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I put a couple different distros of linux on my iPAQ early on, and had a blast doing it. This was before familliar really started taking off. In the end though, I put WinCE back on it. As a result of my experience though, I have the following things to say about linux on handhelds:

  1. A good GUI is a must. No matter what cool tools you put on your PDA, it is a computer for displaying information first. I played around a bit with development, and other writing/typing intensive apps, and every textual interface is slow and cumbersome. (Although for writing plain English, Microsoft's Transcriber is useable on good days.)
  2. Programming in particular requires a far better user interface. How do you type <ESC> on an iPAQ? How 'bout key combos? With the interfaces I've seen, almost all the characters =~ m/\W/ were hard to get at.
  3. I know this is no longer the case, but at the time, the lack of a sleep mode was a big--. To shut the thing off, I had to log in as root, and issue a shutdown command. Yikes!
  4. Speaking of which, do people find it still acceptable to work as a non-root user? With so little real estate, having two windows open is difficult, and using the UI to type in a password (i.e. a hidden field) is always trouble for me.

Now granted, I'm not as current as I'd like to be here. Maybe a lot of problems I had have been taken care of. (At least one major one, the sleep mode, has been.) But with the iPAQ, I still find I prefer things like I do with its bulkier cousins. I run linux on the box that lives in my closet and, at least for the most part, Window is my desktop.


In reply to Linux on iPAQ by elbie
in thread Perl on Familliar Linux. by frankus

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