PDA Support and Testing

Paul M. Bucalo ubuntuser at pmbservices.com
Fri May 27 11:11:18 UTC 2005

On Fri, 2005-05-27 at 10:50 +0800, Jerome Gotangco wrote:
> > What if we're only partially successful to hook a PDA up?
> > Like My O2 XDA2, I can get Ubuntu to see the hardware and load a
> > module when I plug it in but I've not been able to go further than
> > that.. is that worth listing?
> Yes, that is worth listing. One of the initial goals of PDA testing is
> to check what device hooks up and what doesn't, regardless of platform
> that is running (Palm, PPC, Symbian, etc.). Once we have a good device
> listing, we can prioritize what to support. Like I said before, we
> cannot support all devices availble in the market.

I'm impressed and thankful, Jerome, for your interest in supporting
PDA's under Ubuntu. I am a 25 year veteran sales and service person who
has been using portable technology on the road and in the office since
1987. In my experience, one of Linux's major weaknesses has been this
area of computing. 

I have been trying (and more often than not succeeding) to get Palm
devices to sync predictably under Linux for some time. Recently, I
struggled with getting my aged Handspring Neo to sync with Evolution
2.2.x under Fedora Core 3. I succeeded after many hours of research and
testing. Many still haven't found the magic needed to make it work for
them. If you and your peers were to rework the gnome-pilotd conduit so
that it didn't require a first-time cradle sync to setup 'udev' nodes,
then followed through with your initial goal of providing as many
necessary udev.rules entries for what works in the wild, you'd all be
hero's in my eyes, and I'm sure many others.

'udev' and hotplug created a whole new world of hurt for PDA's that rely
upon 'gnome-gpilotd', which dates back to gtk1 and is very long in the
tooth, desperately in need of reworking. The last I heard anyone
personally was working on gnome-gpilotd was a few years ago. I no longer
subscribe to the Evo list, but before I left it Novell seemed rather
silent on whether they were going to do anything about the cantankerous,
middle-aged conduit that causes so many people trouble with syncing a
Palm device to Evo. jPilot is a find program, but it's not the same as
using a PIM/Email Client like Evolution. I have issues with Evolution,
so I am not a blind proponent of the program. It's just the only real
game in town for someone wanting to manage more than names and

Now that I have found I don't need to be running Windows on my Dell
laptop for work, I plan on converting back to Linux as soon as possible.
This is the machine that I sync my Handspring to and manage my client
database from. I believe I kept the notes and list posts from my FC 3
days. I would be honored to pass on to the Wiki what tips and tricks I
learned (usually the hard way) when I reach this point with my laptop. I
would also suggest that you subscribe to the Evolution and Gnome-gpilot
lists where the action is constant and on the edge for what's working
and what's not. You will reach your goal sooner if you add those
resources to your research.

As for syncing Win CE devices to Linux, I have a Sharp Mobilon Tripad
that I would die for if I could get it to sync Pocket Office to
something Linux-native. I have it in mind to try using Crossover Office
as the Win environment under Ubutntu, then see if I can get ActiveSync
to run and allow a serial port connection to the device. If I get around
to testing this, I'll post the results on the Wiki site, as well. 

Thanks again for taking on a project that needed attention for some

Road Warrior, Ubuntu convert

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