back to article Tux makes home on the iPhone

The iPhone DevTeam has managed to get a Linux image to boot up on an iPhone, at least to console level, though they've resolutely failed to explain why one would want to do such a thing. It's hard to imagine there are many iPhone users out there who love the hardware but are unhappy with the OS and interface, but that's never …


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  1. alan

    OK - maybe he should go out and meet girls

    ( but leave his camera at home for obvious extreme reasons )

    Just a thought

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No worries about the camera, it proberbly can't take photo's, just opens up a terminal window. But if he's happy.....

  3. Pierre

    And you ask why?

    Because it's fun!

    (actual perception of fun may vary. Abuse may cause conjugal tensions.)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    how long he has been working on the OS that doesnt actually do anything, work or function.

    Mines the one with the fully operational iPhone in the pocket.

  5. Stu


    I saw this initially on, and thought, WHY!?

    Theres zero point, its even a bit idiotic seeing as iPhone starts off being quite linuxy by virtue of the fact that it runs the OS X iPhoneOS, itself a derivation of NeXT Unix!! You can even compile GCC for it!

    Just madness. Undoubtedly they'll get that joke of a GUI called Gnome running on it, itself a cobbled together, rather aimless, GUI, and it'll not support the multitouch too well without special modification.

    *await flamewar*

  6. alan


    I was toying with something very similar to put in my original post :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh Please...

    Please please please get Android running on the jeebus phone. That would be enough to persuade me to buy one just so I can have the Android logo laser etched on the back of it.

    Paris, I bet she's tried things the manufacturer didn't intend.

  8. Dave Bell

    Exiting the Twilight Zone

    There's something rather good about somebody being able to tell the manufacturers that, despite their efforts, they control neither the horizontal nor the vertical.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    It takes their mind off being bullied at school and having never kissed a girl I suppose...

  10. Nebulo

    Great stuff

    ... But I'm holding out for BBC Basic ... Tempted to use "Paris - in case he does get the camera working" but ...

  11. nematodirus

    Because it's there..........

    I think George Mallory explains this nicely.

    There is no point. Like life, the purpose is in the challenge.

  12. yeah, right.


    You write "It's hard to imagine there are many iPhone users out there who love the hardware but are unhappy with the OS and interface". I see you have no imagination. The sheer number of people who unlocked their iPhones prior to the 2nd generation one should be an indication that some people don't like being restricted in what applications they can run on hardware they have purchased.

    So yeah, it's probably going to take a while to bring it up to speed, but it's a start. At least this way some people now have hope that they will eventually be able to make the most of some rather nifty hardware, rather than in the crippled way Apple forces everyone to use it.

  13. The Other Steve

    Obviously, asking "why" is redundant ...

    ... because there is no "why", always yield to the hands on imperative*, we've all been there.

    On the other hand : "Some details are missing: the port won't support writing to the storage memory, networking or the touchscreen. It can't make noises or phone calls, but it can take console commands sent over the USB connection, and that alone is pretty damned impressive."

    Erm, it's actually, you know, kind of not. What you have there is a brick. With a USB connection.

    Someone else can do the "Linux hackers finish prematurely" joke, to cruel for me.

    <-- Penguin, yay linux**, saving the world one dead badger at a time. Woot, and all that.

    *Oh good god, I can't believe I just quoted the Gospel According to St Levy, could someone send me a large amount of medicinal disinfectant and a hard bristled brush please ?

    **And I run um bongo on a G4 Powerbook, before anyone starts, ta.

  14. John Watts

    Zero point?

    If there's no point to what he's done then perhaps he's created a work of art. Isn't that a definition of art?

    As for it not doing anything - neither did the first step towards the Linux kernel - it was just alternating numbers on a screen iirc.

    You can all make jibes about meeting girls and the like, but without a whole bunch of people like that over the last fifty years or so, you wouldn't be able to sit in front of your PC and post shit on these comment boards.

    Pierre is spot on - it's something fun. It's an achievement. Whoever the hacker is he has more chance of getting a girlfriend than 99% of the folks who post on here do of getting a Linux kernel running on an iPhone (through their own efforts, not by downloading something and following a step by step guide).

    Yes, I'm in the 99%.

  15. brainwrong

    ZX81 emulator?

    But you can just drop the ZX81 ROM chip into the ZX80 and it works. The only thing missing is slow mode, that's down to a hardware issue I believe.

    Now, Linux on a ZX8* would be impressive!

  16. Greg

    You got the point in the end

    The reason for any project like this is "because we can." ;-)

    And I for one salute these people with nothing better to do!

  17. Kenny Millar

    Such brilliant minds, yet...

    They can never focus a camcorder can they?

    Why is it that every video like this is always out of focus?

    Makes you wonder....

  18. Pavlovs well trained dog
    Thumb Up

    the why..

    .. is probably unknown or unquantifiable right now

    Doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

    Clearly, tho, not by dolts like me. But kudos to them that can.

    (ps - no, you can't have mine to test this on. Get your own!)

