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Palm and Linux: Making the Connection - page 3

Connecting with Pilot-Link

  • April 3, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

If you don't plan to use your Palm with anything other than the GUI tools available, you can skip this section. Pilot-link is primarily designed for command-line use. On the other hand, pilot-link provides some useful tools you can incorporate into scripts or programs of your own. Pilot-link also provides tools for routine maintenance of your Palm that don't require a complex or cumbersome GUI interface.

The first pilot-link program you might want to look at is pilot-xfer, which we used to check your Palm's connection to the computer. pilot-xfer can perform a full backup of your Palm, which is recommended before you do much else with it.

To perform a backup, you'll need to open an xterm and create a directory for your backup data using the command mkdir pilot_backup . Once you've created the directory, you can backup your Palm data by using the command pilot-xfer -b ~/pilot_backup/. If you need to restore your data, you can use the command pilot-xfer -r ~/pilot_backup/ .

pilot-xfer is probably the most useful program you'll encounter before you get started using GUI interfaces with your Palm. If you're curious about what else pilot-xfer can do, use the command pilot-xfer --help, which details how to do incremental backups and several other useful things.

Another fairly useful program that comes with the pilot-link package is addresses. This program bears specific mention because it isn't quite as friendly as some of the other pilot-link programs. It will appear to "hang" when you run it, since it never asks you to press the HotSync button on the Palm's cradle. It doesn't automatically assume /dev/pilot is linked to your Palm, either. You also have to specify the port your Palm's cradle is connected to with a command line parameter.

To get a nicely formatted list of the addresses stored in the Palm, enter the command addresses /dev/pilot > addresses.txt and press the HotSync button on your Palm's cradle after pressing the Return key.

See the address list this produces with less addresses.txt.

There's a small amount of documentation available with pilot-link, as well. Check in the /usr/doc/pilot-link directory on your system for the README file, which lists all the programs available with pilot-link.

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