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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Google docs with puppy?
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mosritemecha

Joined: 04 Aug 2018
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug 2018, 20:59    Post subject:  Google docs with puppy?  

Hey, I wasn't sure if this should go in newbie questions or here but I thought this made more sense.

I have some old tiny netbooks (Dell Mini 910, eeepc) that I'd like to be able to turn into little google docs machines, but I've found that google docs in web browser format is generally too resource intensive to be usable on them when I've tried it with other Linux distros. I'm wondering if anyone here has experience using google docs with Puppy on equivalent hardware and has had success making it run well?

I have also given consideration to using the Android version, but I have found that trying to install Android x86 is still far too much of a hassle for my taste. I don't mind spending a little time on installation but if something doesn't generally follow the "it just works" philosophy for installing I would like to avoid it.

I did also consider trying to emulate Android on these machines to see if the mobile app would be usable through linux, but sadly it seems all good ways of running Android apps require a 64 bit version of the OS. So I'm also wondering if anyone has experienced success at running Android apps through puppy on old netbooks.
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slavvo67

Joined: 12 Oct 2012
Posts: 1570
Location: The other Mr. 305

PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug 2018, 23:27    Post subject:  

I have not used Google Docs with puppy but I do see an interesting package in the Ubuntu Repository available to certain Puppies and Quirky listed as:

unity webapps for google docs

I don't really know much about it and for me to install in RU Xerus64 would take 97 dependencies; so personally I will pass on this.

Interesting question, though.
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 4243
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug 2018, 06:22    Post subject:  

Interesting question, indeed.

AFAIK, Google Docs must be run through a browser, since it's part of Google's 'cloud' infra-structure. Having said which, it doesn't have to be Chrome; the URL is just as easily accessible via Firefox, although I have found there to be one 'caveat'.....you need to be signed-in with a Google a/c for it to work correctly. If you don't, and you want to run this on more than one machine, then without 'signing-in', sync won't work, and you won't be able to access your documents from all machines....

That's just the way it works, I'm afraid.

It is possible to run any page in Chrome as a desktop 'app'. It's a slightly awkward procedure in Puppy, until you know what you're doing; once you do, you'll find it's possible to set any page to be an 'app'. I currently run at least half-a-dozen URLs as separate, desktop 'apps'.....and it works really rather well.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have a look at my 'how-to' for running NetFlix as an app:-

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=112072

As it says in the thread, the procedure can be adapted for any web-page. You do need to install Chrome itself, else none of the above will function.....Chrome itself being the 'back-end' that powers all this.

Hope that helps. I'm afraid this does involve some 'tinkering'; there's no quick'n'easy click-click-click procedure for this (boom! boom! boom! and it's all done), mainly due to the fact there's literally billions of different web-pages out there, every one of which will generate a different ID 'string'. So of necessity, it is a 'custom' procedure for each individual 'use-case'.

But it can most certainly be done.


Mike. Wink

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mosritemecha

Joined: 04 Aug 2018
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug 2018, 08:30    Post subject:  

Mike Walsh wrote:

But it can most certainly be done.


Mike. Wink


This is really cool to know about, though I suspect it probably won't solve the problem on these machines. I don't think it's the browser but the application itself; when running google docs in firefox through a Mint installation on the Dell Mini, for example, the CPU usage goes from very little to through the roof. It seems to have the MS Word problem of constantly bloating over the years. Rolling Eyes Back in the day when netbooks were new I used to use Docs all the time on my trusty old Aspire One and it ran beautifully.

That's where my interest in trying to use the mobile app arises - in my experience it runs quite smoothly even on something like a kindle fire 7. There are methods of running Android apps on Linux without even emulating the OS now like Anbox, but they all only run on 64 bit systems.

Still, your method does look like something worth giving a shot to see just how much can be squeezed out of a netbook. BTW, it looks like there is someone out there who's attempted to make an automated version of the process, though I'm not sure if it's actually doing the same thing as you've outlined: https://applicationize.me/
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Mike Walsh


Joined: 28 Jun 2014
Posts: 4243
Location: King's Lynn, UK.

PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug 2018, 10:30    Post subject:  

@ mosritemecha:-

Mm. Interesting.

Yep, that's essentially the same as what I've outlined; in fact, many tech sites have done 'how-tos' on that process over the years. But the Forum thread is still valid, for the simple reason that adding the extension into the /root/Desktop directory in Puppy does not automatically place an icon on the desktop, nor an entry in the Menu. Puppy does things a wee bit differently to the mainstream distros....including using a 'pinboard', rather than a 'desktop', per se.

Which is why Linux 'power-users', used to doing things in a mainstream distro, come to Puppy, very cocky & sure of themselves, try to do things the way they've always done them.....and fall flat on their faces. Because it doesn't work. And then they start bitching & complaining....

The Puppy Menu Entry needs to be created manually. But that's easy enough to do; just install the NetFlix MenuEntry .pet as supplied, and substitute your own ID string for the one in /root/my-applications/bin. And re-name things, obviously. Then, run

Code:
fixmenus


from the terminal, and re-start 'X'. About 3-5 minutes work, all told.

