So as noted previously, I went travelling without a notebook, but with a Xaomi tablet, a portable keyboard, and a copy of UserLand Linux.
How did that go?
Surprisingly well. Actually I ended up using another keyboard, a cheap “cover” with keyboard built in, no Bluetooth but micro-USB. And I had to get an adaptor (more expensive than the cover) from micro-USB to USB-C.
But it worked OK.
Except … no question-mark key. Which was a real pain. It had one, theoretically, but no combination of keys seemed to make it come up.
So I would have to unplug the keyboard to get Android’s own virtual keyboard every time I needed a question mark. (Except where Emacs autocomplete of Clojure names provided the name)
But apart from that …
lots that was very good.
I ended up loading Ubuntu into UserLand. (This was obviously ARM Ubuntu) … and it all just worked like a Ubuntu Linux should.
I was running Mind Traffic Control, no problem.
I was running Emacs, no problem.
I was coding Clojure, no problem. I coded Python, no problem. I ran and played with SWI-Prolog. No problem.
I didn’t end up working on what I thought I would work on, but I did a remarkable amount of Clojure programming.
Yes it was a tiny screen and keyboard and I’m happy (and more comfortable) to be back home now on my larger laptop. But it didn’t stop me doing real work. Checking it into git, and pushing it to GitHub.
I even did real Python programming, without the external keyboard, in portrait mode, in Emacs. And, a bit of Prolog.
I was also successfully running a web-server based Clojure application, and interacting with it through the standard Android Chrome browser.
It all basically did work.
This tablet is plenty powerful enough for the kind of things I’m doing.
And Linux is Linux.
And Clojure is awesome. 🙂
So … I’m happy.
What’s still a bit of an outstanding issue is synchronization.
The code I was writing that can be seen by the public, I could just push to GitHub. The data I was working on which wasn’t public, I could only sync when I got home, using rsync.
It’s OK, but it’s a fiddly manual job.
And incomplete rsyncing + git (+ syncthing I wasn’t using on the trip because I had no permanently on machine to sync to) seemed to lead to corruption of git repositories.
But, in general … this is a good (or certainly good enough) tablet. Linux is great. Clojure, Python, Prolog, Emacs and Git are all awesome.
And I’m hoping I can establish a rhythm / modus operandi where I can take the tablet as a laptop substitute (because there IS a significant weight difference)
This is still only the beginning of making my tablet actually useful rather than ThoughtStorms:WhyIsMyPhoneSoUseless
But I’m more confident.