KDE on the Linux E-INK Tablet!
A Inc tablet and Ive actually been sent a developer unit because I really want to try to contribute to the project. So today, what were going to do is talk about the project itself, how it is currently what it supported and what isnt, how is the actual device in its you know, specs and such and then were actually going to talk about? What are my plans to try to improve the project, what Im currently working on and what I will work on, so it is always a bit of a devlog, as my videos usually are so dependent was announced roughly one year and a half ago. I remember the moment where I saw the Tweet announcing it and I was like super excited about the project. The device itself is extremely appealing. In my opinion, it has a 10.3 inches anti gular e ink display 2 and 26 DPI. It uses a quad core error. K3566, which is actually the same chip that will be in theory in the pine Tab 2, which is pretty nice. Basically, this thing is as powerful as an actual tablet. It does have front light and it has both hot and cold front lights. Maybe if its late youll prefer the hot one, otherwise the the cold one depends on what youre trying to do and then it has. You know microphones front speakers sensor to see if its rotated, so its a tablet de facto, which can run Linux with an ink display, which is super cool.
It does have like four gigabytes of RAM, which for ink device is totally fine to be honest, and I feel like the build quality of the chassis is absolutely on par with the current competition, its very nice its thin, and it also comes with a cover that You can attach to it which has a super nice texture on the outside, along with the pine logo, which looks so cool fun fact. I went to University with this device to try it out and somebody actually recognized Pine 64 and was like wow. I follow Penn 64 and I was like whoa by the way, theres also a pen for the display, and it attaches magnetically to the tablet, but were going to talk about that later. Currently, however, its only an experimental device, its not meant to be really to use yet and, as it says in the webpage, theres no default OS. Yet if I understood this correctly, this does ship with an OS which is like the factory Android image. Im, also going to talk about that. In fact, what Im going to do is highlight how the tablet works with the factory Android image, which I think is a bit of a reference implementation on how the Linux part should be, and then Im going to talk about how the Linux part actually works. Right now, and what should be done, I think okay, so first of all, the image is actually pretty powerful and well made for a ink.
It starts off with a lot of functions. The first one is note, taking with support for both folders and search throughout your notes. If you do create a note, you can use like the pen with various kind of sizes and brushes, obviously, but also you can insert text pictures and you can use templates as the background as an example, I really like the dotted one. The pen is actually quite transponsive when you start writing. You cannotice that there is a bit of thickness to the display glass, but so its not like a drawing tablet, but its absolutely fine for everyday use for most people. I would say when youre doing, writing or drawing you can share the current page as a PNG or the entire notes. As a PDF, I have actually tried this. I wrote. I took some notes from a university lecture. As I said, and then I exported everything to PDF sent it over my computer and everything worked super nicely, so it does work again. Ive used it quite a while to see how it works, because I do want to replicate that in the same exact functionalities in Kitty, plasma and Linux. So you do get a task manager too, which actually surprised me a bit. You can basically create some tasks with some handwriting Associated to it and write down which one of the tasks youve done, which is interesting, its not something that I usually consider a core part of a ink tablet.
However, it might be interesting for users, however, I never actually used it. So maybe not I dont know you tell me by the way it has a very nice functionality which again should totally be replicated in Linux. In my opinion, that is whenever you think that the screen is getting a bit noisy because you do get that effect from you know: aing devices you can just swipe from the bottom and the screen will immediately refresh which is nice. Then there is the core application of this kind of devices. In my opinion, which is reading books, there is an application to do that and it does not distinguish between PDFs and epubs, which is interesting from my user point of view. You because, yes, its a bit easier to convey that you know you just read a book. However, they actually work very differently as an example in ePub, so you can actually change the themes and the text size. So Im not too sure about this reading. The book Works nicely Im, not sure what else to expect. I did not test some very various apops configurations. That was not my gold. Really. You can annotate on the book right away. Just take the pen and start writing, which is super nice. You dont have to access any. You know writing mode, so that is something that, in my opinion, should be kept. You do also get an Office document section for the ink, which is interesting.
However, it only has like ppts XLS docs that thats Microsoft, proprietary stuff Im, not too interested into you – know trying those out, but it does show that there is some interest in having you know a librarov kind of functionality in this kind of tablets, especially since you Can you know, connect a keyboard to it more stuff? You can start accessing local directories. You can very easily see all your local files and external storage as well, and that works nicely and its a very easy way to add your books, because you have to open them from this part of the device. You can also turn on the ability to install custom apks. They work nicely and its actually necessary. If you want to try out Linux, because you do have to install magisk to do stuff well get to that, and you do also get a browser which is also very nice. I try to do as an example playing some chess games and although the noise sometimes is a bit too much, it works very nicely and I probably have to like change the refresh type which you can by the way just sliding from the top. And you get to all the quick settings, so this is the situation around this Factory Android image – if I understood this correctly and now theres the very important topic on hows Linux, because you know that that is the whole point isnt it. So, as I said by not still in heavy development, there is no easy way to install Linux.
You have to do a lot of work to get it. It took me roughly three to four weeks I took like one hour every day to start you know the process. It was not so easy for me Im, not super expert in this kind of things, but if I manage to it means that you can as well. This was my reference guide, its pretty technical. It has to be, but its very nicely explained, and if you follow it, you should be able to understand kind of what youre doing. For me, the keyword is kind of kind of as an example nicely enough, you can get into the download mode of the device. Just by placing the pen into a nice spot on the back of the device and then just rebooting and then the steps are like you install a custom. U boot, you start using magisk, you compile the custom kernel for the device. You export the firmware. You connect with a uart adapter, by the way I somehow managed to lose that adapter and pine 64 sent another one to me. So, thank you so much pain64 for everything, as I was saying, use that to enter with an Alpine installation and use that to resize partitions and install Arch Linux Center device and then through RH Linux. Again, you put that through the UA RT device and when youre into Arch Linux, I mean the hard Works done. You install plasma, install SS install sddm.
