Portal:Accessing Linux

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Accessing Linux on the Pre or the Pre Emulator

The Palm Pre is a Linux based device. Palm provides a simple method to access Linux running on the Pre or the Pre Emulator.

Once you have access to Linux, everything else is a process of installing a community standard library of Linux programs so that users have the same tools and options available to them. Once this is process is completed, pretty much anything you can do on a Linux box you can also do on the Pre or the Pre Emulator.

The following procedures will walk you through the process of obtaining access to Linux on the Pre or the Pre Emulator, and installing the community standard software packages.

Before you start

Please make a note of this page: How To Recover

If you are unfamiliar with basic Linux command usage, you should visit this page: Basic Linux Use


Enacting any set of instructions from this site has the (remote, but greater than zero) potential to void your warranty. Our intention and the specific design of all instructions is such that you should be able to recover using the webOS Doctor should anything go wrong, and put your Pre back to a state which is indistinguishable from a factory-new Pre, but we give no guarantee. Use any information from this site at your own risk. At the very least, you should be prepared to lose all data on your phone at any time. We cannot tell you what you should do - we provide the information, but it's up to your own sense of personal responsibility to determine what you do with that information. We require you to use the webOS Doctor to put your Pre back to factory condition before contacting Palm or your cellular carrier for service or support.

You might also want to consider backing up any files you have in the usb drive portion of the Pre.


Short Version

  1. Download the Palm SDK.
  2. Install it using the Palm SDK installation instructions.
  3. Enable dev mode on your Pre Enable dev mode.
  4. You can then run palm-install to install a package onto your Pre (or onto the Pre Emulator)
    • This step is only if you have a package file you need to install. Chances are this means you are developing your own application and need to test it or testing an application for someone and they gave you the package file.
  5. The next step varies:
    • On Mac or Linux, type novaterm instead of 'palm-install' to directly access the Linux command line.
    • To perform basic steps on windows (all versions including 64 bit and 7) novacom can be used (Using Novacom on Windows), but a terminal application such as putty or novaterm will be needed to perform steps that can't be done using novacom. It is recommended to use a terminal application once basic setup is done.
      • On 32 bit XP or Vista You can dowload novaterm1.zip and unzip it into the sdk/bin directory. Then, just like the Mac and Linux users you can just type novaterm.
      • Putty is also available and installed with the SDK. <TODO: Enter link to setting up putty>
    • An alternative for 64 bit Windows is to use the Corflags tool to set the 32 bit flag on the novaterm.exe downloaded from above.
  6. Follow desired steps from the 'Next steps' below.

Long Version

Advanced Topics

Next Steps

Obsolete Pages

There are three other old deprecated, unsupported, and much more difficult versions of the secure root access procedure below. These were developed before the Palm SDK was publicly available and are no longer required (since using the Palm SDK and novaterm is so much simpler and more reliable).

If you followed very early sets of obsolete instructions (even before the ones above), you might need this page: