Openbox Desktop with Rox-Filer Icon Bar.

Live Linux Distro for Using Printer Port with Electronics

by Lewis Loflin

  
  

See YouTube videos:

  • Create Your Own Linux Desktop with Openbox
  • The emphasis here is to use "lite" and low resource Debian Linux configurations for older PCs and Raspberry Pi. The ideas come from Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux which today is replaced by non-Debian Tinycore which to me isn't very functional.

    Be it a PC or Raspberry Pi I have used variations of the following and gotten memory usage down to between 50MB and 70MB:

    JWM window manager (Windows like) with PCmanFM for a desktop manager like LXDE

    JWM, Openbox, or Fluxbox with the Rox-Filer desktop.

    Rox-Filer and pinboard.

    Or mix and match all kinds of combinations.

    (Above) Openbox Desktop with Rox-Filer Icon Bar and XFCE4 Panel, FEH wallpaper setter.

    This is a "LIVE" Linux distro that requires no installation!

    Light weight distro for use on older machines or new.

    Requires 512K RAM and 1 Gig. Processor - can work on less but slow. Flawless with 512K and 1600mHz Sampron with old AOpen board. Low RAM usage - often under 100 meg.

    Debian based system that's easy to upgrade or add additional programs - based on Wheezy.

    Download pport-1.0.iso from Sourceforge.com then burn to DVD (file size 920 meg.), insert into DVD drive and reboot. Make sure PC is set to boot from DVD ROM.

    This is pre-configured by myself to use Python to control the printer port. Python can be run from IDLE or Geany.

    All of my PPORT electronics projects will work without installation to a PC.

    See Programming the PC Printer Port in Python

    Programs can be saved to thumb drive in LIVE mode.

    This can be installed to a PC if desired. Right click and open the Openbox menu, go down to System Tools, then click on Install wattOS.

    This includes two desktops: Openbox and JWM controlled by lightdm - doesn't use .xinitrc.

    Openbox uses the XFCE4 Panel or tint2. (Use only one!) Also can use the Rox Panel and/or Rox Pinboard. View screenshot using Rox panel and XFCE4 panel.

    Use JWM with Rox Pinboard only. View screenshot.

    Boots to Openbox Tint2. Log out then select JWM log back in. User name lewis PW lewis.

    SUDO already set to keep from having to give password. Also great for learning Linux.

    Based on modified WattOS - http://www.planetwatt.com/

    Programs included:

    File managers: added Rox-Filer and Thunar - removed pcmanfm This includes the Rox Pinboard for fast and versatile icon placement. Pinboard can be cut on-off under menu control.

    Terminals: added Lxterminal and Rox terminal - both with cut-paste, etc.

    Shells: bash, dash, sh

    Programming: Python 2.7, Python 3.3, C, Geany, Idle, Beaver, etc.

    Will program Arduino - version 1.0.1. Note: never tested on live setup but works fine installed. Will auto-detect USB.

    Multimedia: VLC media player, added XMMS audio player, both "drop and drag" plus Zmixer, AlsaMixer, and Pulse Audio volume controls and (if installed to a fast machine) Record My Desktop.

    Zmixer was compiled by me and isn't in Debian repositories. Same is true of Beaver and Viewnior.

    Debian packages also available from website for download for use on other Debian based distributions. To install in a terminal after download:

    lou@box$ sudo dpkg -i package_name.deb

    I compiled the following 32-bit packages:

    beaver_0.4.0-1_i386.deb
    zmixer_0.2.1-1_i386.deb
    viewnior_386.deb

    Also see https://sourceforge.net/projects/pportlivelinux/files/debian/

    Text editors: Nano, Leafpad, Beaver, Geany. Nano is terminal only - useful if X11 video fails.

    Internet: Qupzilla, Dillo

    Office: Abiword similar to Microsoft Word, added Foxit Reader for PDF files.

    Graphics: Viewnior, FEH for wallpaper setter - removed gpicview.

    Viewnior is a great but light weight image viewer for most file types.

    Use XRANDR to change display resolution. Type xrandr then enter to see resolutions available. Then select desired resolution. Caution: selecting non-standard resolution will play chaos with display and could damage older monitors! Ex:

    lou@box$ xrandr -s 1024x768

    FEH is a command line image viewer and wallpaper program. Ex:

    lou@box$ feh --bg-scale '/usr/local/backgrounds/spring.jpg'

    Creates hidden file .fehbg in home directory - can be executed in a shell such as sh:

    sh ~/.fehbg &

    See Use FEH under Linux for a Wallpaper Setter

    Extras: Watsup for system stats with the ability to terminate running programs.

    Linux Videos

    Raspberry Pi and Linux

    With the release of Raspberry Pi 3 I operate that as a low-end PC and it works well for many things.

    Raspberry Pi is an ARM processor based mini Linux computer clone. It has addressable hardware IO to connecting external circuitry. These projects are in Python a high level interpreted language finding many modern applications, or in C.

    Here I again concentrate on hardware interfacing and an introduction to setting up the operating system in Debian Wheezy and installing a real time hardware clock. The Linux I setup here can be used in any Debian based system even a common PC.

    Python is SLOW compared to C used on Arduino, but is great for a user interface. So I look into alternative interface setups to use say An Arduino to handle low-level electronics.

    I also use "light" Debian programs for Raspberry Pi ported over from Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux because as a PC Pi is slow and weak. Many of the operating systems often touted elsewhere some will hardly operate. Instead of LXDE I use JWM and Openbox.

    Here I concentrated on building a fast Linux based operating system to get some weaknesses in Raspberry Pi.

    Connecting PC Printer Port to External Electronics

    Below are listed a series of projects using pyparallel and electronics. We will use a common PC printer port to learn basic python and electronics interfacing. Starting with routines I wrote to aid students I'd advise walking through this in sequence. Have fun and send comments and/or corrections to lewis@bvu.net.

    If using the above bootable DVD it's setup to start interfacing the PC printer port.

    Printer Port Projects Main Page

    Videos:
    Connect Electronics to PC printer Port with Python
    Setup PC Printer Port with Python-Linux
    Use PC Printer Port to Read Analog Voltage


    Read-Write Arduino ADC PWN with Printer Port
    Printer Port to Serial LCD Display
    Connect Arduino to PC Printer Port for advanced control

    See How I got into Electronics



     


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