The Agenda VR3 is a PDA which runs entirely Linux, and is designed so to do.
The company has an office in Germany, so those of us in Europe can mail-order it from them and not pay the outrageous shipping fees charged by the US office. I have no idea if it can be ordered from source (Hong Kong).
Marietta in the German office says the best way to do this is to email them. Bernd Przybilla, at firstname.lastname@example.org is the technical guru and can help you arrange what, exactly, you want. Then contact Marietta Joppe (email email@example.com, telephone +49 30 447 121 17) to arrange payment. They take major credit cards; if you have a UK (or other European) VAT number you will not have to pay the 16% German VAT. Thanks to Marietta for her help, friendliness and excellent English.
It arrived by Securicor Omega Express (to the UK), taking four days from when I ordered it.
It runs a 2.4 kernel (2.4.0-test9), apparently from the linux-vr project, and what appears to be a patched version of XFree86 4.0.
Run quicksync with
press the quicksync button on the cable, and quicksync will create a directory ~/.quicksync and put some files in it. I don't know much else about quicksync at this stage. I have had the Agenda-side sync app freeze up on me, trying to dsomething with the serial port, and still the Launch Pad and other utilities worked fine. This is clearly a multi-tasking OS, unlike the Palm's.
Verify you can see your Agenda with IRDAdump. I get the following output:
tirith# irdadump 19:47:22.098702 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=0 (14) 19:47:22.187717 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=1 (14) 19:47:22.276865 xid:rsp efddcbbf < 1ccfa3c8 S=6 s=1 vr3-992018789 hint=c420 [ Computer LAN Access IrOBEX ] (30) 19:47:22.288065 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=2 (14) 19:47:22.376968 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=3 (14) 19:47:22.467838 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=4 (14) 19:47:22.558690 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=5 (14) 19:47:22.648231 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=* tirith hint=0400 [ Computer ] (22) 19:47:25.099745 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=0 (14) 19:47:25.185034 xid:cmd efddcbbf > ffffffff S=6 s=1 (14)repeating every three seconds or so. The interesting line is the one containing "vr3-992018789", which is the Agenda being visible on the IR. You will have a different name, but the "IrOBEX" should definitely show up for you, too. tirith is my laptop, so the "tirith" line is just it seeing itself. You should be able to see both devices.
Create a ppp peer file. I called mine /etc/ppp/peers/vr3. It contains
/dev/ircomm0 115200 local novj 10.0.0.1:10.0.0.2 noauth nodetach debugThe crucial lines are "/dev/ircomm0", which tells pppd to talk on the IR device, and "10.0.0.1:10.0.0.2". The latter line will give your computer's ppp interface the address 10.0.0.1 and your agenda's ppp interface the address 10.0.0.2.
Open up the "Network" application on your Agenda, select "Direct Serial", and set "Device" to "IrComm Direct". Don't press start yet.
As root, start the ppp service on your laptop with
pppd call vr3
(the vr3 here is because of the vr3 in /etc/ppp/peers). Now press "start" on the Agenda. I get the following output on pppd's stderr:
[root@tirith peers]# pppd call vr3 Using interface ppp0 Connect: ppp0 <--> /dev/ircomm0 sent [LCP ConfReq id=0x1and on the Agenda's little status window, I get
] sent [LCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] rcvd [LCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] sent [LCP ConfAck id=0x1 ] sent [LCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] rcvd [LCP ConfAck id=0x1 ] sent [IPCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] sent [CCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] rcvd [IPCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] sent [IPCP ConfNak id=0x1 ] rcvd [CCP ConfReq id=0x1 ] sent [CCP ConfAck id=0x1 ] rcvd [IPCP ConfAck id=0x1 ] rcvd [CCP ConfAck id=0x1 ] Deflate (15) compression enabled rcvd [IPCP ConfReq id=0x2 ] sent [IPCP ConfAck id=0x2 ] local IP address 10.0.0.1 remote IP address 10.0.0.2 Script /etc/ppp/ip-up started (pid 7711) Script /etc/ppp/ip-up finished (pid 7711), status = 0x0
Connecting "Direct Serial" Logging in "Direct Serial" ConnectedOnce you are connected, you should be able to telnet to your agenda with telnet 10.0.0.2, logging in as user default. There appears to be no password.
19 Sep: If you replace /dev/ircomm0 with /dev/ttyS0 (or appropriate serial port with Agenda cable attached) in /etc/ppp/peers/vr3, and select "Direct Serial" in the Agenda's Network->Direct Serial->Device menu, then you can make a (faster, natch) ppp connection over the cable.
