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Testdrive A Linux iPAQ 68

Russ Nelson writes "If you weren't lucky enough to be at OSCon to see Jim Gettys' unobtainium, or my Linux iPAQ playing MP3's off Chris DiBona's gigabyte Microdrive (I downloaded madplay from the Familiar unstable feed with my 802.11 card, removed that, and inserted Chris's microdrive and it all Just Worked®), then at least you can test drive a Linux iPAQ via Compaq's Test Drive program. They have a webcam pointing at the screen." Having seen the device in real life - this thing rocks. Compaq: Please bring it into production, say, next week? *grin*
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Testdrive A Linux iPAQ

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hahaha, and I just wasted all my moderation points! DOH!

    And I thought a wife was supposed to replace your palm!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    what about tuPaq?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But the Gameboy Advanced is still more useful at business meetings.
  • Honestly, I myself am strongly considering getting one of these creatures, even tho' they cost almost as much as a decent desktop unit, just for the hack value of carrying around a full-blown Linux box in my pocket. But as to real market? I don't think the hand-held market gives a damn what operating system it runs, as long as it runs and runs and runs and runs. The trick in the end is that a hand-held has got to be as reliable as a toaster, not as a typical computer. Otherwise, you might as well use pen and ink.
  • ah but can you run Wordsmith on a linuxPaq? Is there anything decent for it?
  • I think that the /. effect sounds something like the Langoliers...

    snap, crackle, pop.
  • Would you buy an iPaq with Linux preinstalled? Compaq imports the iPaq from a Taiwanese company and (unconfirmed) has a exclusive contract to import the iPaq with WinCE installed (doesn't say anything about Linux, though).

    With Familiar [] and QPE []

    I've been noodling with QPE on Familiar and found it to be stellar. I've shown it to some people I work with that use WinCE on the iPaq and they love the QPE look and feel. It's missing an email, web, and desktop sync app, but those can be brought over from KDE. Also needs an easy upgrade path.

    What sort of market do people think there might be for iPaq with Linux preinstalled?

  • If I hid the penguin logo and didn't tell people, you wouldn't know QPE sits on top of Linux. I'm very impressed.

    "No one buys operating systems. People buy applications and then chose the best operating system to run those applications."
    - Bob Young (of RedHat, Inc.)

    The best thing about Palm is that they are as reliable as a toaster. They're very weak in the display, processor, memory, and peripherals department, but they're still very very popular with folks. They're a computer that doesn't suck.
  • I installed Familiar and QPE [] on my iPaq a couple of weeks ago. The installation was pretty easy; it took me a weekend but I was being *very* careful and eventually had to upgrade my Linksys 802.11 access point (didn't like Familiar's DHCP I guess).

    I love QPE. It's very snappy and looks a whole lot better than WinCE. I must admit the lack of an email and browser app hobbles me a bit, but I'm getting the development tools online. The handwriting isn't as nice as Palm's Graffiti but is a hell of a lot better than WinCE's (IMHO).

    I never was able to get my Xircom or 3Com pccard network cards to work; the Lucent Orinoco worked just fine though (after I upgraded my Linksys).

  • > Does it suspend when I push the power button?
    > does it come back again flawlessly?
    So far, yes.
    > does it sync with linux?
    Unfortunately, no. Doesn't sync with anything.
    That's something I'm looking into.

    The power usage isn't great. If I switch it "off" and leave it off, I still have to plug it in. I think this is a problem with the iPaq; I had the same problems with WinCE. I'd not use it for a couple of days and discover the battery had been run down.

    I find the text input pretty nasty, but I thought the same thing on the Palm. QPE needs a lot of polish until it's consumer ready, but it's a good starting point. Familiar+QPE is a good starting point.

    Of course, to get VC, I need to find if there's a market or not. :-)
  • actually their Corperate grade stuff is excellent and makes dell look like junk.

    it's the consumer grade crap that makes them look bad.

    Compaq deskpro and armada laptops plain rule (and run linux flawlessy while proliant servers just plain rock.
  • Yes but....

    Does it suspend when I push the power button?
    does it come back again flawlessly?
    does it sync with linux?

    I hafta ask, last time when I look at linux on the ipaq it was a load and never turn off or you'll crash the whole thing endeavor.

    it is 100% like a palm-held device? I can switch it on and off rapidly as I look at things/access notes,etc... and still give me 8-12 hours of on time? (can I use it all day without having to set it on a charger?)

    how about sync, will it sync with both KDE and Gnome PIM's? (Ok only a KDE one will suffice, I have both...)

    as a user, do you find that it is actually useable?

