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Ubuntu ported to a PDA

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Ubuntu Linux 7.04 is now available for Sharp's Zaurus PDAs. The 0.1 release comes with a minimalist filesystem that can be launched in an emulator, enhanced with software from the vast Ubuntu archives, and then flashed onto a real Zaurus.

The Zaurus Ubuntu project was created by "Omegamoon," a hacker who has previously worked on ports of Fedora Linux and Google's Android phone stack to the Sharp Zaurus. He suggests first trying the distro out in the free QEMU emulator, where configuration and tweaking is easier than on real hardware. Once customizations have been completed, it can be installed on Zaurus PDAs such as the SL-C3100, he says.

The project was inspired by Nokia's Handheld Mojo project, which is porting Ubuntu to the ARM architecture. In a presentation delivered at CELF's recent Embedded Linux Conference, Mojo project leader Andrew Christian noted that while Nokia's Maemo project has packaged 500-600 Linux binaries, Ubuntu packages upwards of 12,000. Therefore, porting Ubuntu to ARM and thence to the Zaurus should make for greater software versatility.

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