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PalmOS programming with Linux?

By Ledge Kindred in News
Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 03:51:57 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

I run Linux on all my computers. I recently purchased a Palm IIIxe. I really liike both and I'd like to use the former to hack on the latter. So I dug around on the 'Net and found the PRC-tools, the PalmOS 3.5 SDK and PILRC. But... now what?


I've also been searching around the 'Net for PalmOS programming resources that focus on using the PRC-Tools and have found very little. All the Palm app source code I've been able to find, with the shining exception of GNU Keyring, all assume you're using CodeWarrior on either a Win32 or Mac platform, which is apparently vastly different from using the PRC-Tools, not just because of the toolset differences - I don't even seem to have the proper includes/libraries to compile code written for CodeWarrior.

A quick scan of the various online booksellers also shows a dearth of well-accepted PalmOS programming reference books, (most have pretty poor reviews) and most of the summaries don't mention what toolchain they focus on, but I would bet they primarily focus on the CodeWarrior toolset.

Is anyone out there, other than the GNU Keyring project, using Linux as their primary development platform for PalmOS apps? How did you get familiar with the toolset? Where did you find code/API references? Should I really just set up a Win32 box and buy a copy of CodeWarrior for PalmOS or is it worth the effort of trying to get comfortable with the PRC-toolset? Or should I forget about writing in C and just learn FORTH?

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PalmOS programming with Linux? | 30 comments (30 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Offtopic, but somewhat related: Doe... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 12:44:48 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Offtopic, but somewhat related: Does anyone know of any good WAP/WML simulators or testing environments that will run on a *nix? The only one I can find is Nokia's toolkit (link not handy...) which is Win-only.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Offtopic, but somewhat related: Doe... (none / 0) (#11)
by SgtPepper on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:15:53 PM EST

Offtopic, but somewhat related: Does anyone know of any good WAP/WML simulators or testing environments that will run on a *nix? The only one I can find is Nokia's toolkit (link not handy...) which is Win-only.

I don't know if it's EXACTLY what you need, but YoSpace has a WAP emulator that's web based ( read Java ) with standalone Java versions. Something to check out anyway.

[ Parent ]
Nokia toolkit is Java, no? (none / 0) (#13)
by torpor on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:17:29 PM EST

If so, shouldn't be too tricky to get it to work on Linux using one of the Java environments out there, no?
j. -- boink! i have no sig!
[ Parent ]
Re: Nokia toolkit is Java, no? (none / 0) (#21)
by rusty on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 12:54:09 AM EST

Y'know... you might be right. Maybe I was just too lazy to do all the java install crap the first time I looked at it, and then forgot. Er. Oops. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
The instructions... can it get any easier? (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 02:40:06 PM EST

Peter Grönholm has written a nice article on how to run the Nokia emulator on Linux.

[ Parent ]
Interesting topic, I was considerin... (none / 0) (#5)
by shonson on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:00:47 PM EST

shonson voted 1 on this story.

Interesting topic, I was considering buying a Palm Pilot a few months ago, but decided I coundn't justify the cost, as I prob wouldn't have much use for one.
-- Steven in #kuro5hin

I've been hacking on my Palm for th... (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by RichN on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:14:59 PM EST

RichN voted 1 on this story.

I've been hacking on my Palm for the past few months. I'm using the PRC-TOOLS on my FreeBSD box. The PRC tools are a little rough around the edges, but the posts I see on the palm developers mailing list indicate that Code Warrior isn't without its own problems. For documentation, I use Palm's SDK web documentation. They also host a copy of one of the Palm Programming books (it might be the O'Reilly one.) Between the two, I get by.
-- Rich

Got a URL for those docs? (none / 0) (#12)
by torpor on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:16:41 PM EST

SSIA.
j. -- boink! i have no sig!
[ Parent ]
Re: Got a URL for those docs? (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by RichN on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:26:33 PM EST

The HTML files for the SDK can be downloaded and installed on your machine. Or you can view them at Palm's site:

Palm OS SDK Documentation
Palm Programming: The Developer's Guide

-- Rich
[ Parent ]
On Topic!... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by typo on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 01:30:59 PM EST

typo voted 1 on this story.

On Topic!

O'Reilly makes a book called "Palm ... (4.00 / 1) (#2)
by transiit on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:04:07 PM EST

transiit voted 1 on this story.

