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Run Linux Apps On Your Sharp Zaurus? 49

FreezerJam writes: "Now, THIS could be cool. Sharp apparently has software -- zxLinux -- that lets you run Linux apps on some of the PDAs in the their Zaurus line. Here's the wire story and the Sharp page is here. But someone will have to translate from the Asian language involved [Japanese], 'cause the fish can't do this." One advantage that Sharp seems to have here is that its products already exist, unlike some other companies' shadow-ware ...
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Run Linux Apps On Your Sharp Zaurus?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I blindly (illiterately) followed some links and found what seem to be some screen shots of zxlinux. It appears to be running kernel 2.3.23 and possibly X (or may be just the zxlinux interface. )

    Nope, its definitely not X. That graphical window you see at the bottom is the standard Zaurus keyboard input method, its in ROM. The vertical row of icons you see on the edge are permanent icons silkscreened on to the LCD, its the standard Zaurus interface.
    This version of linux only has a text interface, and a pretty primitive one at that.
    Oh, and yes, I do read Japanese, and I do own a Japanese model of the Zaurus, a PI-6600, which unfortunately won't run this software.
  • What PDAs do have SDK's available in Linux? I saw something like a port of Palm's SDK to allow one to use it with GNU tools on Windows. That's a step in the right direction, I just don't want to use Windows, GNU tools or not. :)
  • Only on the lame-ass zaurii you can get in the US. The newer high-end models in Japan feature as part of the unit:

    + 10 MB RAM
    + Pen interface (which understands real cursive Japanese handwriting, none o' that lame Plam graffiti crap)
    + *Windowed* Color GUI
    + Digital camera
    + Digital audio recorder
    + Full internet functionality (they can be connected to your Do-co-mo wireless phone.)
    + A Photoshop-like app that will do neat filters like 'emboss' on the digital pictures you just took.
    +

    I suppose the idea is that every tourist wants to be able to take pictures of themselves, photoshop them, and email them to friends within the space of 4 minutes.

    You can also file pictures of people along with their info in your address book.

    That model (MI-610) is at http://www.sharp.co.jp/sc/eihon/mi610/text/index.h tml

    And only $1300! :)
  • On the first picture, look at how many kernel builds they've made, 2752!
  • Well? A while back I was searching for such an app, and found a lot of stuff for the Japanese models....but nothing for my old dinosaur (yes I use it! $50 and it does what I need!)

    So is there an app that'll let me download my address book, etc. from Linux via Serial? If not anyone got the protocols?

  • PocketPC = new version of WinCE and supporting applications

    The above mentioned devices are just newer WinCE devices.

    Nothing new.

    I still like my Toshiba Libretto better.
  • I got a Sharp organizer as a gift. Sharp doesn't have open development tools, and only two software add-ons have appeared. It's going to be replaced with a Palm or a Linux PDA [slashdot.org].
  • Well, a Linux SDK would be nice, but it would have helped if someone in the world had the SDK. Only one company made an add-on.

    Sharp did add one game package. Oh, goodie.

  • The article phrasing indicates that it's an API port, which allows you to compile programs to run on this device. So you have to start with source code and use these tools to compile it to an executable. That does not mean that you can compile and run everything...unless someone translates the mystery page as saying that.
  • Any comment which mentions Beowoof where the article isn't about flustering gets automagically down-graded. Oops, there goes my karma.
    -russ
  • I hate trolls (I hate that word too), but this is just too much

    Why don't you post your report on a website, Im sure that there are others who would love to proof read it for you. Since you seem to be so informed that you can't even spell Torvalds right or know the difference between a kernel and an OS, I really doubt that your are as credible as you claim to be. Think of your report as an open source document, and all of us will help you write it.

    I guess that another question that I have would be why would someone want to try to find loopholes in the notion of freedom. That sounds pretty absurd to me. Apparently there really are people who are unhappy with freedom as it stands and want to find something wrong with it. Besides, the errors that you and your legal team uncover will only make us stronger. Thank you for your involuntary support and contribution to the free software community.
    --------------------------------------------
  • To update the above about the keyboard. I just saw the article in this month's Japanese Linux magazine. The screenshot of Linux on the Zaurus shows it using an onscreen keyboard, so maybe I wonder if in fact they have solved the problem of the broken control key on the keyboard.
  • First of all, a point of style. The Japanese "zaurusu" is not pluralized, since Japanese English does not support Latin-style word endings. The particular Zaurus models applicable here are the two latest versions of the Power Zaurus, MI-C1 and MI-EX1, due to limitations of system RAM on the many, many earlier models.

    Thus the MI-610DC mentioned above will not run this version of Linux, and I am a little bummed about this, since this is the model that has been my constant companion over the last two years. Nor will it run on the wildly popular under-$300 black-and-white "aigetti" series, which is doubly too bad.

