Gtk+ application on NanoNote: OpenWRT vs JLime

Recently I have compiled my small Gtk+ program for both available linux systems for the Ben NanoNote: the OpenWRT and the Jlime. So below are my experiences.

OpenWRT Port

Microdef on Ben NanoNote

The OpenWRT has no X11 server and no windowing environment at all. It means that Gtk+ applications directly use the Linux framebuffer via the DirectFB library. So one can not run more than one application. This is not a big issue, I think.
But there are other issues:

  • File selection dialog does not fit the screen. I tried deprecated type of dialog and new one and both are near useless (the older one is better).
  • I have had no success in drawing of lines with different thicknesses (all have the same thickness, as you can judge from the screenshot).
  • The Gtk+ ignores numeric input on NanoNote. It’s possible to write any symbol or letter but not numbers. I use a simple but not very elegant workaround – a simple routine that transforms corrwsponding letters to numbers.

I also have had to shorten the menu in order to fit it into the screen.

Jlime port

MicroDef on Ben NanoNote

The Jlime is a different story. The program works as expected, the file dialog fits in the screen and they are useable. No code changes were needed at all. The correct thickness of the lines is respected, too.

From my point of view the main problem is the Jlime itself. It uses the X11 (the X Window System) which makes it much more “normal” and better working. But it also makes it quite slow and also somewhat unresponsible. There is also one problem which can be noticed on overloaded NanoNote: some letters written on keyboard are not passed to applications and sometimes it repeats one letter many times. This makes the Jlime uncomfortable to use. Please don’t mind the different fonts in the drawing area – I used an older (deprecated) font drawing routine when I made screenshots on the Jlime. This does not work in the OpenWRT version so I have replaced it with the more recent one. It of course works in both environments.


It is possible to use the Gtk+ for Ben NanoNote applications. But there are minor problems with the OpenWRT’s version of the Gtk+ which still have to be solved: the numeric input and the size of file dialogs. It will br also usefull to make a Gtk+ theme which will be more obtimised for the Ben (smaller fonts, more dark colors and so).

Gtk+ application on NanoNote: OpenWRT vs JLime

9 thoughts on “Gtk+ application on NanoNote: OpenWRT vs JLime

    1. Dmitry says:

      It could be useful for me as for user one year ago, when I began studying the Strenght of materials. But now I have already done all the tasks and passed the exam. Today I am interesting in the source code of your program. You have lincesed it under GPL2. I think you will not take displeasure if I fork your project and translate it from C and Gtk to Python and Qt. This is just my wish, I can fail it. I would do this mostly in summer. If I will do this successfully, I firstly will mention you and your prigram in “About the program”. Your program is small, so I hope it is a real task for me.

      I am a member of the Slavic race, so I hope I can read your documentation without studying your language :). If you want help me, send it to meteese[at]

      All the best for you,
      Dmitry Malkov, Russian Federation

  1. Dmitry says:

    Ones microdef showed me results of N forses with non-zero graphic boxes but with zero inscriptions on them. I have firstly thought that it is a bug. But really it was all right, it was because $N_i < 0.05$ but in graphic output they were scaled as significant stress. So the documentation is needed.

  2. Dmitry says:

    Your program is brilliant. But for begining a new Study I need to close the program and to open it again, there is’t “File->New…” in the menu. It will be nice if your program will grow. But I like more Python language. Ubuntu 12.04 with Python3 is coming. It is nice platform for work begins. For a year I have been searched for such program as microdef.

    P.S. You have not put your email in to GitHub, so I can’t write any massage for you in that service.

    1. Just use the File->Open and write the name of the new file (just replace the “*.dfr” with “something.dfr”). It doesn’t work for you?

      I know that it is not elegant but I initially wrote this program for very limited purposes. So it has lot of limitations 😦

      I thought several times about rewriting in Python (or in the Tcl/Tk which I have used more frequently). But I newer found time for that 😦

  3. Dmitry says:

    Hi Jirka! I know that you have no time to teach me a little of programming microdef, but which books and themes should I read to understand the main principles of working your program?

    1. Dmitry says:


      I’ve already found and downloaded your presentations on chech. Now I’m reading them. I think the answers are there.

      I didn’t know, that you are an educator at the technical university.

      I am a student of the public technical university of Komsomolsk-on-Amur ( ).

      Speciality: Dynamics and durability of constructions. Now I am interesting in FEM and BEM.

      Pleased to meet you, Jiri Brozovsky.

      1. Hello Dmitry,

        it’s the “direct stiffness method”. I thing that I don’t have a full description of this method in my presentations. You will find better informations with Google.
        But the algorithm is near identical to the FEM.

        For solution of linear equations I used the Conjugate gradient method (better and more effective methods can be used here but I had this one already prepared).

        If you will have any questions just sent me an email (in English or in Russian, I can understand both). Or leave another comment here.


        P.S. Unfortunately, it looks like the only documentation I have is the program description in Czech:
        I thought I had more but I’m unable anything.

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