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A heaven for former Palm users May 31, 2010

Posted by rm42 in Computers, Gadgets, Linux.

Exactly one year ago I wrote about my dissatisfaction with my old Palm TX. I had nothing negative to say about its software. Not that it was perfect, but for my needs it would have sufficed. However, the quality of its hardware was a disgrace. That is much more evident for me now that I have been using the Nokia N900 for several months. The Nokia N900 has a resistive type screen, just as the Palm TX did, but the difference in quality is like night and day. But any way, the purpose of this post is not to list the many ways in which my N900 is better than my old Palm TX. Today I am writing to tell you that you can now actually use your old Palm programs and your old Palm data on the Nokia N900. How is that possible? Well, we owe this privilege to a small company called Access.

Access has produced a product called Garnet VM. As its name implies, this is a virtualized instance of a fully functional Garnet OS, that is, Palm’s traditional 90’s and early 2000’s OS, that runs on Nokia’s Maemo devices, like the N900. Now, you may wonder, how can this company do that? Aren’t they afraid of being sued by Palm? Well, it turns out that Access is the actual current owner of that OS. So, they have every right to release this product and do whatever they want with the OS’s code.

So, how well does it work? Well, at the moment Garnet VM is still in the Beta testing period. The latest beta is available as a free download that will cease to function in November. Of course, by then there will either be a new beta available or, more likely, a finished product to purchase. But, you know what, I am ready to buy it right now. In spite of only being a beta product, it already works extremely well. I have only started playing with it a couple of days ago, but I have already verified that some of my old favorite Palm programs work as expected.

GarnetVM Screenshot

GarnetVM Screenshot

So, there you go who needs Palm any more?


1. Tom Chavez - June 12, 2010

Glad you like it!

rm42 - June 12, 2010

Glad you made it available. Keep up the good work. 😉

2. Russ - June 14, 2010

I’m an Ubuntu user who migrated to the N900 from a Palm Treo. The one killer app for me on the Palm was something called keyring, which is a password safe. Now if I can only get that to work here AND to get the Palm apps to sync to my Ubuntu box… ahhh…

3. Karl - July 18, 2010

I am using this a a transition also – can’t sync over the USB cable.. what are you doing to sync?

Also, I’m wondering what their business model is?

I’ve not seen any memo replacement on Maemo – the simplicity of having a list based on the first line was genius – no one seemsw to have replicated.

4. yannick - April 11, 2011

i do not have the isilo installed in my n900 after installing the garnet vm.y?
wat do i do?i need isilo on my n900

rm42 - April 11, 2011

You need to go to the iSilo website and download the version for Palm OS.


You are allowed to use it for free for a period of 30 days. If you want to continue using it after that you will need to buy a license.

To install iSilo on the GVM just copy the iSilo.prc file into your N900. You can then open the GVM, click on the install button, and navigate to where the prc file is located.

5. Nigel Jennings - December 1, 2012

When I responded to the post “A TX Replacement” in November 2011 (reply #14) I can’t imagine I had ever discovered this post on the Garnet VM app which might have driven me there and then to go out and buy a Nokia N900. Shortly afterwards, in early 2012, I went out and bought an iPhone 4s and pretty much have been a convert to the Dark Side ever since.

If people think it useful, I would be happy to write a short piece on my experiences with the iPhone compared to the Palm platform. I will also copy the essence of this reply to the TX posting.

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