    The MI-CI model is the latest model and can be had for $500-600 in Akihabara, if you know where to go. It is quite impressive. Much lighter and thinner than the active matrix MI-EX1 and MI-610 units and with up to ten hours of life on the lithium batteries, since it uses the "Super-Mobile" reflective LCD--visible with or without backlighting. It uses the mini-sized PC card slots, so will not use the cameras and TV output cards that work with the larger units.

    The MI-EX1 model is the Zaurus flagship at $1600 list. Mind that you want to spend another $300 for the 850,000 pixel digital camera that makes this beast really useful. Add in the very expensive Sharp cables and connectivity software and you are talking mid-$2000 range. At this price not a very popular or successful machine, but a very nice one.

    The MI-EX1 best features are the incredibly bright and beautiful Black TFT 640 by 480 screen and the improved connectivity via the cradle. It is the size of a paperback book and 255 grams in weight, so it travels in a shoulder bag. Battery life is the weak point, probably only two or three hours between charges. I know Sharp claims longer, but that just isn't the case. Picture taking also drastically drains the battery. 15 megs seems like a lot, but it fills up in no time when you start taking pictures at 850,00 pixels resolution, which you will find yourself doing constantly.

    Since the desktop connectivity software generally sucks, the best strategy for using the Power Zaurus is the get some extra Compact Flash cards. I don't know of any system-imposed limit on the size of the Compact Flash cards that can be used.

    The latest killer app for these Japanese Zauruses is the e-book reader. You can load up your PC card from the kiosk on the platform in Japanese train stations with newspapers and magazines and other such content for a nominal fee.

    The big problem with Zaurus has always been the lack of cool third party software. The SZAB development kit is expensive and developers are few. Other than a couple of games, I have never seen any software for Zaurus that looked worth the bother of downloading. Maybe the arrival of Codewarrior next month will change things.

    Actually the lack of software has been a blessing in disguise. The apps that come with the machine are useful and fairly bug free. Zaurus is stable and requires almost zero maintenance. The result is that I have wasted less time futzing around with the Zaurus than any computer I have ever owned. Close to zero headaches, coupled with the best Japanese language environment of any handheld, bar none.

    One minor (or major) complaint about Zaurus. You are stuck using Sharp's pretty pathetic keyboard, if you want to do a lot of input, since nobody has figured out a hack for any other keyboard.

    The Sharp keyboard does have a control character on it but I have never gotten it to work during a telnet session. Maybe this is a problem that has been solved now that Linux has been ported, and this makes me happy.

    I don't think there is much compatibility between the Japanese Zaurus and the export models. Nor, for that matter, is there much backward compatibility within the Japanese line, of which something like 5 million units have been sold to date. Tha is, I have never heard of anyone running English Zaurus programs on the Japanese units.

    Anyway, Linux on Zaurus is pretty happy news from this POV.
  • I was a bit puzzled by this quote from the wire story:
    Axe is a software firm that developed a kernel called "XTAL" for the Zaurus operating system when a 32-bit processor was used in Zaurus. Until then, the Zaurus operating system was made up of a set of libraries without any kernel.
    How can you have an operating system without a kernel? How were those libraries used without a kernel? am I missing something here or is this a bit of a mistake in the story?
  • In what way are you imagining this?

    It certainly wouldn't be a cheap way to build your own super computer, but it could give a slight aid to the distributed.net efforts (and the like), but what I think could be interesting would be when you dock a PDA could you use it's processor in SMP with your base machine?

    Obviously it wouldn't provide your with astonding improvements in image rendering time, but if the thing's just sitting there...
  • A set of libraries are there to offer routines to access the hardware. It's not exactly a modern OS, in that it offers things like memory protection and such (though this can also be implemented in a kludgy form), but more a set of library routines to call the hardware systems in a "predictable" manner. Of course, it probably doesn't have anything in terms of preventing you from writing/reading directly to/from the hardware without using any of the library functions designed for the purpose.
  • The xtal.org link from axe-inc includes info about the kernel in Japanese..

    XTAL is pronounced "Crystal"

    Used on all 32bit Sharp zaurii
    Used on Sharp's Communication Pal and Browser Board (?? couldn't find on Sharp's page)
    Is foundation of "SSS-Core" OS joint research project with Tokyo University
    Used in Takaoka Seisakujo's terminal (http://www.takaoka.co.jp/).. This seems to refer
    to a standalone SPARC-based CSV X Terminal which claims to be the fastest in the world (300L XStones) and the cheaper CSV model shown at http://www.takaoka.co.jp/system/SysXMiNT.html .