O'Reilly makes a book called "Palm Programming" (ISBM 1-56592-525-4) that seems to be pretty thourough on the subject. The only other things I've found are the API reference straight from Palm. (personal rant: too much shareware available for palm. there's no reason why more free software can't be made for the things. a clock applet is not worth $15)

I do palm programming with the GNU ... (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by tzanger on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:04:30 PM EST

tzanger voted 1 on this story.

I do palm programming with the GNU toolset on Win32 and Linux.

There are a lot of examples around. Whatever you see for Win32 is pretty much identical on Linux, although I actually compiled a m68k GCC. The toolchain really doesn't matter all that much, the code is the same. PilRC / Codewarrior's variant do differ but you can change over quite easily.

You're entirely correct, however: Most books blow. They focus on just the easy stuff and gloss over the harder stuff. I've got a very good crease or three in my O'Riley Pam Programming book. It too glosses over some things but so far I've been able to figure the missing bits out from example code on the 'net, reading the Palm APIs (very well documented) or just plain old experimentation. POSE is your friend. I have been unable to get the X equivalent (the name escapes me now) to work though. Mind you I haven't tried super hard either; most of my palm development is on Win32 since that's what's on my laptop and I do most of my palm coding in the tub.



Re: I do palm programming with the GNU ... (none / 0) (#17)
by superfly on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:36:12 PM EST

POSE works on my Linux machine. I think I may have used one of the pilot-link programs to transfer the ROM. I'm using the Debian 'pose' and 'pilot-link' packages.

[ Parent ]
There must be a mailing list for th... (1.50 / 2) (#4)
by Rasputin on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:14:32 PM EST

Rasputin voted -1 on this story.

There must be a mailing list for this.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Re: There must be a mailing list for th... (none / 0) (#15)
by Ledge Kindred on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:33:01 PM EST

Yes, and also newsgroups and a "Linux Palm Programming FAQ," and none of them have very current or useful information. (In fact, the code example in the FAQ - which is from ca.1997 IIRC - doesn't even compile with the current rev of PRC-Tools.) I probably should have mentioned this in the story.

[ Parent ]
Sourceforge.net has a bunch of Linu... (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by Vygramul on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:23:02 PM EST

Vygramul voted 1 on this story.

Sourceforge.net has a bunch of Linux/Palm stuff, and undoubtedly they're developing on Linux boxes. (iirc there's an open source project to create a mini-linux OS for PDA's.)
If Brute Force isn't working, you're not using enough.

Re: Sourceforge.net has a bunch of Linu... (none / 0) (#16)
by Ledge Kindred on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 04:35:52 PM EST

I saw your comment here and checked out Sourceforge and found a little over a dozen projects that matched the keyword "PalmOS". Unfortunately, like so many other projects on Sourceforge, most were in "pre-alpha, design-only, sorry no code yet" stage. There were a couple in there that looked like some actual progress had been made on them, aside from the GNU Keyring project which is also on Sourceforge, so I will have to take a look at their code and see if I can figure out how it works and how they're doing it. Thanks for the tip.

[ Parent ]
These are questions which I've wond... (none / 0) (#7)
by tadas on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 02:24:07 PM EST

tadas voted 1 on this story.

These are questions which I've wondered about myself, and Ledge has expressed the question more clearly than I could have. Look forward to seeing the answers.

I've been interested in this as wel... (none / 0) (#3)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 03:00:44 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

I've been interested in this as well. For what it's worth, I think the O'Reilly PalmOS Development book is held in pretty high regard, though from what I understand it's heavily biased towards CodeWarrior. I've never read it, since I've yet to actually have the time or need to do any PalmOS programming. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Other sources (none / 0) (#18)
by Nio Spartan on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 06:16:40 PM EST

Palm OS itself was coded from C++; a couple of programming magazines and (I think) USENET forums from '97-'99 had touched briefly on compiling app conduits.

While this is more likely closer to the .prc tools, you might have some luck finding something closer to what you're looking for.
What does courage mean? You can't program it. -Hugo Pratt
Re: Other sources (none / 0) (#25)
by tzanger on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 11:32:50 AM EST

Palm OS itself was coded from C++; a couple of programming magazines and (I think) USENET forums from '97-'99 had touched briefly on compiling app conduits.

