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PalmSource Acquires China MobileSoft, Will Develop Palm OS for Linux

PalmSource today announced entry into an agreement for the acquisition of China MobileSoft Limited (CMS), a leading Chinese mobile phone software company with business operations headquartered with its wholly-owned subsidiary, MobileSoft Technology (Nanjing), in China. PalmSource has also announced plans to work closely with the Linux Community to develop a version of the Palm OS that will run on top of Linux.

PalmSource, China MobileSoft, Linux - WOW!Pursuant to the agreement, PalmSource would issue approximately 1,570,000 shares of PalmSource common stock in exchange for the outstanding equity and rights to acquire equity in CMS. The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including CMS shareholder approval. The transaction is anticipated to close before the end of PalmSource's third fiscal quarter, ending February 28, 2005.

PalmSource has posted a FAQ on the news as well as open letters to the Palm OS and Linux Communities. There is a audio webcast of the announcement here.

The acquisition of CMS is expected to further extend PalmSource's leadership as a software provider for phones and mobile devices worldwide. The combination of Palm OS and CMS's software products will give PalmSource one of the broadest line of mobile software in the industry, powering mobile phones at all price points in all regions of the world.

"This is the next stage in our growth and a major milestone for the mobile phone industry. We plan to offer the ease-of-use and flexibility that Palm OS is known for to all mobile phones," said David Nagel, president and CEO of PalmSource, Inc. "We believe the combination of PalmSource, CMS and Linux gives us the technological and market critical mass to compete with even the biggest proprietary operating system companies."  

CMS and its subsidiaries currently offer customers a wide range of software for mobile phones, including more than a dozen phone applications, operating software for smart and feature phones. The company has also been developing a version of Linux optimized for mobile devices. In the future, we plan to give the phone applications and phone software the Palm OS look-and-feel and data compatibility, extending the Palm OS ease-of-use to all classes of mobile phones worldwide.

"We are very excited about joining PalmSource to create the world's first truly global mobile software company," said Madeline Duva, CEO, China MobileSoft, "We believe the synergies of the Palm OS platform and the CMS software products and technologies open up new market opportunities for both companies worldwide."  

Palm OS for Linux
PalmSource will continue to offer both Palm OS Garnet and Palm OS Cobalt to support a broad range of mobile devices including smartphones. PalmSource also plans to implement Palm OS on top of Linux, bringing the benefits of Palm OS to the Linux community, including the award winning user interface, software frameworks based on the best of Palm OS and BeOS, a large base of professional and consumer applications, and an enthusiastic community of more than 25 million users and over 360,000 registered developers. PalmSource intends to work as a partner within the Linux community to help Linux grow rapidly in the consumer and enterprise mobile markets.

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Palm OS on Linux

voice of chaos @ 12/8/2004 11:15:16 AM #
The last paragraph is the big announcement - they'll put Palm OS on top of China MobileSoft's mLinux. That is good news.

RE: Palm OS on Linux
pbarthelemy @ 12/8/2004 11:31:51 AM #
I remember that years ago, AmigaOS tried the cool-OS-on-top-of-linux thing...

It did not Amiga much them much...
The point is that PalmOS-under-linux will be inferior to customized linux... Well, maybe not technically inferior, but the price/overhead/cost/features ratios won't be good for PalmOS...

That's more a death announcement to me...
Farewell, palmOS...

RE: Palm OS on Linux
dq @ 12/8/2004 11:35:11 AM #
Big news - yes, good news - not so sure.

A PalmOS 6 device has not arrived yet and they are already announcing a new OS core? PalmOS 6 was supposed to use all the great technology they got from Be, right?

The best option for developpers is to stick to 68K apps and wait for the next OS...

Daniel

RE: Palm OS on Linux
JonAcheson @ 12/8/2004 12:08:49 PM #
mLinux info here:

http://www.chinamobilesoft.com/product/mlinux.asp



"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: Palm OS on Linux
treo007 @ 12/8/2004 12:11:49 PM #
Only took 2 comments for someone to sound the "death-knell". Some of you are just too predictable.

RE: Palm OS on Linux
statik @ 12/8/2004 12:13:41 PM #
hmmm, the mention of needing to recompile non PACE apps worrys me.

As for running on top of Linux? It might not of worked for the Amiga, but the same idea seems to be doing wonders for the Macintosh platform. Macs have really gained a lot of respect in the *nix community since OSX was released.

If PalmSource can pull it off, this could really open up a lot of new markets for them in non PDA areas. Palm OS on your TiVo anybody?


