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Debian on the Sharp Zaurus/SL-5xxx

I have recently had the good fortune of having one of these delightful
little toys come into my possession.  I've run both potato (via base2_2.tgz)
and woody (via debootstrap!) chroots on it, and am completely addicted.

For those of you not familiar with the device, it is an ARM-based PDA (with
a spiffy integrated keyboard) which ships with a Linux-based embedded OS.

The ARM PDA community (at least Zaurus and iPAQ) seems to be benefiting
greatly from the Debian ARM port; folks who are looking for precompiled
software for their Zaurus inevitably seem to end up fetching and extracting
debs, according to instructions on the various websites.  Congratulations to
the Debian/ARM porters for maintaining the largest repository of Linux/ARM
software, which I'm certain will continue to benefit the growing ARM PDA

I am interested in creating a full-featured Debian environment for the
Zaurus, with all the trimmings (including package management with dpkg and
apt).  There already seems to be at least one project aiming to create open
source Zaurus images[0], but as far as I can tell, none of them are using
the Debian package management system proper.  Debian already contains
qt-embedded for ARM, which forms the basis for the qtopia application
framework.  So far, I can see that the following components will be

- Packages for few ARM-specific kernel patches, whatever portions of Sharp's
  kernel patches are free, and perhaps some of OpenZaurus' kernel patches

- Packages for the software from the OPIE project[2], which is a fork of
  TrollTech's Qtopia, and/or perhaps Qtopia itself.  I'm not entirely clear
  yet on the directions of these two projects

- Development of a tool to assemble the kernel and a minimal root filesystem
  into a ROM image suitable for flashing into the Zaurus, using debootstrap,
  the above kernel patches, and stripping things down a bit

The base system shall fit within the internal storage provided on the
SL-5500 (16MB flash ROM + 64MB persistent RAM storage + main memory),
however, I hope to work out a mechanism for gracefully expanding the system
onto CF and/or SD cards[3], to allow for more installed software, while
allowing those cards to be inserted and removed without losing basic system


- You are interested in helping with this effort, or

- You own a Zaurus and could help to test the system, or

- You have ideas, suggestions or information that could be useful, or

- You are already doing some work in this area

Please contact me.  I'll be placing status updates and whatever other
information I gather here:


[0] OpenZaurus: http://www.zauruszone.com/wiki/index.php?OpenZaurusOverview

[1] http://more.sbc.co.jp/slj/qa/test/check/source/source_dl.asp

[2] http://opie.handhelds.org/

[3] currently, the SD kernel driver is closed-source, but Sharp claims to be
    negotiating to release the source.  See [1].

 - mdz

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