Linux on Compaq iPAQ

Colin Marquardt colin.marquardt at
Thu Jul 12 17:38:31 PDT 2001

Devin Carraway <aqua at> writes:

> On Thu, Jul 12, 2001 at 11:27:06AM -0700, Colin Marquardt wrote:
>> I just wanted to check if any NBLUGer had succeeded, tried or at least
>> thought about putting Linux on a Compaq iPAQ.
> I've done so quite a number of times lately as part of a research effort at
> work.  It's pretty straightforward, and the documentation provided by
>, et al, is decent as far as flashing a fresh image into the unit
> goes (be prepared to wait awhile, unless you use an ether piggyback).

I still have to build me a serial cable, or go the or ways. Did you try any
of the latter two?

As much as I hate to admit it, Pocket Streets on wince (hehe :) is a
killer app for me, so dual-booting would be very cool. I'll probably
get a Microdrive, so that should be enough room.

> Quick summary of my impressions, if you want it:

Sure, thanks.

> Familiar: rudimentary, but easy to start from and add packages to.  Not much
> in the way of applications yet, but most of the libraries &c are in there to
> port from the Linux desktop (X, gtk, python, fltk, etc.)  UI is a lot like an
> fvwm-era *nix desktop, and sofar underadapted to PDA usage (a well-suited wm
> would help a lot.)

> QPE: The QPE distro that runs atop Familiar is quite slick in most respects.
> It's clearly a tech demo rather than an actual product, but you can do a fair
> amount with it in a limited PDA-ish sort of way.  The UI is a lot like WinCE
> run together with KDE1.  Does several things right that Wince gets wrong, and

I guess I'll go with Familiar, or even with Intimate. Jim Getty's
comments about how to shrink X etc. convinced me. I think QPE (by
replacing X) will not be flexible enough as PDAs grow. Compare the
machines now with the ones when X came out: X is still around and
quite kicking.

> the HWR is probably the best of the lot.  A good bit in the HWR is that the
> user can edit the strokes, and so could move over time from the stock strokes
> (basically 2nd-grade printing) to faster ones.

That is indeed a good thing. But I have yet to adapt myself to
handwriting... Did you try GridWrite

> PocketLinux: [...]
> Includes the least-PC Flash movie I've ever seen in a tech demo
> product.  :)

Ah. I'll have to try it (later) ;-)

Thanks very much for your comments.


PS: I should maybe clarify that this is a purely private endeavor,
    nothing work-related.

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