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Linux On iPAQ 3600 Handheld 100

wruji writes: "Linux on Compaq's upcoming iPAQ PocketPC. has more info including install instructions" Cute little box.
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Linux on iPAQ 3600 Handheld

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  • Dear all

    would some one who actualy gets access to the server post the how to install up on slashdot

    the device is based on itsy and so already has a working port and good ARM support in 2.3 series so a good chance that USB and all will be supported now all we need are apps to go along with it simple ones like palm has and we wont have to pay M$ for yet another platform to screw up


    feel much better now


    (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • by Deeter ( 180318 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:08AM (#997867)
    Have you seen the junk on their announcment page. This alone is enough to make me not want one:

    Find it Fast
    Be Prepared for Anything
    Fit in, Standout
    See it all Clearly
    Touch it, Feel it, Believe it
    Take it Easy

    Does any of that actually make sense? I especially like "Touch it, Feel it, Believe it". Reminds me of the fake commercials in the robocop movies.

  • Linux is powerful as hell, but the interface is still done mostly through command line.

    Can't make up my mind whether you are a troll or not. If you are, you are smart because you have learned not to trash Linux where it is strong, but that strength does not *directly* affect a naive mom&pop user. If you are not a troll, then you are living on another planet, because on the planet I live on, virtually everything we do on Linux here is done through the GUI. Almost a year after she began using Linux I finally showed my wife how to use the command line (she *likes* it! - just like giving a command to her husband, I guess :-/ ).

    I am a programmer and, other than when I am actually editing program text, I too do most of my work on Linux through the GUI.
  • So are we going to have to use Graffiti to etch-in our username and password each time to login?
  • My GUI -- GNOME -- uses wildcards. Or regexps (at my option). Of course, it doesn't come anywhere near matching the functionality of find+xargs... but come on, that's what eterm is for :)
  • by / ( 33804 )
    Have you seriously tried using WinCE? The desktop startmenu/etc. paradigm doesn't translate into a good handheld interface. Half of Palm's success has been in avoiding this problem and coming up with a different interface.

    One of the "laymen" I know who tried WinCE (who'd be royally pissed off if she knew someone called her a *man;) has moved on to an ibook. The interface was one of her many gripes with WinCE.
  • I haven't been able to find much in the way of handwriting recognition software for Linux. Anyone have any pointers? It would certainly make my Ricoh G-1200s [] a lot more useful.
  • Cute little box.

    I can't count how many time I've said that to a date

    Rob's Cat Martix
  • thus reducing the curve for non geek users

    I think that geeks look forward to such learning curves (w.r.t. everything in life), whereas non-geeks hate learning curves.

    With regards to KDE, I didn't think that most people used KDE. Does anyone have any numbers on this? I figured it was about 50-50 between Gnome and KDE.

    I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but microkernel doesn't refer to a stripped down version of a kernel. A microkernel is a very specific type of kernel, designed to be efficient and simple. MkLinux is a Linux distro based on a microkernel (Apple dropped support of MkLinux too, isn't that a coincidence?).

    Finally, ghoul, I'm not going to point out the details, but, your reply had horrendous grammar. Please try to proof read it once or twice before posting. You will sound more intelligent and persuasive, while increasing the quality of Slashdot at the same time.
  • by hypergeek ( 125182 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:48AM (#997875)
    From the iPAQ site:
    "With the Compaq iPAQ, you will:


    Fit in, Stand out"

    How do they pull that one off? Maybe by day, the iPAQ makes you a mild-mannered reporter, but by night... it makes you a grouchy, irritable reporter... (with superhuman crankiness).

  • In my very humble opinion, GUIs detract from the power of UNIX. Maybe it's because I've been a sysadmin since I got out of High School and am used to maintaining tons of machines remotely, but I can type faster than I move my mouse ;) And there are things you can do from commandline that you can't from a gui.

    To name a few: grep, awk, sed etc.

    These tools are part of what makes Linux powerful. I guess you can get around a desktop Linux box using only a gui, but then you're now allowing yourself to gain the true benefit of using UNIX.


    That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons even death may die.
  • I AM talking about H/PCs . The Palm is a glorified organizer. And btw u can run CE on a Palm V
  • Thanks for the fun!
  • I recently trained at a HPC organization and what do u know they were running CE on a Palm V. Hozzat?
  • A hammer is more efficient than a screwdriver when nailing a nail. A stupid carpenter tries to pound a screw in with his hammer. Smart carpenters know to choose the right tool for the right job.

    Same goes for computers. Efficient users know when to use a GUI and when a CLI is better. You limit yourself if you only use one or the other.

  • Compaq iPAQ H3600 Port Status

    6/15/2000 Buttons and backlight working with the X Window System.

    6/14/2000 PCMCIA option pack (sleeve) working, ethernet driver working, work underway on 802.11b driver and audio driver

    6/13/2000 Kernel updated to 2.4.0-test1-ac7-rmk1-np6. Touch screen working with X Window System

  • did I say that? sheesh. remind me not to post before morning coffee. At least it was on topic and isn't flamebait unless the true-fans-of-katie read it.

    -=(\/) | (\| | - (\/) 3 (\/) 3
  • Also, think of the espionage options. Wangle a network connection into it and then sniff packets to your hearts content, and it hides in the cable snarl behind the rack. ;)
  • Yes, because that's what it was intended for (and does a damn good job of it too, btw - I love my Vx :). You can't run Windows CE on a Palm, either. CE is too bloated, besides - the Dragonball '328 runs @ ~16 MHz, the EZ runs at ~20 - typical CE-based palmtops run on a MIPS R4x00 or StrongARM (SA-1100 is a favorite, iirc) in the 150-200 MHz range typically, so it's also a very different architecture. The Palms also have significantly less RAM - current models carry 2-8 MB, whereas CE units typically carry 16-64 MB (again, iirc). And, that memory is used a lot differently on CE units than on Palms.

    Make sure you know your gear before you troll, so you can at least be somewhat convincing. :)
  • Well, that's not what the rest of your post says. The rest of your post says that Linux will be a good PDA OS when people will write proper software for it. That's an argument I can make for any OS...

    Either you didn't read my post, you don't know what Linux is, or you're a troll.

    Assuming it's one of the first two, I'll clarify it for you:

    Linux is an excellent OS for use on PDAs. Linux is an OS, not a GUI.

