My Nokia N810 internet tablet

I’ve bought (ebay) a new (?) Nokia N810. I know it is no smart phone, but it was cheap (€220) and I think it will be fun getting it running. It is essentially a linux computer: nothing for consumers, but for hackers (this is how I understand the internet gossip).

It does not connect ot the wireless network at the office ( However, it does at home :

Security Mode: WPA-PSK

WPA-PSK Preshared Key: **************

WPA-PSK Encryption: TKIP

WPA-PSK Version: WPA

Should be WPA at the office also, but no preshared key there. Will check that.

Consequently, I follow the web page “”. Unfortunately, becomeroot has diappeared from However, gossip says that I can use “rootsh”. I install that. Later I find out that installing all catalogues from gronmayer messes up the program manager. I delete them all.

Actually it works and is easier than described: my SpeedTouch router tells me the adress of the Nokia N810 on its http maintainance page. And I can log in as root with ssh.

I create a user steier. I can log as steier over ssh now also, but I do not completely see all advantages.

I flash the newest firmware (I had it probably already). Is is complicated by the fact that Nokia does not call this “flash firmware” but something like “software update”. This removes all settings!

I try to download software from the page

However, if a click the “Install” button, just a strange test window appears and nothing happens. I think nokia has really not put any effort into this device, and the community playing with it is apparently not focussing in getting something working.

This will become difficult…

Mar 12, 2009

After removing the gronmayer catalogues, it seems to work better. Now a download of vpnc + gui works from In the gui, I create a new vpn connection to, using the settings suggested by the univie installation pages for ubuntu. Works! The download has also installed new catalogues, which seem to work better.

I could not connect to the internet over the Nokia 6021, GPRS. I have chosen the A1 live! configuration, but this apparently does not work. I have to find the proper configuration…

I get the WPA at the university finally operable. However, I cannot remember which parameters I entered, and I cannot find it anywhere in the configuration… Suddenly the connection breaks, and I have to log in three times before the authentication works. The configuration is: eduroam/WLAN; eduroam, Infrastruktur, WPA with EAP; TTLS; Certificate: None, MSCHAPv2; no Proxy; THPC for IP adn DNS; 100 mW, Poer save: On(Max)

I install rootsh with the application manager.

I can connect with ssh -X to a linux server, and start Firefox there. Works great, much better than the built-in local browser. However, when I minimize the window, I can no longer access it! I think it is still there?

Actually, this is an issue already discussed:

Though, not solved! Not even a hint how to display the window again by command line, etc.

tunnel a ssh tunnel through a the vpn for vncviewer:

Based on information from

I find the following command line:

ssh -L 5902:axel:5901

connect with vncviewer to


Settings for aonspeed adsl gprs:



Name des Zugangspunktes: GPRS

Einwahlnummer: *99#


Kennwort: ppp

TPHC, but not for

Primäre DNS:

Sekundäre DNS:

Nur-Text_login zulassen

PPP-Komprimierung verwenden

Ergänzende AT-Befehle: at+cgdcont=1,”IP”,””

Suddenly I have troubles accessing the larger part of the web: temporary failure in name resolution, both through the Internet, and also through the phone as GPRS Modem. Is this a problem with the bit mask? I select in my SpeedTouch ST585 wireless router that the device always gets the same address On the device I configure it as not using DPHC; subnet mask, default gateway, Static DNS 1:, Static DNS 2: I have this numbers from ipconfig on my laptop.

Now this is weird! I still cannot access google, but I can still can access!

Mar 13

At the university, the wireless still works. I find out that there are tools to debbug the internet. however, they are in /sbin/ and this is not in the path of the user! (what does nokia think that the xterm is good for?)

I have finally solved the problem with the broken connections with ideas from

Actually , vpnc writes a file /etc/resolv.conf. This file assigns a fixed DNS server, and in my case. This messes up the connections where these are not reachable. I move the file to resolv.conf.back, disconnect and connect the wireless, and it works. I will continue working on getting the vpn later.

Mar 15

I installed AbiWord, since I simple need .doc access (a short note to all freaks: this is the format of 99.99999% of all documents created by users). It sometimes stalls, especially with a certain file that I downladed for testing. On restart, it always tries to reopen that file and stalls again. I look for the file (stored in “Documents” from from the browser, and cannot find it in /home/user/MyDocs on the command line. Interestingly, the subfolders of MyDocs are all hidden (i.e. start with a .). This joke costs me several hours of googeling. Finally, I can enter the directory to remove the file. Now abiword works again.

I try to set up abiword as the standard application to open application/msword. Gossip says this has to be configured in /usr/share/applications/default.list. I try to edit this file, but I find no suitable editor but vi: in maemo, one cannot start an application with “osso_notes “. This just opens an empty editor window! Google says that one has to do some “dbus use” to do so. maemo developers really can bring you down.