RE: Palm OS on Linux
Wolfgard @ 12/8/2004 12:58:19 PM #
What happened to the Cobalt kernel? Why switch to Linux so late in development? What happened to the Be technology in Cobalt? I think that's what everybody wants to know now.

I don't know if I should be happy with this news or not. Swithing the OS core is not as simple as it seems, and I doubt many apps would be compatible with the new operating system.

Sounds like they're skinning the palm interface over linux (ala Trolltech's Qtopia over linux on the Zaurus). I know that's bogus, but I just can't help thinking bout that.

pen & paper -> m515 -> Zire72 -> TH55 & Handera 330

RE: Palm OS on Linux
Michael Mace @ 12/8/2004 1:11:06 PM #
Wolfgard wrote:

>What happened to the Cobalt kernel?

Still there in Palm OS Cobalt. Palm OS for Linux is an addition to the line, not a replacement.


>Why switch to Linux so late in development?

We didn't switch, we're adding. We'd been thinking of supporting Linux for some time. CMS had already done a lot of Linux work, letting us accelerate our development.


>What happened to the Be technology in Cobalt?

Still there, and we plan that it'll be in Palm OS for Linux as well. We'll be moving the Palm OS Cobalt software frameworks (graphics, multimedia, wireless, etc) onto Linux. Much of the Be technology went into them.


>Swithing the OS core is not as simple as it seems,

Agreed.


>I doubt many apps would be compatible with the new operating system.

Our intent is to include the Palm OS emulator in Palm OS for Linux, so properly-written 68k apps should run. We'll also support apps written for the new "Protein" APIs in Palm OS Cobalt. Those apps may require a simple recompile in order to run in Palm OS for Linux.


>Sounds like they're skinning the palm interface over linux

I don't know what's the best term to use, but the way we're describing it is that we'll put the Palm OS interface, apps, and frameworks on the Linux kernel.

Hope this helps.

Mike
CCO, PalmSource

RE: Palm OS on Linux
Timothy Rapson @ 12/8/2004 1:59:02 PM #
This is a nearly perfect move. Linux is super and Palmsource is/was a standard in mobiles. I really dreamed that Palm OS5 was going to be Linux with a Palm OS4 emulator to run legacy apps. But, if this comes at OS 6 level it is still welcome news. There will be thousands of apps for this kind of handheld. It will likely result in a lot of pure Linux handhelds being brought out too. Good news. Overdue, but good.



RE: Palm OS on Linux
Strider_mt2k @ 12/8/2004 2:53:40 PM #
I guess it sounds cool, but didn't PalmOS used to be able to stand on it's own? -and not all that long ago?

I know the buzz says there will be separate OSs, but watch the gemstones go flying out the window if this takes off.


I'm honestly left simply hoping for the best.
I really hope this result in us the users getting better operating on more and better systems.



similar to Mac OS on Unix
hotpaw4 @ 12/8/2004 3:11:39 PM #
The Mac OS Classic GUI and API on top of BSD Unix has been a big win for Apple. An even bigger win was Microsoft layering Windows 1.0 - 3.x on top
of MS-DOS.

The PalmOS GUI and library API's on top of a linux kernal would certainly bring a more attractive, familiar and consistant user interface to the general public than most of the other linux/X-based attempts around.


RE: Palm OS on Linux
LiveFaith @ 12/8/2004 3:17:20 PM #
Michael Mace,
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Sounds like a strategy with all sorts of good opportunities. Palm on PDA, phone, tablet, notebook, watch, dashboard & PC.

I do wonder about PACE emulation here. Let's see 68K apps running thru a Cobalt emulator which is built on top of Linux kernal. Whew, somebody better get another truckload of "Zen". We may be runnin' out. :-o



Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

Mike Mace: Damage control?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 5:00:04 PM #
Why does PalmSource (PalmSores™?) constantly trot you out to do damage control? I feel embarassed for you.

http://www.palminfocentre.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7258




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Palm OS on Linux
Altema @ 12/8/2004 6:34:08 PM #
"I guess it sounds cool, but didn't PalmOS used to be able to stand on it's own? -and not all that long ago?"

PalmOS can still stand on it's own as far as I'm concerned. It's funny all the comments we run into about "limitations", while in the real world, others wonder how we can do the things we do. Yea, I'm a hardcore user who has gone through at least 12 devices in 4 years including those with Windows Mobile, and we no longer have PPC evangelists looking for confrontation at our workplace of 13,000. However, that is not because I'm any great expert, it's because I have a very capable tool and know how to use it.

This change is not about fixing weaknesses, it's about embracing a growing segment of technonologically astute users, and providing for future expansion.

