PalmOS devices

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PalmOS devices work pretty well with Linux, and offer many advanced possibilities. All interactions depend on pilot-link, a suite of tools that is installed by default with MEPIS 7.x but nto otherwise. A frontend is available to use this backend on MEPIS, Jpilot. As of January 2010, the developers decided to drop support for Kpilot [1]

  • Make sure all your device entries are correct, including spelling and capitalization
  • Make sure your handheld data are backed up before you start.
  • If you are using a Palm device that has been used on another PC, you may have to restore the factory defaults (hard reset) by following these directions.
  • Make sure that the modules you need are loaded: visor, usbserial and uhci_hcd or ehci_hcd.

Tips and Tricks

  • Many of the applications that claim to be able to convert a *.txt file to a *.pdb file may not work. KWord seems to be very solid, however, and it can save a file in the native PalmDoc format that can be picked up by any of the free readers. Some Palm devices can also read .doc documents, and you can use to create a .doc file which can then be transferred into the Palm device via data sync cable, bluetooth or put on a SD card. Palm devices can also understand spread sheets in Excel format, which can also be created in Open Office.


To get your Palm to connect wirelessly with advanced security such as WPA2, you may need extra software. In this example for the Palm TX, you will need to go to the Palm software store and purchase package Wi-Fi Enterprise Security Update (ESU) for the Palm T|X Handheld.

Download it to your computer where you can find it. Then right click on it (TX security upgrade will be the title). Choose Extract to TX_Security_Upgrade. This will make a folder. From this folder you will need to add these files:


Transfer these to the Palm using Jpilot or a SD card (just drop them into the Launcher folder, which is in the Palm folder).

Fire up your WiFi by clicking on the icon 4th from the right. From the pop up Wi-Fi box, choose “on”. Then choose Scan/Setup. Click on the Wireless network you want to connect to and then tap “Edit”. From the pop up tap on “Configure” For “Security” you will have a choice of “Open” “Personal” or “Enterprise”. Next will be “Mode”, your choices are “WEP” or “WPA-PSK”. Then Encryption, you can choose “TKIP” or “AES” or “Auto(TKIP/AES). Then tap your “Key” box and fill in your passphrase. If you are using “Enterprise” you may need a user name as well. Then tap “OK”. Palm with then ask you if you want to connect now, and off you go.


  • If you have trouble connecting, plug your handheld directly into the PC (no hub).
  • If problems with HotSync occur, try modifying or even unchecking a conduit (such as Addressbook)
  • From the palm-link listserve:

The *ONLY* things which prohibit a USB Palm device from connecting to a Linux desktop are the following:

1. A broken Palm device or desktop hardware. This can be a wedged serial port (which a soft reset cures), or a physically damaged unit (bent pins for example). Or a Palm LifeDrive, which attempts to use > "Drive Mode" to mount the device at connect time, before HotSync is even pressed. Incorrect USB ports, wacky USB hub configurations and so on can make it hard to diagnose and sync a Palm device. Eliminate the obvious.

2. Invalid configuration. This can be bad distribution patches/packages, invalid udev/kernel configuration and rules or any number of other things... all easily fixed, if you know which parts are affecting it.

3. Incorrect use of the VERY fragile timing aspect. Timing is completely device + desktop + configuration dependent. Some Palm devices require waiting up to 7 seconds between hitting HotSync and initiating a sync, while others take 1/2 second. You'll need to play around with that until you find one that works for your device.


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