    Your objections are to the major GUIs currently widely used on Linux, and other INTERFACE tools that are not in any way, shape, or form part of the operating system.

    The major interfaces currently widely used are not very good PDA interfaces. However, neither is WinCE. So I don't see how using a bad interface under a good OS is a bad idea, when the alternative is using a bad interface over a bad OS.

  • Unlike the earlier Compaq Aero and the popular Casio E115, the iPaq (and the new HP Jornada []) only sports 12 bit colour. I feel that 4096 colours is probably quite satisfactory for such a small display, but could it be a potential obstacle for easily porting a lot of X stuff? I recall seeing quite a few quirks in programs like XV with the fairly standard for PCs but not for workstations 15/16-bit colour mode. 1, 8, 16 or 32 bit now seems the norm with X.
  • Compaq research was involved with the porting...

    Here's an idea: try reading the referential links before commenting, but I had forgotten, this require literacy.
  • Check the specs []: The iPAQ has a lithium-polymer battery. Nice to see.
  • "...interface tools that are not in any way, shape, or form part of the operating system."

    Are you sure? I think you are correct in that with most *nix OS's the interface tools and core OS are seperated, but try not to be so dramtic (ie not in any way..). Especially on a handheld PDA, the GUI and UI will be essential parts.. and the previous posters comments make sense.. that the existing KDE, Gnome, etc.. interfaces are not particularly well suited for a PDA.

    In general though you are surely correct - why use a bad os and bad interface when you can use a good OS and bad interface. But does this apply to PDA's? As long as Pocket PC or WinCE or whatever does the job it was intended, do the mechanics and whatnot really matter? I guess for me, if the product, as shipped, suits my needs (which the Ipaq thing wont) then I am happy.

    Just a few honest thoughts.. now go ahead and brand me a troll..

  • Even with an MP 2100's 2.5 megs there isn't enough storage space. Apples genius in using a non standard format for its memory cards makes finding compatible cards large enough for even a tiny disto impossible.

  • Huh???? Success of CE???? Where have you been the last few years?

    CE has less than 10% of the market, Palm OS has nearly 90%.
  • The Jornado is great. As far as HRR it's nowhere close to the Palm. I've always been a Palm fan but have recently had a chance to use the HPJ and like it very much. The hardware and technology lets you really do a lot with it. I was at a conference recently and saw the wide array of things that will be available soon for these devices and was very pleased. I'm not the biggest MS fan but I can say that at least CE is a stable platform. I think a desktop version of CE would be great for terminals and such.
  • but what if you have a directory full of 3000 files and you want to delete all the .txt files that begin with the letter O? even with display sorting, "rm -f O*.txt" is faster than highlighting them. GUIs don't use wildcards.
  • by MikeFarrington ( 144619 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:11AM (#997894)

    The new Compaq iPaq is the only WinCE handheld with it's OS on a Flashable ROM.

  • by GrayMouser_the_MCSE ( 192605 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:12AM (#997895)
    With the hardware built to take advantage of a full installation of Windows Pocket PC, many real applications would come up for these things with a much smaller Linux installed.

    I'm using a Jornada 548. The thing as as much RAM and a more powerful processor than the desktop computer I was using 5 years ago. Forget for a moment about the battery life (I know, we're entering the "willing suspension of disbelief" zone). You should be able to run just about anything with a specific installation of Linux on this.

    As for the people who ask "Why would you want to?" I can only say because you can. Most technological improvements were developed that way, and then other people quickly found applications for them. Heck, most people didn't see a use for portable phones not too long ago...

    And, if nothing else, it gives people one more option. And that is always a good thing.

  • by YoJ ( 20860 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:33AM (#997896) Journal
    Linux is actually a kernel. The command line you are talking about is really bash or csh or whatever. The ability to run Linux on a handheld is cool because you can write your own programs to control it. That's why I would want to run Linux on it, so that I could make my own clean, tight graphical interface. Installing Linux on it right now might not be terribly useful, but it gives you power and flexibility. You aren't locked in to WinCE or some other fixed, non-customisable OS.


  • If there's a Linux install for StrongARM, is there a port to Newton (thousand model) or eMate?

    I can only imagine running a web server on a Newton... til the double-A's run out!
  • Read up before you post... I just got done reading the specs for the iPAQ and was very surprised. Compaq has all of the memory locations, interrupts, and info on what all of the chips inside are to be able to at least get a good deal of systems level programming working with this... Even cooler though, is if you look at where on the internet is... Traceroute:
    14 189.ATM11-0-0.BR1.PAO1.ALTER.NET ( 89.412 ms 83.671 ms 88.646 ms

    15 ( 85.998 ms 85.690 ms 86.407 ms
    16 ( 83.715 ms 83.005 ms 89.361 ms
    17 ( 84.044 ms 84.175 ms 83.859 ms
    That's right folks, compaq isn't just giving out buttloads of specs, they're also hosting the site putting linux on this little thing. Reading further it talks about how they have quite a few people researching this sort of thing for them.

    Now that Compaq, IBM, and SGI seem to be making a big effort to get Linux on whole new types of machines (Compaq: handhelds, IBM: mainframes, SGI: supercomputers) the only real issue is going to be taking advantage of these corporations' help as much as possible.

    Sigh... Seems like Linux, Solaris, and NT are going to be all that's left for non-desktop boxen RSN. It'll be interesting to see what happens if Linux is able to do something similar on the desktop and get corporate designers working on a better UI.


  • that you can run Linux on them. I wonder if you can get a discount by leaving out Windows?
  • My watch runs for years on a single battery. Maybe you should port Linux to a watch.
  • Another option would be a menu program that lets newbies run all the default apps easilly, along with a menu-based tool for installing new apps that ads them to the user menu options, and a means for hackers to get a root shell without much fuss. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

    To exec a menu app is no great sin. Folks that used to log into a lot of BBS's "back in the day" would feel right at home.

    Handheld GUI's all look like crap so far anyway, so why not let all the "point and poke" features be done with ASCII text instead of low-res pictures? It might not look as cool, but would probably run faster.

