Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Look ‘ma, again without the wires: Snes9x on Dingux

Look ‘ma, no wires: Hexen and Duke Nukem on Dingux

 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yet another Spout ported to Dingoo

With the release of dualboot, it’s easy to think of non-Dingux ports as so … oh … last week but let’s remember that the Dingoo also comes with a native SDK, and Alekmaul has used it to port Spout ... again.

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Read about it here or here!

Beneath a Steel Sky running on Dingux

‘nuff said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

yoannd26 posts guide to installing SCUMMVM on Dingux

Here is a translated link for those who need to play Beneath a Steel Sky, like, NOW!

Dingoogermany.wordpress.de releases LSChange v1.1

Shockingly, some people think the loading screen for the Dingoo’s default GBA emulator is ugly:

P1000389

No, surely not!

However, if it really bugs you, salvation is here in the form of LSChange v 1.1, which you can read about and grab here: http://a320.freeforums.org/lschange-v1-1-t692.html

image

This cool program is brought to you by www.dingoogermany.wordpress.de – check out an English translated link of this new Dingoo blog here.

Patman toys with box art …

Patman’s done a nice mock up of what Dingoo-“cartridge” packaging would look like.  Nice concept, Patman.

image

Blab about it here: http://a320.freeforums.org/dingoo-cartridges-t654.html

Another PSPingoo video …

Here’s another video review of this Dingoo pretender, which is a little more watchable than the Russian one a few posts below:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Booboo cranks out yet another dual-boot update!

That's right, hot on the heels of the last release comes another update - this time squashing a possibly major bug & further tidying up some other minor annoyances. Booboo strongly recommends all us dual-booters heed his word & update (grab it here). Another recent post on his blog details the tribulations of LCD driver autodetection. If you have any constructive ideas, don't be shy & help him out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Damn that was fast - Updated dual-boot released!

If you are bothered by the slowdown in the original firmware, fear no more, as Booboo has updated the dual-boot installer, and this issue has been resolved. You can grab it at the usual place. Booboo also reveals that things have been progressing quickly because of him taking time off his day-job due to sickness. I think I speak for everyone when I say 'We wish you a speedy recovery & Thank you so much for all your effort!' =] Rest well Booboo, you certainly deserve it!

Booboo identifies the cause of slowdown, readies new release

After posting on his blog a theory about DMA starvation causing the slowdown, Booboo wrote a program to further investigate, and has determined the real culprit: A bug in the original firmware that affects the pixel-clock multiplier. In layman's terms, the pixel clock speed after being initialized on a dual boot system is less than that of the original, leading to the slowdown. However, this also fixes the screen tearing issue, which is an advantage to some. Booboo says that he has already fixed the problem and is readying a new release, but is ironing out some additional discrepancies with the GPIO. He also posted code to aid anyone who would like to write a program that adjusts the pixel clock speed (similar to the programs from A600 that adjust clock speed). Kudos to Booboo for finding (and fixing) the problem so fast!

Dualboot installation fixes Megadrive Emulator screen tearing!

After the installation of dualboot, the infamous tearing problem in the original Dingoo SEGA Megadrive/Genesis emulator appears to be fixed!

Look at this video of the Dingoo running MUSHA after Dingux – no screen tearing at all!  MUSHA, a fast scrolling shoot ‘em up, used to screen tear like crazy before the dualboot patch.

Menu “slowdown” in original firmware after installation of Dualboot? You decide.

Here is a video of the “slowdown” I experienced after installing Dingux Dualboot:

There does appear to be a slight slowdown but it just add a touch of sluggishness, as you can see.  It doesn’t seem worth worrying about as the menu is still perfectly usable.

RIP Michael Jackson

1332423

Dualboot and slowdown – Booboo releases uninstaller

You’ve probably read the news elsewhere, but it’s posted here for completeness. Two steps forward, one step back: it appears that for some users, installing dualboot causes a slowdown of the original firmware menus.  Strangely, the original emulators work fine, and in the case of the megadrive emulator, the problem also fixes the screen tearing. 

For those who find they prefer a virginal Dingoo, Booboo released an uninstaller for dualboot about 2 hours ago.

Read all about it on Booboo’s blog.

Quadomatic posts Open Dingoo dual boot installation guide – and what to do afterwards!

Quadomatic over at the Opendingoo wiki has posted a detailed guide on installing dualboot and what to do afterwards: http://opendingoo.com/wiki/index.php/Dingoo-Linux#History

At present, this guide will help you end up with SnesX - so you’ll at least have a good reason to put up with the possibility of dualboot causing slow menus.  You can also use this link: to help with getting Duke Nukem going.  As the man says, “Come get some!”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Much Adieu About Nothing

BooBoo has decided to change the name "Lingoox" to "Dingux". An update on his blog (now located at www.dingux.com) says that he'd just like to get on with coding & I'm sure no one will have a problem with that ;]. Now we can all put this behind us & get to back to compiling emus!

What's in a name?

Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so shall linux on the A320 ... well ... you know what I mean. BooBoo posted on his blog addressing the recent name-change talk, and he welcomes you (yes you!) to join in! Many names have been suggested thus far, but only one that is available as a domain name will do. Here is a (partial) list of names that have been suggested:

  • Lingoo-X
  • Dingux
  • Lingux
  • Dinlux
  • DinGNU
  • Xingoo
  • Dinux
  • DinTux
  • LingoOS
  • DingoOS
  • DinBoo
  • LinBoo
  • DinLin
  • Dinguin
BooBoo also states that while "BooBoo Linux" is flattering he does not feel right putting his name on it due to the major contributions of those before him. Leave a post voicing your favorite here.

Oh gawd, it’s HORRIBLE …..

This apparently happened to a Dutch poster here, which suggests strongly that if you’ve ever received items safe and sound from Dealextreme, it’s worth reflecting on how lucky you’ve really been.

imageimage 

imageimage

Booboo updates again!

Wahoo, here it is from lingoox.org to save y’all the clicking:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick update

Sorry for the slow updates. I've had to deal with lots of unexpected trouble during testing of dual-boot, plus school finished recently and thus my two daughters require more attention.
I appreciate your support very much and I know you're all holding your breath for the dual-boot functionality, so, please excuse me for the delay.
This is what's been done:

  • Dual boot code has been moved from U-Boot to the SPL: removes tiny delay introduced when booting the original firmware.
  • LCD support implemented both in SPL and U-Boot (both ILI9325 and ILI9331). The LCD now goes live immediately on bootup, which is great when loading linux because otherwise you would see a black LCD for a couple of seconds until the kernel framebuffer driver kicks in, and it is a bit confusing.
  • Implemented access to the SPL area (first eraseblock of NAND) in the linux kernel. This allows flashing the dual-boot binaries from linux.
  • Streamlined the flashing of the dual-boot binaries from linux.
This is what needs to be done:
  • Add a simple dialog that shows a disclaimer and asks for confirmation before flashing the dual-boot binaries.
That is very easy and I just need a couple of hours to do it, so I can assure there will be a release tomorrow or the day past tomorrow.
One final note: someone posted a comment pointing out that lingoox might sound a bit offensive in some contexts. If this is a problem we're on time to change it... so please let me know.

 

Although I urge you all to click on here anyway, to propose a different name for Lingoox, if you’re so inclined.  I have referred to it in the past as Booboo linux – I think it would be a great way for the community to reward him! What do you all think?

PS guys: Look at the second bullet point – Booboo is a perfectionist! I can assure you that don’t get this level of care on multi million IT projects from multinational IT consultancies!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Booboo’s still coding …

I don’t know bout you, but I like to spend any available spare time on Tuesdays with some hard liquor, mindlessly surfing the net, all the better to brace my nerves for the rest of the week ahead, as I struggle with the torturous soul-destroying evil which is full time employment.

Lucky for us all, Booboo appears to enjoy spending Tuesdays optimising code to fit in 8K of memory, among other things:

update

A gentle reminder to all and sundry again from our interview with Booboo not that damn long ago, that he’s got a life too. So all you whinging ingrates – you know who you are - can stop your pitiful whining. Booboo is back!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BTW: Dealextreme is much better

The Dealextreme site appears to be operating much better.  All DDOS problems solved, hopefully.

See? Every weekend, something good happens.

Video and review of PSPingoo

Remember this? Click here to buy one, yada yada.

image 

More information has emerged on it in the DX forums, including this video:

And this review:

If you are looking for a portable emulation machine, this really isn't it. There's the four face buttons and the two shoulder buttons. Well, the shoulder buttons don't do jack in any game. So your emulation enjoyment is limited to games using 4 buttons or less. That limits you to NES, OG 3 button Genesis and GBA & SNES ROMs (That don't require shoulder buttons and will run full speed). That's right GBA and SNES are hit and miss. Some run fine, others run choppy. Turning off audio in the system settings speeds things up, but then you're left with no sound. There are no options for the emulators. No button remapping. There is 1 save state per ROM. And all ROMs are stretched to 16x9. No NeoGeo, MAME, Atari 2600, etc... And when they say BIN format games, it's their own proprietary format. .BIN Genesis ROMs will need to be converted to .SMD
Video playback is great, if it's 16x9 or you don't mind it stretched out. Plays just about anything with the exception of x264. Video playback via A/V cable is horrible unless video is 4:3.
Audio player is good, but doesn't support album art.
FM radio requires headphones as it uses headphones as an antenna.
eBook reader may be the best on earth, but I'll never use it. So if you were waiting on this section, you're S.O.L. Sorry.
Calendar is useless, unless you want to know what day of the week your birthday is on 30 years from now. There's no inputting information into the calendar, so you just kind of look at it.
The camera is pretty decent. The lens says 10.0 Megapixel, but that's an overstatement. It is better than the camera on my BlackBerry Pearl 8100. I'll give it that.
It didn't include a driver CD, so the dude who's getting one on Monday, if you get a disc... hook me up.
The manual says firmware is upgradable, but there's no manufacturer's name, model # or URL listed anywhere.
Bottom line: The 4.3" TFT (480x272) is really nice. It's big, it's bright. If you don't have a Zune or iPod and you want a nice video player with the added functionality of being able to play the entire library of NES ROMs (plus a handful of others), jump on this. If you want a gaming machine, look at the Dingoo or a real PSP.

