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  1. File Transfer to/from Expansion Cards
  2. Document Format Converters Running on Linux
  3. Palm Resources
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Document Format Converters Running on Linux

Once you’ve got your computer talking to your Palm, you can transfer e-books and other kinds of text and image files to your PDA. On even a small 128 SD flash memory card, you can carry 100-plus e-books, or more than 20 average-length MP3s.

Converting PDF to PDB: I haven’t found anything for Linux that’ll do a straight conversion. Adobe for Palm is Windows/Mac only.

Converting PDF to TXT:

  • The Adobe site has online conversion tools, with services available via email and online. I recommend the online service.
  • Adobe Acrobat 7 will do conversions, but note that the Linux version is a 37MB download.
  • The RPM resource pstotext can do bulk conversion of .pdf to .pdb. Download the file and then run the following commands:
    # rpm -i pstotext*
    find . -name ’*pdf’ -exec pstotext -output {}.txt {} \;

    I’d save this to a script, put it anywhere convenient, and then drop it into any directory that needs a bulk conversion of PDFs to text.

  • James J. Leifer’s recipes page offers a variety of useful scripts and suggestions for conversions.

Converting TXT to PDB:

  • Online format conversion: The lilalu PalmDOC Machinery web application allows you to upload text files and get Palm files in return.
  • Conversion on the Linux box: txt2pdbdoc does a good job. Run the following commands:
    tar xvfz txt2*
    cd txt2
    ./configure
    make
    make install

    To use txt2pdbdoc, run the following command:

    $ txt2pdbdoc ’1601’ 1601_f1.txt 1601.pdb

    where the title you want to see in Palm Reader is in single quotes, the text file is next, and the last entry is the filename.pdb you want it to output.

  • Bulk conversion: Get the script and instructions for zsh. Copy the script into a text editor, save it as text2pdb-conv.zsh anywhere convenient, copy it to the directory where you want it to run, and run it from the console as follows:
    $ zsh text2pdb-conv.zsh

    zsh looks unusual because it’s a shell (like bash or tcl) that you can use to run shell scripts; it apparently supports operators that sh doesn’t. If you don’t have apt-get on your machine, you can install it via your automated install program, or find the zsh software using that program.

Converting HTML, DOC, and RTF to PDB:

  • Use OpenOffice.org v2. Make sure that you have a current Java JRE installed first; it’s required to run the PDB filter.
  • OpenOffice.org v1.0 might work for you. Use the Help menu to find for mobile device, filters for pocket device applications. It requires Java JRE to be installed and apparently only works with 1.0. (Even after I figured out how to get Java running, all I got was a prompt saying Wrong OpenOffice.org version.)

The best solution is simply installing the Java JRE and then installing OpenOffice.org v2.

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