    Used in both embedded computers and desktops
    Research on cluster machines using Crystal at Tokyo University in SSS-Core project

    Supported CPUs: 80x86, Pentium, ARM6, ARM7, PowerPC 601, 603, 603e, PowerPC 403, SuperSparc, UltraSparc, SH3, 680X0

    AXE-TCP has been used for 6Mbps satellite telecom
    and supports IPSEC
    NFS client for sharing files with unix systems, and Samba server for sharing with Windoze
    HTTPD -- HTTP server run off XTAL, and user interface provided in HTML
  • by mattr ( 78516 )
    Sorry, 300K (300,000) XStones not 300L.
  • Or its just me?
  • Well... since PocketPC is an OS not a device it's hard to have a battery life! =) You won't find mention of any battery life until any actual products are shipped.

    -rt-
  • Yes, Yes. I know. I eliminated the mention of WinCE in this latest version in hopes that they'll post it. In any case though, the fact that they have all those pieces of software (whether they are of good quality or bad quality) is significant. They are trying to hit a number of different markets all at the same time, and that's basically their only weapon against Palm.
  • You are certainly more informed than I am about this. I don't have one of these devices, but would seriously consider them. I saw higher number versions as well, but because this is what they weer "unveiling", I chose what I thought were significant. What I am really interested in, though, more than whether it's MS WinCE or Linux, is how does it compare with other things out there? And more importantly, do you find these applications usable on the handheld devices? How do you think they will fare against Palm? (I'm doing a mini-slashdot interview here).
  • What is the big deal with the MS PocketPC? From the hype, I'm gathering it's supposed to be some next-generation of Windows CE devices -- but the devices seem to be the same hardware as the old WinCE devices, and the software... seems to be still WinCE. Is it a new version of WinCE, or is it that Pocket Internet Explorer now is there (was it not before?), or is there any semblence of actual progress or change?

    Or just a revision of marketing?
  • I blindly (illiterately) followed some links and found what seem to be some screen shots of zxlinux. [ascii.co.jp] It appears to be running kernel 2.3.23 and possibly X (or may be just the zxlinux interface. )
  • make it a PocketPenguin? ...and can I reserve trademark rights to that name?
  • Yea, I know what you mean about having a 3000. I use it everyday! I doubt zxLinux will have support for it at all, if it even makes it to the US. I haven't found any program like ZAP to download the address book and everything, but by using the terminal program on the Zaurus without a phone number, you can set up a direct connection using Minicom or the like. It supports a lot of different transmission protocols. Of course, you have to send your stuff in Documents to PC Files and vice-versa, but hey it works just about better than the windoze software!
  • This seems to be becoming a common theme on Slashdot in last few months - companies jumping on the Linux bandwagon in the hopes of securing some free publicity.

    it's not clear that this just for publicity. it's an opportunity for hardware vendors to free themselves from having to develop expensive software. the "jumping on the bandwagon" aspect is equally real: become part of the broader network of the linux world delivers positive network externalities to smaller players. notice that the market share winners are not adopting linux... yet.

    It seems that companies are beginning to perceive that Linux may eventually come to gain some portion of the OS market and are coming up with new marketing strategies to take this into account. This is quite a cunning move on their part

    it's not cunning, it's realio trulio deep down smart. the effect linux will have on the market for hardware and software is far-reaching. Most people do not realize the extent of the Microsoft stranglehold. I'd peg it as something like 50% destructive of the software GDP. The hardware vendors have been under Microsoft's thumb more obviously than consumers have so they are catching on fast: "you mean, we can do what we WANT?"

    ...will earn them "kudos" from the hacker demographic, who have significant purchasing power.

    The hacker demographic has no purchasing power. look at the articles posted here about how you can spend 12 hours hacking a machine to save a few hundred bucks. What the hacker demographic has is incredible influence over future technology. Management can make all the lame decisions they want, but developers will keep rowing the ship in the direction they want to. Like what you work on? work hard. Don't like what you work on? surf.

    However I am not sure about the long-term implications of this for the whole freeware ethos. How can you be sure that these companies will not turn around and violate the GNU Public License so as to make more money from the Linux platform.

    It's General Public License.

    The potential problem you're talking about is a long way off, and is tiny compared to the other "problems" such theives will face. Look at the ethos question this way: nobody predicted that open sourced free software would/could be a succss (no, not even Stallman... he was simply delusional, and even a clock that's stopped is right twice a day). So, given that you couldn't predict where we are today, why attempt to predict where we're going tomorrow? If you didn't believe that opensource could work as well as it does, why should we believe you can predict how well it will work?

    There is a massive amount of development going on, pushing fronts all over the place, platform, paradigm, blah blah. Want to keep your little sliver of code private? Nobody is going to care. If a big player "steals" GPLed code? They'll receive more scrutiny, and it's hard for large organizations to keep that kind of a secret anyway.

