When Palm meets Linux


Palm is an open platform for handheld computing, especially PIM. However, the Palm / Access do not provide any official support for Linux. Thanks to the open source community to bridge the gap between Linux desktop and Palm handheld.

When Palm meets Linux
Dell Inspiron 700m, Palm Tungsten T, Syba USB Bluetooth Adapter, and Palm Sync cable(not shown in the picture)


Palm supports various synchronization accesses, serial, USB, IrDA, Bluetooth, Modem, Lan, Wireless. We would address three most commonly used ways.

USB Synchronization

This is the most common and reliable way to synchronize the device with the desktop.

  1. Besides the standard USB support, build USB Serial(usbserial) and USB Handspring driver(visor) drivers into modules.
 USB Serial Converter support
 USB Handspring Visor / Palm m50x / Sony Clie Driver
  1. Update the udev rule in /etc/udev/rules.d/10-palm.rules:
# Palm Tungsten T
BUS=="usb",SYSFS{product}=="Palm Handheld",NAME="pilot"

If you use Sony’s CLIE or Handspring’s Visor, you may take a look at cat /proc/bus/usb/devices to figure out how to identify the device. After you push the button of HotSync cradle, or click the BIG button in HotSync application, the device appears as /dev/pilot in Linux desktop.

IrDA Synchronization

Here is a detailed HOWTO about IrDA Synchronization.

Bluetooth Synchronization

Check this HOWTO.

Existed problems

  • KPilot does not convert the string from UTF-8 to zh_CN.gbk back and forth in synchronization (FIXED)
  • Mail plugin works only for legacy Palm mail