One more thing, transfer speed using USB is extremely slow. So use a USB micro SD adapter to transfer to that. Also, you can't access the SD and internal memory at the same time. You have to switch between the two in the settings menu. Kind of a pain in the rear.

Well, it’s no Dingoo, but then again, as they say, horses for courses. What I’d like to know is: is it JZ4740 based? Anyone know?

Oh yeah, dualboot, keep the faith, people.  It’ll come, soon, and no one will care it was a couple of weeks later in gestation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Win a Dingoo at Dingoo-Digital.com

Dingoo-digital.com are holding a contest for the upcoming launch of their internet webstore.  You have to design a logo for it.  Read about it here.

Lingoox dmenu … err … take his word for it

What the - is it a Dingoo, Lingoox, or what? Rookie 1 has implemented a menu system for Lingoox which looks like the original Dingoo OS. Read about it and discuss here.  Very nice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ubergizmo d-pad accessory – the Cyber Coin Assist

Being the handheld console equivalent of a sawn off NDS certainly has its advantages, as it means you can readily use NDS accessories like the Cyber Coin Assist if you find Dingoo’s keypad somewhat lacking in travel.  It features on Ubergizmo this week, and distinguishes itself by looking well made and featuring a nice black string.  Can anyone translate the Japanese characters?

image

Thanks to Strider_mtk for the link!

What’s the deal with DealExtreme?

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“STILL down? What about these missing SKUs?! Enough have I had, forsooth. Can I buy retail on Alibaba?”

 

OK, don’t panic.  Really. The Eighth Wonder of E-Commerce, the site which broke my “Gotta buy something on Ebay NOW” addiction (by replacing it with a “Gotta buy something from DealExtreme NOW” addiction), the site that’s sold almost as many Dingoos as Lingoox most certainly will – the best place to source a flashlight, flashcart or garlic peeler – www.dealextreme.com (click here to buy a white Dingoo and here to buy a black one – if you ever can again!) – well, it’s been more disembodied than a dead robed Jedi for close to a week!

What’s going on?

Looks like it’s under a DDOS attack! Fortunately, a brave lone commando from their backup call centre (think his name was Kyle) managed to smuggle the message below to here, hidden in a parcel marked “Gift”:

Dear Valued Customers,

As you may have all noticed that there are constant site offline in the past few days. This is because DX's website was under DDOS attack from Monday and even till now the attack is still going on.

However, our technical team have been working full time on this issue. We have managed to lock down the possible sources of this attack and taken whatever measures that are necessary to fight against this malicious attack. Although the attack is continuing, the website now has turned back to a state that most of the functions are working correctly. There are still some minor issues while visiting but in general the site is secure and especially the orders can be made without problems. The processing of your orders and CSE tickets are not affected.

DX always values each of its customers as the most important resource. The attack is an open defiance against all the customers' interest. Therefore this behaviour must be seriously condemned. Our technical team will continue to fight against this attack and try every possible means to overcome this difficulty. Your understanding is highly appreciated.

Best regards,
DX team

I could not have said it better! Vile DDOS defilers, we condemn you!   Fight the good fight, o’ brave defenders of our right to pitilessly consume! Take heart online shopping addicts.  I promise you, this too shall pass, and if we hold true to our faith:

He that shall live through these dark days of attack DDOS, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say 'To-morrow is the day SKU.176113 arrives, and for this, gratefulness doth flow”   

Then will he strip the parcel and show its contents,
    And say 'These items were never ordered, but I like them anyway.'

 

And now, for something completely different ….

NOTE: Knk left this comment one post down, and it seems to work (you may have to add a security exception to your browser though – and generally, I have no idea how safe or otherwise this is):

https://75.126.181.176/  
use that for dealextreme. Just make sure when dealextreme puts its hostname back in, you put the ip back in

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Begging for VICE

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Well, here we are on the cusp of a new dawn for the Dingoo.  But even after dualboot, something will be missing - until – aww geez, could someone please port VICE, or any other C64 emulator for that matter, please, please, please, please, please, with a big brown cherry on top?

This post, brought to you out of pure personal interest, the fact that DealExtreme has been flaky for more than a week so I can’t waste my time there, and because it’s a slow Dingoo news day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ainu posts something just as important as dualboot – Linux File Manager

Almost as important as dualboot is some way of launching Dingoo apps without a keyboard – and until Gmenu is ported, or a virtual keyboard developed, Ainu’s workaround is going to be very useful.  Read about and grab it here: http://a320.freeforums.org/dingoo-file-manager-or-using-dingoo-without-pc-t608.html

(If you’re so inclined, Ainu’s solution now allows you - even without dualboot - to play ported games without a PC after Linux is launched.  You’ll still need a PC to boot Linux though, and once you turn the Dingoo off, you’ll have to connect to a PC to boot Linux again, of course.)