  • by Boli ( 13752 ) <boli AT pobox DOT com> on Thursday August 02, 2001 @08:13AM (#2176647) Homepage
    If you look closely at the videoconferencing image in that report, you'll notice that the audio jack is on the left side of the BackPAQ. This discriminates against LHPs [] (left-handed persons) who wish to use the device.
    With 15-30% of the population using their left hands, why are product designers so biased to the right? How difficult woud it be to relocate the jack to a more ambidextrous location? Can't we all just get along?
  • [clap][clap][clap]...

    Very nice, very nice indeed.

    You'll be pissed off though, after a Compaq marketdriod sees that and it's thier commercial during next years Superbowl - won't you? ;-D

    To quote a famous icon: DOH!

  • Not that if affects me very much since as a contrarian I went out and bought a Psion Revo+ as soon as they were discontinued, BUT...
    I've been hearing about problems with battery life when Linux is loaded onto one of these wee beasties. Does Linux running on an iPaq now have battery-life parity with WinCE (or whatever they're calling it this week) running on the same machine?
    (and I'm loving the Revo, BTW. I don't even remember which drawer I threw my Palm V into)
  • No, I'll be delighted.

    Weblogs->Slashdot *click*
    warpeightbot... *click*
    Edit->Find in Page *click*
    iPAQ *return* *click*
    File->Open in new tab *click* *return*
    Subject: invoice *return*
    Nice Super Bowl ad. *flip tab* *copy* *flip tab* *paste*
    Okay, I'll settle for 1% of gross from now 'til next Super Bowl Sunday. Or I could post what you did back to Slashdot...

    Linux box, handmade: $700
    DSL connection: $60/mo
    Login to Slashdot: $Free
    Bill to Compaq for stealing the idea: $1,000,000.
    Telling the world you did it: PRICELESS

    There are some things money can't buy. A good Mastercard parody is one of them.

  • Oh, Lord, wontcha buy me, a Linux iPAQ
    My little Palm Pilot, I have not time to hack
    An Open Source system, my PDA lacks...
    Oh, Lord, wontcha buy me, a Linux iPAQ

    (OK, let's see what kind of sense of humor these guys have... ;)

  • I am looking at doing the same install (Familiar + QPE) to my iPaq.

    The install docs seemed to indicate that you could do network access using PPP over the serial link to your PC. Did you try this? I don't have the sleeve and an 802.11b card for my iPaq yet.

  • I've been looking at these beauties for a while now, not only because you can put linux on 'em, but there's a Java OS you can put on as well, from Savaje []. I haven't had any experience with either yet, but as soon as I can get my hands on a chunk of cash....
  • by pthisis ( 27352 ) on Thursday August 02, 2001 @08:11AM (#2176654) Homepage Journal
    My ipaq can serve 800 requests/second of the dynamic content server I work on (an 800mhz PIII can do 10000/sec), which is an awful lot of traffic (more than /. does for sure). It's the bandwidth that'd get you, but you can put 100 mbps ethernet on these things which should be more than enough.


  • And I thought a wife was supposed to replace your palm!

    You are OBVIOUSLY not married. Sex is something that wives do to have kids. Once the kids arrive forget having sex.

    Sad, but true.
  • sad? yes, I would say, sad that you seem to have married the wrong woman.
  • honorary (+1, funny)
  • by n8willis ( 54297 ) on Thursday August 02, 2001 @08:01AM (#2176658) Homepage Journal
    Seeing as the posting of this information-free lead seems to have brought down the site it is supposed to be pointing us to, would anyone (i.e., the submitter...) like to describe, just in brief, what Compaq's Test Drive program is ?!?!!?!??

    I remember when article leads used to tell you something....