  19. Daniel B.

    Weird stuff, but sometimes useful

    It seems to be more of a hobby than an actual "project of my life" stuff. You know, some people just like to do Proof of Concepts. However, some of these projects sometimes do bear fruits: if I remember, the Pandora Project for the PSP is basically a Linux distro that does all that nifty PSP-unbricking stuff.

    @Dave Bell - Um, that'd be the Outer Limits ;)

  20. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    @ brainwrong

    You can add some hardware to the ZX80 to give it the ZX81's compute-and-display mode (which allows a display to be maintained at all times, by holding off processing until the vertical retrace interval).

    The Spectrum moved the business of display generation entirely to the ULA (it was also a true bit-mapped display, although the address lines weren't in the order you'd expect) and so ran at full speed in compute-and-display mode.

  21. Pete "oranges" B.

    We do what we must...

    ...because we can!

    (the Portal reference had to be made at some point in this discussion)

  22. Martin

    I'm waiting for the touch

    Myself, I'm waiting to get linux on my ipod touch. The iPhone would have been a good bit of kit if you could get a bluetooth keyboard attached (like, maybe the apple bt keyboard perchance?), then you could do some serious down-the-pub programming with it (after jailbreaking it, of course).

    As it is, I'm still on the lookout for a true pocket-programming-in-the-pub device...

    And yes, I do take mobile computing devices down to the pub - my friends put up with a lot really :)

    As for Linux on the iPod Touch(tm)(r), it'd make me a happier person knowing that Apple(tm)(r)(c) are not controlling every aspect of my music/mobile-computing experience.

  23. Cosmin Roman

    why? that's why:


    I remember years back when the same "dumb" terminal showed up on iPaqs (another i-thingie, I suppose), Palms, Toshibas and Asuses. Then - commercially, nonetheless - we had the Zaurus ... nowadays it's the Nokias (n770, n800, n810). And if you check GPE, or Opie, or Maemo, to see how far it's gone, you'll be surprised; from humble beginnings to really useful environments. And it doesn't stop here.

    It is true that at this point most ports have matured on hardware that has fallen behind (say, the 3600 series, 3900 series, 5000 series ipaqs) ... yet every now and then new gems appear, such as the HTC phones, most of which have their linux port.

    And it's always that the most blatantly useless linux port eventually turns out to be a money making one: the first time I read about a guy, who replaced the wireless PCMCIA card in his wireless router (802.11b at the time) with a PCMCIA memory card loaded with a linux kernel, and then booted the router into linux, I thought to myself "this guy is crazy"; a few years later, Linksys releases ... a linux-based wifi router!

    Linux on iPhone ... I'll tell you what, you'll have "copy and paste" sooner that way :)

    check out this link:


  24. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    How long..

    Before Apple spit their dummy and slap a DMCA takedown on him for no good reason?

    Paris, why is not the point, because I can is the reason.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Kenny Millar

    Yes, I wonder if, in fact, these are the same people who can't focus a camcorder on alien spacecraft....

    Makes you wonder if aliens even exist...

  26. andy rock

    to all the naysayers...

    ...i say "baaaaah!"

    there is no need for 'why'. 'because' is the answer.

    leading on from Cosmin Roman's point, there are some serious goings on afoot in the mobile linux arena. Angstrom, for instance, is making serious progress and the number of supported handets is slowly increasing.

    in the mobile market where we can't yet build our own handsets (like we do our PCs) device-specific ports are crucial. if the naysayers had any idea about linux development, they'd understand this.

    personally, i quite like the iPhone handset but i find the GUI a little bit 'Fisher-Price'.

  27. The Other Steve

    @Martin w/r/t pub based coding

    It may be heresy to mention it in a comment on an article about linux, but I use a Windows Mobile PDA for this. You can get a wide choice of languages on board, Python, Tcl, C*, C#, Java and some others, You can get some nice units, mines got on board WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth, so eminently hackable, and lot's of fun. Even though MS want you to give them more money to code for it on a desktop, you don't have to, since Embedded VC++ is both free and still quite capable. It targets no higher than the Pocket PC 2003 SDK (superseded by WM5 and 6 SDKs only available in >= VS2005, although there are in fact ways around this limitation), but I haven't found anything that's missing that I can't cope without just yet.

    Depends on what you're targeting, obviously, but for hacking away on algos and suchlike, it's quite nifty.

    "And yes, I do take mobile computing devices down to the pub"

    Yeah, me to, that's why it's "mobile", innit ?

    *Even a port of GCC, although currently unmaintained.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. jake Silver badge

    Kids these days ...

    You have ask "Why?".

    You kids just don't get it.

    Hacking is about mind expansion. Learning hardware, and learning software, and learning how compilers work and help tie it all together. Knowledge for knowledge's sake.

    Anyone who wonders "why" about this kinda thing is doomed to a life of mediocrity, at least as far as computers and networking is concerned.

    Enjoy your so-called "games", consumers.

    ::wanders off, muttering "how did I suddenly become old?"::

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