    I've had a quick look at the GPL and the legal department at my clients are going through it now, and it seems like it has some flaws in it which leave it vulnerable to certain areas of legal attack.

    uh... you've not spent the time that the community has collectively. IBM has embraced it, and they've got lawyers... copyright holders do not lose their copyrights because of a license, and the aforementioned tidal wave of new code will swamp today's versions anyway. It'll be like worrying that now that MSDOS has faded, DRDOS has a chance.

    What I want to know is, do you, as a demographic which typifies the Linux "crowd", think that the short-term gains in market recognition are worth the possible long-term complications from money-hungry corporations?

    The money hungry corporations are the ones who need to worry as it's going to get significantly harder to make money. That's a good thing as free market econ tells us in the long run, economic profit goes to zero, i.e. lower prices for consumers, the true benefit of free markets.

  • Could Linux be run on CE machines? I don't have one now but I used to have one of those Palmtop's that have Windows CE running on a Motorola processor. Perhaps LinuxPPC?
  • I'm pretty sure this only applies to the newer technology Zaurus models, most of which were never sold outside of Japan.

    I had the older technology Zaurus ZR5000, and then a ZR5800, but gave it to my wife and bought a Visor because of the piss-poor selection of software. It had really nice built-in apps, but almost nothing available from third parties. And Sharp had been promising a software-only SDK real soon now since 1993 or so when I bought it. It had a lot of promise, with that decently big screen, QWERTY keyboard, serial port and PCMCIA card slot. Unfortunately it mostly never got beyond the "promise" stage.

    --
    A "freaking free-loading Canadian" stealing jobs from good honest hard working Americans since 1997.
  • I remember back in High School, a friend of mine had a Sharp Zaurus. Back then, it was pretty impressive. It had it's own proprietary Operating System (Synergy), a backlit touch screen, and standard PDA functions.

    By today's standards, however, this unit is *very* limited. The standard model comes with 1MB of memory. Interestingly enough, they don't really go into what kind of hardware is under the hood. This zxLinux thing doesn't strike me as a port, but more as Emulation.

    Read about the Zaurus here: http://www.sharp-usa.com/zaurus/ [sharp-usa.com]

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Both the MI-EX1 & MI-C1, which are the only Zauruses that can run zmLinux, are sold in Japan. These are Sharps most high end units, both costing over $1000. Knowing this, I imagine most people wouldn't be so excited. (My submission of this story had all the detailed info. I'd wish Slashdot would check the other postings instead of committing to the first post.)

  • Oh, don't get me wrong, I wasn't bitching at you, just griping about publications, especially Ziff-Davis ones -- if they're reporting on advances to the PDAs, they should know which things are actually improvements, and which ones are already available. (Actually, someone pointed the same thing out in one of the recent ZDnet talkbacks, and no, he and I aren't the same person, so don't send your Slashdot hate mail to that guy ;) ).

    Now, on to your question, 'cause I'm not one of those usual Slashdot interview snob types who only answers questions which were moderated to a 5!. :)

    First off, I can't speak for any of the other CE devices, because the Cassiopeia 105's the only one I've used. That said, I did a good bit of research before buying, and this model is considered the top of the line of the Palm-sized CE devices by a lot of different sources (not all, of course). I've got a Palm Pilot and a Palm III, and I've used the Palm Vx before, and I just can't imagine going back. It's got all the data-tracking tools that I need in Pocket Outlook (contacts, appointments, tasks, email), which are essential in a PDA, and it integrates perfectly with Outlook on my regular computer whenever I sync. So, it has the same things that I needed out of my Palm, and if that's all you need, then you might not want to fork over the extra bucks for an E-105.

    For me, though, it's the extras which sold me. I travel two or three times a month, and this thing has been perfect for plane rides when I want to relax and not bother with any work. I can download some MP3s to listen to on it -- and the Windows Media Player, as well as the Mobile Audio Player before it, sound great -- but what I've been doing lately is listening to the audio version of Dennis Miller's Ranting Again. It was only $3.99 for the three-hour audio book, and worth every penny -- even despite the occasionial odd look I'll get when I suddenly bust out laughing. Another common plane/limo-in-traffic thing for me is the Color GameBoy emulator I downloaded. It's pretty sweet. It also comes with a voice recorder, which, although I've never been much of a voice recorder user, does make good-sounding recordings if that's something you're into. Pocket Streets is very nice, and I use it a lot, and Doom is pretty fun just for the "Whoa!" factor in showing people, although I'm not really into the game, myself.