This part actually kind of works out of the box, which is nice, so I managed to log in with an actual GUI, so hows the experience well out of the box. Of course, you do have some issues as an example. The screen refresh is Turbo, but thats, not surprised, considering that I literally didnt do anything yet. I havent disabled animations and you still get plasma trying to draw all the colors and gradients it shouldnt be doing that so thats to be addressed. But I was actually surprised by most of the stuff actually works nicely as an example, you can easily change the brightness of the cold and hot lights. Of course you have to use the terminal to do that, but you can. You can also change their refresh modes. That is, you have to do that to keep a balance between the quality of the image and how fast the screen refreshes you have to choose between the two, of course, still only using a Linux command. Obviously, Wi Fi works. Bluetooth works, basically, I can just plug in my keyboard and mouse and just start working, and at this point you might ask like work on what what youre going to do with the device. So lets talk about what Im going to do and kind of the feature that I personally see for this image. Again, I received this as a development unit, so thats my main goal – and the first thing I did quite a while ago, actually was to make a plasma theme just like you know, Breeze for the desktop that only uses black and white.
That should make stuff easier on a ink display. You still get, you know grayscale gradients, but those might slow down the refresh rate so white and gray. It is, of course, you can also change the color scheme to having, just like you, know, white and blacks, depending on the application that will be respected, not just in the plasma theme but in the applications as well. But I still have to see how well that works, how well that works, because, obviously you cannot just like change completely the look of an application just using the color scheme, so its to be seen also just having a plasma theme that is black and white wont Help that much you actually need a shawl that is not plasma desktop, obviously to run on this kind of devices. Personally, I wanted to see how plasma Mobile Works on this so thats. What Im going to be testing if it doesnt fit? Well then, we can actually just write. I can actually just write a new show, similarly to plasma mobile like plasma ink to work on this tablet, and you know in that case I would quite use the Android image as a reference yeah. You would have a note taking application in immediately in your face and then like a book application with immediately your library, this kind of things. Another thing that I would like to do is make an applet to change between the screen. Brightnesses, you know hot and cold ones, and also between the screen refresh rates, because Ive seen that it is very, very common for powerful.
A ink displays to allow the user to overwrite an application request for a specific refresh type, and I think it makes sense like sometimes you want a screen, a faster refresh rate other times. You want better image quality, although at the same time, obviously the apps themselves should like ask for different refresh rates depending on the use cases of those applications. So its a bit of a balance, then obviously weve got the application, so what applications could be used in this device so for not taking? My first guess would be xerno plus plus I dont know if you know the application, it is a very good note. Taking application for Linux its the one that I use to take notes actually, and it already supports like everything, so there are theres nothing. We should do to to do that. Of course, you still have to see if you can make sure that external Works nicely on a Inc device which is not obvious but its something that could be done. Alternatively – and this is also very interesting – there is a minimal proof of concept. I think application to not take done with origami for Kitty plasma, so that is also very much an option, and you know the fact that you have an application made by kidi plasma developers. Carl, I think make sure that you can actually change it and adapt it to the device for drawing. I think a super nice thing would be to have krita, because I mean why not I mean KDs krita.
Why shouldnt we put krita on device with a pan. I dont see any reason not to, of course, krita is not made for a ink devices, so I should probably look for you know ways to integrate krita into this functionality. I probably I dont know ask for advice to the Creator developers this kind of things, but its more later on my to do list regarding PDF reading. Again, I do want to make a distinction between PDF and epubs. They work very differently differently with PDFs theres ocular, which I think works very nicely again. You do have to adapt it in certain ways. As an example, a single tap should be enough to switch to the next page, but it already Works rather well and it supports annotations so its a great starting point and then finally, there are epubs which again super important for a ink reader. I do expect people to read books on this kind of devices. I did so hows the Epub situation in Kerry, so there is ocular which has optional support for epubs, but it uses a very hot library and its not very good at all, and even if it used a better Library, ocular is not made to read epubs. Like you do need a different concept because again theyre very different things. You can as an example, change the style, the font size, those kind of things. So I started an application called Ariana to read epubs and it uses the Epub Js library and then nicely enough.
Carl helped me out on porting like helped me out. He has quite uh the understatement. I dont think theres any line of code that I wrote and is still there so, but, but still still, I came up with the name. Sir Ive done a video about the development of Ariana, but from then the application changed completely now its much better again thanks Carl and it should be able to cover most ePub use cases. It still needs some stuff. As an example, you still dont have the ability to change text and themes. Ive talked about this many times and Dutch support should be improved as well, and then you have the whole note taking part which isnt which isnt implemented yet, but you know those things can be implemented now: theres a good piece to start working on and thats what Im going to do Im going to make sure that Ariana runs on these things and runs well so yeah. My current goal is make sure that Ariana Works nicely adapted to the ink devices, see how plasma Mobile Works and maybe do like a shell for this kind of device Implement some nice things for dating as an example. The ability to change the brightness thats pretty important and then start see how various different applications could benefit like could be ported to work on such a device, something that I completely forgot to do before. I usually do it through. The videos is to remind all you people that I am not hired by Kitty.
Actually I do these things on my free time. You could say, but mostly I you know, consider this my part time job thanks to the donation that I receive through the channel. So my goal is to reach 700 euros a month and thanks to that, donation in the previous days were getting closer and closer. So, if youre able to chip in something it would be awesome if we managed to reach the goal even this month, I do have like patreon people. Kofi Libre pay, YouTube memberships, anything anything is awesome. So if you can help me out, thatd be awesome.