What is the Familiar Project?

The Familiar Project is composed of a group of loosely knit developers all contributing to creating the next generation of PDA OS. Currently, most of our development time is being put towards producing a stable, and full featured Linux distribution for the HP iPAQ series and other handheld computers, as well as apps to run on top of the distribution. Take a look at our wiki page too.

Currently Familiar's Linux distribution supports some of the following key features:

The current stable release versions are:


Screenshots of GPE running on Familiar.
Screenshots of Opie running on Familiar.


Here are just some of the people involved in the Familiar Project:


See also the HandheldsPeople page on the wiki.


Version Description
v0.8.4 Current stable release. Maintenance update to 0.8
v0.8.4-rc3 Third release candidate for v0.8.4
v0.8.4-rc2 Second release candidate for v0.8.4
v0.8.4-rc1 First release candidate for v0.8.4
v0.8.2 Maintenance update to 0.8
v0.8.1 Maintenance update to 0.8
v0.8.0 Fresh build from source using OpenEmbedded
v0.7.2 A maintenance update to 0.7.
v0.7.1 A maintenance update to 0.7.
v0.7 The latest major Familiar release.
v0.6.1 A maintenance update to 0.6.
v0.6 The previous major Familiar release.
v0.5.3 The update to v0.5.2. Considered stable.
v0.5.2 The update to v0.5.1. Considered stable.
v0.5.1 The long sought after update to v0.5. Considered stable.
v0.5 The predecessor to v0.6.
v0.4 An older release, replaced by v0.5.
v0.3 An aged release. The last of the cramfs images.

Build Tree

The OE tree that is used for Familiar distribution builds has moved to It currently resides in a Git repository at After installing Git run the following command to get a copy of the tree:

	git clone
The repository contains an OE tree along with a matching known-working (but ancient) version of bitbake. Please do not mix it with a more recent version of bitbake as that is known to cause problems.

Also provided is a setup tool to ease the build system setup procedure.

Access to Source Code

For Familiar 0.8.x and newer, source code is available from, patches are contained in the OpenEmbedded metadata or more recently the Familiar build tree.

Most of the Familiar sources for 0.7.x and earlier are currently being maintained in the CVS repository. See this page for a list of some of the modules, or see the CVS howto for detailed guide on accessing the anonymous CVS server.

In general if you are having trouble finding the source your best bet is to look at the source information for the particular package, or failing that, contact the package's maintainer. This information can be found by looking at the package information page on [].


Please see the Familiar FAQ on the wiki.

Bug Tracking

Please report any bugs in images and additional packages shipped by Familiar in Bugzilla.

Mailing List

Feel free to join the Familiar Distribution mailing list. An up-to-date archive of this list can be found here [] or here [].


Most of the Familiar developers spend quite a bit of time on IRC. Feel free to hop on irc://, and join #familiar. While you're at it, try out as well.

Familiar in the Press

Some recent articles on Familiar, and its developers:

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