Saturday, May 14, 2005

PalmOS licencees-Linux hackers are your friends

The Nintendo DS is in the news - a few cracks got a linux kernel running. The hype having developped out of this reminds me of what we experienced in the PDA sector a few years ago. A few Linux freaks got their favourite OS to boot on a Compaq IPAQ and other handheld PCs. Since I was not in the market at that time, please understand that this article may have a few little flaws!
At the first glance, running a desktop OS on a handheld is stupid. The screen is extremely small, the processor is slow and the battery will run out fast! Every Windows user who ever set up Windows 2000 on an extremely slow laptop will confirm this.
However, Linux is different as many of the apps are written efficiently. Thus, the 200 or 400MhZ ARM CPU may actually be enough for some programs, and 64MB of RAM also are way more in Linux than they are in Windows XP!
Being able to run Linux from SD/CF card also has another advantage. It allows you to use your handheld as an ultraportable "laptop replacement" - in case you only need one or two desktop apps. A midrange IPAQ with a 1Gig storage card and an external keyboard usually will be cheaper than a notebook - and this is the factor that some companies will use. And - last but not least - don't forget the good publicity!
Actually, getting a Linux port to the foo handheld is not a difficult thing. There are a few freaks working on Linux for the TE already - just give them foo's, technical data, and watch the development grow!
What do you think?

10 Comments:

Blogger Steven Fisher said...

I think most of the things that make LInux hackers good for the platform also make Mac OS X users good for it -- and you can see what sort of support PalmSource has given us.

You should expect absolutely nothing. That way, you won't be disappointed. You *might* even be pleasantly surprised, but I don't think that'll happen.

3:45 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
I see a substantial difference here.
A MacOS X user does not give a new facette of features and apps to the PalmOS handheld.
But-I personally feel that the dropping of OS X support was a foolish move because it was an area where PocketPC's couldnt wade into as easily..
Best regards
Tam Hanna

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