I'd say more, but I'm in a rush right now...

RE: Palm OS on Linux
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 7:10:40 PM #
>>>I have a very capable tool and know how to use it

Give us who *really* know how to use it a friggin break, you prat.

32K Memos. 1K Clipboard.

Nuff said for those of us who REALLY know.

voice of chaos??? Verrry suspicious. SPIN baby, SPIN!!!!!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 9:53:29 PM #
voice of chaos @ 12/8/2004 11:15:16 AM

The last paragraph is the big announcement - they'll put Palm OS on top of China MobileSoft's mLinux. That is good news.

"voice of chaos"??? W T F???

So you joined PIC yesterday and your first post was to hint at the Linux Palm before it was officially announced? Interesting. Conspiracy Theorists are working overtime.

Ryan, this Palm "insider" is hurting my feelings with his user name. Is he just another developer, or is he really an Astroturfer working for Palm, "created" to ask a bunch of nicey-nice questions for Michael Mace to answer + somehow spin this flip flop into a positive? ;-) Palm wouldn't do that, would they?

TVoR



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Palm OS on Linux
Altema @ 12/8/2004 10:50:39 PM #
"Give us who *really* know how to use it a friggin break, you prat.

32K Memos. 1K Clipboard.

Nuff said for those of us who REALLY know."
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

You use the stock memopad?

Is Palm Astroturfing at PIC?
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 11:55:07 PM #
so how did Little Miss "voice of chaos" know about PalmSource's plans to port PalmOS to Linux before it was even announced to PalmSource's licencees?

http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7359#101041

I smell Astroturf.

Looks like Palm is sinking to the kind of manipulation games Microsoft is legendary for. Wow.



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

Comment Time Differences
Admin @ 12/9/2004 1:16:48 AM #
Voice, this is because my server clocks are not aligned.

Long story short, the webserver is on PST, the Database is on EST, thus there is a 3 hour difference. I obviously need to fix it.

-Ryan

Guess again, Ryan
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/9/2004 2:09:39 AM #
The post from "voice of chaos" was done on Tuesday - the day before PalmSource announced their latest blunder! Ooops!


http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7359#101041



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Palm OS on Linux
mikecane @ 12/9/2004 9:00:33 AM #
>>>You use the stock memopad?

What exactly is "stock" these days? It's what came with the TE.

If you had a TH55, you'd have the option of Sony's "stock" Memo app (separate from the traditiobal one).

If you have a Zod, you'd have the traditional and pathetic and hair-pulling and near-useless *4K* Memo Pad (hey, STILL with an INADEQUATE Clipboard!!!).

I don't know what they did with Memos for Cobalt. I'm afraid to find out...

PalmLinux
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/9/2004 11:14:15 PM #
The post from "voice of chaos" was done on Tuesday - the day before PalmSource announced their latest blunder! Ooops!


http://www.palminfocenter.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7359#101041

A dumba$$ from TapWave. Way to be, G. Wrap your loose lips around Mike Cane's flaccid member.




******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

That's good news and bad news.

JonAcheson @ 12/8/2004 11:28:00 AM #
The good news is, the Palm OS 6 debacle is nearing an end.

The bad news is, we're waiting for a new Palm OS again.

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: That's good news and bad news.
LiveFaith @ 12/8/2004 3:24:29 PM #
"No waiting" for those not into Linux tho. I personally have no need for it, but I'm also not on the enterprise-cutting-edge either.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

Yeesh

mikecane @ 12/8/2004 12:28:43 PM #
This is rather extreme to get Sharp to license PalmOS! Ha!

But really, it's Microsoft that should be worried.

And we PalmOS adherents should be appalled.

No Cobalt. Now this.

Do Nagel, et al, have ADHD?

RE: Yeesh
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 12:33:14 PM #
RE: Yeesh
neuron @ 12/8/2004 12:41:55 PM #
That's for phone. There is no sympian handheld edition. Don't get confused.

RE: Yeesh
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 7:11:43 PM #
You have not been paying attention. Get in the corner and put on that Dunce Cap.

PDAs are dead.

They all think it's now the Smartphone.

Good news

neuron @ 12/8/2004 12:33:17 PM #
I think it is a good news for all Palm users. POS v6 is only a dream for us, we may get one or two POS v6 in the next two years. Considering the current situation of POS v6, I didn't see much high hope from it.

But basing on linux is another problem. PS won't have to tweak the OS core any more since the multiple task and multiple threads are buildin. PS can focus on the improvement of interface, built-in PIM and browser. For accessory support, linux has a great base of hardware drivers. PS is easy to tweak them to fit Palm device. The R&D money of OS upgrade and debugging will be greatly decreased.

