Posted by Deliverator on April 16th, 2006
Today, I installed Debian Linux on an old laptop (Pentium 150), to use as build/cross compilation box. My Jornada 720 hasn’t been getting much use since my Netbook Pro arrived, so I decided I would spend a few weeks playing with a few of the available Linux and BSD options. I backed up the ram contents of my 720 to a CF card, then backed up the card to my desktop. I now have two 512 MB CF cards and a 2.2 GB microdrive to which I can install the various distros. The Jornada can actually hold 2 cards simultaneously, but I want to leave one of the slots free for a wifi card. Most of the different PDA oriented distros require a desktop linux install for the initial setup. I was able to get my USB CF card reader working in my VMware hosted Ubuntu Linux install, but decided I would rather have a Debian based system, as most of the distros I plan on experimenting with on the 720 are derived from Debian.
In particular, a distro called 720degrees is being actively maintained by a HPC Factor user who goes by the nickname “Program Synthesizer.” 720degrees has a growing APT repository, so I shouldn’t have too much trouble finding applications, but even if I do, I should have enough space on the 720 for a full build environment for on-device compilation from source. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan b, so I have the old laptop to fall back upon if I need to do some cross-compiling. Program Synthesizer is an even more gonzo addict of the HPC Factor forums than I am, so I shouldn’t have too much trouble consulting him for help if I go astray.
The other distro I plan on monkeying with is Jlime. Jlime has supported the Jornada 680/690 series for quite a while, but has just recently added support for the 7xx series. Unfortunately, almost all the documentation is still geared towards the 680 and would lead a mere mortal astray. The 680 requires a different bootloader and has a completely different processor architecture than the 720. In addition, the 680 has flash memory, while the 720 does not, resulting in drastically different install procedures. I will probably try this one out at next week’s hacknight. There are always half a dozen Linux gurus in residence at any given meeting.