WebKit GTK on iRex Digital Readers

When I joined Collabora last year I started to work on porting WebKit GTK to a device produced by iRex technologies based on the GNOME mobile stack and with an electonic paper display. My task was to make WebKit usable for the browser that they want to ship with the next version (with Wi-Fi connectivity) of their device, this meant adding missing features, fixing various bugs and adapting WebKit to work well with this kind of devices.

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

At FOSDEM I willl give a talk on what I did and I will have with me a DR 1000S, so you can play with it (I suspect that most people will follow the talk only because of the nice toy ;))

iRex DR 1000S
An iRex Digital Reader 1000S

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Sei un grande!

Do you know if it will be possible to build and execute custom GTK apps on this thing? It would be great. In the meanwhile, I’ll just hope for the prices to drop to human-bearable level.

Great work!

Almost everything is open and the source code is here: http://developer.irexnet.com/pub/iOn/

You can use the provided SDK and qemu image to develop and what you want. You should be able to run without changes most of the normal GTK-based programs, but you have to make some changes if you want nicer integration with the rest of the platform.

WOW! Marco, we are distributor and partners of iRex in Italy, and VERY interested on what you’re doing with the DR1000… keep in touch!

¿Do you know if this is going to be supported for IRex Iliad series too? I have one and would like to see this work on it.

No, because the software stack is too different and porting it would be a pain :(

Shame the thing is *so* expensive. :/ Hope that the company survives the Kindle onslaught!

It also have a very big screen. In the UK you can get it for 469£, not cheap but better than in other places.

Erm forgot to say that you can get it for 469£ from Borders.

Yeah, huge screen, which is very nice. That is why I have been tempted to get one, despite the price.

I love it. But a bit expensive :(

Wow! I want one of those! After reading up on the specs, this must be ideal for taking notes etc at lectures! And with it being open source – ‘the sky is the limit’. :) How long does the battery last? Will your talk be recorded?

Note that the screen redraw is very slow compared to a normal display. There are some ways to make it fater for things like taking notes but it’s not like writing on real paper. Instead, if you just want to add some comments to a PDF the iRex DR works very well.

I don’t think that the talk will be recorded but I gave a similar one at linux.conf.au and the video should be online in the future (dunno when).

Oh, so it won’t work that well for lectures ( taking notes ), then? Hopefully, this will get better as the technology matures. I just hope it will before I finish my master degree. :)

Why do the requirements say: Windows® XP or Vista®?

Missing Linux here …

No reason, it’s just USB mass storage.

@Mats Taraldsvik:
Re note taking and screen refresh speed, there are actually several different ways of refreshing the screen, with various trade-offs; in particular, it is practical to scribble notes on a document as one would with a biro (i.e. just over the top), and editing a text field in a form is just about acceptable, but it’s not so practical to insert text into an existing document and have the later text reflow accordingly as one types.

@Ignacius: I’ve tried to develop for the iLiad, and I found it very painful, largely because it uses older versions of key software such as Linux (not supporting current standard ARM ABI), glibc (thread-local storage difference), and (less harmfully) gtk, making it harder to run existing ARM binaries; and even chroot fails to work. It’s easy enough to get hello-world running, or even a gtk equivalent, but to port existing software typically requires recompiling current versions of lots of libraries and their recursive build dependencies, which can be very painful.

The iRex DR uses very recent software, most libraries are the most recent available version.
Programming with the SDK and the qemu images is easy and doesn’t require access to the device. If the program works on it then it will probably just work on the real device.