Linux on Zipit Software

This page contains current versions of the software I'm using on my hacked Zipit. For further information about Linux on the Zipit, I recommend these sites:



Port of the upl Windows program to linux. This port is very crude but it works (at least for doing a full 2MiB flash).



This script is designed to work with Adam's Zipit distribution. It replaces /sbin/init on the root filesystem and attempts to boot an mmc card first, then mount an nfsroot filesystem.


mmc driver

Optimized version of Ken's original mmc kernel driver. This driver improves read/write performance by a factor of almost 2. Note that Ken has since taken this driver and improved it further by auto-detecting multi-block support. See his announcement.

Please ensure that your mmc data is backed up before testing this driver.



The Familiar Project is working to create the next generation of PDA OS. It is an ipkg based distribution for arm based handhelds (like the Zipit). The distribution is too large to fit within the 2MB flash available in the Zipit, but for those of us with an MMC interface or those willing to boot to an nfsroot filesystem, this distribution could be an ideal way to expand upon the available software.

To get myself start, I downloaded the bootstrap-image-h3900 root filesystem. After expanding it to a subdirectory on my mmc card, I chroot'd to it, setup resolv.conf, and found I could use ipkg. I removed all packages not needed on the Zipit and started installing others.

The following bootstrap image is my Zipit customized one. It should just barely fit on a 16MB card (larger cards are better of course). It can also be used as an nfsroot filesystem if you don't have an mmc card in your Zipit. To boot to it, you need a /sbin/init script (like the one I give above) installed.

Note: if you are using this bootstrap image for an nfsroot, edit the file etc/init.d/ and change rootcheck=yes to no.

After setting up resolv.conf, you should find that ipkg works. The following packages are not included in the bootstrap image, but can be installed using ipkg and seem to work: aumix, curl, joe, links, lxt, mc, microcom, picocom, mutt, ncftp, sudo, tcpdump, etc. The libao library (for audio output) doesn't seem to work (changes to the zipaudio kernel drive may be needed).



A set of tools for accessing the Zipit hardware. These tools include preliminary versions of programs to do software shutdown, suspend to RAM, and a powerd daemon to handle suspend when the lid is closed. Also, tools for manipulating the LEDs and obtaining battery status are being worked on.


Last modified: 8-April-2006
by Chris Studholme
Chris's Home Page