Comments on: Linux coming to a Visor near you?

In part 2 of Mike Cane's Internet report he speculated on the possibility of a Linux Springboard module for the Visor. Hawkins let slip that "a Springboard module can be used to override the PalmOS within the Visor". This goes along well with Linus Torvald's, the founding father of Linux, comments that the Handheld market will be able to use Linux in the not-too-distant future. What does all of this mean? Read this exclusive article on the possibility of alternative OS's on your Visor.
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Linux on Handspring

Cantherius @ 10/9/1999 12:11:19 PM #
I'm about to order a Handspring as soon as I can, and I think
that the idea of having linux on a handspring is a wonderful idea.
I am a hardcore Linux user, and PalmOS is great, but Linux
is even BETTER. Good luck to whoever might be producing
that module, and make sure to make it RIGHT.
RE: Linux on Handspring
Josh @ 12/17/1999 10:54:15 AM #
I want to see a Visor/PalmPilot web server!

Handheld Shell for Linux Module

@tomic212 @ 10/9/1999 12:15:36 PM #
Not only is the Springboards revolutionary in the "Palm Economy" but, that ability to over-ride the PalmOS is fantastic. Imagine a Linux "shell" specifically designed for a Visor. I hope RedHat or some other Linux distro sees this opportunity and makes a linux module asap.

hell yes; linux!, Bring on the BE

pshlortz @ 10/9/1999 1:41:34 PM #
linux on a handheld would be great... efficient OS, open sourced, and a large base of basic applications. Make a clean linux kernel, give it killer power management, and throw a simple gui and you could make a killing.

On the other hand; BEos could make a incredible handheld too. They have ATTRACTIVE INTERFACES down to an art. palmOS is fast and functional; but it could look so much better, with little to no performance cost.

I think if everyone gives the handheld OS a shot; and we have an enviroment which supports swapping our OS like candy, we could all prove the best for it. Maybe there should be a directive established to standardise the way these different OS's store there databases. That would allow us to go from OS to OS without the headaches we have as PC users.

What might be better still would be to make thin linux machine on a springboard. Give it a hardrrive cable. Give it a network card. and a power supply. make a tiny WEB SERVER. or File Server! and plug it into a visor to control it. Who says a springboard is supposed to be a slave to a visor; why not make the visor a slave to the springboard.

RE: hell yes; linux!, Bring on the BE
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/20/2002 4:42:05 PM #
This guy is a prophet.

Palm bought BE for that very reason.

I think it's a great idea

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/9/1999 6:57:46 PM #
Check out for work already done getting Linux to run on a Pilot.

I'd buy it tomorrow

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/1999 1:00:11 AM #
If I could get Linux on a springboard module, I'd buy it tomorrow. This would be a great option, in particular if the drivers/modules were optimized for the Visor hardware.
RE: I'd buy it tomorrow
ROB NEFF @ 6/7/2000 7:41:01 PM #
I'd buy it TODAY!

Linux on Palm... why?

PsychoPalm @ 10/10/1999 1:07:29 AM #
Okay, I'm into Linux. I'm into OS/2. I'm into basically anything non-Microsoft. I've used the Newton, I'm a long Palm user. But I utterly, completely, and totally fail to see any _tangible_ benefit to running Linux on a Palm? Frankly, it reeks of Windows CE. Is this thing a portable PC, or a digital organizer? Jeff Hawkins got it right the first time; be a PDA, not a PPC. PPC's are basically laptops, only smaller and more limited. If people wanted them, Palm would be long dead. We (people) don't want itty-bitty computers. We want human-sized computers with portable data-entry tools (ie. PDA's). Hence Palm's popularity. That is the _one_ thing that's truly right about Palm. And having Linux (which most mainstream users don't understand anyway) on a Palm is about the stupidest anti-The_Whole_Point_Of_Palm thing I've ever heard. Flame away.

RE: Linux on Palm... why?
pshlortz @ 10/10/1999 12:17:17 PM #
I understand your point completely. I do not want linux running on my Palm unless it does not interfere with my day to day useage.

this means either, a) it has a intelligent palm like gui built on top of it's kernel and has all the palm like data entry tools coded in the same smart way they are in palmOS (and a version of emacs would be incredible), or b) it is a springboard module i plug in for shits and giggles. It wouldn't even need to b that useful; just something for us geeks to play with. I for ome would rather hack around in linux then play a game :-)
RE: Linux on Palm... why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/1999 5:39:19 PM #
Benifit right now? Not much that I can see, except for dorks like me who feel lost without grep and pipes and such ;-)
Benifit in a few years? Huge...

