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Linux on Your PDA

by Chris Halsall

What true geek doesn't want to have a computer with them at all times, wherever they happen to be -- at the office or home, or out somewhere in the "big blue room"? And if it runs a real operating system as well, like let's say, Linux, all the better.

In the past, laptops have been the only real option for mobile Linux, but that's changing. Several hand-held devices are now available that are capable of running Linux, including Compaq's iPAQ, Agenda Computing's VR3 and G.Mate's Yopy.

The list is actually longer -- heck, you can run Linux on some Palm devices if you really want to. But these three devices are of particular interest because the companies manufacturing them are directly supporting development efforts in making Linux run on their hardware, and you can get all of them today.

The VR3 and Yopy, in fact, ship from the factory with Linux pre-installed. On the other hand, the iPAQ devices, such as the 3630 or 3650, ship with Windows for Pocket PCs which must be wiped out and replaced with Linux once purchased. This also means Bill gets a contribution regardless of what you end up using.

As of the publication date for this article, only developer versions of the VR3 and Yopy are available. Agenda computing has committed to begin shipping consumer product May 21, 2001. G.Mate recently announced they will have consumer devices available in the third quarter of this year.

Photo of the PDAs.
All three units from left to right: the Agenda VR3, the Compaq iPAQ, and the G. Mate Yopy.

Is Linux ready to take on Palm and Windows CE? Is there really a need for a bash prompt on a hand-held device?

With this and the next three articles in this series, I'll tell you what I've discovered ...

Pages: 1, 2, 3

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