FAQ

This FAQ contains answers to questions frequently asked on the Linux CE development mailing list. There should be an update every month.

1. What is the Linux CE project?
The aim of the Linux CE project is to port linux to Windows CE based PDA’s. This currently includes CE based PDA’s with MIPS, SH-3, and StrongArm processors.

2. So is this the right project to follow for information on Linux for the Palm Pilot or Psion?
No. Those are separate projects.

3. Ok, where can I get information on the Pilot and Psion ports?
Information on the palm pilot port can be found at www.uclinux.org . For the Psion port, check out www.calcaria.net

4. So, I have a WindowsCE based PDA. Where can I find more information?
The official website is www.linuxce.org. The development mailing list is linuxce-devel@linuxce.org. The website has instructions on how to join the list. Below are a list of links with info related to Linux CE.

    1. Warner’s MIPS based PDA page
    2. Warner’s translation of the NetBSD on mobilegear page
    3. Steve’s Linux Nino hacking page
    4. The sh3 portion of the port
    5. John Hassey’s LinuxCE page
    6. Bradley D. La Ronde’s VR41xx efforts
    7. Mike Klar’s VR41xx efforts
    8. Niibe Yutaka’s SH3 efforts.
    9. Jay Carlson’s userland work
    10. The Linux VR website.

5. What method will be used to load the kernel?
Current development is focusing on a Windows CE application to boot the kernel. The work is based on a NetBSD bootloader that is being developed in Japan. Some folks are working on replacing the ROMS but those projects tend to be very machine specific.

6. What is the development platform for the various pieces?
The bootloader (and only the bootloader) is being written on the Microsoft Visual C++ platform. The rest of the project will be done with GCC.

7. Why can’t we do the bootloader with GCC?
There is no usable GCC for Windows CE so we either port GCC (a nontrivial task) or save a whole lot of time and develop the bootloader with VC++. The latter option is being used at this time. The NetBSD bootloader is also developed under VC++.

8. What hardware will be required to run Linuxce?
It looks like on the MIPS side, 4 Meg of RAM will be the reasonable minimum. On sh3, they’re shooting for a low of 2 Meg of RAM.

9. How far along is the project?

    1. Bradley LaRonde and Steve Hill are working on a bootloader called CyaCE based in part on pbsdboot.
      In the words of Brad, “CyaCE is the coolest boot loader ever” 🙂
    2. On the MIPS side, VR41XX platforms are booting a kernel to the point where it mounts a root file system from a ramdisk image. They have functional shell that includes network support over the serial port.
    3. Harald Koerfgen has had some luck with booting the Poseidon based MIPS, in particular, the Sharp Mobilon. The very experimental code is at the linux-vr site. Check out http://www.linux-vr.org for instructions. Note that he uses the NetBSD boot loader.
    4. On sh3, the kernel boots to a simple user space program from ramdisk.
    5. Barry E. Neilsen is beginning work on the StrongArm CE devices, specifically, the HP Jornada 820.

10. How can I help?
The areas that are receiving the most attention right now are the kernel and userland utils. Each of the MIPS platforms needs work on the outside the core stuff. Drivers for pcmcia/compact flash, IRDA, and keyboard maps are also being hacked at.

11. Who is working on what?

    1. Steve J. Hill and Bradley D. LaRonde have done most of the current work on the MIPS bootloader.
    2. Mihai Spatar has done work on the SH3 boot loader.
    3. Mike Klar and Bradley D. LaRonde are working on the VR41XX mips port.
    4. Steve Hill and Harald Koerfgen are working on the poseidon portion of the MIPS port.
    5. Jay Carlson is doing a lot of work on MIPS userland and floating point stuff.
    6. Mihai Spatar, Niibe Yutaka, Yaegashi Takeshi and John Hassey are working on the SH3 port.
    7. Warner Losh has been helpfull by providing and pointing to gobs of information on MIPS based PDA’s.

12. Who has contributed to this FAQ?
Well, Bradley D. LaRonde has offered a lot of needed corrections. All of the folks on the Linuxce development list have contributed at least indirectly. If you think your name belongs here, send me a note. It’s forgetfulness not insult.

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