs but is usable", something between "beta" and "Release candidate". I don't have any problems on reporting bugs to developers of open source softwares :-P

* Is there anything that a experienced Linux user with no programming skills can do in order to help the development of compatible packpages to armv6el-vfp devices?

Best regards,
Luiz Augusto


[1] -

[2] - Avaiable at

[3] - The tool avaiable at (runnable on Ubuntu if you have Mono installed) allows to extract the rootfs.tar.gz and home.tar.gz files, among others)

[4] - deb hasty main hhtech multiverse universe restricted

[5] - btw, what "hhtech" means? If anyone is able to discover this set of packages on a public URL, please let me known.

[6] - Particularly from

[7] - This is the most recent public info that I was able to found, with sad news:

[8] - The Mer project have some, but mostly related to kernel support of Q5 and Q7 devices:

[9] -

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Its as safe as any update. Linux comes with no SLA and no promises of stability or basically anything.

I'd do it, just make sure you can roll back if you get issues.

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Luiz Augusto (lugusto) said :

Well, the problem is the amout of choices:

* Ubuntu 9.04 have four choices of CPU architecture on : imx51, iop32x, ixp4xx, versatile
* Debian 5.0.1 have another one:
* Just ignore the issue of custom builds based on CPU architecture and do a upgrade mixing-up the armv6el-vfp packages from the 8.04 version ported by Mojo and the 9.04 version by Canonical

Any thoughts?

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Loïc Minier (lool) said :

Luiz, Ubuntu uses the proper architecture name (armel) while mojo used the arm name for all builds, so you can't easily upgrade to .debs from Ubuntu. There used to be a Debian arm port but you really don't want that.

You can continue building arm binaries yourself, to replace mojo, either on your netbook or in qemu. The repository you have been using so far probably also carries all the needed development tools.

Otherwise, you can reinstall using Debian or Ubuntu armel, but you'll have to make sure you have bootloader and kernel for your platform.

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mzafir (asim-zafir) said :


A side question for you, I have an smartq7 device and I am interested to reinstall Ubuntu 9.04 - can you tell me which is the right installable for that? is it imx51, iop32x, ixp4xx & versatile architecture? where can i get device drivers for it if i install from scratch, i would appreciate if you can provide me some pointers.



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Alain Kalker (miki4242) said :

Additional info:

Re: [5]: hhtech probably stands for HHTech. Co., Ltd.[5.1] [5.2], a China-based professional Embedded Linux development kit designer.

Re: [8]: There are several projects related to SmartQ devices on Gitorious [8.1], which may be of interest.

[5.1] - Company info at:
[5.2] - Company home page (English): (Note: I have had difficulties accessing this page, the link is very slow and the connection gets reset after a while.)
[8.1] -

Kind regards,

Alain Kalker

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