Must-Have Zaurus Hardware and Software

Tips on ways to optimize your Zaurus and some killer applications.
MPEG and Divx Movies

Go to and download a trailer. Then start Applications-->Media Player, choose Options-->Full screen, plug in some earphones and enjoy! The quality is excellent for such a small device. You can play movies in MPEG-1 SIF (320 × 240) format at 24 frames per second. If you want more frames per second or want to store more movies, HALF SIF (160 × 120) is also possible. The Fit to Screen option will make the low resolution nearly unnoticeable.

More full-featured media players are available. The opie-mediaplayer2 is a media player that supports MP3, Shoutcast, Ogg Vorbis, Divx and others, but it uses a lot of memory. A better performing player for Divx movies is tkcVideo, which will drop frames to keep a smooth playback and a good synchronization.


Tab Manager lets you easily reorganize applications in the launcher. If you are going to run background processes, get Process Manager. The kill and renice features are very useful for dæmons, console applications or just killing unstable processes.

Next, let's add SSH and a better terminal. The KDE konsole terminal, embeddedkonsole-tabs, is ported to Qtopia and available on SourceForge (Figure 2). Now, you can use different tabs if you need more than one terminal open at once. While you're at SourceForge, pick up SSH. Your home directory is not writable, so SSH can't run. It needs to write to .ssh in your home directory. Edit /etc/passwd, and set /home/root as the home directory instead of /root. You also can get a Zaurus version of Emacs from this site.

Figure 2. embeddedkonsole-tabs is a KDE-like tabbed terminal.

You should have a password set to protect your Zaurus if you hang around with a 802.11b and OpenSSH accepting root connections without any password. Use Settings-->Security to set a password.

To use your Zaurus remotely from anywhere on the network, install fbvncserver. Then, somewhere on your network, start a VNC client; the Zaurus display is exported.

If you want to take a screenshot of the applications you are evaluating, using the screenshot applet is straightforward. It should be run in the terminal with:

delay: sleep 2 ; scrshotcf

Various password managers that use encryption to protect your passwords are available on the Zaurus. Keyring has a user-friendly interface and uses blowfish.

If you already have a lot of information on STRIP for PalmOS, you can convert your password file to ZSafe format using strip2zsafe. ZSafe, although not as user-friendly as Keyring, is very easy to migrate to through its plain-text import option. Create a text file using the following format:


and put it on the Zaurus. Then, select the text from ZSafe, and it will be added to your password file and encrypted for the next time you use it.

Maps, Drawing and Notes

In case you've plowed through the tools and utilities already presented, here are some more examples of the flurry of activity surrounding the Zaurus. Get qpeGPS to read maps on your Zaurus and automatically follow your road.

Various picture viewers are available. Consider tkcGallery from and its free software equivalent, MooView.

drawpad and IQNotes ( are daily companions. drawpad (Figure 3) lets you draw something on your Zaurus screen when you can't type, and IQNotes (Figure 4) keeps text notes and sketches in a convenient hierarchical tree.

Figure 3. drawpad—does what it sounds like.

Figure 4. IQNotes keeps notes and drawings organized.

A shopping list is the killer application for getting your PDA into the family. Shopper will make your Zaurus more acceptable, turning it from a geek toy into a useful companion. Add shopping list items by store, and show your list for each store as you go.



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about IQNotes

Francisco Baptista's picture

I worked in my Zaurus Collie with this great program.I would like to know if it have a correspondent program for wm 2003. Excuse me the change...
Thanks in advance