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I've just stared my own publishing company, I'm writing the second in the Z4CK series and I have a few technical manuals in the pipeline. One I would like to get together would be a Zaurus Hacks manual, in the same way O'Reilly do there Hacks series. Would anyone be interested in providing info for this? I would be trying to release this by June at the latest.

Top 100 hacks will get in. Im already collating info now. A mention in the final publication and PDF version of the final book to those contributing. I'm also looking for people to volunteer to provide feedback. Again, a mention and full paper copy for help with this task.

A %age of the profit will be shared via paypal with this forum, openzaurus group and PDAXrom dev group.

Any takers?


I'll assemble what I have for hacks and get them off to you.
Also if you want for than willing to provide feedback / proof reading.

Congrats on starting your own publishing company,

Veerrrry good idea :-) As long as it doesn't turn into just a collection of fixes and work arounds ... Some would be great! But there are so many different versions and variations that it might not work on everybodies Z .. \

One thing I'm currently working on is a glow-in-the-dark keypad sticker ;-) I got sick of trying to touch type on a 2 inch keyboard.. .. I've found a very thin glow in the dark tape ... it'll fit under the clamshell cover of the 5x00 without having to sand anything down >>> I'm just tryin gto size the file to print the right size of the keypad. It emits a low glow for about 10 hours ! definatly a FULL night of hacking ;-) .. Just gotta cut out small holes for the keys, and reprint all those <fn> commands on the tape. biggrin.gif

I don't know if it's feasible, but it would be great to include a CD with the book. So that all the files that are needed for the hacks are available. Feeds go down, and there are so many different versions of applications and ipkgs packaged in different (broken) ways ... I think it would be very useful. Especially for those buying the book to learn about thier new Z. It would probably be cost prohibitive to include a real CD ... but maybe someone could donate a bit of bandwidth and you could make a feed and online repository for the tools and files mentioned in the book?

I'd love to help out with the book. I'm graduating in May from a libral arts college. so I've had to do a fait bit of editing for the past 4 years. While I may not be the best, I work for free : tongue.gif Let me know what kind of assistance you'll be needing, and I'll do what I can to help out with this project biggrin.gif
Sounds interesting....would a CD be included...reason I ask is that many hacks have to do with some movies for example that are done on a PC using shareware, but that might get complicated.
Thanks for the feedback, it's good stuff so far. Some of the major things that will be added to the book is. Installing OpenZaurus, and the pdaXrom. As well as hacking with the it far as I'm concerned the ultimate mobile security tool.

Any other suggestions are welcome. They can be fleshed out here, or they can be sent to hacks at

Cheers all.

here are some ideas to bat around this topic .. . .

___Hacks for the Z____

>> Using the 5x00 Zaurus as USB storage.
5000/5500 ipk is here ::
I've read about one for the 5600 as well, but don't know where off the top of my head.

>> Using the Z as a universal remote control.
LIRC + Opie_Remote

>> Various Syncing methods ::: I personally like Unison. It has been ported to win32/ linux/mac + the Zaurus. It will keep ANY type of files backed up, and can be easily configured and used. . Learning this tool has greater benefits than simply Zaurus syncing PIM data.

>> Language tools
Miareader lite / edict, etc.. The ability to not be limited by language barriers in your pocket is amazing

>> Offline Compressed Wikipedia
Using sqashfs to make a portable Wikipedia!

>> free 802.11x support
The client CowCow provided worked fine, just needs repackaging for the Sharp rom\.11x

>> Correct install of PERL
The way to correctly install without getting errors.

>>Iptables and/or shorewall
firewalling and ip masquarding on the Z. I have tested iptables, but not shorewall. Eventually got rid of both cuz I don't really need to run a firewall on a handheld.

>> Zaurus anti-virus
Running Clamav on the Z. Never tried it myself, but this tells how.

>>Change boot screen
basic custim boot logo. I've got the instructions around someplace. Should be easy enough to find.

>> Short discussion of the IPK format, and how to create / edit these packages

_____Hardware Hacks______

>>Opening the case
What hack is compete without voiding the warranty to repaint the Z tongue.gif I've seen ways to add lights, but I didn't like them ... so I decided to use the glow in the dark tape instead of installing small LEDs. But any book on Hacking the Zaurus should include the correct way to take it apart as well. If nothing else than to diagnose possible problems. Like the hacking the Xbox book does.

