Tux Droid

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_The_ gadget any linux geek should have ;-)

Moreover it is designed in Belgium, tadaam!

Having kids can help justifying such a, hum, impulsive buy ;-)




  • Plugging everything for the first time, and I got immediately a new Alsa device:
cat /proc/asound/cards
2 [default        ]: USB-Audio - TUX RF DONGLE 
                     C2ME BELGIUM TUX RF DONGLE  at usb-0000:00:1d.2-1, full speed

And I can already place an Ekiga test call :-)
Note that echo between internal speaker and microphone is very important so echo tests are quite terrible!
Using the OSS emulation, I can play whatever I want:

mpg321 -o oss -a /dev/dsp2 /path/to/some/mp3
mplayer -ao oss:/dev/dsp2 http://www.paul.sladen.org/pronunciation/torvalds-says-linux.mp3

Or using the native alsa layer:

mplayer -ao alsa:device=plughw=2.0 http://www.paul.sladen.org/pronunciation/torvalds-says-linux.mp3

Or using esound:

esd -d plughw:2,0
mplayer -ao esd http://www.paul.sladen.org/pronunciation/torvalds-says-linux.mp3


  • Select alsa output plugin -> configure -> type "plughw:1,0" manually and select software volume control.
  • Select OSS output plugin -> configure -> USB but then no volume control is possible.
  • Select esound output plugin and launch esd as shown above


Then I learn that to run the new (alpha2) tuxdaemon I'll also need to flash the stuffed pinguin.
Instructions are given on the web site and are not... straightforward.

Additional notes:

  • Be sure to have installed properly libusb and to have mounted /proc/bus/usb, cf /usr/share/doc/libusb-0.1-4
    • For users to have the right to access usbfs, change /etc/udev/rules.d/020_permissions.rules and add GROUP=usb:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb_device",        MODE="0664", GROUP="usb"
  • Recompile dfu-programmer from sources! I first tried alien on the rpm but there were glibc problems and when trying tuxup fuxusb.hex I got the following "common problem" but here it's really not because of permission problems.
Programming fuxusb.hex in USB CPU
Tux not found on USB
  • They explain about tuxup fuxrf.hex and tuxup --main . but I had also to fix the tux rf counterpart: tuxup tuxrf.hex
  • At the end, replug the dongle and restart the tux

Compiling a firmware

apt-get install gcc-avr avr-libc gdb-avr

Follow the howto starting from SVNWCRev section.
To get the proper header files to compile SVNCRev:

apt-get install libsvn-dev

And edit svncrev-0.1/config.mk to fix the following path:


Personalizing the firmware

For basic stuff, we'll only change the tuxcore.eep file where are stored the basic standalone behaviors.
Edit common/config.h based on commands listed in common/commands.h
Each line is one first byte (what for?) then a frame of 4 bytes to combine between 1 and 4 commands as explained in commands.h
My first personalized firmware has the following behavior:
Eyes closed when no rf link and opened when rf link is established.
Note that it would be easier if there was a CLOSE_EYES_CMD
I solved it by using the seq "OPEN_EYES_CMD, BLINK_EYES_CMD, 1, 0"

Remote Control

(from the forum)
Press 'ALT' then 'Tux and phone' and you're in test mode.
The arrows should move tux, if you press a digit key, you change the number of movements. So 4 then up will move the eyes 4 times (2 blinks: close - open -close - open)
Read firmware/tuxcore/trunk/standalone.c l262 to see all possiblities

Raw commands

gtdi allows to send raw commands, see /firmware/tuxdefs/commands.h

Misc Tips

  • First time, don't forget to plug Tux to the power adaptor for a while (~5h)
  • Want to get Acapela Telecom? It's actually available as the tts-daemon

Misc Problems

  • tuxdaemon from svn eats all CPU when running daemonised :-(
  • tuxttsdaemon launched by gtdi eated 100% cpu after a while with tux off
  • gtdi
    • source to be modified: add a space between gnome-terminal -e and "the_commands"
    • should check for the presence of gnome--terminal or fallback to xterm
    • tuxttsdaemon button desync
  • wrong comments in commands.h 0x1A & 0x1B control both leds
  • we should have save/restore raw commands for led & position

Misc Questions

  • How to control the volume by software?
  • How tuxes see each other? They ping constantly through IR (from the right eye) as it can be seen through a webcam.
  • How a dongle and a tux are paired? What if many tuxes are present simultaneously?




I don't know python so for those who don't know it neither, here's a small snippet to start with (from Fosdem presentation):


import sys
from tux import *

tux.tts.speak("The box said: 'Requires Windows 95 or better', so I installed LINUX")
tux.tts.speak("ha ha ha")
if tux.event.wait_head_bt_pushed(60):
    tux.tts.speak("Ouch! That hurts!")

Problem: sometimes there is a delay before the speech and then movements/speech get desync.
It could be nice to get events from tts daemon when starting and stopping the speech.

To launch gtdi from /usr/local/bin/gtdi I wrote a little bash script:


cd /opt/tuxdroid/lib/gtdi

To get an interactive python shell I wrote this script /usr/local/bin/tuxsh:


python -i -c "import sys;sys.path.append('/opt/tuxdroid/api/python');from tux import *"

You can run it interactively or piping some commands:

echo 'tux.cmd.mouth_open()'|./tuxsh

Python API

List of functions can be generated by

gawk '/^class/{match($0,/class +TUX(.*)\(object\):/,a);
               if(a[1]=="TCPCommunicator")c=""; else c=tolower(a[1])"."}
      /^ +def/ && !/__init__/{$0=gensub(/^ +def (.*)self,?(.*):/,"tux." c "\\1\\2",1);print}'\

Or much cleaner:


Try also help(tux.cmd)