Familiar Linux

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Familiar Linux
OS familyUnix-like
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseMay 2000; 19 years ago (2000-05)
Latest releasev0.8.4 / March 2007; 12 years ago (2007-03)
Kernel typeMonolithic kernel, Linux
Default user interfaceOPIE, GPE
Official websiteOFFLINE familiar.handhelds.org Archived July 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine

Familiar Linux was a Linux distribution for iPAQ machines and other personal digital assistants (PDAs), intended as a replacement for Windows CE on these machines. It can use OPIE or GPE Palmtop Environment as the graphical user interface. Familiar Linux was a complete operating system with many applications.


In May 2000, Alexander Guy took a kernel that had been worked on by Compaq programmers, built a complete Linux distribution around it, and released the first version of Familiar (v0.1). The distribution was a lightweight package with Python and XFree86 with anti-aliased fonts, used the Blackbox window manager, and included a new packaging system created by Carl Worth called "ipkg", similar to Debian's dpkg, allowing user applications to be installed and removed.

This next release was so far beyond what the Compaq team had built, that they decided to drop their own distribution and adopt Familiar as the new reference.[citation needed]


Familiar Linux has not been updated since 2007-03-08[1] and therefore could be classified as abandonware. Their Wiki returns a dead link.[2] Several contributors have shifted their efforts to the Angstrom distribution or OpenEmbedded.

Recent releases[edit]

Date Release[3]
August 2006 v0.8.4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "the Familiar Project". Archived from the original on 2010-07-23.
  2. ^ http://familiar.handhelds.org/handhelds.org/moin/moin.cgi/HandheldsPeople[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ http://familiar.handhelds.org/#news Archived 2010-07-23 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]