Well done, Ainu!

Another video is linked here: http://video.mail.ru/mail/klepid/_myvideo/1.html

Zear delivers Blockrage … and a promise of more

From the A320 freeforums, Zear announces:

Hey guys, it's me again, with another port for our Dingoos ;)
This time it's Blockrage - a falling blocks game with quite nice graphics.
It's staticly compiled, so it should work with every rootfs.
The sources are included.
What's even more interesting is the 2-players-at-one-console game mode. Probably a first multiplayer game for A320 :)
So, if you have a second person to play with - try it.
Download: archive mirror
Image


……
And now a little preview of what's coming for Dingoo next time >click<

Discuss it here: http://a320.freeforums.org/blockrage-for-dingoo-linux-t609.html

Sunday, June 14, 2009

These things take time

Patience young skywalker, patience...

Booboo has posted a small update on his blog asking for our patience as he irons out the final kinks before release.
yes, I said I'd be releasing binaries this weeked, but though I've dedicated quite a lot of hours, there were many issues to address. Please be patient.
Just like wine, these things take time to mature, and I'm sure we'd all rather wait a little bit longer for a finely crafted zinfandel than some cheap swill. Keep on chooglin' Booboo!

Booboo’s dual boot update

Just posted on Booboo’s blog:

Still preparing the dual boot package release. Meanwhile, here's a short video of dual boot working. The final version lits the LCD as soon as you switch it on, but shows nothing on it until the kernel framebuffer driver takes control. It's not nice but is better than having a dark screen (which felt like something was not working).
One note on boot time: the current boot process involves u-boot and a one second delay before mounting the root filesystem. u-boot is necessary because we are booting from miniSD and the delay is needed to let the kernel hotplug system detect the miniSD. Eventually, when linux replaces the original firmware (don't hold your breath), those delays will disappear.

 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Zear posts spout for Dingoo Linux

Spout appears to be a thrust clone of sorts:

Image

… and looks like it can double as an Atari 2600 addiction quick fix placebo for the moment.  Grab and discuss it here. Thanks Zear!

Joyrider posts working Duke Nukem 3d video

Yet another thing to try when Dual Boot is released!

Discuss and grab files here: http://a320.freeforums.org/duke-nukem-3d-port-t604.html

Booboo rewrites keyboard driver – comments please

Check out the latest post from Booboo’s dingoo-linux blog:

…….

The normal keyboard map hasn't changed (mimics the GP2X), but now there are special combinations that use POWER and START. I've tried to come up with a clever set of combinations, but I'm always thinking I might be missing something important, so I kindly ask for your comments and suggestions. Please have a look at the keyboard section of the README-A320 file (you can also checkout the kernel code, compile and test it, at least until I release a new kernel binary).

Head on over there and make any comments or suggestions.

Dingoo-Linux status update

Booboo just posted some new info on the progress of his linux port. In a nutshell, he has rewritten the input driver. No word on a release yet, but his most recent changes should be up on google code soon. Here is the full explanation:

Dual boot required a working way to reboot linux and get back to the original firmware, so I set out to implement that functionality into the keyboard driver, and noticed I should be using the input-polldev code rather than the original approach, so I ended up rewriting the driver (and learning in the process quite a lot about the linux input layer).

The normal keyboard map hasn't changed (mimics the GP2X), but now there are special combinations that use POWER and START. I've tried to come up with a clever set of combinations, but I'm always thinking I might be missing something important, so I kindly ask for your comments and suggestions. Please have a look at the keyboard section of the README-A320 file (you can also checkout the kernel code, compile and test it, at least until I release a new kernel binary).
Source

GX-mod starts Dingoo section – with tutorial on launching Heretic and Hexen

France’s http://gx-mod.com/ has now started a dedicated Dingoo forum.  The forum is here: http://gueux-forum.net/index.php?showforum=276

There’s a useful tutorial on it about how to launch Linux (without dual boot, of course), in French here, and translated to English here. It even shows you how to run Heretic and Hexen!

Thanks to yoann26 for the news.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What are you doing on your weekend?

Lots of anticipation over dualboot, of course. Nothing final to report yet, but here's a link from the Google Code linux page on the status of development: http://code.google.com/p/dingoo-linux/updates/list

Last update at the time of this post - 80 minutes or so ago. I'd say, stand by.

Sirchadwick makes Dingoo-Scene widget for Chumby

Of course, everyone knows what a Chumby is, but in case you don’t, it’s a cute and charming, always on “ambient internet device”’, which looks like this:

image

What’s it for? A good explanation is here; and an even more fun one here. Well, Sirchadwick has gone and made a widget for this here l’il ol’ Blog for Chumby, and I’m most touched.  Grab it here. Thank you for your work, good Sirc! (How about one for the Nabaztag next?:))

Now, how many Dingoo owners own a Chumby?

Heretic and Hexen video!

