Before you start
Please make a note of this page: How To Recover
If you are unfamiliar with basic Linux command usage, you should visit this page: Basic Linux Use
Enacting any set of instructions from this site has the (remote, but greater than zero) potential to void your warranty. Our intention and the specific design of all instructions is such that you should be able to recover using the webOS Doctor should anything go wrong, and put your Pre back to a state which is indistinguishable from a factory-new Pre, but we give no guarantee. Use any information from this site at your own risk. At the very least, you should be prepared to lose all data on your phone at any time. We cannot tell you what you should do - we provide the information, but it's up to your own sense of personal responsibility to determine what you do with that information. We require you to use the webOS Doctor to put your Pre back to factory condition before contacting Palm or your cellular carrier for service or support.
You might also want to consider backing up any files you have in the usb drive portion of the Pre.
In general, simply installing the Palm SDK gives you everything you need for full access to the Linux operating system on the Pre or Pixi. There is no special "rooting" or "jailbreaking" process. Simply installing the SDK provides you with unlimited access to the Linux operating system logged in as the root user. Palm does not see this as a bad thing. Palm provides all these tools for download by anyone, anytime, for free.
At this point you will have a window with a prompt that says root@webos-device: or something similar.
You are now logged in as root on your webOS device and can do anything you would normally do on a Linux device.
Please be careful, you can seriously bork your phone now.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With the addition of the ability to install Optware packages to Preware, unless you have a need or desire to type commands into the native Linux of the Pre, there is no need to use the novaterm terminal to log into your devices. Webos Quick Install (a java program for your desktop) and Preware (an App to run on your device) are fully capable of installing any Optware IPK to Palm devices. This Linux command line access is needed by very few people. If you came here from a web page that talked about "root access" or "rooting your Pre" be aware that most of the instructions which require root access have been superseded.