In a certain note on some blog there is a description of editing a file with leafpad by typing “leafpad “. I install leafpad, but I only get “D-Bus library seems to be incorrectly set up; failed to read machine uusd: Failed to open “/var/lib/dbus/machine-id”: No such file or directory”. I find out that the reason was that I was root! I can only start applicatiosn as user. I hope I can edit the config files as user…

No. It does not work. It asks for a location inside /home/user… The maemo developers really bring me down…

There is an utility Dbus-Switchboard Version 1.2.7 from I try to install it, but it complains about non-exiting libraries.

I really hav to use vi… grmph. Is there really no progress since the PDP 11/34?

I enter the line


… does not work.

Abiword constantly crashes. E.g. if one tries to save a .doc, or if inserting a table, etc. additionally, it is apparently not at all integrated into the desktop environment.

I decide to install Easy Debian (from For this, I buy a 8 GB SD card. The install works! I can find no AbiWord, and from the icewm everything is too slow. However, I can start open office from the OS2008 menues and it works not too bad, and seems stable – and well integrated! Also the Kazehakaze Web Browser look reasonable.

Web pages say that I should create an ext filesystem partition to run debian from. I will try that, following

… works. I had some troubles with the SD card jumping out of the device since the latch was not well closed.

I go back to Dbus-switchboard. Following the forum I install the python run-time library.

sudo gainroot

apt-get update

apt-get install python2.5-runtime

… works.

I try install Dbus-switchboard again … works.

With switchboard configurator I can select the application for .doc (openoffice writer) -> works. I oofice is not already running, it takes 1min 20sec to open a 1-page doc. Not too bad.

I think my tablet is now really useful.

Maybe I should add my approach to some discussion page.

I find out another problem: in the 6th floor of our lab, there is only a 5 Ghz WLAN (channel 36), which the Nokia 810 can’t use. The lan from the other house (channel 11) is too weak to use (-90 dB).

Mar 22, 2009

So now this really sucks. Everything seemed to work now, but when trying to transfer a file via usb to the internal memory card, the nokia has lost both cards. I find out that the external card is now mounted in /debian/media/mmc1. The internal card is mounted nowhere. Additionally, I can no longer access the internal card as /media/mmc2. In /etc/fstab, there is suddenly a vfat mount line for mmc1, and none at all fo mmc2.

I decide to boot without external card. Now the internal card is again visible! In the /etc/fstab, there is a mount line for vfat mmc2. I insert the external card. Now it is visible also!

I reboot: Everything still works!

Mar 30, 2009

Coming home from Japan, I have to reconfigure my A1+ connection which I deleted accidently. Using the information from above, it works.

Apr 10, 2009

When I try to install OSM2Go from, the program manager says that he cannot install the program since there is not enough space left on the device. After this, the program list of the device manager is gone. Robooting leeds to several consecutive automatic roboots. Finally the situation settels, but the restore function of the program list does not work (given an error message). I do another backup and start reflash the device. Thus, if you really have plenty of time, buy a N810.

After the reflash, the Program manager reinstalls all programs from the internet! Some programs ask strange things (especially debian threats to download the image again, which is on the external SDcard already). I say ok to everything, and it seems to work so far…

I try to install OSM2go a second time, and it works without problems…

Apr 13, 2009

The reflash has also damaged the debian installation. The /home/user/.chroot has to be changed again.

Apr. 15, 2009

This device really is a mess, especially the lack of any reasonable recommendations in the forums how to use it: half of the applications are complete garbage, and nobody says that! Everybody does just as if they would work? You have to read through the complete tablettalks and install the software yourself to find out finally that the programs do not work at all for nobody.

The Easy Debian Installation did work previously, but for its inability to store any presentations. However, after the reflashing it gave strange error messages. Additionally, I found out that the ext2 partition cannot be read by windows: Essentially none of the utilities offered in the Internet does work! The best one says that the card is 256 bytes units and it can only read 128 bytes. Thus, I decided to reformat the card to FAT32, and to install the easy debian again. Unfortunately, now the debian does not mount the /media/mmc?/, so I cannot access my files.

Rebooting does not help. I try to remove the battery => Now it works.

I tried to install Debain Abiword with the isomount ( untitlity, motivated by – however, it complains that insmod cannot add a file, since it is already there. After this, the mount fails. Wrong file format – the image is still zipped?

I try unzipping the image… … works! Despite plenty of error messages, Abiword starts from the command line using ext2run…

In install the handler in dbus-switchboard, and now the debian abiword loads in approx 30 sec, and it is quite responsive. No crash during first test.

