The Improved Z2 Shell (IZ2S) is an expansion upon the Z2 Shell that Zipit Wireless released for general experimentation.
WHY USE IZ2S?
I built IZ2S out of necessity because the hardware was perfect for what I needed, and the stock OS had some limitations. I started by building add-ons, but some of them were a bit complicated and so it turned into full standing releases. There are lots of reasons to use the IZ2S, but here are a few highlights ...
- IZ2S loads from an SD card just by having it inserted, as this is how the folks at Zipit Wireless intended you to use their shell. You do *NOT* need to flash anything, hook up and special hardware, or perform any activities that might otherwise :brick: your Z2. You can return to the stock OS at any time simply by ejecting the SD card and rebooting.
- IZ2S contains most of the features that you find in the stock OS, but improves upon them (such as a much better keyboard driver and the ability to pick your own radio stations).
- IZ2S is very lean. It boots in 4 seconds and running multiple applications at once is perfectly fine. You can effectively chat on IRC in one window, instant message your buddies in another, and be listening to your favorite streaming radio station in a third window (thanks to the magic of 'screen').
- IZ2S offers applications that are not available for the stock OS, such as a graphical web browser (links2).
- Ray is building and releasing new applications all the time, and installing them can be done on the device itself - or by copying files onto your SD card from within MS Windows.
- IZ2S is "text based" meaning that everything happens from a terminal console. If that is not your cup of tea, you might consider installing Debian or OpenEmbedded. Keep in mind though - that those installations have their own kernels which will require that you remove the stock OS.
- IZ2S has an instant messenger, but it will not offer you cellular texting. For that, you need to return to the stock OS so that you can be connected to your paid Zipit Wireless account.
- IZ2S does not yet have any controls over the display brightness/contrast, or the keyboard lights. We are hoping to have these features included soon thanks to the work of the Z2 community.
- IZ2S has an "idle screen sleeper" that looks like a bricked device. This seems to be the result of the kernel trying to put a display to sleep, and the display driver doesn't respond correctly. It's a problem that we inherited from the Z2 Shell from Zipit Wireless, and we haven't been able to fix it yet.
WHERE CAN I GET IT?
You can download the Improved Z2 Shell by following links from this very site. This site is actually a great big Blog, and I always tag IZ2S releases with the tag "IZ2S". Therefore, you can always find the latest release with this link: http://rayhaque.blogspot.com/search/label/IZ2S. The newest/latest release should always be the first thing that shows up.