This page was last updated 21 November 2005.

KGrok - Palmtop Database

The current version is 1.5.


Program Description

KGrok is a palmtop database manager, designed for Linux PDAs. It reads ``applications'', which are simple configuration files that morph KGrok's GUI and behavior to perform a wide variety of database functions:

User-defined applications can be created with the desktop companion of KGrok called xmbase-grok, which is a Unix/Motif implementation that reads the same application and data files, and also includes an application editor. (The PDA screen is much too small for that, so the editor is not included in KGrok.)

KGrok is freeware and available free of charge, including source code, under the GNU public license (GPL).

System Requirements

KGrok runs on Linux PDAs such as the Sharp Zaurus and the Compaq iPAQ running Trolltech's graphical Qtopia palmtop environment. The Sharp Zaurus comes with Linux and Qtopia preinstalled; the iPAQ must be installed first with the ``Familar'' variant of Linux for PDAs (see and then with Qtopia, the palmtop variant of their ``Qt'' libraries. Linux is software (GPL), and Qtopia is also free for personal noncommercial use (check with Trolltech here). The Qtopia download page is here.

Check out Trolltech's Qtopia screenshots.

KGrok will not work with PDAs running raw X11 or GTK+. This is why, if you have an iPAQ, it's not sufficient to install Linux, you must also install Qtopia. (Better buy a Sharp Zaurus instead, it's the better machine anyway.) In fact, if you install Linux, you can omit all the X11 and GTK+ stuff to save space in your ROM. Note that installation of Linux on an iPAQ is not for the faint of heart because it involves replacing the flash memory contents, and a flash failure leaves you with an expensive brick. Follow's instructions exactly, and do not lose patience if the update appears to be stuck. Never reset during flashing! Once you have the bootloader installed, not much can go wrong. Here is how I installed mine with Linux; the information is unfortunately widely scattered. I had LISA install Qtopia for me.


Download the installable IPK package at .

Download the source code at .

I have been getting reports that this link is not reachable from some sites. If you are having problems, try this site: . .

Mailing List and Bug Reporting

There is a mailing list that I use to announce new versions and to publish experimental patches between official releases, and for questions to all. The mail volume is low, a few messages per month. To subscribe, send a message containing the line

	subscribe grok

in the mail body (not the subject) to . You may append the address to subscribe. Unsubscribing is similar, just use unsubscribe instead of subscribe. Do not send subscribe or unsubscribe messages to the list itself! Note that I will remove addresses from the list that bounce several times in a row. The list manager will not divulge the address list to keep spammers out. The list is shared between KGrok and the desktop version, xmbase-grok.

Please send bug reports or ideas for new features to me, at Since I get quite a lot of mail, please be patient, I am not very good at replying quickly... Also note although I appreciate new ideas and still actively enhance grok, I throw out more ideas than I accept because I avoid creeping featurism, which kills program faster than neglect.

Screen Shots

KGrok has two main modes: the main view shows the list of stored data sets, called cards, plus a search and query area and a menu bar. Clicking a card switches to the card view, which displays a single card. Further, any image can be clicked to expand it to full-screen size. The search and query area and the menu bar, and the blue buttons in the card view, are always the same, but the card listing and the card view layout are completely determined by the loaded application.

Address book: main view Address book: card view

Photo album: card view Photo album: after clicking the image

Expense reports: card view Crypto notepad: during loading

Shopping list: card view Todo list: card view

Preferences dialog Section edit dialog

Change History

Only recent changes are listed with details, intended for finding out whether a bug has already been fixed and your copy should be upgraded.

Tell me if you found this information interesting or useful, or if you have comments.