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Rooting to the Palm Pre in Ubuntu

I found a lot of disjointed instructions for rooting to the palm pre in linux, so I thought I'd document the process I used to make it work. These instructions were written using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and WebOS version 1.1.0.

  1. Add the repository for virtualbox to your sources list. For Ubuntu 9.04, add deb jaunty non-free A list of repos for other distros can be found here:, or if you want to download the .deb and install it that way, go here and choose version 2.2: I know V-Box is past 3 now, but I had the most success with 2.2. The source for the GPG key can be found here: Virtualbox is a virtual machine platform that acts as a development platform for the pre, so you may not use it much, but you should do it anyway.
  2. Install virtualbox using the following command: sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2
  3. Install the Java JRE using the following terminal command: sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre
  4. Download the Palm Mojo SDK at the following website: You will be asked to register as a developer, at which point you will be able to choose to Download the sdk, and you should choose the Linux SDK, which will say it is designed for Ubuntu 8.04.
  5. The SDK is a .deb file. You should double-click this file, which will prompt you to install. Install the package.
  6. Download the Novacom Driver from the following link: Install it exactly as you did the SDK
  7. Open your palm pre and load the launcher. Type the following text EXACTLY: upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart
  8. This will launch a dialogue asking you to put the phone into dev mode. Slide the switch to activate dev mode, and agree when it asks you to reboot the phone. This same procedure is used to remove the phone from developer mode, and you will be asked to do that later.
  9. Once the phone comes back on, plug it into the computer using the USB cable, and choose "Just Charge" on the phone's screen.
  10. You now have terminal access to your phone. Open a terminal and type: cd /opt/Palm/novacom If this doesn't work, some people report the files for novaterm are located in /opt/nova/bin
  11. Type novaterm and you should be brought to a command prompt that displays:"root@castle:/#
  12. Before taking this step, make sure you either have a data signal, or make sure you have wifi access; you need the internet here. Type the following command in EXACTLY to enable Optiware . In fact, it's probably wise to copy and paste them into your terminal: cd /tmp
    Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.
  13. This step istalls the "Quilt" patch manager (pun intended.) Type the following code in exactly: cd /tmp
  14. The Pre already has a package management app, called FileCoaster, meaning you can install apps from the pre, without rooting in through a terminal, over the web. To install the package manager though, I recommend using the terminal. At the Pre terminal prompt, type this exactly: sudo ipkg -o /var install Check here for updated links to .ipk files for versions of FileCoaster past 1.1.1.
  15. It's annoying to have to type the whole code to turn the developer mode on and off, but fortunately there's a patch to put a button in your launcher. This uses the procedure for applying patches using quilt, and there's an instruction sheet for this process here. Basically, you're going to enter the following code exactly:sudo mount -o remount,rw /
    cd /
    sudo quilt import /opt/src/modifications/luna/enable-dev-mode-icon.patch
    sudo quilt push
    sudo mount -o remount,ro /
    For a complete list of patches you can apply using this procedure, look here:
  16. To log out of your pre and close terminal access, type: exit
  17. Turn off your pre, then turn it back on.
  18. While this is not necessarily a step, you can now ssh to your pre even if you don't have a USB cable attached. I'll check my home router's config to find the IP of the pre (or just use and ssh in on port 222 with the following command:ssh <IP Address> -p 222 -l <username>

That should set you up to do most of what you could ever want to do with homebrew on the pre. Check out this thread for a list of homebrew apps, and the links to the .ipk files which you can use to install via FileCoaster:

I credit this article to the following sources:

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