    All of the applications that I've used are very very usable -- both on Palm and the E-105 -- although one of the reasons why I'm not jumping up and down waiting for Pocket Word is because I don't have much interested in inputting long documents into my PDA, whether it's via Palm's Graffiti or the 105's Jot -- I'm fairly fast with both, but both are just glacial compared to doing it on a keyboard. I installed CE Python for kicks and got tired of entering all those characters before I even finished my second program. Besides, full color Doom on a PDA is a better show-off toy than Python programs on a PDA for all but the most jaded geek. ;)

    As for how the new CE devices will fare against the Palm, I erally have no idea. I think they'll always be more expensive, so it's just how much people are willing to pay for the extra coolness factor, i.e., the great graphics and sound, and the standard apps. I myself can't imagine going back, but Palm's already got a huge entrenched market share, plus I don't know how many people are going to need the new features of CE, compared to what's already available for the current CE devices, which I'm already thrilled with. For example, I'm really looking forward to checking out the new MS Reader, but I'm not yet convinced that people are going to start craving books on their PDAs anytime soon. Pocket IE is sweet, but how many people will have internet access on their devices (I do, on my Palm III and E-105, but I know I'm not in the majority)?

    Anyway, that's the take on it from a Palm and CE user who hasn't yet tried CE 3.0. There are a couple of other things I could add, but it feels like I've already written an eBook's worth of stuff in this post, so I'll spare your time and mine until next time.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • It's a new version of CE, 3.0, along with the new apps, mainly, although for the most part, the devices for it will be new ones (while a few are the old devices with new ROM chips, which will let the current users of those models upgrade via a new ROM). Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE...mmmmm, pie...) is new for the palm-sized devices, although other browsers have been available, and PIE, like Pocket Excel and Pocket Word, was available for the handheld-style models (the ones with keyboards). Other than the OS upgrade, the PocketPCs introduce Word, Excel, IE, MS Reader, and MS Money. All the reports say that it also introduces MS Streets and Windows Media Player, but these have already been available to the current users.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • A friend of mine has this little puppy running and it's great as a geek's toy. What impresed me most is, that the zxLinux kernel runs *on top* of the native kernel and OS. So they just wrote a device driver for the keyboard to get that info from the host OS. That means it can do hand-writing recognition and use the on-screen keyboard. You can even switch to one of the built-in apps.
    The only problem is, since the Zaurus doesn't support unloading started apps (sounds funny, but true), you'd have to reset the whole device to shut down zxLinux. And the Zaurus has only 5MBs of RAM, of which the kernel alone uses 2.5MB.
    According to the developers talk at the PDA-BOF at LinuxConference2000 [linux.or.jp] in Tokyo, they do plan to make somekind of GUI platform available. It won't be full X (no RAM to do that) but probably some X-ish implementation possibly using frame-buffer with widgets designed for 1/4 VGA size screens. At yesterday's PDA-BOF, the PDA makers agreed to cooperate in creating a common Linux PDA-GUI spec/API.
    Though this is defnetly nothing for the avarage Zaurus user, its surely a super cool geek toy, and is more advanced than the Linux-port to the Palm.
  • Yeah, it's off-topic, but anything that's funny is on-topic, eh?
    -russ
    p.s. anybody can be held without being charged with a crime for 48 hours. Even after that, the judge has to either set or deny bail, and if the latter, it has to be for a good reason. If stupidity and ignorance was a crime, you'd be in jail too. Then again, if flameage was, I'd be in too.
  • Hehe, somebody already ported Apache to the PalmPilot :)

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Well it's not that complicated really. GNU is an operating system without a kernel. The fact that it is most often used with Linux doesn't mean anything -- it's designed for use with a kernel, but it wasn't developed with one in mind (Well there was the Hurd... HAHAHAHHA).

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • How well do these things work compared to the Palm? I couldn't find any mention of battery life on the website either.


    ====
  • Thank you very much. I appreciate the in-depth information you have provided. It certainly makes me want to go out and take a good hard look at one of these things. I noticed that you didn't mention stability, which is mentioned as an issue (in the article I submitted that they finally accepted and posted. Oops!). You didn't mention that it crashes often. Maybe the Casio is less crash-prone? Or maybe all these years of using MS products have made all of us more calloused to such things? :)

    You mentioned quite a few things that were very useful. Who knew you could run Doom on it? I didn't realize you could use it as a recorder (I guess it's more of a hardware implemented feature. The GameBoy emulator is definitely interesting as well.

    For all the bad things anyone could say about it, there's one good thing about WinCE - it is a platform that people could build to. There would be more choices (down the road, hopefully) than the roman numerals of a Palm.

    Now, if we could only get Linux, Apache, Universal Remote, and Wireless phone on it (oh, and can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of one of these?)

    Thanks once again.

    Regards.

  • 1. What processor is in this puppy?

    2. What kind of apps are we talking here? Do they have to be recompiled, or will it run x86 code?

    3. X? or just console?

  • MS Pocket PC

    <yawn> Does it run Linux?