Up and running and well! Great job, joyrider!

DukeNukem 3d (Dance Party Edition)

Zear from the A320 freeforums compiled the above.  The graphical glitches should be quite fixable: read more here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hexen compiled, and Gnurobbo running!

Hexen has been compiled and reported running: http://a320.freeforums.org/hexen-a-first-person-shooter-game-staticly-compiled-t583.html

And here is a video of Gnurobbo running (which you can read about here):

Booboo gets Dual Boot Working!

Booboo reports that dual boot is working (This news is also in a comment to a post below). In any event, this is great news. Read about it here: http://dingoo-linux.blogspot.com/2009/06/dual-boot-working.html

This weekend is shaping up to be very promising.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

By the way, throw some moolah this way

Feel free to drop me a shekel or two with the money you save, and donate by clicking on the button -->

(Try to beat the all time record set for donations so far of $0. Just think – YOU could be the first.)

Any money received will go towards the orphans of Bhutan … (ok, ok, smart crowd) alcohol, drugs and if enough is collected, other sinful vices, like this PSP looking thing. I promise you if it is funded by donations, I will write it up.

Warning, Dingoo “Scam” – don’t fall for it, support this site instead:)

Nhut on the Dingoo Facebook group makes this interesting observation:

“ http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/retro-gaming/bd6f/?ref=c/&cpg=cj
ThinkGeek is trying to sell the Dingoo A320 under a fake (and horrible) name: the "Pocket Retro Game Emulator". For 99.99$, shipping NOT included.
I can understand that.
If they say the name "Dingoo A320", their customers (you know, the "geeks") will google that name, and find out that it's sold on DealExtreme for less than 85$ shipping included. And if you browse around DX you'll find 5$ gadgets sold for 20 on ThinkGeek.
It looks like this "Pocket Retro Game Emulator" is already sold out.
What do you guys think about all this? “

Well, I know what I think. If you wanna buy a Dingoo, get it from DX. Better still, use this link or this one for BLACK, and I get those eminently useless but strangely collectible DX points.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Waternet for Dingoo Linux!

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Joyrider has released Waternet for Linux! Get it here.

Torque starts work on virtual keyboard

Torque has started developing a virtual keyboard, and seems to be making good progress. Read more/lend a hand here.

All CPS2 shoot ‘em up games on Dingoo

 image image image

Great Hahou Daisakusen

Progear

19XX

image image image

1944 – The Loop Master

Giga Wing

Mars Matrix

The shoot ‘em up is a sadly underdeveloped videogaming genre in this day and age (well, there’s Geometry Wars, and … Geometry Wars).

I never mastered any of them, but  I didn’t have to to love them. Nothing is more instantly playable than the following formula: (1) You (2) A craft of some kind (3) Progressively more and more bullets and larger and larger explosions. This might explain why in their heyday, they were as common as first person shooters are today. Development peaked, according to Wikipedia with “Bullet Hell” shmups in the early 1990’s. Capcom’s CPS2 shooters don’t seem to make Wikipedia’s list, but they most certainly qualify as “Bullet Hellish” – and are as fine an example of the visceral pulse pounding adrenaline boosting accessibility of this timeless genre, which may from time to time lie generally dormant, but never ever dies.

Here’s a sampler: if you have the bandwidth, I recommend you go to Youtube and view it in HQ fullscreen!

All the games shown run nicely on the native firmware CPS2 emulator.  A few do slowdown when hundreds of bullets appear on the screen at the same time, but this is one instance where the mere 400MHZ of the Dingoo’s CPU is actually a good thing, as it allows the player to actually have an opportunity to dodge them. The best thing? There’s only 7 of ‘em, and you can get them prepatched for your Dingoo if you poke around here.

Must … play … CPS2 shooters ….now ….

Are you a shooter fan? Name your favourites. What are the ten best shooters of all time?

More Linux developments ....

Over at Booboo's forum, there is news, all good:
* new Kernels to solve the alternative LCD controller problems posted on Google Code
* Dual boot making excellent progress; information on Google Code as well
Go Booboo!
Click here to learn more!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dingoo now on Facebook


That's right, the Dingoo has now joined the ranks of everyone & your mother; it now has it's very own facebook group! Head on over here if you'd like to join the group & see the real faces behind the scene, or over here to give a (somewhat ironic) thank you to 'SONY' of the GP32X forums for setting it up.

Gadgetoid’s Dingoo review

Another pretty detailed Dingoo review has popped up, this time on Gadgetoid.  Read it here: http://www.gadgetoid.com/2009/06/06/dingoo-a320-review/

Saturday, June 6, 2009

An interview with Booboo

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This is a pivotal time for the Dingoo and Linux. Booboo was kind enough to spare some time and answer some questions for the community.

 

> Hi Booboo!

Hi Larry!

> The release of the your Linux kernel has created a lot of buzz. How does this make you feel?

Great!. Really great. I'm not the love-lots-of-attention kind of
person, but it's extremely rewarding to receive acknowledgement for
your effort and encouragement to go on.