    • state of open connectivity software (to Linux, *nix, `doze)
      There are official versions of palm desktop for windows and macintosh. There is a complete suite called PilotManager [] which provides connectivity on unix platforms.
    • usefulness of applications
      There's all manner of cool stuff on the palm device. The stuff I use the most is:
      1. Calculator: 'nuff said.
      2. To-Do list: This lets you create tasks and then check them off. They can have priorities and due dates and they get ranked appropriately. I use this for all kinds of checklists, including DVDs I want to buy.
      3. Address book: The address book is pretty good, and if you're on windows (maybe also on unix) you can print out the address book in all sorts of formats, use it for mail merge, and so on.
      4. Notepad: Featureless, but fast and efficient. Uses the system font choice so you can make it bigger if you can't see.
      5. AvantGo: IIRC, this only runs on windows. It downloads news via the 'net when you hotsync. I get Wired News, DiscoveryZone, and some other stuff.
      6. Omniremote []: A friend of mine wrote this IR Learning Remote software which is now one of the most popular software packages for palm. You can rearrange the buttons and stuff. There's also a Springboard Module [] for Handspring [] Visor [] owners. (The Visor is a palm clone which runs palmos, has 8mb ram, no flash, USB, and it's $250. Sweet deal.)
      7. Tealdoc: This lets you view Tealdoc format documents on PalmOS. You can generate those documents from HTML or Text, or with software from Teal. Handy.
      8. Tealpaint: It's basically macpaint for PalmOS. I use it as a sketchpad and super-quick notepad.
    • user interface sux/rox evaluation
      The UI isn't amazing, but it's pretty good. The menus can be tough to navigate but that's just because the pen tends to be in the way. There are pageup and pagedown buttons, which help quite a bit.
    • color screen readability
      All the color screens are great in the shadows (Though the Cassiopea is supposedly better than the PalmIIIc) and crap in sunlight. Go for black and white, you just don't need color in a handheld.
    • storage limitations
      It takes quite a while to run out of 8mb. Other handhelds like iPaq and Cassiopea have vastly more storage and power, so you can use them as mp3 players and whatnot; They're just a lot more expensive and get much shorter battery life.
    • battery life
      Palm Pro w/2mb upgrade gets like 60 hours, Visor Deluxe with the Omniremote module in it seems to get about 40, but the battery drains over time as well for some reason I haven't figured out, which may be because I still have a beta version of the omniremote hardware. Cassiopea gets about six hours, but it has li-ion or nimh or something in it rather than taking alkalines or AAA nimhs.
    • upgradability
      Most palms aren't upgradable at all, any more. The Visor has a handspring slot where you can put a bunch of stuff, including GPS, Digital Camera, MP3 player, Modem, etc.
    • wireless connectivity
      Palm VII has it, nothing else does. I hear it sucks, though, unless you're in the Big City(tm).

    I like my Visor a lot. It hotsyncs amazingly quickly (USB is good) and everything moves quick. It gets great battery life and it looks extra-snazzy. On top of that, there is an absolute ton of software for PalmOS, much of which is freely available. If it's not free, it tends to be cheap.

  • Hey.. this is a pretty good troll. Nice job ghoul ... nice job. All you troll wannabees out there this is how it's done.

    Notice the plain and very business -like aproach, notice the vail of intelligence. Sweet, very nice. In my day as a troller I could never quite put it all together like this one. I quit when most of my trolls started getting moderated up. You know you suck when your trolls get modded up to +1 interesting. Then again that might be a statement about the moderators too...

    Now all you need to do is drop a nice troll like this in a popular discussion and watch it go. It's a shame you wasted it on this one, as it's not going to go anywhere.

    Then again, if your new to trolling and you wanted to test your skills in a low volume discussion then I say BRAVO man, bravo... you are ready for prime time.

    Damn..great troll.. all the major ingredients, a nice slam on Gnome with the KDE reference that's sure to rile up a few. Then a dig at Apple, oh yeah.. but in a sort of cluless way. Yep.. this is just a freakin great troll.
  • s/Natali Portman/Bea Arthur/g

    Shudder! If that image doesn't shrivel your sac, nothing will.


  • Why put Linux on a handheld? Because it can be done.

    Seriously, while I can't speak for the people who actually did this one, this is why I like to see this happen. Okay, it's not really that I want Linux, per se, it's that I want to see a completely open-source PDA platform. A brand new free OS written specifically for PDA's would satisfy me just as much, but why write one? Linux is here, and we know it can scale down to fit in PDA class devices, so why not use it?

    But the kernel is the first step. It handles all of the grunt work, ie. memory managment, communications and networking, device drivers, etc., and provides a good, solid foundation to build the rest of a PDA. But, most, if not all, of the software in a typical Linux distribution is irrelevant to a PDA. A command line on a PDA would be frustrating at best, and most X11 apps would have a hard time on such a low resolution (try running X in 320x200x16, then imagine that on a PDA you often don't get nearly that many pixels, and often not nearly that many colors). So, you pretty much have to throw out the whole user space environment, right down to "init", and start from scratch. In fact, you probably wouldn't even keep much of the UNIX filesystem heirarchy.

    So, why go to all the trouble? Because you end up with a fully open PDA platform, from the lowest device driver all the way on up.

  • If I get one, that's the first project! Most people might not write their own GUI, but through the wonders of open source, if one person gets a good GUI working, everyone can benefit.


  • so i've got linux installed on my handheld. so what? can i use X on it? probably not. i mean if i could at least run java applets on it, this would be worthwhile but command line linux on a pda with no keyboard doesn't sound like fun!

    J Perry Fecteau, 5-time Mr. Internet
    Ejercisio Perfecto []: from Geek to GOD in WEEKS!
  • I am playing with a review unit of the HP Jornada WinCE device. I've long thought the Palm was better than previous WinCE products, but have had little use for any of the handhelds; I'd just as soon tote a notepad around. But I gotta admit, the Jornada is changing my mind.

    The screen is gorgeous and about a third bigger than that found on a Palm. It's got lots of pseudo-Windows functionality, but if you just want to do the basics--calendar, address book and the like--the hot buttons on the front of the unit take you right to them. I love the ability to record sound. I just did a half-hour interview and the playback sound, while not great, was quite acceptable. Can't do that with a Palm. The Jornada is heavier than most Palms, but about the same weight as Palm's color version. And that Compaq is markedly lighter than the Jornada, based on my handling a display unit at the premiere party in New York.

    In all, I think Microsoft's got a real contender here. I may just end up buying one of these things...

