TTYtter for the N900

A quick documenting of how I got TTYtter running on the N900/Maemo5.

0. Missing curl

TTYtter requires curl for OAuth, but curl isn’t packaged in the maemo5 repositories (libcurl is — which is frustrating. The particular reason for the frustration will be made clear later…)

That being the case, let’s build curl! I grabbed the sources for the version of curl that matched installed libcurl from the relevant source package page on, unpacked the tarball and patch -p1’d the gunzipped patch.

1. What didn’t work

The first half-hearted attempt was to build curl using the cross toolchain I have installed on my gentoo desktop (built with crossdev -t arm-linux-gnueabi). I had little hope that this would just work, and a quick ./configure –host=arm-linux-gnueabi –prefix=/home/user/local && make && make install && scp -r /home/user/local n900: (or something like it) later, it didn’t — the foremost hurdle being that maemo5 uses an antiquated glibc-2.5 (2005, yeah!), and my toolchain uses (and thus generates programs that expect) glibc-2.11.3.

Persisting with my all-too-modern toolchain seemed likely to be a whole lot of effort — I decided to go with what appeared to be the Official method — the probability of success seemed marginally higher.

2. What worked

I installed scratchbox and built it there.

i. Installing scratchbox

I first found this MaemoOnGentoo outline which was got me started. Rather than the emerge command listed on that page, I ended up needing something like:

emerge scratchbox scratchbox-devkit-debian scratchbox-devkit-perl \
scratchbox-devkit-cputransp scratchbox-devkit-doctools \
scratchbox-toolchain-cs2007q3-glibc2_5 scratchbox-devkit-qemu\
scratchbox-devkit-git scratchbox-devkit-svn

As per that page, I needed to re-emerge xorg-server with the kdrive USE flag to build xephyr.

Started scratchbox with /etc/init.d/scratchbox start

From that point on, the Manual Installation instructions for the SDK from generally worked — I added a user with /scratchbox/sbin/sbox_adduser, added my user account to the sbox group. (Actually, not really knowing what I was doing, after doing that, I ran the script, which seemed to do the right thing)

I needed to manually install the Nokia binaries/apps as per the Manual Installation instructions.

That done, I was able to start the SDK UI inside a xephyr window. i.e. Xephyr :2 -host-cursor -screen 800x480x16 -dpi 96 -ac and (inside a scratchbox prompt) DISPLAY=:2 start

(Having the UI running is the Hello, world! ‘proof’ of functionality — it may not count for much, but it’s nice to see)

ii. Building it there

Once there’s a functional scratchbox environment, the next thing to do is to build the package.

I naively followed the relevant parts of the example from the Packaging guide on

Taking the source (as mentioned before — de-tarballed sources with patch applied) it became apparent that the necessary configuration was already in place to build the desired .deb (so much of the guide was unneeded for this task). In fact, from what I recall, the only command from that guide that was necessary was dpkg-buildpackage -sa -rfakeroot -k<my email address> (run using the FREMANTLE_ARMEL tool config)

End result: a bunch of files, including curl_7.18.2-8maemo6+0m5_armel.deb — the frustration mentioned earlier was that the config exists to build this, and that packaging curl for maemo5 would have been approximately zero extra effort.

(Nothing is ever actually zero extra effort. I know this.)

scp curl_7.18.2-8maemo6+0m5_armel.deb n900:, and install with dpkg –install curl_7.18.2-8maemo6+0m5_armel.deb and TTYtter gets the curl.

3. The final bit

TTYtter starts, but it’s not quite working yet. Maemo5 has a prehistoric perl-5.8.3 (2004, woo!) which appears to lack the kind of UTF8 support that TTYtter wants.

To work around this, start TTYtter with the -seven option.

4. Too long; don’t care

The package is here: curl_7.18.2-8maemo6+0m5_armel.deb
(The original source is here with it)

As root, install the package (dpkg -i curl_7.18.2-8maemo6+0m5_armel.deb) and then (as the regular user) grab and run ttytter -seven

TTYtter is by far the best Twitter client I’ve used on this phone — not least because it works.