Opie Gives Linux Handhelds an Alternative

by Reads (21,644)

Many people are probably familiar with the open source software movement, in which teams of volunteer programmers collaborate to create software, then give it away for free. Such a team has come together and developed Opie 1.0, a graphical user environment for handhelds like the Hewlett Packard iPAQ line and Sharp Zaurus models.

Opie Application Launcher

Opie, which stands for Open Palmtop Integrated Environment, runs on Linux. Forget the negative things you’ve heard about Linux in the past. This isn’t a half-baked operating system in which the user will have to write their own applications. Opie 1.0 comes with a suite of PIM apps, including an address book, to-do list, Today screen, and date book. Multimedia capabilities are provided by opieplayer2 — which supports streaming audio and video — and an image viewer.

For Internet access, it includes the konqueror web browser, an mail reader, and an IRC client. It comes with an ebook reader — which is compatible with the Palm DOC format — and a PDF reader.

In addition, it can run any application designed for the Sharp Zaurus. Many of these can be found on Handango.

Opie originated as a ‘fork’ of Trolltech’s Qtopia but has been extended and offers improved usability.

It can be downloaded, free of charge, from the Opie web site. It can be installed on HP iPAQ models and Sharp Zaurus handhelds. However, these need to be running Linux. The iPAQ needs to be running Familiar, while the Zaurus needs Open Zaurus. Both of these versions of Linux can be found on the Opie web site and are also free.

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