Recent Linux PDA? - Portable

This is a discussion on Recent Linux PDA? - Portable ; I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years, currently running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's been excellent, providing pretty much all I have needed so far (calendar/contacts, browser, mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card, ...

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  1. Recent Linux PDA?

    I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years,
    currently running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's
    been excellent, providing pretty much all I have needed so far
    (calendar/contacts, browser, mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card,
    terminal, editor, Java, and LaTeX).

    But it won't last forever, and I'm now interested in something similar
    but faster and with more storage and memory. Unfortunately, the market
    seems to be stagnant for Linux on PDAs, and all the web pages I can find
    mention either Sharp's more recent (and physically much larger) systems
    (still without wifi/bluetooth) running their own Linux kludge, or
    non-native Linux hacked onto old WinCE/Palm/etc PDAs, or a MilSpec
    ruggedized device for $1500+

    Is there *any* RECENT (2007) affordable and (preferably) native Linux
    PDA along similar lines to the SL5500 that isn't corporately crippled? I
    don't mind replacing a non-Linux OS with a port of Linux, provided that
    the port is stable and has similar support to how OZ/Opie worked (for a
    time).

    I'm not in Japan :-)

    ///Peter


  2. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Peter Flynn wrote:
    > I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years,
    > currently running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's
    > been excellent, providing pretty much all I have needed so far
    > (calendar/contacts, browser, mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card,
    > terminal, editor, Java, and LaTeX).
    >
    > But it won't last forever, and I'm now interested in something similar
    > but faster and with more storage and memory. Unfortunately, the market
    > seems to be stagnant for Linux on PDAs, and all the web pages I can find
    > mention either Sharp's more recent (and physically much larger) systems
    > (still without wifi/bluetooth) running their own Linux kludge, or
    > non-native Linux hacked onto old WinCE/Palm/etc PDAs, or a MilSpec
    > ruggedized device for $1500+
    >
    > Is there *any* RECENT (2007) affordable and (preferably) native Linux
    > PDA along similar lines to the SL5500 that isn't corporately crippled? I
    > don't mind replacing a non-Linux OS with a port of Linux, provided that
    > the port is stable and has similar support to how OZ/Opie worked (for a
    > time).
    >
    > I'm not in Japan :-)
    >


    Nokia? The N800.

  3. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Chris Cox writes:
    > Nokia? The N800.


    That is a cute device but not really a PDA. It's more like a tiny
    handheld laptop. When you turn it on, the OS boots, then the window
    system boots, and then you're in your starting window configuration
    with no apps running, as if you had just booted a workstation. I
    think of PDA as meaning you that can turn the thing off with
    applications active, and when you turn it back on, you're in the same
    state as before with the same stuff on the screen.

    That said, if you want a tiny little Linux computer, the Nokias are
    sure cool. The earlier N770 model shows up on closeout for $125 or so.

  4. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    On 15 Sep., 22:50, Peter Flynn wrote:
    > I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years,
    > currently running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's
    > been excellent, providing pretty much all I have needed so far
    > (calendar/contacts, browser, mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card,
    > terminal, editor, Java, and LaTeX).
    >
    > But it won't last forever, and I'm now interested in something similar
    > but faster and with more storage and memory. Unfortunately, the market
    > seems to be stagnant for Linux on PDAs, and all the web pages I can find
    > mention either Sharp's more recent (and physically much larger) systems
    > (still without wifi/bluetooth) running their own Linux kludge, or
    > non-native Linux hacked onto old WinCE/Palm/etc PDAs, or a MilSpec
    > ruggedized device for $1500+


    If you want a device with keyboard, there is no alternative to a
    Sharp SL-C1000 or SL-C3200. Although they are physically larger and
    have
    no (builtin) Wifi/Bluetooth you will trow away your 5500 immediately
    if you have a C model (much better display, better keyboard,
    more memory, more stable software, install Cacko or pdaXrom or Opie).
    And you can still use your Bluetooth/WiFi cards you have.


  5. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Paul Rubin writes:

    [...]

    > I think of PDA as meaning you that can turn the thing off with
    > applications active, and when you turn it back on, you're in the
    > same state as before with the same stuff on the screen.


    What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?