As the article points out, the palm os is great for what it does,
but only runs on certain limited hardware.
Linux can run on so many different cpu's, and anyone can adapt it for their own hardware.
Also, the linux kernel is such that you can make it as big or small as you want, depending on how much functionality you need.
I doubt you would run X on such a beast, at least right now, but it could be made quite useful with another small windowing system.
Also, I assume this would be sold as a data access unit or PPC with networking of some sort, along side of their orginizer Palm OS line.

RE: Linux on Palm... why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/1999 5:51:42 PM #
This is Mike Cane ( -- yeah, I really should register at this site!). Wouldn't it be possible for people to write apps to run on Linux on a Springboard? I don't know much about Linux, but it seems to me with all of the development it has behind it, there's a possibility it could force WinCE out of the "pocket space." mc
RE: Linux on Palm... why? @ 10/10/1999 7:53:14 PM #
Linux is not necessarily a server/workstation OS. We're so used to seeing X-Windows and
command line interfaces for Linux that we often mistake them from the OS itself. X can be
replaced with a Palm OS-style interface, and the Plug-n-Play installation of the
Springboard makes it a very attractive option.

We need to reserve at least some skepticism for Handspring's licensing agreement with
Palm, especially since the company is so cagey on discussing the exact terms of the
agreement. Hypothetically, at least, Palm could withdraw its license overnight if
Handspring doesn't reciprocate by licensing Springboard technology to Palm (and
Handspring says that they currently have no plans to do so). Palm is already playing
the "OS card" by announcing a new upgrade via flash only, underscoring the Visor's lack
of flash upgradability. However well Handspring does with the Visor, it's still in a very
vulnerable position by licensing the soul of its product from a (potential) competitor.

Since Linux is covered under the terms of GNU's General Public License, anyone can modify
Linux for the Palm, get the source code, and have absolutely no ability to restrict others
from it -- which is more than can be said for the Palm OS, MacOS, BeOS, OS/2, Windows
or any other propriety operating system. This is not merely an academic point. Remember
the Newton?

RE: Linux on Palm... why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/23/2000 11:24:28 PM #
Its funny that you use anything non-microsoft since OS/2 is a Microsoft product that was sold to IBM.

OS's not that important

mjoyce @ 10/10/1999 1:59:26 AM #
The OS on a handheld is not the be-all and end-all. It's all about what the device is useful for, and how well it fits its target uses.
At the moment, Palm OS devices are the best on the market: the OS is the fastest and most efficient, but the applications are streamlined, easy to use and well designed. It targets exactly what the vast majority of users want, in a simple, no-brainer format.

Where Windows CE has fallen down is that it doesn't recognise this, and tries to duplicate a PC. This is actually a good idea from a marketer's point of view, but lousy for the user.
EPOC is little more efficient, and has very powerful apps. One of its key advantages, especially to the mobile phone companies that have gotten into bed with Symbian, is that it is modular. These companies realise that the user interface is all the user will care about, and are happy to let someone else (Psion) take care of the backend.

I can see the how some people would get excited over having Linux on a Palm system, but I fail to really see the point. If you put the full complexity of a PC-targetted app onto a Palm form factor, you get a mess.
If you just want simple programs, why redesign the wheel?

RE: OS's not that important
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/12/1999 12:53:13 PM #
"Why redesign the wheel?"
Because sometimes the wheel falls off!

But what about plug and play SpringBoard?

FireMage @ 10/10/1999 3:03:42 AM #
Frankly, Handspring has made a major promise to the community with Springboard. Because of the way that the software for a Springboard is included on the module, even if it is a GPS or MP3 player or what have you, Springboard virtually _requires_ the Palm OS. So if Handspring is planning to release alternative OS handhelds, they'd better make _damn_ sure that these are Springboard compatible, meaning that alt OS devices can emulate the Palm OS. If Springboard turns out to be a one-trick poney for Visor only, and is abandoned as soon as the Palm OS is out dated, Handspring is going to have some very irate customers and vendors. If they tried to pull this, they'd have a hard time getting anyone to trust them again.

So it looks like Handspring is stuck with Palm OS and things that emulate it for the forseeable future.

RE: But what about plug and play SpringBoard?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/1999 5:48:53 PM #
This is Mike Cane ( How certain are you about "Springboard needing the PalmOS"? I'm not a programmer and I haven't yet read the Springboard developers docs, so you probably know both more and better than I do, but are you quite sure that the Springboard concept is tied that tightly to PalmOS? mc

First, lets be able to hotsync on Linux ..

Yursil @ 10/10/1999 9:38:58 PM #
I think it's an intriguing idea.. but, right now, a Visor owner cant even hotsync from linux.