  • Can it compete with the PocketPC?
  • Linux is an excellent OS for use on PDAs. Linux is an OS, not a GUI

    Well, you made a lot of declarations but I've seen very few reasons. Why is Linux an excellent OS for a PDA? Specifically, why is it better than, say, QNX or Plan 9, or some *BSD, or EPOC?

    Besides that I'd like to remind you that PDAs have no keyboard. That makes command-line interface not good at all. You admit that current GUIs are not very suitable. So how I am supposed to do work on a Linux-running PDA? I understand the difference between OS and GUI, but a pure kernel is not very useful by itself, is it?

  • Yes indeed, you can run X on it! The Linux port includes X and some X applications, including a stroke recognizer.
  • Why would I want to get something from Compaq? They are one of the most closed system proponents out there! If these devices are anything like Compaq desktops or the other iPaq you can definitely count me out!
  • My, is this poster confused. Everything he has "gathered from the article" is wrong. - Enterprising hackers? Well, actually the people who did the Linux port to the iPaq H3600 mostly work for Compaq's research labs. I guess you could call them enterprising hackers if you want, though. - Closed platform with no documentation? No, actually Compaq is supplying complete hardware documentation on the Web, accessible from The folks who did the port had this early (being inside Compaq), but now you have it too. - No support for the iPaq's framebuffer, let alone an X server? No, actually the Linux port comes with an X server. Works fine, in color. (Notice that the announcement was sent out by Jim Gettys, one of the two original developers of X!) - Support for the digitizer? Yep, the Linux port comes with support for the touchscreen and a unistroke recognizer (xscribble).
  • If you click on the "features" link on the web page, you'll see a close-up - and then realize that this thing is butt-ugly. No, this isn't a troll. The unit looks like a horrid nightmare in human interface design. What is that, bumps and grooves in the shape simply for bumps and grooves? If a product has those things, they should be shaped for the hand - not some unnatural "futuristic" design. As a Linux box it's neat (for 5 mins), but I'd recommend a Psion for those truly interested in ultra-portable Linux.
  • Ok, lad. I know this is supposed to be a form of joke, but I'm going to reply to it anyway. First off, I don't think that the geeks you're talking about are really as common as you imply. Most geeks, if you want to call them that, don't confine themselves to one technology or set of technologies.

    There are plenty of Radio geeks (HAM Radio operators), electronics geeks (Electronic equipment), and science geeks (Math, Physics, etc). The operating system choice of these people will depend firmly on their chosen field, NT or Windows XX will probably come into play during their careers, after all, a sysadmin needs to deal with users running non-*ix operating systems, for example.

    When I was a lad way back in the old days, things were somewhat rough for me because of all the travelling my parents did. We literally didn't stay in one country for more than 3 years.

    Primary school was a blur, I hopped around from school to school, country to country, but always managed to score excellently in my exams. As a teacher from a school I went to in Hawaii put it: "Cliffton is a brilliant, if somewhat distracted, child." It was true. I was distracted often and preferred reading my own books to paying attention to the class at hand. During my high school days I spent most of the time playing Hearts or Gin Rummy, for cash. I did poorly in most of my subjects, but managed to scrape through my scoring A's in my finals every year. During senior prelims, I scored 100% in my History exam and managed to scrape through the rest of my subjects, by then I was into horse racing, big time. I betted almost every day, and most of the time I didn't do very well, but I kept at it regardless. My high school finals saw a vast improvement though, and I was accepted into University comfortably.

    To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in romance during my school years. The closest I got to intimacy with a girl was inviting her back to my bedroom lab and wiring her up with electrodes on her head. I was a nut for experimentation, even back then. The girls whom I did this to were disappointed when they realized that my fascination with them was limited to my bedroom lab, and soon left me.

    My friends consisted of two close friends whom I'd known since the ages of 3 and 4 respectively, some colleagues from the various high schools I attended, who were also involved in Hearts and Gin Rummy, and a few book makers and punters I knew from the horse racing scene.

    Now that I'm a well known scientest (at least in Bioinformatics circles), things are hectic and I have plenty of academic colleagues, some of whom have become very good friends. I was never beaten up while attending school, and teasing wasn't a problem, because during the card era at least, I could pay for kids to get beaten up. I paid a kid $1 for every tooth he brought me from a bully who picked on me one day (It was the closest to getting beaten up I ever came). He brought me 2 teeth wrapped in tissues.

    So you see, your assumption that all geeks get beaten up, don't have friends, and only use Linux,is wrong.

  • oh, i get it, compaq's not putting it have to do it yourself. what a confusing headline.
  • why do the pictures show it running WinCE or Windows Powered or whatever the heck they call it now?
  • Why not support the Cassio E-1?? With a much larger installed base, wouldn't this be the obvious choice? Perhaps porting linux to a strongarm is easier then a mips processor? I have a e-105 w/microdrive, and would love to run linux on it...
  • Well, you made a lot of declarations but I've seen very few reasons.

    Well, I was responding to your unsupported declarations, so I didn't think we were getting down to that level. :-)

    Why is Linux an excellent OS for a PDA?

    Because it's Open Source and very well understood, making it easy to modify.

    Because it's written with portability a strongly-considered factor throughout, making it easy to port.

    Because it's already got some support for every important PDA chip, to one degree or another.

    Because it is very small and efficient, due to it's modular nature.

    Because it's GPLed, meaning you don't have to pay a nickel to use it.

    Because there is an active developer community out there that wants it to work well on your product, and will thus help you.

    Because there is a large contingent of users out there who will buy your product if it runs Linux, who wouldn't if it used another OS. The reverse is also true, but the Palm has a lock on those folks.

    Specifically, why is it better than, say, QNX or Plan 9, or some *BSD, or EPOC?

    Who said it was better than any of those, much less all of them? I don't recall speaking to those OSes at all.

    I said it was better than WinCE, and I stand by that statement. I did *NOT* say it was the perfect end-all be-all of PDA OSes.

    Besides that I'd like to remind you that PDAs have no keyboard. That makes command-line interface not good at all.

    I don't know of a single PDA (not counting things like the REX) that doesn't have a keyboard available, and several (such as Psion) have keyboards built in. You need to watch the blanket statements.

    The IBM Workpad z50 is but one example of a WinCE PDA with a built-in full-size keyboard.

    I understand the difference between OS and GUI, but a pure kernel is not very useful by itself, is it?