> So, are things at this stage, going as you hoped with Linux?

Yes. As soon as a working kernel/rootfs became available a bunch of
coders started playing around with it.

> Now, some people have compiled apps. ezelkow1 is working on the toolchain. Do you know of anything else going on in development world which you are excited about?

Not really. That's pretty much everything we need for the final user:
kernel working, an efficient toolchain/rootfs, and dual boot working.
That's the immediate priority: the final user must be able to run
linuxs emus and apps on his A320, no matter if he has to reboot each
time.
We can then take our time to implement full hardware support in the
kernel and develop a set of applications that replace the original
firmware.

> At the moment, Linux can only be launched from a PC, and the Dingoo must stay connected to the PC at all times.  Of course, being able to launch and run Linux without being tethered to the PC is the key to usable Linux for all. What specific work needs to be done to achieve this - either with or without dual boot?


I've successfully installed and booted linux from the internal flash,
but I feel that is of little use until full hardware support is
achieved in the kernel and a set of base user space applications is
developed (audio player, video player, and such). So, for the time
being (and don't hold your breath), we must keep the original firmware
available and that means we need dual boot.
Dual boot is hard to get working because you must be nice to the
original firmware. That means you can use only certain areas of the
internal flash and tap into the original firmware boot process in a
way that goes unnoticed to it. Not that the original firmware is
actively working to prevent tapping, it's just that it is code
designed for working in a very specific runtime environment and
circumstances and thus it is not designed to handle errors that happen
if that environment changes.
I first tried to tap very late in the boot process (when the ccpmp.bin
file gets executed). That had the advantage of not using any "special"
tool (final users would just need to use the standard firmware upgrade
process), but failed. It turns out that as peripherals and memory
management unit is already initialized, you first have to do a
"cleanup" before the linux kernel starts, since the startup process
expects a very specific system state (ring a bell?), which is as it
comes out of reset.
That first approach is still very attractive due to installation
simplicity for final users, but at this time I've discarded it: I'm
not knowledgeable on the MIPS architecture, but most important, it
can be achieved only via a trial-and-error process which is
impractically slow (the firmware upgrade takes ages).
So I'm working in a solution that taps into the boot process right at
the beginning. The difficulty here is that the original firmware first
stage is also very picky and doesn't work even after minimal hardware
initialization, so I need to replace it by a code that checks the boot
selection and chainloads the original firmware first stage, all
without even initializing the SDRAM (which means you're running on the
instruction cache, which is only 16KB).

> Is it possible this might never be achieved?

I don't think so. I'm almost 100% sure dual boot can be achieved in
the very short term. It is just a matter of time, because as I said
earlier, the only way to debug and get it working is via a painful
(but fortunately quick) trial and error process.


> Is this issue a priority for you?


It is #1 priority, though as you know I've spent some time working on
the sound driver and other things. It's just that sometimes when you
just can't get something working, it's better to switch to another
task for a while.

> How many man hours of work do you think might be involved to achieve this?

It's hard to say because when you do reverse engineering by definition
you're getting into unexplored territory and you don't know what
you'll face. That said, I've spent already a lot of time studying the
original firmware boot process and would say that I'd only need a
couple of days (say 16 man-hours). However, as you can imagine, I
can't work full time on this (have a job and a family) and it might
take one or two weeks actually.
But again, don't hold your breath. I insist that I cannot know what
roadblocks I'm yet to face.

> What specifically could Shenzen Dingoo Digital do to assist? (Pretend for a moment that they were willing to help.)

Provide the schematic of the A320, or better yet (and less unlikely to
happen), provide info on the GPIO usage.
I asked them and they kindly answered that this info is not and will
not be available.
Note that most likely Dingoo has purchased a closed design from a
hardware manufacturer, and I bet they don't have the schematics
themselves. The firmware is also very likely to have been purchased
from ChinaChip, which have access to the schematics or at least to the
GPIO information.

> You are also working on ALSA, fixing up Linux on the newer A320s (and succeeding!), as well as considering Linux on the Gemei 760.  Anything else you're working on?

Have a look at the google code issue tracker. As soon as things get
working, I'll go on working on hardware support  until we have at
least the same functionality than the original firmware, and thus can
replace it.

> There's only 1 Booboo! Are you being stretched too far?

Well... just a bit. I was in between two jobs when I started working
on this project and was able to dedicate some serious hours. Now it's
tougher but I feel VERY encouraged by all the support I've been
receiving. It's very rewarding.
I know I can't do everything. I wish but I'm realistic and I know I
can't. But I was pretty sure I could at least jumpstart it by
providing a practical way for others to join, and I guess I've
succeeded so far.

> Despite the lack of 3d hardware, would playable PS1 or N64 emulators ever  be possible, if Linux for Dingoo was optimised enough?

I'm not an emulator writer myself, but I think the A320 is far from
having enough power to emulate PS1 or N64.

> You have a day job, and I imagine, a full life (you are 37, after all:)). What drives you to toil away at Dingoo Linux?

I enjoy electronics, programming, challenges, and learning. That's it.
In addition, I knew about the A320 when I was in between jobs, so I
had time I could use and though it could be fun and jumpstart a scene.
Now, though one could say I've become now an independent contractor, I
cannot dedicate so much time, but lack of time is partially being
compensated by motivation coming from all the encouragement and
support I've received. Thanks!.

> PS: we are the same age.  What a coincidence!

Yes!

> Booboo, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. The Dingoo community is behind you every step of the way.

Thank you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Booboo solves ILI9331 LCD Controller issue!

image

Happy days! Booboo writes:

A quick news flash: looks like my framebuffer code for the newer A320
works , so we can say all known A320
hardware variants are supported.
I'll go the easy way and will be releasing one kernel binary image for
each A320 variant, until I get my hands on one of the newer A320 and
can implement and test the LCD model detection/selection.

Read more on Booboo’s blog.

Horror newsflash! Dingoo-scene forums defaced! (No one notices!)

Hiya folks.

A rather helpful poster by the name of OpTiMuSpRime or somesuch took me a little too literally and posted some rather … ah … colourful pictures over 44 messages recently. Much as I enjoy a good bit of Transformers porn* every now and again ….

image

…. let’s keep it “R” territory at worst please, people (plus I can’t read Cyrillic script, so I felt I was missing out on something).

So I’ve fried the whole Dingoo-Linux forum thing (I know, I know, I’ve set the cause back at least … 15 minutes), and the new Dingoo-scene forums are now up! Same link, leading to the one and only forum full of that special Dingoo magic and lurv that you can only find here! (Well, I need to believe something and the old one certainly wasn’t full of Dingoo posts …:))

*Megan Fox/Heather Graham/Angelina Jolie pics are acceptable if they can be linked to the Dingoo, however tenuously.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How “big” is the Dingoo, and how much “bigger” can it get, really?

It might be worthwhile to explore the above questions, based on the “facts” available to date.

Stats

Source

Oldest webpage which mentions the Dingoo A320 I can find Dated 30 Jan 2009 http://blog.livedoor.jp/geek/archives/50799703.html
Earliest Dealextreme forum post about Dingoo A320 Dated 9 Feb 2009 http://www.dealextreme.com/forums/Forums.dx/Forum.20217~threadid.270041
Assuming export sales commenced after, say, 3 months of China only sales, the above would make the Dingoo about 9 months old Complete conjecture
Number of Dingoos claimed produced per month in China 30,000 Sofia (Dingoo Digital Rep, 14 March 2009), here
Assuming production for 9 months at this rate, total number of Dingoos produced, ever, as at today 270,000 Complete conjecture and high school maths
Number of completed Dingoo sales on ebay.com (21 May to 3 June 09) 10 sold Here
Number of Dingoos actually sold to people who bothered to click on the Dingoo Market Survey 445 Move eyeballs to right
Total number of registered users on A320 freeforum users 417 http://a320.freeforums.org/
Number of Dingoos presumably sold to people who hate clicking on surveys 269,555 Primary school maths
Number of viewers for most watched Dingoo video on Youtube 109,492 Here.
It’s this video, BTW.
Number of viewers for most watched video on Youtube with “Dingoo Linux” in title 4,321 Here. 
This video.
Number of original Booboo Linux Kernels downloaded since May 18 2009 137 Linux Google Code site
Number of Nintendo DS’s sold worldwide since launch (May 09) ~101,780,000 http://www.twice.com/article/CA6656921.html
Number of PSP’s sold worldwide since launch (Feb 09) ~50,000,000 http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22302
Number of GP2x units sold since launch (31 Aug 08) ~60,000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GP2X
Number of Pandora’s apparently pre-sold ~3 to 4000 http://pandorawiki.org/FAQ#Only_3000.3F.21__What_if_they_sell_out.3F
Number of search results returned by Google for word “Dingoo” ~641,000 Here
Number of search results returned by Google for words “Nintendo DS” ~90,600,000 Here
Number of search results returned by Google for word “PSP” ~277,000,000 Here
Number of search results returned by Google for word “GP2Xx” ~3,360,000 Here

As the old saying goes, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.  But let’s see what we can extrapolate from the above:

1. Where are the missing Dingoos? 445 accounted for via the survey; about 400 people at present are members of the A320 freeforum (presumably they already own, or are keen to buy); about 10 are sold every week or so on ebay.com.  I can’t see how these numbers can support a production rate of 30,000 per month – unless most of these are sold in  China.  Can anyone work out how many Dealextreme has shipped?

2. Knock a zero off Sofia’s claimed production (let’s assume her finger slipped), and the numbers make way more sense.  Say 3,000 produced a month, and 27,000 produced since release. 109,000 people have viewed a Youtube video on the product, preseumably researching it – a 25% ”conversion” rate from people researching to buying would be pretty respectable, and way more believable. 27,000 produced since release would of course make Dingoo a raging success compared against GP2x total sales of 60,000 in total, as Linux is only just bearing fruit on Dingoo.