  • What you said is true, however I was able to see the ipaq "test drive" for 3 seconds before it was slashdotted, and in this case it appears to be more like a "ride in the passenger seat." It was just a webcam pointed to an ipaq that someone else was running (incidentally, they were playing Doom).
  • What about eFudgepack
  • I wonder what it takes to slashdot an iPaq, even if it is running Linux instead of CE...
  • I haven't looked lately, but it allows you to sign up for an ID to play with various compaq systems in different OS configurations. AFAIK, it's shell access only, no X or anything nifty like that. I believe they've also got some clusters of different hardware as well.
  • by quigonn ( 80360 )
    This thing really rocks! I saw it on the LinuxDays in St. Pölten/Austria and it's so cool, the software is even better than the Windows software, IMHO, and it even has ed on it. :) It's neat to write a "hello world" shellscript using ed, you can't do this on Windows CE.
  • "Fudge Packer" is a funny and innovate name for a queer person. It is highly suggestive, and should be used with care. Also, its humorous value should not be diluted with over use.
  • Because my Karma was only at 50 and I want it to go higher.

    As opposed to the encryption in 802.11 being crackable in linear time actually being interesting news and all. That didn't figure into me posting at all.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday August 02, 2001 @07:44AM (#2176666) Homepage Journal
    According to a Recent Risks Digest [] it's pretty damn easy to break even a 2048 bit WEP key.
  • Actually, if you really look closely at the picture and ponder it a bit, you'll notice the guy's holding the ipaq in his right hand. That probably means the stylus is in his left hand. Looking at the picture, I'd actually guess it's ~more~ comfortable for left handed people than right handed, since 70%-85% of the population would want to put the thumb of their lef hand where that audio jack is.

    If you want right-hand conspiracies, try the Sony Clie's jog dial.


  • Somebody should write a worm that posts links to target sites on slashdot...
  • from the site:

    "The ability to add rotate and resize extensions to X. Combined with the accelerometer, this allows windows to dynamically maintain their top/bottom orientation as the iPAQ H3600 itself is rotated."

    besides sounding extremely cool, wouldn't this help out LHPs? just hold the thing "upside down".

  • Go to the lefty store you south paw-Ned Flanners, non-right hand using, backwards bastard!

    Right == right && Left == evil. Therefore go back to hell you demon baby and live this righteous right hand using world in peace!

    Seriously, I am a right handed (and thus right), but I feel sorry for the left paw brothers (even though however evil).

    I onced seen a statics that left handed people are 30% more likely to die in an accident (due to the fact that EVERYTHING assumes your a right hand)... Us right handers don't really think about this much.

    Than again, should we really care since left handed people don't go to heaven?

  • Check out: er/001370.html The Ipaq could have been called the "Monkey"
  • With 15-30% of the population using their left hands, why are product designers so biased to the right?

    Because 70-85% of the population uses their right?
  • by Lizard_King ( 149713 ) on Thursday August 02, 2001 @07:54AM (#2176673) Journal
    Now I want to replace my palm. I wonder what my wife will think?

    I highly doubt that you have a wife if you have to replace your palm... That or she needs to pay some more attention to your (ahem) needs.
  • mmmm... fudge

    Oh, wait!

    that does sound funny, though..

    "Introducing the all-new* fudgPaq!"

    * like there is likely to be a product introduction that is only "partly-new", or "mostly-new"

    Hi! How are you?
    I send you this .sig in order to have your advice

  • Now I want to replace my palm. I wonder what my wife will think?
  • This is definately one of the coolest pieces of technology I've seen in a while. Supposedly Compaq is having a hell of a time keeping these things in stock. After seeing this though, I thikn I'm gonna try getting my hands on one.
  • Well looks like its back up. For now anyway ;)
  • by Cheeko ( 165493 ) on Thursday August 02, 2001 @08:06AM (#2176678) Homepage Journal
    Compaq's testdrive is a free service offered to developers who want to test their code on different systems. It is composed of like 2 dozen OS/hardware configurations including Linux, several flavors of Unix, and NT. Users can get an account, FTP over their code and try it out. It was originally created for porting test, but also makes a good place to just develop for different evironments.
  • I have been very seriously considering buying one of the current iPaq's loaded with windows. I would much rather run linux on it, but the thing sells with windows- and i'm sure it runs very nicely with that OS. I am torn because of the whole 'best tool for the job' issue. Why should i load linux on it when every option for the iPaq runs smoothly with windows? I know compaq has mentioned that they might actually release iPaq's with linux instead of windows. hell, they even have an entire site [] dedicated to running linux on it. but i'm not sure i want to wait for that.

    i guess what i'm looking for is comments from people who have loaded linux on their iPaq. Any problems? I read the latest stable release of Familiar doesn't support the 2 card expansion pack- which i would definitely want.
  • It was the sounds made by the heads and platters of the IBM Microdrive as 1,000,000 salivating Slashdotters descend upon the innocent iPAQ. Nothing like the sound of a good Slashdotting in the morning.
  • I mean really........this toadraper LOVES the iPaq?

