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UnixReview.com: Packing Linux on iPAQ

Nov 09, 2001, 15:07 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon Holman)

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"After stowing all four of the 4-MB packages on my host machine, I ran the boot loader. It wrestled control of the iPAQ away from WinCE and the screen went blank. I disabled ActiveSync to free up the serial port, and then fired up HyperTerminal. It is used to perform an xmodem download and the actual installation of the boot loader. According to Familiar, this is the part of the process where it is easiest to ?brick? the iPAQ (make it unusable). When loading the boot loader from HyperTerminal, the boot loader takes over and, in a verbose manner, re-flashes the memory. After seeing the ?verifying?.done? screen, I had to power cycle the iPAQ. Only after the Linux splash screen appeared (shown in Figures 1 and 2) did I realize that I was holding my breath.

The second step in the process is to set kernel space and partition parameters for the boot loader, and load an actual kernel to the unit. Again, with the help of my trusty HyperTerminal, I downloaded the kernel.

The third step is to load a root filesystem image to the iPAQ. There are two choices here: the first, weighing in at 5 MB, is a skeleton that required quite a bit of work to get connected to my network and Web services. The other option is an 11.5-MB file that does everything from installing the X Window System with wireless support to installing some apps! This is the Linux that will rule the world -- provided you can wait the 30-plus minutes it takes just to download the code over the 115K-baud serial connection."

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