    It is if you're trying to write a PDA interface. Gotta have an OS under that, and it helps if it's small, robust, and powerful.

    Before you can write the interface, you've got to have the OS working. That's what these folks are trying to do, and that's what you're complaining about.

    Besides, I personally have uses for it. If I have uses for it, does that not by definition make it useful?

  • As long as Pocket PC or WinCE or whatever does the job it was intended, do the mechanics and whatnot really matter?

    Well, since WinCE has failed twice now, and the biggest response we're seeing to the introduction of "Pocket PC" devices is these stories about running Linux on them, I think we have your answer.

  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @07:51AM (#997921)
    What the man is trying to say is, you can install Linux on one of these things.

    NOT that Compaq can do it for you. Do-it-yourself.

    Shouldn't be too hard, as it runs on a StrongArm...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • The reason for the succes for CE is that even though its a totally different os on the inside on the outside it looks like windows pretty much thus reducing the curve for non geek users. Now that business users are using Linux most people use KDE and I just want to know is there a KDE which can run on top of a linux microkernel so that a desktop and handheld both have the same look and feel. Also How about support. A lot of companies got ruined when Apple dropped the Newton and the many man months put into developing for the Newton went down the drain. Shame on Apple
  • by DranoK ( 18790 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @07:54AM (#997923)
    Before I get bashed or moderated down here, I need to say I love Linux. I exclusively run Linux on both my laptops even though I sacrifice sound to do so *damn A3D*

    I must ask WHY you would want to install Linux on a hand-held device?? I mean, yeah, it's COOL. It's fun, you can impress your friends, but it doesn't seem very efficient. Linux is powerful as hell, but the interface is still done mostly through command line. This is a good thing. I think (and a lot of people might agree) that the command line is the most efficient way to work. On a handheld device like this, however, command line interface becomes a chore.

    Linux is also powerful becuase it's a true multi-user environment. Runlevel 3 ceases to be important in a small device like this (I would think). And what are you going to install on it? Somehow I'm guessing tons of stuff would refuse to compile.

    I mean, yeah, it's cool and all, but unless someone writes a distro of Linux designed to be fully graphical etc and perform like WinCE (without the instability and Microsoft patronage) I just don't really understand the usefullness of installing Linux on this thing.

    Except, of course, for the coolness value =)


    That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons even death may die.

  • I am considering buying one... seems to do everything that the Psion can do, with color and with Exchange integration. :)

    The HP Journada that I played with seemed a bit big.. but, it seems that they are comming a long ways and is quite expandible. (a la HandSpring)..

    Who knows, maybe MS did it right with the PocketPC.. maybe not.. but I must say that from a visual standpoint, it has Palm and Psion beat hands down.

    I would be interested in feedback on how the human interface factors rate. (Does their handwriting recognition work as well as PalmOS's ?)

  • Sure. Why not?!

    Datapoint 1:How many people do you know who currently own PocketPCs? How many own Palms / Visors?

    People who own Palms or Visors I think you can think of as a realistic minimum market for beefier computers in nearly the same shape. A lot of those people don't *want* a "real PC" in their hand unless it will run for 6 weeks on 2 AA batteries (not going to happen soon;) but there's enough in common between "need an electronic appointment book" folks and those who are also carrying (you pick) [a laptop, a cell phone, a pager, a GPS, an MP3 or minidisk player] that a bet a good chunk of them would like to consolidate several of those into one thing.

    Datapoint 2: Eyeglass / headbased displays are clearly not *mainstream* yet, but they're getting there. (I think Crutchfield now sells the TV ones that thinkgeek carries) When they're no longer a sight to rubberneck at, remember that Linux has been running wearable computers for a long time.

    Datapoint 3: Linux is mainstream. Period. The day I can go into Best Buy or Barnes and Noble and buy 8 competing Black Mass Instructional Kits, or hear housewives discussing how cute that little baby Rosemary had is, then Satanism will also have become mainstream. The number of individuals who might install Linux on their iPaq after reading all the dire warnings isn't that big, maybe, but word spreads. Linux is already known as the OS to power scads of WebPads etc, and between hand size and thick-magazine size, the leap is not that great. Or, to put it another way, Linux is trendy the same way chanting the words "" is. You may find widespread interest annoying and as matching the underground, revolutionary feel that Linux had a few years ago, but it's more than a passing fancy. Considering what it means (GPL; computerational polyculture; renewed interest in UI), I think it's actually *more* of a revolutionary OS now than then!

    Datapoint 4: As far as I know, there is no high-quality paint / drawing app for Windows CE or Windows Powered or Windows For Tiny Things (someone correct this, perhaps?). Programs like the GIMP and Sketch, on the other hand, ought to work on a small system running Linux and XFree 4.0. I'd like that on a plane ride, or for simple sketching, etc.

    Datapoint 5: Public misapprehension of Microsoft as a monopoly operator. It's there, and it's not going away. I won't get into that part right now, but however much we like the reasons for it, right now non-MS operating systems have a much better chance to break out than they did a few years ago.

    On the con side, well ... there are feature 'wish lists' that we all have for certain devices ... if MS-based devices have these first, it will be a stumbling block, but not insurmountable.
    For instance, I would really like and appreciate:

    - being able to watch quicktime and other movies on my Linux-based palmtop, whether it's a YOPY, an iPaq, or whatever comes out next week. Portable entertainment.

    - a built in GPS reciever

    - bluetooth or similar for short-range communications

    - a digital camera on a stalk

    - lots of ports, on a deck-of-cards sized docking thingy. That way, it's small enough to take along, but the ports themselves aren't subject to abuse when they're not needed.

    But these as as doable with a Linux-based tiny pc as with MS flavor of month ...


  • Windows CE runs on a lot more than handhelds, too, though.

    The marketshare for both is growing.

    WindowsCE is a dog, but as handhelds become more and more powerful (Crusoe, anyone?) I think we'll see it running faster and faster on more and more hardware. I've seen it running on a Hitachi SH-2 in a cable/set-top box prototype and boy, was it speedy.

  • Linux has one supreme advantage over all BSD variants:

    Tux won't get you in trouble in Texas []!