    Come on, love you wife, love your childern.
    Especially with Linix, this is nothing more than a toy.

    "Ohhh, I have a LINIX iPaq rather than a Windows......they both play mp3's, just like before.....except's.....more....umm....Linixy?"

    And unless you intend to use this thing like a friggen laptop, stability will never even begin to be an issue.

  • Yeah, but you need one microdrives for Intimate. How much are they?
  • Check out the Intimate project []. The thought of a fully functional Debian-based distro for the iPAQ makes me want to shell out the big bucks for one of these babies. Also, the ability to emulate SNES games [] on this thing is enough to make me fork a couple hundred over to Compaq.
  • even though you provide some great examples, just be glad there's no ePaq. The better thing is that if it hasn't happened already it prob wont. E-anything drives me apeshit!
  • just saw a 1 gigger for about $490...
  • how about fudgepack? :)
  • But I can't help thinking the screens still a bit small. I think I'll stick with my nokia 9210 communicator.
  • I thought Intel was earlier, with its "iAPX" names for the x86 processors, which they toyed with for a while ...
    not to mention their iSBC, iRMX, and others.

    Now, as for Compaq's obsession with ending names with a 'q' ...

  • Emulating SNES games on the iPAQ would be too slow. I've got a NES emulator on mine and it rocks, but it just barely keeps up (get too many sprites on-screen and it slows down below real-time speed). That doesn't stop me from playing it though :-) I'm finally going to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 (currently on World 7)

    Debian on my iPAQ would be great! Thanks for the link! I see it requires an IBM 1GB Microdrive, though. Those things are expensive (as expensive as the iPAQ itself)!

    The other problem with Linux on the iPAQ is that you can't install it without either getting a serial sync-cradle or modifying the hardware of your USB one. Then when you look at the install instructions they are covered with warnings like "If you see the message 'foo' while installing the bootloader, DO NOT continue. Leave your iPAQ on and slowly back away. Doing otherwise may cause your iPAQ to become unbootable or spontaneously explode." I think I'll wait until the install instructions are more foolproof before I risk my $500 investment.

  • Nope, it's not working for me either.
  • That's what you get for running your webserver on NT. That little Linux iPAQ can probably do a better job...
  • It's because of those people that go to the computer store and say : "I want that i-Lack computer thingy!" and then when shown both the iMac and the iPaq, they go with the least expensive model.

    I mean, that's also why it looks so pretty; wouldn't want it to clash with my shoes.

  • Is working for anyone else?
  • Googles cached page [] gle+Search for those who like goats but still have doubts about their orientation.
    Thank you Google
  • It's not an iPAQ. It's an iPAQ Pocket PC, as opposed to an iPAQ Desktop which my company purchases. Couldn't they afford another name?
  • A "product line" implies products of a similar nature, like different models of a desktop. These two items couldn't be more different.
  • If you only use the built-in encryption in 802.11 you can't be helped anyway.

    Since you've already got a network layer, the easiest thing is to run IPSEC over it and you're completely independent of what local encryption your underlying network layer offers.

    Every wireless network person will tell you that if you want secure transfers, you'll have to implement the security on the connection level. For most of us, this means IPSEC and it's pretty sufficient.

  • Is anyone else getting sick of the damn 'i's? I mean, the iMac was a novel name, but since then it has just gotten ridiculous. Not that I don't want one of these, but pick a better name, like:

  • Yes, you are right, e would be worse than i.
  • YoPaq sounds better than Yopi at least!

    TuxPaq, LinPaq (wait...sounds like an old standard), MyPaq, MiPaq, MePaq, WeAllPaq

    iPaqEN (Enhanced iPaq...but this sounds something to set off airport alarms)

    HanPaq, execPaq, XPaq (trademark?), LuvPaq, a special version just for /. crowd: slashPaq!

    IttyBittyPaq or I++yB++yPaq, I#yB#Paq, Paq++, Paq#, no-wince-Paq? QtPaq?


  • If i can give you an advice, Take a carepaq with your Ipaq (and it's the same for all Compaq Hardware).A carepaq is an extension of Warranty to 3 years and it's usefull.
  • Why not have the best of both worlds []?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.