  6. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    hns@computer.org wrote:
    > If you want a device with keyboard, there is no alternative to a
    > Sharp SL-C1000 or SL-C3200. Although they are physically larger and
    > have no (builtin) Wifi/Bluetooth you will throw away your 5500
    > immediately if you have a C model (much better display, better
    > keyboard, more memory, more stable software, install Cacko or pdaXrom
    > or Opie). And you can still use your Bluetooth/WiFi cards you have.


    A keyboard of some kind is essential. I supplement the 5500's built-in
    one with an FX100 roll-up rubber keyboard which plugs right in. I
    haven't found out yet if anything similar exists for the Nokia N800. The
    Sharp SL-Cs looks a bit too big and heavy for what I want -- I already
    have a laptop.

    Chris Cox wrote:
    > Nokia? The N800.


    That might do the job, provided (as Paul Rubin warns, and Bruce Stephens
    hints) that it suspends and resumes without a full reboot, and that they
    keyboard is usable. It doesn't mention a shell window, but there seems
    to be a repo at maemo.org with bash, joe, and a few other bits and
    pieces, and they appear to be .debs. Java and LaTeX would be important,
    but should be possible.

    Bruce Stephens wrote:
    > What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?


    Because it doesn't mention it on the web site, and there is no
    occurrence of 'suspend' or 'resume' in the site or in the downloadable
    PDF doc. Does anyone know if it will do this? Bruce?

    Thank you all for the suggestions.

    ///Peter


  7. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Peter Flynn writes:

    [...]

    > Bruce Stephens wrote:
    >> What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?

    >
    > Because it doesn't mention it on the web site, and there is no
    > occurrence of 'suspend' or 'resume' in the site or in the downloadable
    > PDF doc. Does anyone know if it will do this? Bruce?


    It does. That's the normal way to use it. (Mine hasn't actually been
    shut down for weeks.)

  8. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Bruce Stephens writes:
    > > I think of PDA as meaning you that can turn the thing off with
    > > applications active, and when you turn it back on, you're in the
    > > same state as before with the same stuff on the screen.

    >
    > What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?


    Can you? I have one of the closeout 770's and I know a guy with an
    800 and I haven't seen this capability in either. If the 770 could do
    that, I'd expect the default configuration to be set up for it and the
    starting docs to describe it. However, I haven't looked into the
    situation too closely.

  9. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Paul Rubin writes:

    > Bruce Stephens writes:
    >> > I think of PDA as meaning you that can turn the thing off with
    >> > applications active, and when you turn it back on, you're in the
    >> > same state as before with the same stuff on the screen.

    >>
    >> What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?

    >
    > Can you? I have one of the closeout 770's and I know a guy with an
    > 800 and I haven't seen this capability in either. If the 770 could do
    > that, I'd expect the default configuration to be set up for it and the
    > starting docs to describe it. However, I haven't looked into the
    > situation too closely.


    Probably there's a difference in expectation and language.

    I expect a PDA to have a mode where the device is basically off, but
    the memory is still kept active, so it can wake up immediately. I
    expect a laptop to be able to do that, too, but I'd also expect it to
    be able to suspend to disk, and restart quickly but not immediately.

    The N800 (as far as I know) falls into the PDA category in this
    respect---I don't think it can suspend to memory card. But yes, it
    can do what PDAs do: when you press the power button, the default
    option is "Lock touch screen and keys", and that's what I do most of
    the time. I imagine that's the way it's intended to be used, though I
    agree I don't see any hint in the manual. When in that mode, it'll
    wake up immediately.

  10. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Bruce Stephens wrote:
    > Peter Flynn writes:
    >
    > [...]
    >
    >> Bruce Stephens wrote:
    >>> What makes you think you can't do that with the N800 (or 770)?

    >> Because it doesn't mention it on the web site, and there is no
    >> occurrence of 'suspend' or 'resume' in the site or in the downloadable
    >> PDF doc. Does anyone know if it will do this? Bruce?

    >
    > It does. That's the normal way to use it. (Mine hasn't actually been
    > shut down for weeks.)


    Cool, thanks for confirming this.

    ///Peter

  11. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Bruce Stephens writes:
    > I expect a PDA to have a mode where the device is basically off, but
    > the memory is still kept active, so it can wake up immediately. I
    > expect a laptop to be able to do that, too, but I'd also expect it to
    > be able to suspend to disk, and restart quickly but not immediately.
    >
    > The N800 (as far as I know) falls into the PDA category in this
    > respect---I don't think it can suspend to memory card. But yes, it
    > can do what PDAs do: when you press the power button, the default
    > option is "Lock touch screen and keys", and that's what I do most of
    > the time. I imagine that's the way it's intended to be used, though I
    > agree I don't see any hint in the manual. When in that mode, it'll
    > wake up immediately.