Further, linux support for USB (which is what the Visor cradle uses) is non-existent. Therefore to be able to hotsync on linux would require a new kernel with the Visor specifically in mind.

Lets prioritize first!


RE: First, lets be able to hotsync on Linux ..
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 1:14:00 AM #
The Linux 2.4 kernel supports USB, and may be released by November. Even if it's seriously delayed, it's sure to be out by early 2000. So the only barrier to Linux support for the Visor is going to disappear soon enough.
RE: First, lets be able to hotsync on Linux ..
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 11:21:48 AM #
Umm.... Kernels 2.2.7 and above have support for USB keyboards and mice, and various other (specific) devices.

Also, Alan Cox has said thay 2.4 should be out as early as November.

Check out this link for more info on that:



RE: First, lets be able to hotsync on Linux ..
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/23/1999 6:10:50 PM #
You may not realize it but for an extra $20 there is a serial visor dock for the PC. By default the Visor comes with a USB cradle but you can order a serial cable Cradle at the same time. Now I am not sure wheather the linux pilot docking mechanisms can use the visor's dock but I think that the cabling is similar and since the OS is the same I would gamble that it works!!

New OS?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/10/1999 11:21:58 PM #
Ok, but it should be able to run PalmOS software.
RE: New OS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 2:07:39 PM #
Why not run the palm os emulator on linux,
on a handspring :-)

Linux On Visor

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 4:13:23 AM #
It is so great to hear such a direction. I just wonder when it is available

Linux on a Visor

ctrose @ 10/11/1999 9:01:24 AM #
There already is a version of Linux that will run on an 8MB palm. How difficult would it be to recompile the kernel for a Visor?
RE: Linux on a Visor
daniel @ 11/4/1999 4:05:27 PM #
great but where is this kernel to download ???

Please send this to me

linux on my Visor? @ 10/11/1999 9:59:33 AM #
Sweet, gimme.

Linux on a Visor

Steve Cooper @ 10/11/1999 12:35:23 PM #
I see no benefit. Linux would bring its own desktop legacy down to a PDA, much like Windows CE. Linux is a UNIX clone, and UNIX designers never even thought about handheld computers.

What does Linux bring to the table? Certainly not a large PDA application base or PDA-scale efficiency. Keep it clean and simple!

RE: Linux on a Visor
Jan @ 10/12/1999 9:39:23 PM #
Your question : what does Linux bring to the table ?

The answer: The power to get done anything that
people seem fit to do.

This is unlike Palm OS and other handheld OSes,
which have limited number of ports and HW platforms,
and need licences, which is the first and final stop
sign for free people who want to development for
themselves and for the common good.


Linux on Visor

Ron Roszkiewicz @ 10/11/1999 1:04:41 PM #
If Linux is made available most of the world will need RedGlove(as in Hat) support to use it. Keep it simple and keep it open.

Alt OS on Palm means no extensibiliy!

Gabriel Jeffrey @ 10/11/1999 12:58:03 PM #
I'm a Palm III oner and a long-time BeOS user. I just ordered a Visor Deluxe. You are all overlooking the logistics of the issue. Any alternate OS would have to run off of a Springboard module or somehow be loaded in to RAM as a patch to the PalmOS. If it runs via Springboard, it means no Springboard modules while running the Alt OS. Visors don't have Flash RAM which means that replacing the OS is out of the question. Also, as sad as it is, virtually no software for either BeOS or Linux is structured to support _every_ architecture. It would be almost useless to run any of the existing apps. Sad...but true.
RE: Alt OS on Palm means no extensibiliy!
Mike Cane @ 10/11/1999 2:39:24 PM #
I would envision any alternate OS Springboard to contain its own RAM for OS-specific apps/files.

As for not being able to use a Springboard in the OS-occupied slot... there was a rumor that someone wanted to create a "Y" connector so that two SBoards could be dropped into the one slot. I don't know if that is technically possible, but it sure would make for a strange-looking Visor! mc (

Linux on Visor?

Will Smith @ 10/11/1999 1:22:09 PM #
WOW! wouldn't THAT be awesome!?!

so far, i think the PalmOS-powered devices are great. i went and bought a IIIx before i knew that Handspring even existed. had i known, i would have waited for the Visor and ordered one of THOSE.... hmmmm....

i'm impressed with what i've heard about the Visor so far, and i've been recommending it to everyone i know.

Linux on a Visor... Maybe.

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 3:07:09 PM #
What you have to ask yourself is why you would like
to have linux on a device; if it is only to the same
thing palmOs is already doing, it is probably not
worth it; PalmOS is very well designed, usabilitywise.