I believe you're incorrect.

PalmOS is based on the AVX RTOS. While it is true that conduits are programmed in C++, I don't believe PalmOS itself was written in C++.



[ Parent ]
Hey cool I got a IIIxe too (none / 0) (#19)
by joeyo on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 07:16:22 PM EST

Hey cool I just got a IIIxe too!

Warning: the above post may contain no actual content.

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

Pilot Programming on Linux tools... (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by Ricdude on Fri Jun 09, 2000 at 08:24:58 PM EST

Here are a few useful links for Pilot Programmers using Linux (and prc-tools) as their development toolkit:

Palm Programming and miscellanea FAQ
http://www.wademan.com/Pilot/Program/FAQ.htm

Palm Programming Newsgroups (usenet style on private news server:
translation - high signal, low noise)
http://www.massena.com/darrin/pilot/index.html

The Official Palm Programming Resource Page
http://www.palm.com/devzone

I recommend getting the official Palm OS Emulator (pose) from
palm.com. It supports most recent OS versions. If you don't
mind registering at Palm, you can get access to the ROM images,
which can be used with the emulator. The older xcopilot emulator
doesn't work (for me) with any roms past version 3.x. Doesn't
do me much good with my Visor.

As far as *actually* programming the things, I recommend the book
by O'Reilly. Programming for the Palm is really a different beast
than programming for a PC platform. The memory model makes
things a bit twisted as far as accessing and modifying memory goes.
Also, the O'Reilly book seems to do a fairly complete job of covering
the various APIs for Palm Programming.

Good Luck.

Re: Pilot Programming on Linux tools... (none / 0) (#30)
by cs on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 01:22:41 AM EST

Of course, you can only register if you're in the US...

Yippee :-(

Anyone have a tool for downloading my palm's ROM
under Linux? (And likewise, for upgrading to 3.3
without using Windows?)

[ Parent ]
PalmOS Linux Projects (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by piloteer on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 01:12:00 AM EST

There are quite a few PalmOS projects that are developed on linux. If you need source code to play around with I would highly suggest checking out these two:

Strip, Available at <A HREF="http://www.zetetic.net/">http://www.zetetic.net, is a password and account manager for PalmOS. It is along the same lines as GNUKeyring except it has many more advanced features, a more secure primary crypto-system, and has been around longer. Strip is GPL'd and it is currently the most advanced account management software available for the PalmOS. (Disclaimer - I wrote most of Strip and am the maintainer of the project, so I may be biased)

Plucker is another Open Source palm program developed on linux. It is similar to AvantGo, but more advanced with better cross platform support- basically an offline web portal for the palm. It is available from <A HREF="http://plucker.gnu-designs.com"> http://plucker.gnu-designs.com .

As far as learning to program I suggest the Oreilly palm book. It is the best that I have seen. In all honesty it skips alot of details that are important to more advance projects but it is a good beginners book. If you try you can glean these important tidbits from the open source Palm software out there - or just sit down and read Palms extensive API documentation.



coldsync utility (none / 0) (#23)
by mcoletti on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 02:25:18 AM EST

If you'd like to program in perl, or a similar light-weight language, try using coldsync, which is a free, open-source PalmOS utiltiy.

It's home page is http://www.ooblick.com/software/coldsync/

Enjoy!

Mark
MAC -- Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

Re: coldsync utility (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by tzanger on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 11:29:19 AM EST

If you'd like to program in perl, or a similar light-weight language,

Perl is lightweight?



[ Parent ]
Re: coldsync utility (none / 0) (#27)
by rusty on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 05:39:48 PM EST

Yes. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Plenty of examples here... (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by mblevin on Sat Jun 10, 2000 at 05:02:25 PM EST

Just go to my page at http://blevins.simplenet.com/palm/ for examples of GPL programs, most of which were made to work with GCC/Pilrc instead of CodeWarrior.

Brilliant! (none / 0) (#29)
by Ledge Kindred on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:10:30 AM EST

That's the stuff, baby! Thanks a bunch for the pointer to your page. Books and API references are nice, but there's nothing quite like being able to pick through someone else's code to really get a feel for what's going on. I forsee some downloading in my immediate future...

[ Parent ]
PalmOS programming with Linux? | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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