Get some software. I used the flotski game, which you can find at the agenda software repository. When you unpack the tarball, you get three files: flotski.host, flotski.snow and flotski.xpm. I don't know what the former is, perhaps a build for some earlier (non-snow) library roots, but flotski.snow is the binary and flotski.xpm is the image for Launch Pad (note 18.2.2002: according to William Kendrick, it's a prebuilt binary for i386, ie your desktop machine). Thanks Bill!)
To copy the files onto the Agenda, issue the desktop command
rsync flotski.snow flotski.xpm default@agenda::default
To move the files into place, either give the following commands on the
Agenda in a terminal window, or telnet into the Agenda and give them.
mkdir icons mv flotski.snow bin
mv flotski.xpm icons
To add the file to the Launch Pad menus, in this case to the Games menu,
do the following on the Agenda:
ln -s /home/default/bin/flotski.snow Flotski
this will put an entry into the Games menu called Flotski which runs your program
echo "Games/Flotski;/home/default/icons/flotski.xpm" >> .icons
or you could add the line into .icons with vi.
Now restart Launch Pad. You can do this by rebooting (no! that's a Windows solution!) or by using the status bar to close Launch Pad and the menu on the "a" button to restart it. You will find that Flotski now shows up in the games menu.
Thanks are due to Andrej Cedilnik's "Hello World" page for most of these ideas. I used to link to his academic page (http://www.csee.umbc.edu/~acedil1/agenda/hello.shtml), but now he appears to have moved to Kitware.
Now you can edit /flash/home/default/.inputrc to contain the
and the PgUp button will function as up-arrow for recalling commands, PgDn as down-arrow, shift-left-button for TAB filename completion and shift-right-button for a RETURN key.
Thanks to William Kendrick's pointer to (link now defunct) http://lists.agendacomputing.com/pipermail/agenda-user/2001-September/011992.html for that suggestion.
Yes, I now have all my contacts on the vr3. Group membership wasn't preserved, but everything else seems to be fine.
09 Oct: Well, I've done it. And as is often the case with trips up mountains, I wish I hadn't. Thanks to Mads Villadsen's idea I tried using gnome-pilot to sync my pilot to gnomecal, then vrsync to sync my gnomecal to the agenda. gnome-pilot is a pig* to get working, and now I have done it (with enormous help from John Constable) my agenda takes about 10 seconds to start the scheduler app, 15 seconds to change day, and 45 seconds to do a "list" view. Clearly, schedule is not designed to have about three years of back appointments (about 1,800 appts) loaded into it. Pity.
* Bear in mind I hack IPSec, sendmail, CISCO IOS and switches, and INN for a living. I don't mind filthy config files. I mind invisible config files. Actually, that's not true; what I mind are apps that pretend you don't need to see the underlying config files, so they hide them and don't document them, but it turns out that you do.
Interestingly, gnomecal itself was unable to open the sync'ed appointment database - I let it run for 45 minutes on a 500MHz machine, after which time it had eaten all the CPU and about 200Mb of memory, so I killed it.
I have been in contact with Jens Wulf, the author of MuPO, and will hopefully be able to write some kind of perl script for converting from ical format (see notes on syncal above) to MuPO format, once he gives me doco on the format of the MuPO datafile. Then we'll see how MuPO does with all those back-data. At least if I'm writing my own tool, I can be selective about which appointments I need to convert.
Upshot: for the time being, I'm stuck with two PDAs, one for scheduling and one for everyhing else. Ho Hum.
Initial reports are very good. HWR is much improved by the shift to xmerlin. One application had to be upgraded (apassman), but the author had a version designed for 1.2.6 ready and waiting on his website, so a thousand thanks, Peter Knowles. All other applications just continued along fine, so two thousand thanks to all those authors.
Not having to recalibrate the screen on every boot is a big timesaver for me. Not because I need to frequently reboot (it never happens, save at battery changes), but because I reboot it all the time to show the boot screen to friends, that they may marvel at my fully-hackable PDA.
This upgrade taught me some things about how to customise my Agenda in a manner to minimise upgrade hassle. For example, I now cluster all my window manager additions in a single category, "Custom", instead of adding to Applications, System, etc. I'd never done a restore-defaults on a dataful agenda before, so I hadn't really thought through the process of restoring all my custom edits. Now, a quick grep on .icons and rsyncing a single directory under .wmx puts back all my added software.
I never did manage to solve the problem of getting my Palm calendar data onto my agenda (because I am a crap coder, not because Jens failed to provide documentation; his doco is precise and comprehensive), so I spent two and a half hours re-entering all my future appointments into MuPO by hand. I am now officially a one-PDA person again, and very, very happy with my agenda.
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