From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Byobu on a Palm Pre

Having owned Palm Treos 600, 650, and 755p, I finally bought a used Palm Pre off of Craigs List earlier today. And although I've had the phone less than 24 hours, I already love it!

Following a couple of guides online, I obtained root on the device without a problem. This is where the real fun begins...

I was absolutely delighted to find that GNU screen is installed by default on the device! Which, of course, means that byobu should run too ;-)

I had to fix a few things in byobu, since I had never tested it on ARM, or inside of busybox, but it's working quite well! See this screenshot:

So within the first 12 hours of owning this little miracle, I've managed to:
  • sync all of my contacts and calendars from Gmail and Facebook
  • obtain a root shell
  • run screen
  • install and run byobu (using byobu-export from the unreleased byobu-2.33)
  • install and run an ssh server
  • ssh to the device
  • tether (working perfectly with Ubuntu, writing this blogpost tethered right now)
  • actually lower my monthly service plan with Sprint
  • sign no contract since I bought used via CraigsList
But the best part... Real Linux, with a root shell, running on my phone. I've been waiting for this day for over 10 years. I'm choking back tears. Wow.



  1. How long does byobu take to start up with a farily well loaded profile out of interest. I had Byoby on a Viglen MPC-L (vitals at and found it took too long to start up screen with the default stuff loaded up. Ok, the Viglen is an AMD Geode CPU at ~400MHz, but it's a real shame that byobu can't run 'well' on that device as it has no GUI. Any optimisation suggestions/documentation you can point me to would be appreciated.

  2. Nice. Does rooting the Pre void any kind of warranty? My wife and I are looking to switch to Pre's when our AT&T contract ends in mid November.

  3. popey-

    kirkland@castle:~$ time screen /bin/true
    [screen is terminating]
    real 0m 0.73s

    Occasionally, it took more like 2 seconds, but most of the time, it was >1 second.

    With what version of byobu are you experiencing the problem?


  4. Ethan-

    I'm sorry, I don't know about that. It might void some warranty or contract through Sprint. However, I don't have a contract, since I bought the phone used. Also, Palm's site includes an SDK for writing programs for the phone, and tools for gaining root access. To gain root access, you put the phone in "Developer" mode by entering upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart -- a really cool tribute to Contra ;-)



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