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Old 01-10-2010, 04:40 AM   #1
bgraybr
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Smallest device...


What is the smallest netbook/PDA that will run a "standard" Linux distro (like Slackware, Arch, whatever)?

I'm planning on purchasing a PDA of some sort soon, but I don't just want Internet. I'd like to be able to compile programs and run my usual programs (or something close to them).
 
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:04 AM   #2
neonsignal
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If you do a search for 'umpc', you will turn up a few. These will typically have 4 or 5 inch screens.

You can run Linux on PDAs such as the HP iPaq and so one, though it tends not to be a 'standard' distro. You'll find information at handhelds.org.

Ubuntu also has a mobile edition, though I suspect the focus is shifting towards connectivity gadgets rather than computing per se.
 
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
bgraybr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonsignal View Post
If you do a search for 'umpc', you will turn up a few.
I did a quick search, and I'm liking these:

http://www.dynamism.com/#Product=eking_s515
http://www.dynamism.com/#Product=umid_bz


My only concern is that I won't be able to find drivers for the touchscreen etc. But if they're both capable of running Windows then it can't be to hard, right?
 
Old 01-10-2010, 06:15 PM   #4
neonsignal
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Quote:
My only concern is that I won't be able to find drivers for the touchscreen etc.
Yes, you are correct, you can't make assumptions about whether there are Linux drivers.

The easiest way is to find something that comes with Linux already, such as the Wibrain B1L devices.

Unfortunately there aren't that many devices where the manufacturer has already customized a Linux distro. The next best method is to do a search and find out whether someone else has put Linux on the device. For example, how to install Debian on the OQO. These installs can involve some messing around.

If you have experience with low-level coding, you can consider adapting drivers for devices that haven't been tried with Linux, but this is a non-trivial exercise, and there is no guarantee of success (detailed hardware specifications are not always made available, so it often involves some reverse engineering).
 
Old 01-12-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
bgraybr
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Yes, you are correct, you can't make assumptions about whether there are Linux drivers.
Couldn't you use ndiswrapper or something similar for drivers, since some UMPC's come with Windows already installed?
 
Old 01-12-2010, 07:57 PM   #6
neonsignal
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Couldn't you use ndiswrapper or something similar for drivers, since some UMPC's come with Windows already installed?
An ndiswrapper shim is possible for network drivers because the interface is narrow, and the logic of the interface is not too different between Linux and Windows. It wouldn't be easy for some of the other bits of hardware.

There are various layers where you can have a join between Windows and Linux, but the driver layer isn't the easiest one. It is also a moving target, because it changes with iterations of the operating systems.

There are other possibilities too, like running Cygwin or CoLinux under Windows (but you don't end up with a full Linux desktop).
 
Old 01-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #7
lupusarcanus
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A netbook is fairly nice.
 
  


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