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Linux 2004
Conference and Tutorials
Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th August
Leeds, West Yorkshire

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

Porting Linux to the XDA-2 PDA

Linux is becoming available for all sorts of handhelds, most of them Compaq IPAQs. Linux is available as standard on the Sharp Zaurus range. Almost all of them use an ARM processor of one form or another. Some Asian companies, like Samsung, are even beginning to produce Linux phones, but they are proprietary.

So, whilst Linux is available on phones, and is also available on PDAs, there isn't yet a single distribution of Linux on a mobile phone / PDA that's available from the Open Source community.

www.xda-developers.com is changing that, by porting Linux to the Wallaby (XDA-1) and the Himalaya (XDA-2). XDAs are in fact the "Pocket PC" from the High Tech Corporation, in Taiwan, and are also available under a number of other brand names.

Fortunately, HTC has also helped Compaq design some of its IPAQ range, and so the processor is already supported (the XScale, or Intel PXA263), and so are some of the chips, such as the randomly named "ASIC2" and "ASIC3".

It's a hit-and-miss development effort, because of the lack of documentation, and also because whilst the PXA263 has loads of features such as Bluetooth, AC97 support and LCD support, the XDA-2 doesn't actually use the PXA263's features for what they are supposed to be for!

Progress is slow but steady...

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