Author Topic: Zaurus and Linux  (Read 1331 times)


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Zaurus and Linux
« on: September 25, 2004, 06:17:23 pm »
Dear Zaurus Users

Recently I bought  a Zaurus 5500 with the idea of having a "full Linux" PDA.
As far as I believe to have understood so far, the situation is such that  an executable that would run under a Linux PC  (I'm not a Linux specialist at all, allthough I have some experience with Unix) would not run on my Zaurus even if the executable is small  in size (knowing about the memory constrains of a PDA).
So far, all I got to run are executables with an _arm.ipk extension what makes me think that only programms that have been targeted (and compiled) towards a Zaurus are really usable - or am I getting something wrong ?

What frustrates me in this business is  that I can not really see what the advantages of a so called Linux PDA are if you can not even run a normal Linux program on it - besides the fact that it gives  the cosy feeling of being able to use some  Linux comands in a command line interface.

Is there anybody that can soothe my frustation  ?

« Last Edit: September 25, 2004, 06:26:38 pm by ermano_1 »


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Zaurus and Linux
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2004, 08:11:13 pm »
"Use the source, Luke"  

You are correct in that Linux programs have to be compiled specially for the ARM architecture to run on the Zaurus and those arm.ipk programs that you find, have been so compiled and packaged for the Zaurus. If there is something you want to use but can't find on the web (getting rarer these days) you can get the source (we're talking about Linux, right) and compile the program yourself. If you plan to do this very often you might want to get a cross compiler for your desktop or install gcc on your Zaurus. If you are only going to do this sporadically, you can use the development cluster. This is fine for command line programs, but for programs that depend on X11, you'll have to install some version of X11 on your Zaurus or flash it to an X11-based ROM.

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Zaurus and Linux
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2004, 01:04:11 am »
I'll add a bit to that.

You are right in that most programs need to be compiled for the Zaurus, but that is true for a lot of the different flavours of linux generally.

However, as this is the case, you will find that most popular programs that can be run on the smaller footprint of the Zaurus have already been compiled for this platform and if there is something that you are interested in and if you don't know how to compile it, some helpful soul will compile it for you.

Note that this is similar to windows where you can't just run office on a pda running windows ce.  The difference being that for windows, you won't typically find the source that you'd need to compile.


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Zaurus and Linux
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2004, 06:36:43 am »

Linux is the open-source community reference OS, so you're sure to find support and material for your Zaurus in this Community.

Obviously you must enter effectively in the source world, and get next to software development world - we may say that we're having on the zaurus in these days the same situation old linuxist found some years ago: so we can expect to find an even better and user-friendly situation from now on.

I'm getting pretty good satisfactions from my zaurus - I'm not a geek, and I didn't get my zaurus as a new toy: I wanted - and actually GOT - a development/study/comunication tool in my pocket.
I use it exactly as a laptop, for coding, web browsing, and some entertainment too

Install an X server on your Zaurus, and you'll have everything you wished to find, maybe more

Good luck