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Linux hacked onto GPS-enabled PDA/phone

Nov 8, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Linux is running on E-Ten's G500, a PDA/phone with integrated GPS that ships with Windows Mobile. Along with the kernel, the EtenG500 Linux project has HaRET (handset reverse-engineering tool) and the GPE palmtop environment working, opening the door for volunteers to enhance the device's… Linux stack.

Taiwanese ODM (original design manufacturer) E-Ten introduced the G500 (pictured at right) in January, following up in August with an FM radio-equipped G500+. The devices have a PDA form-factor and are equipped with a 2.8-inch QVGA (240 x 320) touchscreen, plus a full contingent of radios, including a quad-band GSM/GPRS baseband, Bluetooth transceiver, and SiRF Star III GPS receiver.

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The EtenG500 project reports that it has a kernel successfully booting on the device, with support for a TFT screen framebuffer driver. A NAND flash driver is also working, enabling read-only access to the firmware and bootloader. The touchscreen and screen backlight functions are working, and a driver for some of the G500's buttons is also working. USB device support is there, but has a few remaining glitches, according to the project.

In addition to a working kernel, the project also has HaRET running on the device. HaRet includes tools for accessing hardware internals, along with a bootloader that launches Linux from Windows, similar to the “loadlin” bootloader for desktop systems.

Finally, the EtenG500 project has succeeded in running the graphical GPE (GPE Palmtop Environment) PDA application stack on the G500, although it is currently running over an NFS mount. The project is working to get SD/MMC card support squared away.

Project spokesperson Pierre Hebert said, “The porting project is still missing some important hardware support. This is why the project is seeking volunteers. Everyone is welcome, any hint, any idea will be appreciated.”

The EtenG500 project page can be found on, here.

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