If, on the other hand, you want linux to be able to run
all kinds of linux software (which I do), then you really
need to address the need for a keyboard of some kind,
working with many applications simply demand a quicker
way to enter data than handwriting can accomplish (and
I do want to use a real shell, which is a pain with hand-
writing). Give me a way to connect a one-hand keyboarsd
and I'll be happy.

RE: Linux on a Visor... Maybe.
Cicatrix @ 12/1/1999 9:44:07 PM #
There is a utility called the "happy hacking cradle" (from the same folks who created the "happy hacking keyboard") that allows you to type directly into your palm.

The cradle has an interface for any ps/2 style keyboard, and your palm obviously sits in the cradle.

check it out at:

--Cicatrix" CLASS=NEWS>


BeOS makes more sense!

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 3:27:46 PM #
BeOS makes more sense than Linux on the Visor. Linux is complex enough for the average user. The only advantage that Linux brings is that it is open source. I don't think that most users care about this. BeOS is just as powerful as Linux, plus it is 10x easier to use. Not to mention it doesn't contain the legacy baggage.

I would by a Linux Visor in a second

Tim @ 10/11/1999 3:47:45 PM #
Although I am a current user of a Palm III I would have no qualms whatsoever about jumping ship onto the Handspring Linux Palm device bandwagon. No thanks on the BeOS or Apple oferings. Not interested. I have seen the future and the future is free OS's.
RE: I would by a Linux Visor in a second
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 4:00:39 PM #
BeOS IS FREE as of their next release.
Noah Brunn @ 3/14/2000 12:45:26 PM #
Get with the program.


Defiler @ 10/11/1999 3:53:48 PM #
I just want integrated GSM wireless internet access, and a lightweight browser running on Linux.

We need a better platform for linux

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 3:38:00 PM #
I love my palm! But I am ready for wireless color web browsing in the same form factor.

Palm does not seem ready to support this nor are they letting us know this is at the top of their agenda.

A linux device based on Compaq's arm device with NanoGUI (" CLASS=NEWS> ), gtk, and a stripped down mozilla (supposedly the rendering engine can fit on a floppy) would be a very powerful little machine with LOTS of potential.

CE's shortfalls can really be traced to three main factors.

One- a handheld display does not have enough real estate to present a windowing gui. In other words one app at a time with only one document at a time visible.
Three- a. standard linux/mac/be/ rhetoricians aside I and I suspect many others find the start menu repellent as it brings up all kinds of the instability associations most people have with their windows desktops. I can't be rebooting my handheld while I have a client on the phone, whether CE is stable or not I do have that fear when I see the start menu.
b. The desktop connectivity portion of the WinCE device is probably one of the most attrocious example of bad MS software! They have apparently fixed most of the issues with 3.0 but that was released only last month.

RE: We need a better platform for linux
Mike Cane @ 10/12/1999 2:52:11 PM #
What puzzles me is that people cite Palm & CE palmtops as having screens "too small" for web access. I think it is actually that the sites are designed to be "too big" for palmtop devices. Site designers will have to come up with a way to allow scalability of their sites (either by the palmtop browser sending am "I'm a palmtop!" msg or each site having a "Press Here for Palmtop Scale" button). mc

Linux on a Visor???

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 4:04:05 PM #
I think we should take a step back and see why
PalmOS devices have been so wildly popular. Why
have the Pilots time and time again, been able
to outsell and outdo the hordes of WinCE machines
out there? Definitely not because of any hardware
advantages. Then if not the hardware, perhaps the
OS? So what's so special about the PalmOS. It's
got great stability, it's fast, and very user friendly.
Why? It's simple. Build an OS from the ground up,
the less you functionalize it, the less chances you
have to screw it up. So WHY OH WHY do we want Linux
on a Palm-size device? Because we can??? Don't get
me wrong -- I love Linux. I use it every day at home.
But the one thing I'm getting very very tired of is
now that the Linux advocacy drones have inundated us so
well, they're relying on us ignorantly using Linux
as a buzzword meaning the Jesus Christ of all operating
systems. Linux on my digital watch? Sure! It's bound
to tell time better than my existing one! Linux on my
toaster? Hell why not! I could program it to burn
a penguin into my toast! Linux is even a goddamn media
darling, yet I'd wager that 0.001% of people that have
reported on the superiority of Linux have yet to actually
install it. Linux is a good operating system for a
multi-user, networked, and yes, even a desktop environment.
Why the fuck do you need to log into your PDA!!!????
How the hell are you going to take advantage of Linux
on a device that's primarily marketed as an organizer?
What, you mean not everybody gets the urge to hand-
stroke and compile code on their daily commute! No!!!
Palms were successful because they built the OS from
the ground up to cater to special portable needs on
cost-effective hardware; (i.e you don't NEED 133mhz and
a 65k color TFT screen to take a number or memo)
Successful next generation PDA's will be so because they
improve upon the needs of portable users in the same
RE: Linux on a Visor???
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 5:35:03 PM #
One of the reasons PalmOS has been so successful is because of its
openness to developers who want to write code
for the platform. If a Springboard module were made
that allowed Visors to run Linux, just think of
the developer community that would ensue it.
Choice is always a good thing for the consumer.
I've seen Linux running on an Itsy, and its a
beautiful thing.
RE: Linux on a Visor???
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 7:17:52 PM #
Personally, I don't think Linux on a 20mhz, 8-meg machine
could really perform. I CAN see a souped-up CE-equivalent
machine running Linux. Wait...what am I saying? It IS being