    MS Reader: I like my books unencumbered. Windows Media Player: I don't want anything to do with SDMI. Pocket Internet Explorer: Is that for playing pocket pool?

    Frankly I've been seeing AP stories hyping this intro for a couple of days now and I realize that I don't care in the least.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • Great - would it only run console apps, or would it run X on a really small screen. I can just see people with their palmtop that has an instance of xeyes on screen, admiring how it's running Linux, without realizing that the xeyes are having trouble finding the mouse cursor. Worse, there would be no screen space for anything else.

    It would be nice, however, to be able to run a web server in your palm. You could have a running journal that you always type into, and people hitting the reload button to read what just happened. It would be like the girl in the Doonesbury comic in the paper, but text based (call it optimized for slow connections.)

    "Assume the worst about people, and you'll generally be correct"

  • And here's how (I quote:)

    G%b04 %VBv%'"% Vcv%é"é3ù% ORACLE 8i vcv%34304% øø% !!! cd /oracle 324 5VKCVLD %%% BKBVL%% 1vc!BV?v!!c!! /bin/bash linux2zx 232!!wxcx ZE4343:!!! vCVC!!! 132903^ é"421 @@12 435c 35VCXJHER hgdfhHGHG!
    KANPAI!! 5454``ùù&~é~ 5('!54?5??45 -- HIROSHI SENSEI

  • by imp ( 7585 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @08:29AM (#1123305) Homepage
    From the looks of the web page, and my small knowledge of Japanese, it appears that the machine is based on The Hitachi SH-3 or SH-4 processor. There's a Linux port to that chip, so it looks like they've just ported it to their box.

    I usually use Jim Breen's WWWJDIC at http://www.dgs.monash.e du.au/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/jwb/wwwjdic?9T to do the translation for me. It is very rough and you'll need to know some Japanese to understand it completely. But to get the gist of what is being said, it is quite useful.

    Actually, I use a OMCRON software called HONYAKU to do most of my Japanese English translations, but this page is too big for me to properly translate using HONYAKU, since I'd have to post the results somewhere and I don't want to get slashdotted :-)

    It definitely looks like a very cool thing!

  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @09:23AM (#1123306)

    I'm tired of the countless articles telling what software/features these devices will have, implying that the current generation doesn't already have them. The Cassiopia E-105 (DeepDarkSky, the new PocketPC version is actually the E-115), which is the one I've got, already offers, and has for months now, the Windows Media Player, Pocket Streets, web browsers, and Outlook. When I upgrade(*), the main things I'm interested in are MS Money, Excel, IE, and Reader -- especially looking forward to trying the reader -- but I enjoy the other stuff enough that I haven't touched my Palm III since December.

    (*) On the bad news front is the upgrade situation. Casio says they'll upgrade the ROMS for those of us with E-100/105s (other than the ROM, the E-105 and new E-115 hardware are identical), but not until the summer. Arggggh. :/

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • by Cato ( 8296 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @07:37AM (#1123307)
    I've had reasonably good results with the Netscape 6 preview release - it has a View | Translate command that sends the URL to www.teletranslator.com and then translates it for you.

    Very convenient - you can even navigate the links in the resulting page, and the service will translate the pages automatically.
  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @08:38AM (#1123308)
    MS Pocket PC. I've been trying all day to get this story below submitted. Might as well put it somewhere where people can see it.

    Microsoft unveiled the Pocket PC [microsoft.com] today. Products being available by its partners include: HP Jornada [hp.com], Compaq iPaq H3600 [compaq.com], Casio Cassiopei a E-105 [casio.com] and Symbol PPT 2700 [symbol.com]. Microsoft's touting it as being better [microsoft.com] than Palm [palm.com]. Here's a list of features [microsoft.com], significant among them: Microsoft Reader [microsoft.com] (for reading e-books), Windows Media Player [microsoft.com] (for playing music), Pocket Streets [microsoft.com] (a map program), Pocket Internet Explorer [microsoft.com], and office productivity tools like Outlook, Word, and Excel.

    FWIW though, Japanese make good appliance-type gadgets, and you can count on them to deliver good quality end-user products (witness the game consoles). Only problem is if some terrorists decide to use a Sharp Zaurus in their Missile Guidance System.

  • by Panther Cat ( 176766 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @10:04AM (#1123309)
    Here's my first crack at translating what's on the home page. It's good to know that my three years of Japanese training can be put to some use...:)

    There's not a whole lot on the page - just a greeting, an obvious "What's New" section, and a FAQ. Anyway, here's my quick-'n-dirty translation of the FAQ:

    ------------------------------------------------ zxLinux FAQ

    1. zxLinux is...?
    2. Compatible hardware
    3. Kernel version
    4. Development environment
    5. License/usage conditions
    6. License/usage warnings
    7. License agreement (don't recognize the word)
    8. Using the binaries
    9. Mailing List
    10. Documentation
    11. Related Links

    Section 1: zxLinux is...?

