O’Reilly Network: Making the Palm/Linux Connection

“Linux and Unix users are often pleasantly surprised by how much
software is available to support PalmOS devices. In addition to the
traditional graphical “Palm Desktop” environment programs like
J-Pilot, there exists a large quantity of low-level and specialized
tools for communicating with, managing, and even emulating the

“Included with most modern Linux distributions now is a
package called “pilot-link,” written by Kenneth Albanowski. This
suite of tools and libraries enables communications between a Unix
environment and a Palm though the serial port, and is used by many
other programs to take care of the messy details.
bindings exist for C, C++, Python, Tcl, and Perl. If you find you
don’t have pilot-link installed, or want to upgrade, download
locations can be found at FileWatcher).”

“The most useful tool included is probably “pilot-xfer,” which
has its own man page, and is able to do most of the data exchange
needed day-to-day. To back up your Palm, for example, simply
execute the command pilot-xfer -b BACKUP_DIRECTORY,
place your Palm in its cradle, and press the hot-sync button. Every
program (.prc) and database (.pdb) file on the Palm will be
transferred and stored in the directory. To synchronize all the
files, execute the pilot-xfer -s BACKUP_DIRECTORY
command. To completely restore instead (for example, after a
hard-crash), use pilot-xfer -r BACKUP_DIRECTORY.”

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