The question still remains, WHY would you want Linux on a
Palm PC? Let's just consider the user-interface.

No keyboard.
Unless a keyboard device (like the GoType) is marketed,
you'll be calligraphizing (or grafiti'ing or whatever the hell
they'll call it all) all your shell scripts.

No standard GUI.
X is old, and I think M$ has effectively proven the whole
'windowing' UI is useless on a PalmPC anyways. What to
do? A million routes to take here, and we'll probably run
into another KDE/Gnome-type GUI war. Fun.

Wasted functionality.
You have Linux on your Visor. Now you have one of the most
stable secure networking operating systems on a device
that's not on a network and only has one user. Yeah you
could kick it into single-user mode, but...oh hey remind me
why we're putting Linux on a PDA again?

Compaq labs will probably never release Itsy, as it's an
experimental project covering PDA architecture,
power-consumption and user interface, among other things.
In other words, 99% of the population isn't really that

RE: Linux on a Visor???
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 8:38:16 PM #
Why would you want Linux on a Palm PC?
Because it's fun! :) It also would create a base
of code that belongs to the community.

You would need a specialized version of Linux to
run on a PalmPC. You have pointed out a few of
the problems that will be encountered with a Linux
port. Fortunately, there are a lot of people
interested in helping out.>NanoGUI
is a tiny X server. Hopefully, there will be a good
UI built on top of it. I have seen code in GNOME
that takes care of smaller displays.

Why are we putting Linux on a PDA again?
Because hackers want to play with code and push
the hardware to its limits. They want freedom,
they want choice. Maybe they'll come up with
something that the larger population IS interested

linux on a visor

stratfloyd @ 10/11/1999 6:46:11 PM #
I would buy one in a heartbeat -

Why not EPOC?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 10:44:49 PM #
Assuming that a new OS was sought by Handspring in the future to replace the PalmOS why wouldn't they look towards the only other serious OS for palmtop computers and join Symbian to bring their expertise to the development of future versions of EPOC?

Surely, that would make a lot more sense than taking any desktop OS (no matter how good) and mold it into something more Palm-friendly. I love Linux as much as the next geek but I'm not going to advocate it to run on the Palm if their are better alternatives out there that already have the support of a community of developers who in many ways already resemble Linux developers. I'd rather see a convergence of technology than a reinvention of the wheel.

RE: Why not EPOC?
Mike Cane @ 10/12/1999 2:56:30 PM #
I don't know that there would be anything to *stop* Psion from creating an EPOC Springboard module. Other than the fact they seem to stay away from creating devices that could actually *compete* with Palms/Visors. The Psion can run Calligrapher, my favorite HWR. If they would put out a palm-sized Psion with Calligrapher in ROM, I think many people would take notice and perhaps even be tempted towards that product (moreso than to, say, WinCE!). mc
RE: Why not EPOC?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/13/1999 11:10:27 AM #
With the news today that Symbian and Palm are going to cross license technology I just have to ask -- how did I know?! Must have been in the air...

I think that Psions and Palm have each found their niche and are wisely avoiding treading on each others toes. I have a Psion 5mx and I'm intending to order a Visor as soon as the madness quietens. I see no conflict in having both.

IMHO the cross-licensing of technology between Symbian and Palm can be no bad thing. I'm glad to see that each has recognized the others strengths (Symbian's advanced OS and Palm's applications) and are working towards them to hopefully create even better products.

With a little luck this is one marketplace that Microsoft will not dominate with sub-standard products.

Linux On Handspring Visor

Russell Schwausch @ 10/12/1999 1:20:48 AM #
Linux opens the door to application development
for the handheld form factor by a very energetic
community of creative people worldwide. This means that
every Intel PC (RedHat and others have done nice ports
of Linux to the Intel platform) potentially becomes
a development system for Visor/Dragonball products.

