Linux for handhelds: fact or fiction?
Why Linux on a Palmtop?
We now have a basic idea of how it is possible to run Linux on the Series 5, so now the question is: "Why anyone would want to?" One reason has to do
with the general philosophy of Linux: it has been done because it could be. Although the reason of 'hack value' is enough,
there are reasons that may be seen more reputable. It may seem a fantastic attraction that Linux is free but, in addition, nearly all
software for Linux is free. I am a great supporter of shareware (particularly for the Psion), but free software is unarguably a good thing.
Some Linux software is a little inappropriate for the Series 5. (Although don't expect some 7k hacker not to try running the Apache web server
on his S5.) However, a lot of software is just as usable on a palmtop as a desktop.
Potential uses of Handheld Linux
A lot of interest has developed for using a Linux-based Series 5 as a diagnostics tool for routers and other networking hardware.
In this case, a PPP connection, and a telnet or SSH (encrypted shell) session could provide a solution. A use such as this could promote
Linux7k to more Series 5 users. Another worthy use for Linux on the Psion is one I came across a while ago. It is possible to use
the GNU editor Emacs as an aid to the blind by using it with a module allowing a synthetic voice to speak text out of a suitable sound device.
I had a suggestion from one user asking if it was possible to use such a set-up running on the Series 5. The idea would be that the user could
use a Series 5 with Emacs and the voice module as a "vocal notepad". At the time it was deemed too power hungry for a Series 5 to handle. With
the progression of Linux7k to the Series 5mx (providing more memory, and a faster and FPU enabled processor) it may now be possible to
implement this fantastic idea.
Next: Developing For Linux7k