update #1: 2021-09-15

A couple days ago (I think? The days are blurring together), I decided that I wanted to write some tools for interacting with Palm OS devices (and their data) from a modern Linux system. pilot-link is horribly outdated (and riddled with bugs, besides), and I don’t really want to use an ancient Windows machine just to sync my LifeDrive.

And so, was born. is the beginning of a set of libraries and command-line tools for managing data from Palm OS devices, and will (hopefully, eventually) include a functional HotSync manager.

The beginnings: Palm OS databases

I started off with writing the palmrs-database crate, a general-purpose library for reading and writing Palm OS database files. Pretty essential to have this to do literally anything else, so it was the first thing that was worked on.

It’s currently in a state where it can parse Palm OS databases - both PDB and PRC formats (since they’re basically the same anyway) - into a form that other tools can take and run with.

I also wrote the palmrs-db-dump command-line tool, which prints the parsed headers of a Palm OS database, and optionally prints a pretty hex dump of each individual section. It’s basically palmdump, but using the fancy new palmrs-database crate instead of being written in an ancient C dialect.

Here’s a screenshot of palmrs-db-dump in action, dumping a “hello world” Palm OS application:

Database dump of a hello world appDatabase dump of a hello world app

HotSync conduits, sort of: todo.txt support

The next thing (which is part of the reason I started this whole damn project in the first place) is a way to transform a Palm OS ToDoDB.pdb into a todo.txt formatted file. Having the palmrs-database crate implemented in the way that it is made this relatively easy, after some faffing around with figuring out the damn ToDoDB record format.

In it’s current state, the palmrs-conduit-todotxt binary works to transform a ToDoDB.pdb into a todo.txt file (or, two files: todo.txt and done.txt), and this is working rather well:

Generating todo.txt files from a Palm database - yes please!Generating todo.txt files from a Palm database - yes please!

The next step: converting a todo.txt file back into a ToDoDB.prc file, such that I can throw that at Palm Desktop and cross my fingers.

More… tomorrow?

It’s getting ever closer to 05:30 local time, and we’ve been awake for 45 hours.

Maybe it’s time for a nap.