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Palm Pre Hitchhikers Guide

Making it Hackable

Enable Developer Mode

  1. From the Pre home screen, without any apps open, simply start typing and type: upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart
  2. Click on "Developer Mode Enabler"
  3. Slide "Developer Mode" to ON
  4. Click "Reset the Device." This just reboots the device. Why they chose the word "Reset" is a mystery.

Installing WebOS Quick Install

You will need Preware which is an application management suite. To install Preware (as well as other applications), you will need WebOS Quick Install, which is a Java application that talks to the Pre.

  1. Go to http://forums.precentral.net/homebrew-apps/194832-webos-quick-install.html
  2. At the bottom of the first post, there is an "Attached Files" section. Click on the WebOSQuickInstall.jar link. You will need to register for the forum system (Ugh! But oh well).
  3. Once you're registered, save the file WebOSQuickInstall.jar to some directory on your computer.
  4. Download http://palm.cdnetworks.net/rom/pre_p100eww/webosdoctorp100ewwsprint.jar
  5. Place this file in the same directory as WebOSQuickInstall.jar
  6. Rename webosdoctorp100ewwsprint.jar to WebOSDoctor.jar
  7. For Windows 7:
    1. Follow the instructions here: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Novacom_with_Windows_7
    2. When you run NovacomInstaller*.msi, it won't really say "finished installing" or anything like that, but novacomd.exe is running.

Installing Preware

(See also http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Tutorials_webOS_Installing_An_Ipk#WebOS_Quick_Install_Method)

  1. Attach your Pre with a USB cable to your computer. Choose "Just Charge." Even though it's "just charging," the computer has access to the device.
  2. Double click on WebOSQuickInstall.jar
  3. On first launch, there will be a first-time setup popup asking which device you want to use. Choose "USB Device" which is the Pre.
  4. On the right, there are 3 buttons, a plus, a minus, and harddrive with a green arrow. The harddrive button is a "Download Apps" button. Click this.
  5. From the drop down at the top, choose "WebOS-Internals Feed (all)"
  6. Check "Package Manager Service" and click Download
  7. Click Close
  8. Click Install
  9. Click the download button again
  10. Check "Preware" and click Download
  11. Click Close
  12. Click Install


You must first install the terminal application before doing anything else.

Install a Terminal Application

  1. Open WebOSQuickInstall.jar
  2. Click the download button
  3. From the drop down, select "WebOS-Internals Feed (Pre)"
  4. Check "Terminal Service Plugin"
  5. Click Download
  6. Click Close
  7. Click Install
  8. Click the download button
  9. From the drop down, select "WebOS-Internals Feed (all)"
  10. Check "Terminal"
  11. Click Download
  12. Click Close
  13. Click Install
  14. See Application:Terminal for information and key combos.

First Steps

Summarized from Next steps

  1. Open Terminal
  2. cd /tmp
  3. wget http://tinyurl.com/n8q2vy
    1. (Alternatively http://gitorious.org/webos-internals/bootstrap/blobs/raw/master/optware-bootstrap.sh)
  4. mv n8q2vy optware-bootstrap.sh
  5. sh optware-bootstrap.sh
    1. Choose a user name which you will later use to be able to ssh into your Pre.
    2. You may get a "bad password" warning if you typed in a weak password. This is not a critical error, you can continue re-typing your password the second time to confirm it. You can always change it later with passwd $USER
  6. source /etc/profile.d/optware

Install Bash

Summarized from Setup Bash

  1. ipkg-opt install bash
  2. There is no way at this time to type the backslash (\), so it's best to use vi to edit /etc/shells
  3. Put this into /etc/shells:


  1. Change your default shell to /opt/bin/bash by editing the last portion for your user (and for root) in /etc/passwd

SSH into your Pre

  1. ssh -p 222 $USER@$IP
    1. Note that it is port 222, not the normal 22
    2. Use putty on Windows: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/
    3. You can find your IP on your Pre with: ifconfig | grep addr:

Searching for applications to install

  • sudo ipkg-opt list | grep ftp

Installing applications

  • sudo ipkg-opt install $APP

Tweaking the UI

  • Run WebOS Quick Install
  • Click Tools -> Tweaks
  • Any time you check or uncheck something, the Pre UI will reload. This takes some time, and when it comes back you have to re-click "Just Charge."
  • Suggestions
    • Squarify the screen (for the Terminal)


  • Copy one or more files to the Pre

scp -P 222 $LOCALFILE $USER@$IP:/var/home/$USER

  • If you're SSHed into your Pre and you want to watch its CPU or memory as you do things, on your pre type:

watch vmstat 2 5