And it lays the groundwork for future products in the
same form factor with other processor architectures.

The possibilities are no longer limited to simply
evolutionary directions. I can envision myself buying
new products without grumbling because they are
actually exciting. I might actually WANT to wear one
of these things. Where is Kansas on this product

Rather See BeOS on a Visor

PinheadX @ 10/12/1999 4:11:48 AM #
Linux just doesn't do it for me.

Why not have an attractive OS on it, with no legacy baggage, and native support for things like antialiasing, a responsive and stable GUI, multimedia etc.

Basically, if they were available with BeOS on them, I would buy one in a heartbeat. I don't know if I want to have to configure mine before I can use it...

RE: Rather See BeOS on a Visor
Liquid Man @ 11/16/1999 8:52:36 AM #
When was the last time you used Linux? 1984?

Besides, what is the *big* deal with BeOS? Why go with an OS that has no future? When was the last time you saw a major manufacturer ship a computer with BeOS on it?


pot @ 10/12/1999 6:31:13 AM #
Lets face it, there never has been, and never will be a replacement for DOS.

Its the only way forward

Mike Cane @ 10/12/1999 2:59:45 PM #
DOS or DR-DOS? Why not CP/M? Hey, why not DR-DOS with GEM on top?! (Of course I'm being a wiseass! But I just realized something... if Jack Tramiel [of Commodore and Atari, for you new people] was still in the game, don't you think he would have made a better PalmOS competitor than, say, Royal did with DaVinci?) mc

alternate OS

bumblebee @ 10/12/1999 11:08:29 AM #
Let me state that I'm a huge linux fan to begin with. I do all of my development and nearly all of my domestic computing (with exception to games) on linux. I figure if it can't be done on linux, sun, or mac, it doesn't need to be done.

I'm not aware of the benefits of putting linux on a handheld. In the desktop realm, linux means stability, versatility, and power. But in the handheld realm, PalmOS has shown that it gives users those things as well.

Maybe linux can offer some better networking features right off the bat, or perhaps something else. But you'd think it would be easier (and less expensive, which is the real buzz-phrase, no?) to port the relevant technology, instead of the whole OS, from linux to palm.

Unless there is some hands-down improvement over operation that linux can offer, I don't see a reason to port it. Sure, it'd be a neat project and I wouldn't mind seeing a handheld linux myself, but the advantages it would have over palm, if any, would pale in comparison to the advantages it has over windows.


Linux on Visor

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/12/1999 1:21:41 PM #
So when can I send my check to Handspring...

Linux & Visor

Don @ 10/12/1999 1:31:38 PM #
At some point in the near future, the PalmOS will have to address better resolution, color and sound. I think this will be a significant leap for them to accomplish. This could cause a serious fork in the road. Handspring is positioning themselves for that time. I think Linux on the Visor would be pretty powerful, but it depends on having a decent GUI. I believe that the useful life of PDA's for most people will be 2, maybe 3, years. Since a lot of us use M/S Office, it makes it fairly easy to change PDA's. The information is there waiting to be pulled into another machine. Wether a machine runs PalmOS, Linus, BeOS or WinCE should be less of a concern. What matters is what it can do.

Linux on Handspring Visor

cy4 @ 10/12/1999 2:30:17 PM #
I see no point having Linux on the Visor just for the
sake of it. However, if using Linux provides benefits
such as extended functionality, increased performance
and better security, then I all for it.


Linux on Visor

Clare @ 10/12/1999 2:55:06 PM #
I would love to see Linux get a handhold on the handhelds :)
Maybe then we could get some decent scheduler software for Linux
and I'd never have to use the 'other' OS again!


Will @ 10/12/1999 8:01:39 PM #
While the compact efficiency of Linux would certainly be a highly desired asset of a PDAOS, it has some very serious synchronization, power management, and plug and play issues that will need to be addressed before it can be seriously considered as a PDAOS. That aside, even the best Window Manager is seriously ugly.

A more appropriate OS would be the BeOS. Be has a far more advanced interface as well as better plug and play, synchronization and power management capabilities. Its nature would also allow it to be highly customized to the needs of an advanced PDAOS.
Be is also a dynamically advance OS for media application and presentation. I believe these capabilities will become critical to the core of future PDAOS’s as downloadable music and streaming video become more advanced in technology and more prevalent in the common vernacular.

But then again, what the hell do I know.


Linux on Visor

Horst Tellioglu @ 10/14/1999 7:12:30 AM #
That would be great! For me, Linux running on the Visor would
be the reason to buy it.