I will now copy my files from Arbeit on the Laptop to the SD Card. I will try to do this with VuBrief, and I will exclude OLDVERSIONS folders…

I learn from some internet talk that the N810 does not really reboot when it is switched off and the line power is connected: it is till running and even accessible by ssh. Only the screen is off! This might explain some of my problems, where I actually did not reboot when I wanted to!

2009-05-14 ps

Apparently, there is no way to get either the built-in modest or claws mail to open a saved e-mail from a file (with extension .eml). How to get the file opened in osso-notes (following

edit /usr/share/mime/packages/osso-notes.xml: insert


update-mime-database /usr/share/mime

update-desktop-database /usr/share/applications

The osso-update-category-database also mentioned does not exist.

However, now the mails are opened as plain text at least.


Edit the keyboard mapping (using

Edit as root /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/nokia_vndr/rx-44


key { [ BackSpace, BackSpace,Delete, BackSpace ] };

Now Fn-Backspace is Delete. This is e.g. needed by gnumeric to clear cells.

Setting up my Vista Laptop as a wlan hotspot for my N810

By petersteier

Hints on

lead to

This is for XP, but I will give it a try…

However, I find an assisant in the setup network… to create an Ad-Hoc Network. I chose WEP as security, and a five-character key. Assign the network as “public”.

I allow connection sharing for LAN connection.

The Nokia now connects to this network without any configuration: great!

Mar 29, 2009

I find out that using the wireless for an Ad-Hoc network has changed the configuration of the wireless card to not using THPC. I witch it on again, to get a wireless connection at home. This seems to be quite a bug, I do not know what other configuration it changes.

Apr 4, 2009

The same for a different Hotel in Austria. I get Internet connection on the Laptop, but this time the LAN sharing does not work. No sensible error messages (actually, none at all, but: “server not reachable” on nokia. No ping, nothing.

I reboot the Nokia.

By the way: how can one delete old Wireless connections in Vista? The Windows Vista Network setup is really a mess, all options spread over 99 different dialog boxes/windows with meaningless names. – ok, there is some link to “manage wireless connections”. Why two different dialogs, not a “delete” button in the “Connect” Dialog?

I will now follow to set up a wap2 instead of an wep. Maybe this works? … The dialog presnted at that website has a “Turn on internet …. sharing” section, which does not exist on my computer. It may (?) be that this doesn not appear since internet sharing is already turned on. However, then the section should still be there, you …. …. from MS, and should say that it is already turned on. This are GUI guidelines form 1970 Xerox Park already, and they make more sense than every innovation from microsoft. Thus, if the network does not work, I have the feeling that the reason is the missing section… By the way, should there be no section “Turn off…” it is already switched on?

I find out that one can turn off the sharing in the properties dialog of the LAN-connection. In the next try, the “Turn on section appears, and I can share the internet connection – however, it still does not work! My Nokia N810 tells me that that the WEP connection was established, but no connections work. On the wireless connection, there are after some inital DHPC requests no more packets but beacons at all (using Network Monitor).

I find out that the DNS-Servers are the problem: I can access when I use

Unfortunately there is no information on the net how one can find out the network configuration in meamo (like the Windows advanced wireless connection status).

Apr 6, 2009

Ok. Continue. I try to find tootls to check the internet configuration on my N810.

The DNS is stored in /tmp/resolv.conf ( It says as it should be on a Windows Ad-Hoc network ( I can ping this computer (network monitor shows it is really the laptop).

nslookup works also and yields several adresses 74.125.39.xx with .147 in the list! A strange thing is that it shows Server

…! When I try google in the Maemo-Browser now, it works!? Also… apparently, something I have done has re-initialized maemo’s name-server? This seems to be a bug…

Apr 6, 2009

Next evening, same game: the network again fails. There is not even a /tmp/resolf.conf now. I disconnect both networks, connect again, and now there is a (correct) one. ping works, however, ping or nslookup to does not. Apparently, the name server does not respond?

I close the osso_xterm and the web browser. When I open osso again, nslookup can resolve Also the browser now works.

This is funny. In principle computers are deterministic machines.


I have now a problem already in discussion at Bugzilla #3415. I install the syslogd as suggested.

Additionally, I install the Midori Browser, which, at least for this page, performs much better.

Midori works well but has no “download manager” – which means that you cannot download anything! I try tear as my browser. It seems to be similarly fast with this site.


After awfully suffering from crashes on wake up from sleep (bugzilla #3415,, I decide to reflash my device and to install ne software at all. Actually, 99% of the open source stuff available for this device is crap (Exceptions: maemomapper, Osm2go, abiword, FBreader). I will see whether this changes the behavior.


I’ve since months abandoned my N800; it was actually a failure, and could not provide the functionality it promized. This experience was the reason why I did not buy a Nokia N900, but went for a Motorola Milestone. Still, I have a lot of sympathy for the N810, with Android it would be perfect.


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