  • Except that they (compaq) are not putting Linux on the thing, they're putting Windows CE on it. So no, they WON'T "probably write a GUI" for Linux.
  • by Dungeon Dweller ( 134014 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @08:16AM (#997929)
    iThink that these people should stop with all of these i's. iHope that they do before iWhack [] one of them upside the head.
  • by rbf ( 2305 )
    Huh!? I thought i was dead? Letter i Found Dead [] ;-)
  • Sorry, this is not for me... I don't buy MS products.
  • Sweet Jesus on a moped you are right, that thing is ugly. Hccchhhhwk Ptoooey.... It looks like they are going after the ultra-cluless uber-geek windows wanna-bees. yowza.... did they go to the Ray Charles design institute for that? Damn... can someone please tell me how Crapaq has stayed in business this long... their PC's are friggin butt ugly cheap cheap crap hardware.

    Sweet Jesus that thing is nasty.

    you just don't get it! everything runs better/is cooler with linux on it! What's so hard to understand about that?

    Example: Anonymous Coward writes There's a cool new toy on the market. Everyone should get it, it rocks! I only wish i could get linux to run on it, anyone think that's possible!?!

    You see? It doesn't matter whether it makes since to put it on the device, or if it would be usable at all. The only thing that matters is that linux can run on it!

  • Linux powered Furbies?

    3 times as efficient, never crashes, and can interpret IR Perl!!!

  • Hey ! I always thought that this forum was about ideas and not grammar. I mean I didn't even think people minded but I will try to be more shipshape in the future. About KDE vs Gnome what I basically meant was about having the same UI and not specifically KDE , it could be Gnome too. About the use of the word microkernel, I know that is technically a kernel that changes almost everything into a service and out of the kernel but don't you think thats the most appropiate model for a Handheld PC?
  • In not so suprising news Apple Computer Inc is suing rival computer company Compaq for copyright infringment. "The new iPAQ is an attempt to cash in on our millions of dollars spent on the iMAC" says one Apple Marketoid. When asked to respond to the rash of illogical, and frivolous patents and copyrights lately Apple responded, "We only pattend the italic i as it applies to cute little computer type things. I mean what if you wanted to buy a computer, the iPAQ would create customer confusion"

  • Totally right.
    I was pissed enough when the sony camcorder i bought only came in SILVER!!! Try being discrete with a f&^%n silver camcorder in your hand. Hey look at me, I am recording!!!

    Hey look at me- I got a silver handheld!!!!!
    How fucking gay.
    I do everything I can to hide my use of a pda, I don't let people in my place to see my gear, and i also don't spam copies of my bank account. Why?

  • I exclusively run Linux on both my laptops even though I sacrifice sound to do so *damn A3D*

    have you tried Linux at Aureal ? []
  • There are several companies working on handhelds with official Linux support: the Yopy (some big Japanese company), VTech, and Royal.

    Those are likely to be cheaper and less hassle to install and use. And if you buy the iPAQ now, you'll just contribute to Microsoft's Windows CE sales figures and pay extra for software you won't use. I'd recommend waiting for true Linux PDAs.

    Meanwhile, you can always send mail to Compaq expressing your interest in a version of the iPAQ without an OS or with Linux preinstalled.

  • Can't make up my mind whether you are a troll or not.

    From my point of view this guy's position is quite reasonable. I even tend to agree with it. Of course, that might mean I am a troll as well... ;-)

    on the planet I live on, virtually everything we do on Linux here is done through the GUI.

    You live on a boringly uniform planet. By the way, typing stuff into an xterm (or even into a fancy transparent terminal) is not much of a GUI use.

    I think you miss the point. Linux currently has two interface paradigms: the command line, and the standard PARC->Mac->Windows->XWindow->Gnome/KDE/etc. windowing environment. Neither of them is appopriate for handhelds.

    Just to make it clear, I'll repeat the point. The standard WIMP (windows - icons - menus - pointer) GUI is not suitable for handhelds. Windows CE is one of examples of this. Linux doesn't have (yet, at least) ways to deal with touch-sensitive screens, and has no interface to deal with small-screen, no-keyboard PDAs. Ergo, Linux is not a good OS to run on a PDA.

  • The standard WIMP (windows - icons - menus - pointer) GUI is not suitable for handhelds. Windows CE is one of examples of this. Linux doesn't have (yet, at least) ways to deal with
    touch-sensitive screens, and has no interface to deal with small-screen, no-keyboard PDAs. Ergo, Linux is not a good OS to run on a PDA.

    Linux is an excellent OS to run on a PDA. KDE and Gnome are lousy interfaces to run on a PDA.

    But so is WinCE's interface, hence Microsoft's third attempt / rebranding effort.

    The difference is, we can build new interfaces on top of Linux much easier than we can on top of WinCE.

    But even with Gnome/KDE/whatever, you've got the tools to make specific applications very usable, and the freedom to "make do" with other applications you might need without having screw with a laptop.

    That's pretty cool.

    Just knowing that I can smash together a Python or Perl/Tk app to do whatever, and have it run on something I can carry everywhere I go (like I do with my Palm III, and *NEVER* did with a laptop) kicks ass, regardless of what anybody ELSE might do with it for me.

    Once upon a time you could have made the same argument against adding a mouse to your PC; after all, there was hardly any software that used it, so why bother?

    Answer: because with enough mice out there, it became worthwhile to write that software, and that software sold mice.

    With enough people running Linux on PDAs, software makers (hopefully freedom-loving ones) will begin to write software more geared toward PDA use. Then the Linux PDAs will get more useful, causing more people to write software for them, etc.

    Doesn't mean they're for everyone yet, or that they ever will be.

    Besides, if one project gets Linux working well on the iPaq, think what they could do with an IBM z50 or equivalent?

    Useful size keyboard, hard drive, StrongARM processor; sounds like the perfect laptop for my particular needs, if it ran Linux.

    Projects like this make projects like that a little more likely. Maybe Compaq will see this someday and clone IBM's ex-product, or maybe IBM will resurrect it when enough people have shown them there's a market.

  • Take a look at efm. It gives you a good GUI file manager and the power of a command line all in one package. Want to delete a couple of files, click and drag them to the trash. Want to Delete All files with an O, just type rm -f O* into the file manager window. Gonski.
  • No. But I think you are much stupider than I thought you were a few minutes ago.
  • It's Korean (made by Samsung)

    Not to be picky -- I just find it interesting that Korean companies are finally starting to come into their own for consumer electronics, and this is one example I like to point to.