Visor OS

Brent S. @ 10/15/1999 3:11:58 AM #
I agree that BeOS is THE choice for multimedia applications; it's the ultimate lightweight "hi-octane" OS. And since it's all written in clean, object-oriented C code (no, that's not a contradiction), it should be relatively easy to scale to a PDA-OS. Apps could be developed on standard Intel _and_ PPC desktop machines. And it's got an attractive GUI. If you're going to replace the OS, what else could you ask for?

Of course, I don't know how much multimedia I'll be using on a tiny, AA-powered (what DOES it use anyways?) device and palm-sized display.

Now I like DOS as much as the next geek, and I miss the C64, and I've even gotten RedHat running once or twice, but I think I'll just stick with Be.

Linux on a Visor

Rich Bowen @ 10/17/1999 4:55:43 PM #
When I first read this article, I thought, "yeah, that would be really cool!" But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that this would be an enormous waste of someone's time. Sure, it would be really cool, but it would not be particularly useful.
I'm buying a Visor to replace the yellow notepads that I go through every week trying to keep up with my over-booked life. I don't need another Linux machine to do this. I can't imagine putting up with the pain of trying to write Perl programs with a stylus. I'm really unclear what Linux could do for me on a handheld device.
Just so this is not misunderstood as an anti-Linux post, I should mention that I have Linux installed on two machines in my office, 4 machines in my server room, one at home, and 3 in my test lab. And my web site runs on a colocated machine somewhere running Linux. I'm a big fan of Linux. I'm also a big fan of using the right too for the job, and this is not it. The Palm OS was developed in order to perform particular tasks. Linux was developed to fill a very different role, and it does not look anything like the role that the Visir is about.
Yes, it would be very cool to run a web site off of a visor. Definately something to put on your resume. But there's very little practical value to that.

Linux on Visor

Anders @ 10/29/1999 11:34:49 AM #
It seems to me that this is definitely the way to go.
I have been (and still are) awaiting the introduction
of the Visor here in Europe(Sweden). They are not
available here for purchase just yet, sometime in the
first quarter of next year I think.
Anyway, compared to Palm OS on a Palm Pilot, Linux on
a Visor with it´s plugin modules yields seemingly
endless possibilities for soft- and hard-ware
applications, and hopefully better compatibility with
other Linux gadgets, computers and stuff.

I will await the Visor and Linux on the same in the
not-too-distant future.


Visor. Sound Great!

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/11/1999 4:13:23 AM #
It is so great to have these alternative whihc can have easlier expandibility

Lets get with it Visor

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/15/1999 10:35:25 PM #
I need to buy a Palm or a visor. I'd rather buy Visor, BUT I don't want to wait. Lets get with it Visor, Lets see some discounts. Give me a reason for ordering a Visor & waiting. The new boys on the block should be more flexible etc ....

Linux on visor

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/9/2000 10:11:13 PM #
I think it's a great idea & definately worth looking into.

Linux works on PDA's

brainbuzz @ 3/8/2000 4:37:18 AM #


Linux is very adaptable. What we need to see is Handspring make detailed technical information on the Visor architechure available to the Linux community. That's what Psion has done for calcaria. Check out the screenshot! 8^)

RE: Linux works on PDA's
brainbuzz @ 3/8/2000 6:35:02 AM #

whoops," CLASS=NEWS>

whoops, the url bled over...

Check out some work for Linux on PalmPilot:" CLASS=NEWS>

visor and linux

sdn @ 3/10/2000 3:59:25 PM #
I have both Linux and a Visor, but do not have
linux on a Visor. I am using W98 and so badly
what linux. I think they would make a great


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/18/2000 9:12:45 PM #
linux on a palmos pda? great! now only if handspring starts making better visors... ;)

**runs over his visor multiple times and wishes he bought the IIIx**

ok so.....

An other User @ 6/1/2000 3:15:37 PM #
Tommorow i am bying a visor becasue i need to upgrade from my Palm 2 and the sprigbord looks kinda cool. Also Linux look good on it However. Why bother people are saying firstly i have no idea about Linux and i know that PalmOS is amazing but Linux on the Visor would be FUN and thats the reaon i'd get it when it comes out, you could do a bit more but mostly i would have it for a laugth the only problem HOW DO YOU GET TWO SPRINGBRD MODULES ON AT THE SAME TIME???? if you could then Liunx and a modem, suddley becomes more than just fun...

I like the idea...

spawn @ 6/10/2000 12:19:42 AM #
I like the idea of using a different OS than the PalmOS, but i still wonder if you can overWrite the OS software based(like BeOS r5 did to windows98. I my self happen to be a BeOS fan and to have BeOS on my Visor that would be awsome.
RE: I like the idea...
Ruthrauff @ 6/16/2000 8:53:55 AM #
With the creation of BeIA this shouldn't be to hard for someone to do.
They could sell the springboard for about $50-70 that would run a version of BeIA that could be used to sync to BeOS.
Life would be good.