3. At the rate of 30,000 per month, Dingoo would sell about 1,800,000 in 5 years.  This would still be mere statistical noise when compared against PSP/Nintendo sales over 5 years. And if we drop the zero, Dingoo would, in 5 years, sell 180,000 units v 100,000,000 NDS and 50,000,000 PSP units – less than 1% of either’s total sales! Anyway, we’ll take comfort that the 800 pound gorillas are in a different space than our lightweight Dingoo.

4. Compared against the GP2x, things get very interesting.  GP2x has apparently sold 60,000 units over about 3 years.  If Dingoo really sold 30,000 units a month, it would decimate GP2xover 3 years, with 1,080,000 units sold!  Drop a zero, and things get very interesting: 108,000 v 60,000 over 3 years.  Measured on this basis, Dingoo would be a pretty successful open emulator handheld.

5. Completely unscientifically: The NDS has sold roughly the number of Google search results it has in actual physical units! The PSP manages to “convert” Google search results into sales at a much lower rate, of about 5 search results for every 1 sale.  The GP2x is worse: 60,000 sales v 3,360,000 search results – 56 search results for every unit sold! If we assume then that there is some sort of relationship between number of search results and actual sales, with a minimum of 56:1 for GP2x and a maximum of 1:1 for NDS, we can come up with a figure which is bound to be completely wrong, but fun to work out nonetheless.  Let’s assume the profile of the Dingoo matches that of the GP2x: 56 search results for every physical sale.  This yields a total, as at today, of 11,446 Dingoo units sold - about 1,300 units a month sold to date.  The lower end numbers appear to me much more believable and consistent with the Western “scene” statistics.  But then again, we don’t know about what’s happening in China.

6. Of 417 A320 freeforum members, about 5 perhaps are regularly posting about Linux. I’d count another 8 or so on the Spanish GP2x forums.  About 137 people have downloaded the Linux kernel.  So, at least ~10-15% of Linux kernel downloaders are actively tinkering with it. Check back on the Google code download numbers regularly! It’s the key to monitoring how fast Booboo Linux takes off.

Shenzen Dingoo Digital updates recovery tool

New on the official Shenzen Dingoo Digital Site:

Update the Latest system software with the Recovery Tool an update to A320 system software was released on May,2009. In order to take full advantage of all A320 has to offer, you should download the Recovery Tool then, when you are experiencing difficulties after updating the system software, try to use the recovery tool to troubleshoot the system.

Grab the tool here: http://www.dingoo888.com/manage/download/Recovery%20Tool(New%20Version).rar

Joyrider also ports snes9x

This is joyrider’s Dingoo Linux snex9x emulator port!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Joyrider ports gnuboy

Another day, another working Dingoo port, this time of gnuboy, a Gameboy emulator:

Joyrider says:

ok uploaded the sources of
gnuboy to the archive here http://dl.openhandhelds.org/cgi-bin/dingoo.cgi?0,0,0,0,46,72 it works now (R quits).
and
snes9x-sdl-1.39 here http://dl.openhandhelds.org/cgi-bin/dingoo.cgi?0,0,0,0,46,73  
people can have a go with it. the gnuboy version basicly works like it should although i've seen slowdowns in certain games
the snes9x sources need a little more work like not having the select button to quit the emulator and make it faster but thats something for more knowledged people. Take it as a starter or something to play with

Keep the good stuff coming, Joyrider.

Dingoo makes Slashdot.org

Here is the link to a Slashdot.org page where news that Linux has arrived was posted recently.  More interesting are the comments, which you can find here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1251729 . Join the discussion … there’s not much faith in the product, as far as I can read there …. philistine Dingoo virgins, I say, the lot of ‘em!

Monday, June 1, 2009

CraigX compares Gamepark Wiz v Dingoo A320

This video is dated 11 May, but is worth watching if you haven’t seen it before:

OK, my helmet’s now on for the inevitable ’old news” comments ….

Newer Dingoos = no Linux (Just yet) … so go to www.dingoo-linux.blogspot.com to help the cause!

Booboo has confirmed the following:

Looks like the latest A320s do have a different LCD controller. The
unbricker tool doesn't work and the current kernel doesn't support it,
though I think I have found a way to solve this.
As I was thinking of opening a blog too to post linux-on-the-a320
specific progress reports, I've done it and posted instructions to
dump the first chunk of the A320 internal NAND flash. The LCD
initialization code needed for the unbricking tool and for making the
linux framebuffer work is there, so all I need is that someone with
one of the newest A320 send me the flash dump. Then I will reverse
engineer the LCD initialization sequence as I did before.
The bad part is that either it works at the first try or it won't work
until I can get hold of one of the A320 with the new LCD. So I placed
a donate button. Chances are that I might also be able to purchase a
Gemei x760+ and extend linux support to it...

Visit booboo’s blog here: http://dingoo-linux.blogspot.com/

It’s in everyone’s interest to get Linux consistently working across as many A320s as possible, so please drop a few bucks using the donate button on Booboo’s site.