____Misc Hacks _______

>> live IPKG browser
allows you to search and find the files contined inside ipks without having to unpack them first.

>> Cross Compiling
how to set up the correct enviroment for development and cross compiling. Something I don't know about, but would be very useful to have in a book smile.gif

>> Alternate / 'hidden' Key Bindings
how to make pipes and special characters on the Z keypad

That was some of the stuff that I feel I really important to a Zaurus owner. It's based around the idea of hacking the Zaurus itself ... and not of hacking with the zaurus. I think both could be covered. But I feel more emphasis is deserved for hacking the Zaurus itself. The way O'reilly books are structuerd, they put emphasis on getting the most out of the tools that you've got. I'm in the middle of reading the Knoppix hacks books, and it could go into the details of using ethereal, but instead it shows me things and small features that are useful, but I never knew how to prperly utilize to thier fullest. That is why I choose to read so many Hacks books. Very much looking forward to this publication
Two more ideas:

1. Running X/Qt on the Z.
2. Running Debian on Z in various models.

I'd like to show in the Zaurus Hacks book, that the Zaurus is much more than a PDA. So I'd like to show the Zaurus being used as a server, camera, mobile phone. I've also found some other great projects to use the Zaurus as a TivoSync, a remote control, as well as some hardware hacks that allow the Zaurus to be charged through the PC keyboard. Perhaps the Zaurus as a Honyepot?

Hacking with the Zaurus will only be a small, if important section. Interesting uses for the Zaurus are what we're looking for. Some of the sections I think will be.

The different Zaurus models
Zaurus as a server - different types
War Driving
Hacking with the Zaurus
Hardware Hacks - eg speaker project?
Music and Video streaming
Linking the Zaurus to other bits of hardware, or household kit!

Any other suggestions?

Thanks for the feedback so far, it's been good stuff.

Using Latex on Zaurus:

Here is the link:

Its real geek stuff running latex on a PMT(PDA) biggrin.gif
This was a great hardware hack (speaker for Zaurus) in the days of the 5000D and 5500 (which had no speakers and mics integrated in the the zaurus).

In fact last I remenbered, he was also seiing his hacked mic+speaker combo, but of course the SL-C series came along and took away the nned for these.

But its worth a mention

QUOTE(z4ck @ Jan 4 2005, 06:03 AM)
I've also found some other great projects to use the Zaurus as a TivoSync, a remote control, as well as some hardware hacks that allow the Zaurus to be charged through the PC keyboard.

What's a TivoSync?

I've got Tivo and a Zaurus, Sounds like it could be a interesting combo.

Currently I use my Zaurus as a Tivo Remote via WIFI and a web browser displaying the TivoWebPlus remote pages.
Some thoughts:

>> Some of the emulations for the Zaurus are in early stages and/or slow, but you might want to mention them (such as the PalmOS emulator, znester, etc.)

>> Servers would be good. VNC and FTP for instance.

>> Aside from Perl, I would also include some of the Python hints brought up on this forum. Maybe make a good "scripting language" section.
The bracket from the Case Logic "Strongman" cases makes a good holder for mounting the 5500 (and maybe the 5600: I wonder whether the battery bulge is a problem).

I have two: one has high-strength Velcro on the back, the other is screwed to a cellphone holder I got off the clearance rack at Radio Shack.

Between the two of them, I can attach a Z to almost anything, as long as it doesn't bounce around too much: I wouldn't trust them to hold a Z on, say, a mountain bike, but they've held one over a lot of bumps in my sitffly-sprung pickup.

>> KPhone/pi VOIP
how many pocket PCs will let you call home to say you'll be late for dinner wink.gif
POssibly include a list of free VOIP providers with SIP access servers

>>GNUboy, mostly stable
Yea emulation would make a great section smile.gif nice idea soundwave

>> Overclocking the Z wink.gif
English translation of Tetsu's page. Including links to many Japanese published books on Zaurus hacking. + Manual CCCR overclocking manipulation from /proc

>> sending SMS text messages from the Zaurus to any cell phone

Ahhh Zaurus communication possibilities biggrin.gif is there anything better? wink.gif
Yep, good call Loji. A comms section sounds good to me too.