    • Linux for use on Sharp's Zaurus
    • AXE developed this version of Linux, with much help from Sharp. HOWEVER, please do not contact Sharp with any questions regarding this page.
    • Linux runs as a single process in Zaurus' XTAL microkernel
    • The Zaurus environment and Linux environment can coexist:
      • written text input can be directed to the Linux console
      • Zaurus' environment will not be crippled in any way (PC: presumably by Linux running concurrently)
      • however, there are no guarantees made for processes running on the system
      • there is no guarantee that erasure or other changes to Zaurus' internal data will not occur
    • Use of the Zaurus keyboard option is supported
    (pc: here, there's a link to a more detailed description of how zxLinux was developed, but the link seems to be broken as I write this)

    Section 2: Compatible hardware

    • Zaurus iCraze(?) EX1 (model# MI-EX1)
    • Power Zaurus C1 (model# MI-C1)
    NOTE: Other Zaurus models have insufficient RAM, so at this time, they cannot run zxLinux.

    Section 3: Kernel Version

    • Linux Kernel version 2.3.23
    (pc: a dev kernel???)

    Section 4: Development Environment (pc: now my Japanese is getting a little fuzzy; we never learned technical terms or technical use of terms, so please bear with me ^_^;;)

    • Cross development with Intel-based Linux
    • Development kits come in two types; debugger comes in one:
      • Kernel development kit
      • Application development kit
      • Application development kit remote debugger
    • To develop for zxLinux, a native Zaurus development environment and a Linux development environment are necessary. (pc: combining? synchronizing?) the environments is extremely difficult. This is why a specific kernel development kit was created. However, we still must stress caution when conducting zxLinux kernel development.
    • zxLinux application development does not differ from normal Linux application development. As long as limits are observed (pc: presumably memory limits), Linux-x86 or Linux/SH (or other Linux) source code can be used.
    • (pc: here, there's a link to to an explanation of how to develop for zxLinux)
    • The remote debugger is used by attaching a serial line between a Zaurus and an Intel-based Linux machine. If you run a debugger on an Intel-based Linux machine and "gdbserver" (remote debugger) on the Zaurus, you can conduct zxLinux application debugging.
    • (pc: here, there's a link to an explanation of how to use the debugger.
    Section 5: License/usage conditions
    Section 6: License/usage warnings
    Section 7: License agreement

    (pc: I'm not going to try translating these right now, as the text is really long and full of disclaimers and legal stuff; suffice to say that you're on your own when you use this, you can't blame Sharp for any damage to your Zaurus, etc., etc. - standard stuff)

    Section 8: Using the binaries

    If you use this software, you may damage or destroy your Zaurus' internal data. Any use of this software is your responsibility.

    If you have vital data stored on your Zaurus, then please DO NOT USE THIS SOFTWARE AT ALL.

    No matter what happens, neither Sharp Corp. nor AXE hold any responsibility (for your Zaurus).

    1. Prepare a read/writable Zaurus-compatible compact flash card. (Make sure that the file format on the card is DOS FAT.)
    2. Unpack the binary kit archive. This can be done in either Windows or Linux.
      ZLNXKNL.BIN zxLinux kernel ZLNXIMG.DAT Linux ext2fs image ZLNX.APL
      ZLNX.BIN
      ZLNXDM00.JPN
      ZLNXFM00.JPN
      ZLNXST00.JPN zxLinux boot program The above files are what you should get.
      (pc: I ripped this table from the page and translated the katakana bits...sorry, AXE!)
    3. Copy all of the above files to the compact flash card.
    4. Place the flash card into the Zaurus.
    5. "ZxLinux" should appear in the MORE Software screen (in actuality, the boot program), so tap it to begin the install.
    6. zxLinux will automatically install.
    7. The ext2fs image can be mounted and used on an Intel-based Linux machine.
    8. IMPORTANT: To shutdown zxLinux, go to the [Power (Return)] button.
      Going to a different button will not shut down Linux; it will only change the running application. With zxLinux running in the background behind the new application, the Zaurus will run exceptionally slowly.
    9. If the Zaurus behaves abnormally, find the battery removal switch and move it from [Lock]->[Release]->[Lock]. This will reset your Zaurus.
    Section 9: Mailing List

    For program developers, there is a mailing list available: zxldev@axe-inc.co.jp.

    To Subscribe

    1. For people wishing to subscribe, please send mail to
      &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspzxldev-ctl@axe-inc.co.jp
      with this text
      &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspsubscribe zxldev &ltyour@mail.address&gt
      in the body of the message.
    2. A confirmation email will be sent to the given address.
    3. Reply to the confirmation email.
    4. Once these steps are completed, you will be subscribed to the list.
    NOTE: This list is supported by volunteers.