(And you can change the icon, too, if you want.)

That site will work for 95% of Linux distros. It'll place an icon on their desktops, and an entry in the Menu. But it won't work for Puppy. That 'Desktop' folder is there in all Pups because it's in the parent distros each Puppy is built from, and.....well, I guess it just got left, really.

Nice find, though!

-----------------------------------------

(Edit:-) Hah! Anbox will work "as long as your system supports snaps". In other words, Ubuntu only. 'Bout what I expected, TBH. Snaps are a Canonical 'exclusive'. I know one of our Forum members has figured out a way to get Flatpaks running, but I don't think anybody's quite sussed Snaps out yet...... Personally, I can never quite figure it out. I know both methods are not only containerized, but sandboxed too.....but where's the sense in using an existing package management system simply to install a second package management system? Doesn't make sense to me.

Too confusing for this old mongrel..!

(Edit2:-) Actually, that 'Applicationize.me' does work OK; it places the 'app' on the 'Apps' page (that wee box of coloured squares at the far left end of the Chrome Bookmarks bar). My how-to, however, allows starting that 'app' from the Menu.....without even needing to start the browser. (Although, technically, Chrome is always running for me, since I have a start-up script in /root/Startup that fires Chrome up at boot in the background.)

Code:
#!/bin/sh
# This is silent_launch. ETP Dec 2014
google-chrome --silent-launch &


That 'ampersand' ('&') at the very end of the line is what tells it to run as a background process, y'see. Thus, when you 'start' Chrome, it fires up instantly, 'cos it is in fact already running.....


Mike. Wink

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mosritemecha

Joined: 04 Aug 2018
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug 2018, 20:57    Post subject:  

Cool! Well, I did play around with making google docs an app outside of the browser in Puppy. I found it does indeed run better, though it is still somewhat slow on the Dell Mini. Brand new documents are almost perfectly smooth, but as soon as they build up some length you start getting a delay of 1-2 seconds after typing a character, and it stutters slightly when scrolling. I'd say it's usable, but not great. Definitely the best solution I have seen so far!
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rufwoof

Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 2599

PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug 2018, 09:01    Post subject:  

A revelation for me was to transition over to using html for documentation. That way I can use any simple text editor along with some pretty basic HTML syntax awareness to create/edit documents, and then use a browser to view them and print to PDF.

Spreadsheets is another matter and does require a office type package. I found that whilst gnumeric is OK by the time you install that with all its dependencies there's not much difference to installing LibreOffice. Googledocs spreadsheets however are a good alternative if the content isn't private. The amount of spreadsheet work I do now however is so light that even something like sc-im (sc improved) often suffices for my needs.

When you use cli/ncurses one option is to use tmux, as that way you can even collaborate i.e. someone else ssh into the same box/userid and attaches to the same tmux session, so you both can see/type things. And so light that even low process power devices can be used to connect/run that setup.

So my setup is pretty much run iridium/browser as user, store data/docs under root (cli/tmux/mc) such that iridium is pretty much my desktop (multiple tabs) along with a quick ctrl-alt-Fn over to a cli root console running tmux with multiple windows as and when required (data/docs). As part of that I have one browser tab showing the date and time (also serves as a bookmarks page), another for a calculator (I use a local copy of this one https://www.calculator.net/scientific-calculator.html), another for text editing, another for mail/calendar (online), another for googledocs and yet another for music (local mp4's i.e. use iridium as my multi-media player as well).

I use cwm as my window manager and set a 2 pixel top of screen gap so maximised windows doesn't cover that, so I can left/middle/right mouse click to show the cwm windows/groups/menu (see attached). Or hit the exec keycode and type the first 2 or 3 letters of a program to focus down to a single program name and press Enter. I also have skippy-xd running and a bottom left hot corner - mouse into that and up pops a view of all windows, click the one you want to bring to the foreground. So I run all windows maximised and just flip between them using either a left click in the top gap, bottom left corner or alt-tab between them. On the tmux side again full size windows and I've set F12 to tab between them. Whilst I'm ok with keeping a online set of docs/data/calendar/diary/email ...etc. I only use that for stuff I'm not bothered who sees. I do have another set of (local) private email/diary ...etc alongside my root owned private docs/data. I've set that up to be in a encrypted file filesystem that I mount for access (moderate barrier in the event of the HDD being lost/stolen) - which also makes backing up those files easy (single file copy/archive). The only inconvenience is copying/pasting over from browser (user) to data (root), when I usually first port that through /tmp (copy in browser, paste to a file in /tmp, switch over to root and insert/move that /tmp file content to wherever).

I run OpenBSD which comes with X and a web server as part of the base installation, I have a fixed domain name that points to my dynamic IP so that whenever online anyone else can access the web server - handy for sharing larger files with others that are too large for sending via email.

Pretty much the complete opposite to Mike's typical crowded desktop. Mine at first boot up is just a wallpaper image, no tray, no window titles, no icons ...etc. Configuration of that can be just a handful of lines. And my workflow has increased significantly, and not tending to tweak configuration/layout etc. to make things 'look better' (other than a periodic change of wallpapers).
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