A PDA with Linux

By | 2008-01-31

I’m used to read PDFs while in bed, on my Acer PDA. But its tiny resolution (320×240) didn’t help a clear reading, therefore I started to look for a bigger device, it must be easy to hold but not too big. So I avoided those e-readers, and focused on PDAs with bigger resolution. And then I stumbled upon a Nokia 770 review… it is supposed to be a “Internet tablet”, but the thing that caught my attention was its screen resolution: 800×480. Luckily I have a friend who owns one, so I had a look at the device… it was interesting indeed.

I thought “Ok, I can use a N770 to read PDFs, and my Acer n50 for the rest of things (do sudokus, see pictures and record Go games)”… because I read some comments on Internet saying “it’s just a web browser, not a really PDA” (really?). I found a offer on ebay, and bought it for just 102 euros.

What a machine! The default factory configuration was a bit short of features (I reinstalled the lastest OS), but then you configure some program repositories, start to add open source applications, and discover the real power. The OS is a version of Debian. This means you can have an xterm with most of the usual commands. Moreover the graphical system can hold GTK-based programs with an easy porting. I installed some games, CGoban to record Go games, and some utilities (including a Last.fm player).

The cons are that its CPU (252 MHz) is too slow, so sometimes it stops to respond for a while; and the battery lasts less than a normal PDA (actually, similar to a laptop, around 3~4 hours). So its a device for patient users (or if not, try its successor, the N800 and N810, with double speed CPU and webcam).

I can even play a game of Freeciv!
Playing Freeciv on a Nokia 770

3 thoughts on “A PDA with Linux

  1. ana

    Nice. And the catalan version of Freeciv, too. 😉

  2. Julio Post author

    Actually the Spanish version of the game (I guess it can be tweaked), but leading the “Catalan” race 😉

  3. Neko

    Very nice toy! I have a Zaurus SL 5600 🙂

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