    Section 10: Documentation

    • (pc: link to a page on how zxLinux was created)
    • (pc: link to the development method page)
    • (pc: link to a page on use of the remote debugger)
    • (pc: link to simple instructions for a demo application)
    Section 11: Related links
    • (pc: link to Sharp's home page)
    • (pc: link to AXE's home page)
    • (pc: link to the XTAL home page)
    • (pc: link to the Japanese Linux Association home page)
    • (pc: link to a Japanese Linux info page)

    ------------------------------------------------

    *WHEW*

    That pretty much covers the FAQ. Now that I think about it, I probably didn't need to translate the install instructions, as people who have Zaurus' can probably read Japanese anyway.

    Anyway, I hope this helps people out some. I'm not a native Japanese speaker, and I don't claim that my translation is 100% correct, so please forgive any errors in the translation. If you have corrections, please post them! :)

    Ja na,
    - PC

  • by kawauso ( 176782 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2000 @09:20AM (#1123310)
    translation of hi-lights from www.zxlinux.com

    What's new

    * source for zlboot is made available (see below).

    * zxlinux will be at LinuxConference 2000
    zxlinux will be at PDA BOF

    1. what is zxlinux

    * Linux that runs under zaurus
    * Developed by AXE, Inc http://www.axe-inc.co.jp/
    [they have an English page]
    * Linux Server runs as a "XTAL" process under zaurus' mirco kernel
    * It can perfectly coexist with the existing zaurus environment:
    * linux console input via handwriting recognition.
    * does not disturb the zaurus environment
    * compatible with zaurus' option hardware keyboard.

    technical detail in Japanese can be found at http://www.zxlinux.com/doc/kd11.html. There are some diagrams that are in English.

    2. supported platforms

    * EX1(MI-EX1)
    * Power Zaurus C1 (MI-C1)

    3. kernel version

    Linux 2.3.23
    (2.2.23 was a typo)

    4. development environment

    Cross-compiled under Itel Linux
    Two development environments.
    One debugger.
    * kernel development environment
    * application development environment
    * application development remote GDB

    zxlinux kernel development is difficult due to
    limitation of native Zaurus and Linux environments.
    So, we decided to develop a special kernel development environment.

    zxlinux applications development is just like Linux.
    Except for a few limitations, you can use the same source code
    as Linux/x86 or Linux/SH.

    Remote GDB allows GDB running on Intel linux to connect to
    Zaurus via a serial cable. Applications on zxlinux can be debugged
    by running gdbserver on Zaurus.

    5. conditions of use

    Basic disclaimers:
    Not responsible for loss of data, etc..
    [too tedious to translate]

    6. caution

    [More warnings on possible data loss and potential hardware damage.]
    ...

    * Source code found here can be modified and distributed according
    to GPL version 2.

    7. distribution

    Do you agree on the "conditions of use" and "caution" above?
    If so, press the button below to go to the distribution page.

    8. how to use the binary kit.

    [Yet another warning about data loss and stuff]

    1. Prepare a writable Zaurus Compact Flash Card.
    (Use DOS FAT file system)

    2. Expand the binary kit archives on windows or linux.
    You will get:
    ZLNXKNL.BIN zxlinux kernel
    ZLNIMG.DAT Linux Ext2fs image

    ZLNX.APL
    ZLNX.BIN
    ZLNXDM00.JPN zxlinux boot programs
    ZLNXFM00.JPN
    ZLNXST00.JPN

    3. Transfer all these to the flash card.

    4. insert the flash card and boot Zaurus.

    5. zxlinux (actually its boot program) appears on the
    "MORE Software boot screen", so invoke it by clicking on it.

    6. zxlinux will boot.

    7. you can mount Ext2fs image on Intel linux.

    8. *** you shutdown zxlinux by pressing the "Power(back)" button.***
    Other buttons do not shutdown zxlinux, but switch the appliction.
    This causes zxlinux to run in the background while the newly selected
    programs runs, resulting in very poor performance.

    9. If Zaurus behaves funny reset it by toggling the battery switch
    as follows:
    Lock -> Release -> Lock

    9. mailing list

    [information about mailing lists]

    10. documentation

    * How zxlinux works http://www.zxlinux.com/doc/kd11.html
    * development methodology http://www.zxlinux.com/doc/devdoc.html
    * using remote gdb http://www.zxlinux.com/doc/rgdbdoc.html
    * brief intro to demo apps http://www.zxlinux.com/doc/apl.txt

    11. links

    * Sharp
    * AXE [the icon with the cute girl]
    * XTAL home page
    * Japan Linux association
    * Info on Linux in Japan

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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