Hello Everyone, and can you please help me with my Ipaq?

Hello Everyone.

I am new to this site, and to the idea of Linux altogether. I have two pieces of hardware that I would like to try the OS on, and would like any help or advice on them that you may feel like offering me!

I have a Compaq Ipaq 3970 that I would like to install a Linux OS on, especially as I am looking to run Grass GIS surveying software on it. The online info I have seen directed me to the Familiar Linux distribution site, which is currently down (apparently to 1st December 2012).

Could anyone offer me any help as to what I have to do to get the software on there? I can find lots on full OS packages but nothing on these handhelds, I imagine they are all a bit old hat these days, but hey, I’m an archaeologist. Being behind time is part of my job!

Sorry to arrive and start firing questions, I hope this is not bad manners on my part.


Hi there Rich, and welcome to the forums. :slight_smile:

I would suggest you take a look at handsheld.org and choose a distribution from there.

[EDIT] Handsheld.org is still down by the looks of things.

From what I gather, Familiar is a popular distro for the iPAQ, and unfortunately as you say, the website is down. You could try looking for it through alternative sources, though I recommend you be very careful if you opt for that route.

All I can recommend is maybe looking for alternative distro’s, I believe Puppy Linux 5.0.1 can be run on the iPAQ. I know that Puppy Linux 5.0.1 is based on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx which was/still is an LTS (Long Term Support) release of Ubuntu 10.04, although there is a newer LTS that came out last month called Ubuntu Precise Pangolin or Ubuntu 12.04.

Since Ubuntu 10.04 adding repositories (pre-packaged directories) has been made easier by adding the repository via the command line. If you are able to install a distro which is based on Ubuntu 10.04 or above, you’ll be able to add the repository more easily by the command line.

Why a PPA (Personal Package Archive)? Well if you add a PPA to your software sources, when updates are available for that particular program, you can just update them by one click of the mouse and receive the latest software instantly.

You’ll be able to add the ppa via command line by typing into terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

I hope this has somewhat helped you, it’s a shame I can’t provide further advice as the handhelds.org site is down and contains most, if not all, documentation for distro’s for PDA’s.

All the best. :slight_smile:

Puppy Linux website

I know next to nothing about installing Familiar Linux GPE on an iPaq … but there are mirrors of the istalll files here:

There is also Angstrom Linux … guide here:
and homepage here:
Wiki here:

Hi There

Thank you both for your help!

I have a free afternoon today so will make what is most likely to be a comic attempt at locating and installing. I have to admit that I am largely an ignoramus when it comes to systems. I have, like most of the world, become a ‘user’ during the last ten years, and have to admit I have forgotten almost all I knew about actually interacting with these machines on more than a superficial level. I may become tiresome over the next few weeks as I try to get to grips with non-windows things and would like to apologise in advance for this!

Thanks again for your help!


Hi Rich,

did you get anywhere with this?

I’ve just rediscovered my 3970 and would like to try this and also found the handhelds.org site is not available,