Saturday, 20 March 2010

N900 Fun: Using a regular mouse and keyboard with N900


The Nokia N900 internet tablet is a fantastic gadget for geeks. It runs on the open-source Maemo 5 OS - which is a variant of Debian and for all intents and purposes, can be considered as a mobile computer rather than a phone.

While Maemo 5 is a great operating system by itself, it is not possible to run regular Linux software like Open Office or Gimp directly on it due to UI constraints. (Maemo has its' own GUI optimized for touch input and the small screen size of the tablet). However, a project called easy-debian allows users to install a full version of Debian on N900 and run any applications like a regular computer. It is bundled with the LXDE desktop environment and is very easy to install and use. My only gripe with the system is that it is a bit difficult to move the mouse with the finger - specially when it comes to clicking on stuff. But then again, real geeks use the command line! :)

I regularly use Synergy to share a single mouse and keyboard between my desktop and laptop. Today while messing around with the Easy Debian LXDE, I had the bright idea to see whether Synergy can be used to share the mouse and keyboard with my N900 as well. It turns out I can! The biggest advantage of this is that it allows me to type on my regular keyboard - no more finger cramps while hacking away on the phone. Having the ability to use the mouse in LXDE is pretty cool as well. Finally, don't forget the ability to copy and paste text between the computer and the phone - a very useful thing to have when you are editing config files etc.

For anyone interested, here's what I did:

On my desktop (Fedora 12):
1. sudo yum install synergy
 2. Create a config file. Mine looks as follows. (sayaka is the desktop. saori is the N900.)

section: screens
section: links
                right = saori        
                left = sayaka

3. Start the Synergy server with the config file
synergys -f -c synergy.conf

On my N900:
Start LXDE and open a console
1. Install QuickSynergy
sudo apt-get install quicksynergy

2. Start the Synergy client. Replace sayaka with your own server name
synergyc sayaka

Now if you move the mouse to the right and outside of the monior, it will appear in the N900 desktop. Try clicking on a few icons and typing something using the keyboard. Pretty cool eh?

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Citrix ICA Client on Fedora 12 64bit

Getting Citrix to work on Linux can be tricky - specially since there is no official 64bit client for Linux. However, with a bit of tweaking, it can be made to work. Here's how:

1. Download the Citrix client from the website . The current version as of this writing is version 11.100
2. Install the OpenMotif libraries
sudo yum install openmotif openmotif-devel
3. Next we need to install the 32 bit version of libXaw.
sudo yum install libXaw.i686
4. Now install the client. Change directory to the location where the client was downloaded and run:

tar xvf linuxx86-11.100.158406.tar.gz

sudo ./setupwfc

5. Follow the onscreen instructions to install the client. I installed client at /usr/lib/ICAClient and disabled Gnome and KDE integration as well as USB support.
6. Restart the browser if it was already open and navigate to your Citrix site. When the browser prompts to download the .ica file, select open with /usr/lib/ICAClient/wfica and you should be able to see your remote desktop on screen.
7. Alternatively, download the .ica file and run /usr/lib/ICAClient/wfica /path/to/my.ica  (Replace /path/to/my.ica with the real path to your ica file.