An Agenda VR3, in "clear" color, on its docking stand

The Agenda VR3 was the name of the first "pure Linux" Personal Digital Assistant (PDA),[1] released in May 2001 by Agenda Computing, Inc. of Irvine, California.[2] The Linux Documentation Project considers the VR3 to be a "true Linux PDA" because the manufacturers installed Linux-based operating systems on them by default.[3]


The VR3 was unveiled at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in August 2000[4] by Agenda Computing, which was at the time "a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly traded electronics manufacturing giant, Kessel International Holdings, based in Hong Kong." A developer model, the VR3d, was available by December.[5]

By late 2001, the VR3's price dropped from $249 to $119 at some US retailers, which caused some to wonder whether the promised VR5 (a color handheld) was to be released, or Agenda Computing was closing shop.[6]

In April 2002, after the demise of Agenda Computing,[7] the Softfield Vr3 became available from Softfield Technologies of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[8] As of July 2008, the device is still available from SoftField.[9]


Back of an Agenda VR3

The VR3 was 4.5"x3.0"x0.8". It included a 2.25"x3.25", 160x240 pixel, monochrome, backlit LCD touchscreen. It utilized a 66MHz MIPS CPU with 8MB of RAM and 16MB of built-in Flash memory for storage.

For input, it included push buttons for actions (such as Page-Up and Down, and Left and Right), stylus-activated power on/off, on-screen hard buttons for launching applications and a built-in microphone jack.

It also included a notification buzzer, an LED notification light, an IrDA port and an RS-232 port. It was powered by two AAA batteries, and connected to PCs via an RS-232 cable, or a docking station that the cable connected to. Both contained a button for activating sync software.


The VR3 came with a 2.4.0 version of the Linux kernel, XFree86, the Rxvt terminal emulator, the Bash shell,[10] and a user interface based on the FLTK GUI library.[11] It included on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition software, a number of personal information management (PIM) applications (including an expense tracker, e-mail, to-do list, contacts list, and schedule), games, and other tools. Several games were also included, including card games and clones of Space Invaders and Tetris.[12][13]

It is possible to telnet, FTP[14] and make remote X connections to the device.

Numerous applications were created by third-party developers, with the Agenda Software Repository listing nearly 200 titles by the end of 2003.[15] Several open-source video games were produced by New Breed Software,[16] Karl Bartel,[17] Delorie Software,[18] and others.[19][20] Several of whom would also support the Sharp Zaurus PDA which also ran Linux.


  1. ^ ""Agenda's agenda -- a Linux-based "Open PDA""". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13.,, retrieved July 17, 2008
  2. ^ "Agenda begins delivering its VR3 Linux-PDAs (finally!)". Archived from the original on 2008-10-07.,, retrieved July 17, 2008
  3. ^ "Linux on the Road".
  4. ^ "Linux-based PDA unveiled at LinuxWorld". Archived from the original on 2008-07-09.,, retrieved July 17, 2008
  5. ^ "Linux on the Agenda VR3" Archived 2008-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, TuxMobil, retrieved July 18, 2008
  6. ^ "Agenda VR3 $119 at Fry's" Archived October 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Linux Users' Group of Davis mailing list post
  7. ^ "What's up with Agenda and the VR3 Linux PDA?". Archived from the original on 2008-07-08.,, retrieved July 17, 2008
  8. ^ "Agenda VR3 compatible Linux PDA to sell for $105". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11.,, retrieved July 17, 2008
  9. ^ "VR3 Linux PDA Specifications" page at, retrieved July 18, 2008
  10. ^ "Review: Agenda VR3 Linux powered PDA" Archived 2008-06-29 at the Wayback Machine, LinuxMedNews, retrieved July 18, 2008
  11. ^ "A developer's perspective on Agenda's VR3 Linux PDA". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11.,, retrieved July 18, 2008
  12. ^ Facey, John. "The Agenda VR3: A Linux Orbit first look". Linux Orbit. The VR3 comes with many card games to get you through the most boring of business meetings. A Space Invaders clone and a Tetris-like game were also released into the current distributions. These are the first of many games that I'm sure will end up being ported or created specifically for the VR3.
  13. ^ Epplin, Jerry (2001-04-16). "A developer's perspective on Agenda's VR3 Linux PDA". ZDNET. Retrieved 2023-12-08. It also has some cleanly ported standard Linux games, including solitaire and checkers.
  14. ^ "Linux palmtop revolution on its way",, retrieved July 18, 2008
  15. ^ Agenda Software Repository at, retrieved via [Internet Archive#Wayback Machine|the Internet Archive Wayback Machine]
  16. ^ Kendrick, Bill. "Agenda VR3 PDA Software". New Breed Software. Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  17. ^ Bartel, Karl. "Linux-games". Retrieved 2023-10-28.
  18. ^ "DJ's Agenda Page". Delorie Software. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  19. ^ "Games". Agenda Wiki. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2023-12-08.
  20. ^ "Just another Agenda VR3 Site". Retrieved 2023-12-08.