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?


Dasun said...

Finally a post. He He , just as thought , u erased Meamo? :)

JanuZ said...

Pretty silly thing to do actually. But it was fun and being able to use a full sized keyboard is awesome!
Easy-Debian runs inside Maemo. So you get the best of both worlds :)

forsagar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
demonsdread said...

its not silly, think about playing quake 3 on your phone with computers keyboard/mouse, fun stuff ..
currently mouse runs on maemo screen but not in game :)) trying to get it working though