So far we've got sections on

The different versions of Zaurus, and some stuff about open source.
Zaurus as a PDA, and PC replacement...perhaps mention wireless keyboard and rotation features.
Alternative ROM images - pdaXrom, OpenZaurus
Audio/Video - Things to view video, audio, streaming, Tivosync?, Speaker project
Comms - SMS, VOIP, Java Answering Machine
Zaurus as a hacking tool - Wardriving, installation of hack tools, + howto pen test

Scripting and compiling.

Harwdware Hacks - overclocking, keyboad recharging, speaker project in here?, mobile cradle, customising the Zaurus, home made battery pack.
Emulation - various emulators, remote control
Zaurus as a server and client - VNC, Apache, FTP, SSH,
MIscellaneous - Changing the custom boot screen, using the Zaurus as a language tool, special tricks,

As you can quite a few, and I'm continually amazed at the ingenuity of folks out there in tech land!

Any more suggestions, or differences of opinion on the sections included?


Games unfortunately is a fairly weak section for the Zaurus. There's a few ports (Nethack, KPacman, Tetrix, etc.) but as far as I know no active developers remain.

Eon Games looked like they had the absolute best games (Interstellar Flames and Bust 'Em for instance) but they are dead, dead, dead. I don't even think you can purchase games from them anymore. (Too bad. I wish someone would at least release these games as freeware, the bastards.)
QUOTE(soundwave106 @ Jan 6 2005, 09:03 AM)
Games unfortunately is a fairly weak section for the Zaurus.

Don't forget the emulators. I haven't tried any of them personally, but there's a wealth of games once you take into account everything that can be emulated.

I have your Book on my zaurus cl760 very good so far.

I have ported (not cleanly) Mysql 4.0.18 and use it with apache & php to run a dotproject site on the zaurus.(Have not got round to setting up an ipk of it yet).

Works very well!!

I am going to port Postgresql when I get a chance.


SL 760 / 1GB Sd / BluetoothCF / Origo Wireless CF ...
z4ck / Kev,

I've also got your book bought online from your site. Very interesting so far!!

I can't wait for the Zaurus Hacks to come out!

By the way, if you're planning on the topic of war-driving/bussing/walking, you may want to include the part on how to extend the signal range for an external antenna (for real pen tests work), just like the one started by David at

Wonderful work Kev! Keep it up!

Cheers from folks in S'pore!
Celtron/J40, glad you're enjoying the book. I've just managed to get my hands on a Zaurus SL-5500 again, so I'm properly back in the swing of things. I'm busy writing book 2, and I've decided on the title Digital Force. I'm also collecting hacks for the Zaurus Hacks book. All of the feedback has been good so far...thank good for the Zaurusergroup.

Cheers again.

QUOTE(loji @ Jan 6 2005, 03:30 AM)

Funny definition of "any"! wink.gif
Hinting that the Z is a desktop replacement is a bit misleading, IMO.
Sure it can run most of the software, but it can't drive a decent display, the clamshells don't have USB host capability, and there's a number of extra obstacles.
It's a very potent PDA, especially for programmers, but not a desktop replacement.
how about "a not-very-good-but serviceable-in-a-pinch-and-really-portable" desktop replacement?


I COULD do most of my desktop stuff on my z (though a/v encoding, and compiling, would be torture). In combo with a remote server, it gets better... but, for example, I think replacing the secrataries' and accountants' desktops with zaurii would cause a severe drop in productivity.

on the other hand, i'd rather travel with my z than a desktop, or even a laptop. Even w/ a folding keyboard and the power supply and bits o cable the z goes into a pretty small and light package--- and I'll happily trade screensize (to a point) for portability. the 6k has enough screen to "get by" on, and the saving in weight and space are terrific.

maybe a secion of packaging (cases and case hacks) configuration and peripherals?
The Z series is one of the better portable web browsing solutions, thanks to built-in keyboards and nice 640x480 screens. Granted, there are some PDAs now that do this, from okay to good. (Most are bricks, not clamshells).

The Z has pretty so-so user software (e.g. office software) except for those who fiddle. There's no equiv of Pocket Office for instance that I know of, the Hancom stuff goes only so far. Doodling is limited due to seemingly lack of support of stylus sensitivity. Things like that.

*However*, for those who mainly use computer for server-type apps, the Z is pretty darn good -- as in Linux vs. Windows, FTP daemons for instance seem to be faster and better organized in the Linux environment. The Z seems very nice for those who hack around a lot. It's pretty good for certain types of Unix-based apps as well.
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