    Cool. It's possible the 800 is better than the 770 in this regard. I
    will check the 770 manual but I don't have the impression that the 770
    can do this. I will also ask the guy I mentioned about the 800.

    I got the 770 because it was very cheap and I doubt I'd pay what an
    800 costs no matter what it does, but it does sound like the 800 is
    quite a bit more powerful. Among other things the 800 has two SDHC
    slots so it can take up to 32GB of ram (using the still-very-expensive
    16GB SDHC cards) making it much more useful as a media player than the
    770 (which uses a mini-SD card limited to 2GB).

    Sooner or later Nokia will have to make one of these things with a
    built in phone, to compete with the Apple phone.

    Here is my favorite APhone review (warning, not work safe):

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone

  12. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Peter Flynn writes:

    > I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years, currently
    > running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's been excellent,
    > providing pretty much all I have needed so far (calendar/contacts, browser,
    > mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card, terminal, editor, Java, and LaTeX).
    >
    > But it won't last forever, and I'm now interested in something similar but
    > faster and with more storage and memory. Unfortunately, the market seems to be
    > stagnant for Linux on PDAs, and all the web pages I can find mention either
    > Sharp's more recent (and physically much larger) systems (still without
    > wifi/bluetooth) running their own Linux kludge, or non-native Linux hacked onto
    > old WinCE/Palm/etc PDAs, or a MilSpec ruggedized device for $1500+
    >
    > Is there *any* RECENT (2007) affordable and (preferably) native Linux PDA along
    > similar lines to the SL5500 that isn't corporately crippled? I don't mind
    > replacing a non-Linux OS with a port of Linux, provided that the port is stable
    > and has similar support to how OZ/Opie worked (for a time).


    While it is more in the cell phone camp in that it doesn't have a full keyboard
    attached (but evidently does have a touch keyboard on the screen), have you
    looked at OpenMoko? I recall slashdot talked about it in the July time frame.
    It doesn't have 802.11, but perhaps with bluetooth or usb, these could be
    added. I don't know if they are on track to provide the wider non-developer
    versions that they promised for October:
    http://www.openmoko.com/
    http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Main_Page

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email: mrmnews@the-meissners.org
    http://www.the-meissners.org

  13. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Paul Rubin writes:

    [...]

    > Cool. It's possible the 800 is better than the 770 in this regard. I
    > will check the 770 manual but I don't have the impression that the 770
    > can do this. I will also ask the guy I mentioned about the 800.


    I'd be a bit surprised. What happens if you just leave the 770?
    Presumably it goes into some power-saving mode? I think that's
    basically all the N800 is doing (though perhaps telling it to saves a
    bit more power, since the touch screen is also deactivated).

    > I got the 770 because it was very cheap and I doubt I'd pay what an
    > 800 costs no matter what it does, but it does sound like the 800 is
    > quite a bit more powerful. Among other things the 800 has two SDHC
    > slots so it can take up to 32GB of ram (using the still-very-expensive
    > 16GB SDHC cards) making it much more useful as a media player than the
    > 770 (which uses a mini-SD card limited to 2GB).


    In theory, but I'm not sure the supplied kernels support SDHC yet.

    > Sooner or later Nokia will have to make one of these things with a
    > built in phone, to compete with the Apple phone.


    Sooner or later they'll make sure it has PDA-type software like a
    calendar, etc. The devices are (IMHO) a bit too big (or the wrong
    form, anyway) to be decent PDAs, but really there ought to be standard
    software for acting like a PDA, for people who want to use them for
    that.

  14. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    "Peter Flynn" wrote in message
    news:5l2utjF65ndeU1@mid.individual.net...
    > I've been using a Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D and then a SL-5500 for years,
    > currently running OpenZaurus 3.5.3 (kernel 2.4.18) and Opie 1.2.1. It's
    > been excellent, providing pretty much all I have needed so far
    > (calendar/contacts, browser, mailer, IR, wifi/bluetooth/RJ45 card,
    > terminal, editor, Java, and LaTeX).
    >
    > But it won't last forever, and I'm now interested in something similar but
    > faster and with more storage and memory. Unfortunately, the market seems
    > to be stagnant for Linux on PDAs, and all the web pages I can find mention
    > either Sharp's more recent (and physically much larger) systems (still
    > without wifi/bluetooth) running their own Linux kludge, or non-native
    > Linux hacked onto old WinCE/Palm/etc PDAs, or a MilSpec ruggedized device
    > for $1500+
    >
    > Is there *any* RECENT (2007) affordable and (preferably) native Linux PDA
    > along similar lines to the SL5500 that isn't corporately crippled? I don't
    > mind replacing a non-Linux OS with a port of Linux, provided that the port
    > is stable and has similar support to how OZ/Opie worked (for a time).
    >
    > I'm not in Japan :-)
    >
    > ///Peter
    >