Linux for Visor...

UnR3aL the Swede @ 6/20/2000 6:19:22 PM #
Cool idea...
But will there ever be UNIX?

Linux on Visor

Steven @ 7/12/2000 11:42:42 AM #
I have a Visor and would love to see linux running on
a Visor. I presently have Linux at home on my server
and on my laptop. Linux on a Visor would be a triple play.
RE: Linux on Visor
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/1/2000 10:11:06 PM #
personally, I'd rather use palmos, then just telnet to my box at home via my packet network springboard device. More processor at your fingertips, and way cooler IMHO.


I.M. Anonymous @ 7/16/2000 7:50:36 PM #

unconventional (and almost useless)

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/17/2000 5:16:31 PM #
I'm not catching the drift on this?
Palm's are definitely not restricted to the Palm OS (as the flashable upgrades can demonstrate), and wasting the Springboard slot for another OS is almost LUDICROUS, in my mind. What can I do then????? Palm is not restricting their efforts on just the OS, as their development in Symbian (Palm on EPOC in Nokia phone) has proved. This is not a silly waste to me yet, but to say Visor has the advantage because of a really slow developing platform (BS Springboard slot) is plain DUMB!

Linux is availible on a palm

Bill Gates @ 7/23/2000 9:00:41 AM #
Linux is availible in color on palms. Any Intel ARM CPU can use it, I.E. Compaq samsung has an mp3 player/palm w/ linux built in...its called Yopy w/ 206 MHz cpu and 32 MB of RAM.

Lynix on the Visor

Jack Earl @ 7/25/2000 10:57:41 PM #
I would love to see the Visor offer the Lynix OS. It would be even greater if I could run Lynix off a Springboard module.

Replacement Face for Visor?

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/1/2000 1:10:40 PM #

Hello ... I'm getting tired of the Blue face (top, colored half) on my Visor ... do you guys know where I can get others?


visor alternate os

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/1/2000 3:03:54 PM #
I own a Palm V,great concept,great size. I would like to see a color version running BeOS. But it needs to stay small and light like the Palm V or Vx not like these HP etc. weighing much more than a palm V or Nokia 8860 cell phone.

The point?

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/27/2000 12:33:37 AM #
Pointless! Hype! Linux fan nonsence!
Fine, I'm a visor deluxe owner and have been for some time and seeing this I just *had* to say something! This is pure idiocy!
Linux for the Visor? BeOS for the Visor? EPOC for the Visor? MacOS for the Visor? These are credible ideas?
The PalmOS was chosen for the Visor for a reason. Its fast, small and effective. I've never had a problem with the interface or performence or anything really. The stability of PalmOS is great. The only time I've had it crash is from bad programming in 3rd party applications (unlike some of the afformentioned OSes!). Now I pose the question... why put an OS on a device if the one there is already perfectly suited for the job? It's even custom made! If you remember right, the PalmOS version on the Visor was custom made to suit the Visor to a T!


So people, please get some sense and don't post all these "We could make a mini web server" (THAT'S WHAT PCs AND SERVERS ARE FOR!!!) or "Linux performance on a palm device" posts without really standing back and looking at the full picture, please. They just give me (and I'm sure many other people) a headache

Motorolla Dragon Ball Processors RE: The point?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/25/2001 1:27:12 AM #
Actually Linux is already ported to the basic processor of the Visor Prism. The OS already exists for it.
Lineo Sells it <>
here is what it is <>
and here is a module that uses the same processor with the addition of an ethernet controller
White paper information:
Data sheet information:
Quick Blurb from Lineo what it is:
"uClinux™ is a powerful Linux based operating system for embedded microcontroller systems and thin clients, providing the embedded systems engineer a stable, portable, and scalable operating system with full TCP/IP stack.

What's included for free is lib C and source code for uClinux kernal version is 2.0.38 linux wise.

Installation notes:

plenty of information available as far as I can tell.
Not everyone has to run linux, but some people enjoy these things.

No use spoiling other peoples fun I always say plenty of rooom for everyone.

RE: The point?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/26/2001 6:10:22 PM #
Just a note, a linux springboard module won't necessarily mean having to sacrafice your springboard module. It could be designed in a way allowing you to plug your springboard modules directly into the linux module.. this could also be a work around method of inability to change OS's with no flash rom. And as for what use linux could have on a PDA, with an open source OS the possibilities are endless..



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