    Korean industrial infrastructure is heavily influenced by Japanese (same kind of industrial combines, heavy government involvement, etc), but the cultures are very interesting. It'll be neat to see if a few of the Korean giants become Sony-beaters ...

  • The reason for the succes for CE is.....

    Thats the first time I ever heard anybody claim CE was successful.
    Even the pundits refer to it as a flop.
  • Well, since I usually don't make it to any meetings or appointments unless I'm in front of my 60 lb. always-on, 300W, desktop box getting beeps from Thomas Dreimeyer's plan, I've been thinking I'd like to buy one of these portable alarm clock/computers.

    Has anyone had experiences with this iPAQ, the Palm, etc. that would indicate pros and cons, with regards to:

    • state of open connectivity software (to Linux, *nix, `doze)
    • usefulness of applications
    • user interface sux/rox evaluation
    • color screen readability
    • storage limitations
    • battery life
    • upgradability
    • wireless connectivity,
    • etc.
  • Linux on handhelt pcs is probably a good thing, but a question that comes to mind is "Who is going to develop the software?" A lot of the linux-community's goal and target is open source, and "community-based"-software development. Things that don't pay off and take plenty of time. I have certain doubts that there will be a lot of oupen-source software to these things because of the small mass of customers. And with nearly no open-source-software, what's the point?
  • the reason for Microsofts success is that CE can maintain the same UI as Win 9x and that is a great help for the layman. Note I say can but u can also build your own UI
  • For some of us, it might be our only chance to brag that we have root level access.
  • This is all valid, but it seems to me that it all boils down to using the right tool for the right job.
  • That's just because there's no "Select by regexp" command in the Edit menu.

  • From [hftp]

    • If this installation fails then your iPAQ could become unusable.

      This procedure has been tested on less than a handful of units.

    • If you install an Linux at this time then you can not return to WinCE.

      Work is underway to enable you to save your WinCE image before installing an operating system, but at this time implementation is not complete.



    1. Plug your iPAQ into the serial port of your Windows machine using a serial cable.
    2. Use the ActiveSync application (the file name is Async.exe) to connect to your iPaq 3600..
    3. Copy CEloader.exe [] to your iPaq from your Windows machine. You ignore the "may need to convert" message you will get.
    4. Copy the bootldr-c002-2. 3 [] file to your iPAQ: it MUST be in the root directory (the root directory is reffered to as "My PocketPC"), and be MUST be renamed bootldr.
    5. On your iPaq H3600, find CEloader wherever you put it, and then excecute CEloader.
    6. Select the Tools->Bootldr->Run after loading from file menu entry. The iPAQ screen should go blank.
    7. Disconnect the ActiveSync application (it is holding onto the serial port you need).
    8. You may have trouble getting ActiveSync to free your serial port. You might want to use some more friendly operating system to run minicom or eterm or,...
    9. Run your terminal emulator on whatever machine can talk to your serial port with the settings of: 115200 8N1 (115200 baud, 8 bits, No Parity, 1 stop bit)
    10. In your terminal emulator, hit the enter key on your keyboard on your machine: you should see a 'boot>' prompt. You can type 'help' at the bootloader at the 'boot> ' prompt to get a list of commands.
    11. This step is dangerous: make sure you perform it exactly correctly. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'load bootldr', then start an xmodem download of the file bootldr-c000-2. 3 [].
    12. Your iPAQ will say "verifying ... done.". The loader program has a simple sanity check in it to try to ensure that only a bootloader can get installed into flash at the iPAQ's bootloader's address.
    13. Reboot or power cycle your iPaq H3600: the boot loader should come up. Don't be scared about the message "Corrupt kernel image", because you don't have a kernel installed yet. Whew! You are through the risky part of the procedure.
    14. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type ' load kernel ', then start an xmodem downlaod of the file zImage-2.3.99-pre8-rmk1-np4-hh1 []. When finished with the download, you will see "Erasing, Writing, Verifying flash" messages. A kernel tarball corresponding exactly to these kernel bits is available [].
    15. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'load usercode', then start an xmodem download of the file cramfs-mini-2-0. This takes approximately 22 minutes. When finished with the download, you will see "Erasing, Writing, Verifying flash" messages. []
    16. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'load flash 0x00800000', then start an xmodem download of the file cramfs-usr-2-0. This takes approximately 22 minutes. When finished with the download, you will see "Erasing, Writing, Verifying flash" messages. []
    17. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'set linuxargs "noinitrd root=/dev/flash3 ramdisk_size=2048"'.
    18. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'params save'.
    19. At the 'boot> ' prompt, type 'boot'.

    Congratulations! You should be up and running.

    Note: if you need to get back into the boot loader after you have Linux running, reset the iPAQ and quickly hit the space bar a few times.

    Please post any questions to [mailto]. Thank you.

  • Ahem.

    Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?

    There, I said it, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW???


  • What is that, bumps and grooves in the shape simply for bumps and grooves?

    I don't know what picture you're looking at, but I don't see any "bumps and grooves" in the pic on the "features" page - every "bump" on there has a specific fuction, and is labeled as such. In fact, they seem to have cut down on the number of bumps by putting the speaker inside the navigator control.

    I'd recommend a Psion for those truly interested in ultra-portable Linux.

    Based on what? Have you used the iPaq? Or are you dismissing it based on what you thought you saw in a picture?


  • What are you talking about? Yes there is.

    Oh right, you meant Windows. I was thinking GNOME... :)

  • I have not used the iPAQ -The idea of color and MP3 playback appeals to the gadget freak in me.. but when it comes down to straight-ahead useability I love my old Palm Pilot 5000. I traded a fourteen inch monitor and a SCSI case for it a few years ago. The UI is simple as pie (good for handheld)and customisable.

    There is no way that a Pilot 5000 will stand up to a Pocket PC in terms of sheer computational muscle, but it doesnt need to. A couple of AAA batteries last me months of daily use- I've put in a two meg upgrade card, which is more that enough for the 14 or so websites I browse daily with avantgo [].

    I can read/answer email, keep phone numbers,appointments, play games - etc. I dont even miss the backlight on this old device. When it comes to fancy colour graphics, and video playback -Im happy to use my Desktop box or Laptop. I'm not ready to trade in 2 months of battery life for 6-8 hours. This is especially true if the device offers MP3 playback, because I would want to be able to use it as a walkman throughout the day at work, and would like to be able to travel with it without having to plug-in daily to recharge.
  • Does any of that actually make sense? I especially like "Touch it, Feel it, Believe it".