    The "Archos 604 wifi" is an MP3 player, picture viewer, video playback (divx
    if I recall correctly), ...
    It is built around some version of linux although, I believe it is locked
    and you cannot easily add applications. You can surf the web with Opera.
    This might not be close enough to what you are looking for but I thought I'd
    mention it.

    SL



  15. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > Sooner or later Nokia will have to make one of these things with a
    > built in phone, to compete with the Apple phone.


    I hope not...the last thing I want is phone capability on my PDA.

    Have you ever tried looking up something in a spreadsheet while using
    the device as a phone? :-)

    ///Peter

  16. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Michael Meissner wrote:
    > While it is more in the cell phone camp in that it doesn't have a full keyboard
    > attached (but evidently does have a touch keyboard on the screen), have you
    > looked at OpenMoko?


    Yes, I did, and in fact I had some email exchanges with them about the
    lack of wifi :-)

    > I recall slashdot talked about it in the July time frame.
    > It doesn't have 802.11, but perhaps with bluetooth or usb, these could be
    > added. I don't know if they are on track to provide the wider non-developer
    > versions that they promised for October:
    > http://www.openmoko.com/
    > http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Main_Page


    The problem seems to be that they don't know who the market is, and for
    functionality it's been overtaken by the iPhone now anyway.

    ///Peter



  17. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    SL wrote:
    > The "Archos 604 wifi" is an MP3 player, picture viewer, video playback (divx
    > if I recall correctly), ...
    > It is built around some version of linux although, I believe it is locked
    > and you cannot easily add applications. You can surf the web with Opera.
    > This might not be close enough to what you are looking for but I thought I'd
    > mention it.


    I'm afraid I have no interest in playing music or videos on a pocket
    device. They're really bottom of the list for me right now.

    In order:

    1. connectivity (wifi, wired, usb, bluetooth, ir)
    2. browser
    3. calendar / contacts
    4. ssh / xterm
    5. email
    6. Emacs or close
    7. Java / Saxon
    8. LaTeX
    9. Apache
    10. media candy

    ///Peter

  18. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Peter Flynn writes:

    [...]

    > You're saying that they don't come with a calendar/contacts app?


    Yes. And yes, I find it incomprehensible. (It has some kind of
    contacts app, but I think that's purely electronic contacts. I may be
    wrong, though, I've never actually used it.)

    > That's a killer...or is there one for download?


    There are versions of GPE downloadable.

  19. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Bruce Stephens wrote:
    > Peter Flynn writes:
    >
    > [...]
    >
    >> You're saying that they don't come with a calendar/contacts app?

    >
    > Yes. And yes, I find it incomprehensible.


    Like most manufacturers and marketing people, when it somes to software
    "they have their head so far up their own ass they might as well climb
    up in after it and disappear" (William Gibson :-)

    > (It has some kind of
    > contacts app, but I think that's purely electronic contacts. I may be
    > wrong, though, I've never actually used it.)
    >
    >> That's a killer...or is there one for download?

    >
    > There are versions of GPE downloadable.


    That's OK. I think that's what the Zaurus ones were. More than adequate
    for my needs.

    ///Peter

  20. Re: Recent Linux PDA?

    Bruce Stephens wrote:

    > Sooner or later they'll make sure it has PDA-type software like a
    > calendar, etc. The devices are (IMHO) a bit too big (or the wrong
    > form, anyway) to be decent PDAs, but really there ought to be
    > standard software for acting like a PDA, for people who want to use
    > them for that.


    One final question for anyone who knows: does the wireless networking in
    the N800 support WPA? All the corporate and academic networks I use are
    WPA, so this is a requirement. Most handhelds only support WEP, from
    what I can see, which makes them completely useless.

    Thanks to everyone for their contributions.

    ///Peter

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