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Old 07-24-2003, 05:44 PM   #1
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Question Limitations of Linux on Zaurus?

I bought the SL-5500 (I LOVE THIS THING). My question is, now that I have the terminal installed (bash 2 baby) can I compile "any" linux program from source? Or is it limited the way Pocket PC is limited to apps written specifically for it?
Old 09-22-2003, 10:54 AM   #2
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Just curious, have you gotten an answer on this? I just ordered the SL5600 and would like to know the answer as well.
Old 09-29-2003, 02:15 AM   #3
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Well, I suppose in theory you could compile whatever you wanted for the Zaurus. Keep in mind, however, that the Zaurus' CPU is a StrongARM, which is not the same as your standard i386 - so you would have to cross-compile (something which I have no idea how to do). There is a gcc compiler available for the Zaurus itself, but it would probably be insane to try to compile any useful software using it, since you'd have to fill your poor Z's memory with all the appropriate libraries and such

If you haven't already, however, I would strongly suggest checking out OpenZaurus, since it will open many doors to getting other open-source apps to your Zaurus! It's more tailored towards the geek than the default installation, but quite friendly to others as well (my wife uses it all the time for shopping lists, todo, contacts, and stuff). Plus it lets you tailor the memory usage to your needs. Plus, I think the gcc compiler only runs on OpenZaurus anyway.
Old 09-29-2003, 07:23 PM   #4
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Thanks....since I posted the question (or should I say the "I second his question"), I've found out that KDevelop can cross compile for the strongArm. I have the 5600, which uses the XScale but is compatible with the strongArm (again from what I've learned).

I'm trying to upgrade to KDevelop 3.0 (not going so well) and at the same time testing out my current installation of KDevelop 2 (also not working quite yet) I'm getting there slowly but surly :-)

Thanks again.
Old 09-30-2003, 01:45 PM   #5
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1.) There is very little limit to the zaurus' AFAIK apart from hardware restrictions. It is mostly linux on a little box really (shameful exageration I know). Check out for loads of apps that have been cross compiled. There are loads of things ranging from nano (the text editor) to ftp clients to web servers.

2.) The strong-arm is (obviously) and arm processor and as such, there have been ports of most programs to it. Look at the debian distro and you'll find that they do an arm port. Most of the programs on the above site are just adjustments for the zaurus, packaged into a nice ipkg file that is easily installed on to the zaurus itself.

oh! and XScale = arm in most software respects. It is supported by the same ARM kernel which is being developed by Russel King and chums at

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Zaurus does kick ass!


P.S. teeheehee I'm carrying a linux computer in my pocket....teeheehee

Last edited by webtoe; 09-30-2003 at 01:47 PM.
Old 09-30-2003, 02:38 PM   #6
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This gives a clue to the limits (or lack of) of the Z.

One word:Apache
Old 10-01-2003, 12:40 PM   #7
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OZ is cool - but the way you get more RAM is by using the external cards as hdd, and the internal chip as ram. Great for performance, etc, but the cards burn out quicker. Just make sure you have an effective backup regime
Old 10-14-2003, 10:12 AM   #8
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"can I compile "any" linux program from source?"

Here is a link on how to do development work on a Zaurus

Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.

Steve Stites


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