Installing pdaXrom

Sharp Zaurus SL-C1000 is shipped with its own Linux operating system based on Qtopia. The system is not bad, it is stable and although it requires some updates to become really usable, it provides nice PDA environment covering many areas of use. But it suffers of some problems: it’s incompatible (as it uses Qtopia instead of X), contains a lot of proprietary applications and the available development environment is obsolete. Simply said it’s difficult and annoying to port applications to the system.

So I decided to replace the Sharp operating system with pdaXrom, which is a free X-based operating system for (Sharp) PDAs. They say the operating system replacement should be safe as the Zaurus low-level system service menu is placed in ROM and can’t be erased. First I tried to install the latest pdaXrom release, i.e. 1.1.0r121. This was a mistake as the device ended up seemingly completely dead after reboot. It took me a lot of googling and experiments to get it recovered and to install pdaXrom 1.1.0beta3 which seems to work fine so far.

The first advice: Don’t install the latest 1.1.0r121 release, install 1.1.0beta3 instead (until some new stable version is released) which has reputation of being relatively stable.

The second advice: If you end up with a “dead” C1000, you can recover it as described on the TRIsoft site. But there is an important missing detail there: You need to press Fn+D+M to start the service menu, not only D+M.