Linux on Compaq iPAQ

Devin Carraway aqua at
Thu Jul 12 16:26:56 PDT 2001

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).

Quick summary of my impressions, if you want it:

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
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.

PocketLinux: Transvirtual's embedded-Kaffe proof of concept.  Quite seamless
for the most part.  UI is pretty well suited to a PDA in form, though it's
built with XML on the DOM, so in a sense the whole thing is a Java browser and
appletviewer.  By far the slowest ipaq distro.  Worth looking at, if you look
through the code a bit to get a feel for how it works.  Includes the least-PC
Flash movie I've ever seen in a tech demo product.  :)

Devin  \ aqua(at), 1024D/E9ABFCD2;
Carraway \ IRC: Requiem  GCS/CC/L s-:--- !a !tv C++++$ ULB+++$ O+@ P L+++

More information about the talk mailing list