    I especially like the line, "Fit in, Standout". Huh? That's the sort statement I think would go over great with teen fashion sheep, the kind that go for Tommy Hilfiger. Express yourself by mixing-and-matching consumer goods from the same selection of mass-produced, mass-marketed items all your other friends have.
  • I've had the new Jornada 548 for about a week now. So far it seems pretty cool (I'm still in the 'new toy!' phase). However, I'm discovering the limitations of the system in terms of customization. There are generally fewer options and less flexibility than you would expect in desktop software (even Windows :) .

    Also, only the latest versions of M$'s desktop software will sync with it, so if you want to download maps or sync program info, you'll have to toss any old copies and buy the 2000 editions (that is, if you're running Microsoft stuff anyway). But the applications it has are pretty cool. The image viewer is good, and the sound capability puts the nail in Palm's coffin, IMHO.

    As for the handwriting recognition, I would say that it's decent, but only if you realize that you're still going to have to learn to write *their* way. At least with the Palm, they don't even pretend to decipher natural writing styles. The PocketPC does recognize the standard roman alphabet, but only if you write them in a certain way, and then _very_ carefully. I've found that I end up using shorthand for some characters, a la Palm's Graffiti (though not necessarily the same).
    (Note: I've heard that there are add-on handwriting packages out there that work better, but I haven't seen them.)

    All in all, it's a good platform for gadget freaks (like me), but probably not as efficient as a Palm or a Psion for use as an electronic organizer. The user interface can be frustrating at times, especially when trying to find a particular system setting, but it's not that bad, and it's more familiar to heavy Windows/computer users than the Palm interface.

    BTW,of the three PocketPCs, the Compaq sounds like it may be the best. But since it's not out yet, the HP is a good choice.

  • Post of the month, man, post of the month. Thanks!


  • Linux is a kernel, so its interface is neither command-line or graphical. The interface to Linux is syscall(2); or glibc if you are lazy or interested in nice friendly posix- or bsd- or sysv-ness. You know that; I know you know that. The point is that all the existing interfaces came into existence because someone didn't want to do his daily chores with a debugger session and system calls, or whatever interface he had at the time. So if you don't like the notion of running the existing interfaces on a handheld device, invent something better; or persuade someone else to. That is how free / open source software works. You have the power, exercise it!

    Oh, and coolness is always good.

  • Linux is an excellent OS to run on a PDA.

    Well, that's not what the rest of your post says. The rest of your post says that Linux will be a good PDA OS when people will write proper software for it. That's an argument I can make for any OS...

    Just knowing that I can smash together a Python or Perl/Tk app to do whatever...

    Perl runs under Windows perfectly well. I suspect Python does as well. You seem to think that people cannot write their own software to run under Windows.

    The difference is, we can build new interfaces on top of Linux much easier than we can on top of WinCE.

    You miss the point. It's not hard to implement interfaces. It's very hard to design good ones. And I don't think that anybody claims that interface design is one of Linux's strong points.

  • Free the handhelds is the rallying cry, however in actuality what does this do for/against the Open Source Movement...

    The first thing that it does is give some code hackers a chance to play with the newest toys by removing the handicapping (you will never know what is really going on) OS that runs on these things. It allows a previously unreachable level of software customization with these devices, as well as a way for a bunch of apps to be ported without costly developer kits. Also in this chain of thought there is the accomplishment and furthering of the programmers skill, as in practice makes perfect.

    Secondly the programmers and other Open Source fans out there, myself included, get to say how much the platform rocks since it will run on almost anything. Why cannot some other for profit companies accomplish the same? Allowing us to poke fun at our least favorite OS/Software Company.

    Third a penguin in the pocket that can sync with our home machines and run some of the cool apps we use at home. It gives the OS geeks among us the ability to astound lesser mortals (meant in jest). I have linux on my PocketPC, "wow, you are so cool".

    This is the side of the equation I generally am more apt to see directly, however there are some indirect side-effects.

    Fourth by buying one of these devices you have added to Microsofts coffers. They get payed every time one of these things is sold whether you like it or not.

    Fifth you are now a statistic. You will be another +1 to the number of CE users Microsoft uses in promotional campaigns and other statistics. They don't care if 5%, 10%, or 25% of these devices are freed, they will still claim that every device sold = another CE user. These statistics are used to sway comsuners, developers, corporate customers, etc.

    Sixth, since you are buying a product that offers absolutely no cross platform anything, no Linux support, no BSD support, no MacOS support without giving them negative feedback on it and refusing to give them money they assume everything is as it should be and continue with their single plaform only focus.

    Personally I'd prefer a palm. Someone had to port to these things but I'd rather not give the companies making them any money for them. I could maybe see buying a used one.

    Also, I am curious as to what apps run on Linux/BSD on these things, how well they work, and how much hacking was required to support them.
  • I haven't actually owned one. But I played with one in the store, and they look really cool. The really cool thing about the IPaq one is that instead of having a built-in flash port, it has a slip-on back-pack-like unit that has a flash port, or you can get a standard PCMCIA unit instead of flash and get a big (4GB I think) PCMCIA microdrive instead of the ~500MB available in Flash size. That's a lot of MP3 files.
  • Buy the psion. You don't need the color, really. The keyboard is (IMHO) 2x as good a feature as the color. Ask anybody who uses a windows powered device if they'd go back to a b/w device. Then ask any psion user if they'd go back to a non-keyboard device. See which one has the stronger response.

    I'd also like to point out that the Windows Powered devices are human interface nightmares. Look at the big shot under the "Features" link. Look in the tray. Six items in the tray! Why are they there? On a handheld device, why are those things taking up my valuable screen estate? Yuck. EPOC32 is a much cleaner OS, and the device supports Linux as well.

  • At first I thought this was just another "Boo, Linux is not graphical" FUD thing, but you seem pretty honest. Maybe I can clarify:

    • A shell ("command line") is a program that runs on linux.
    • A GUI is a program that runs on linux.

    Nothing special about a shell, really. Sure, porting a shell is a requirement for hacking the thing, but if they're looking to sell this to a mass market, they'll probably write a GUI which is targeted at what people like to do with PDAs.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!