Sharp uses Linux all the time. This new POS will also provide more potential for sharp becoming POS licencee. Considering the big success of sharp in Japan handheld market, it will be a great breakthrough for POS oversea market.

For most users, we will see a little bit price decrease. We will also find some kind of hacks will make the linux softwares (for Sharp) can be run in new POS without problems.

RE: Good news
LiveFaith @ 12/8/2004 3:26:50 PM #
The best news for PSRC would be that products able to run Palm OS or Linux could run on one device. Right?

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

Open Letter to Palm OS community

Michael Mace @ 12/8/2004 1:00:07 PM #
Folks,

We've posted an open letter discussing our announcement and answering some of the common questions. You can find it here:

http://www.palmsource.com/announcement/communityletter.html

Mike
CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
neuron @ 12/8/2004 1:15:00 PM #
Buying CMS is very smart move, much better than buying BeOS, which is proved to be only a waste of money.

RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
Gekko @ 12/8/2004 1:34:43 PM #

Mike - Don't take anything posted here personally. It's business, not personal.

GG



RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
voice of chaos @ 12/8/2004 1:37:38 PM #
Michael,

Everything there is great, but let's look at this from both the short term and the long term for the software developer.

From the short term, at this point there are no Cobalt devices shipping. Even before a single device has shipped you announce a new OS platform. Since it will support PACE, that is the API set that I can guarantee maximum portibility, ergo for at least the short term PACE is my only real alternative.

In the long term the OS set that you provide will be decided by the marketplace. Maybe Cobalt will be more successful, maybe the Linux-based Palm OS will win. Maybe they will win in different segments. In either case, if I want to really take advantage of what the platform has to offer, I will focus on what is selling.

The move to Linux was smart. I like it a lot. You've just got to make me understand why I would want to move to Cobalt - right now I'm glad I haven't spent a lot of time learning the Cobalt API's.

RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
Gekko @ 12/8/2004 1:42:11 PM #

And before someone else says it, yes, MSFT pays me a penny a post - and I've almost made a nickel today!


RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
Gekko @ 12/8/2004 1:48:53 PM #

>"Buying CMS is very smart move, much better than buying BeOS, which is proved to be only a waste of money."

Don't tell that to "Jumpin'" Jean Louis Gassee - the guy who sold them BeOS for millions and who is now the same guy who is now the CHAIRMAN of PSRC!!! What's wrong with that picture?

Benhamou sure knows how to cut deals!



RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
Michael Mace @ 12/8/2004 1:50:29 PM #
Gekko wrote:

>Mike - Don't take anything posted here personally. It's business, not personal.

Don't worry, I don't pay much attention to anonymous posts.

How're those Geico commercials going, by the way?


VoC wrote:

>>The move to Linux was smart. I like it a lot. You've just got to make me understand why I would want to move to Cobalt - right now I'm glad I haven't spent a lot of time learning the Cobalt API's.

I think you're asking the right question. Quoting from the engineers now, our intent is to move the Cobalt frameworks to Palm OS for Linux. So a Cobalt application using the "Protein" APIs should be portable to Palm OS for Linux with a simple recompile.

I know "simple" is a loaded term, so I checked with engineering to make sure they really meant that. They said yes.

So, I think you're safe to learn the Protein APIs. That'll make your work compatible with Palm OS Cobalt, and your effort should also transfer to Palm OS for Linux. That's our intent, anyway.

Mike
CCO, PalmSource

Mike Mace: a little honesty, please.
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 4:50:25 PM #
http://www.palminfocentre.com/comment_view.asp?ID=7258 (Scroll throgh the flames to the posts by "hackbod".)


-------------------------------------------------------------------
Disappointed Palm User:
"For PalmOS 6, I had expected that Palm would have been brave enough to think UNIX flavor + pretty GUI + PACE clone (the "emulator" I naively envisioned being folded into the Clean Sheet™ OS) running on modern 400MHz processors. Give 30 experienced engineers 1 year to bind all these elements together. I think it could have (and should have) been done."


PalmSource Dominatrix:
Easy claims, for someone who is essentially posting anonymously. Tell me, what is your engineering background to be able to make such a statement? Have you thought about these things:

* What the heck do you mean by "UNIX flavor"? Do you know what that is? (Bonus question: do you know what it is about the ARM architecture that makes it very difficult to efficiently implement the traditional Unix process model?) Are you talking about licensing an existing kernel like Linux or FreeBSD? Sure, licensing this stuff makes sense... which is why we licensed STREAMS for our IO subsystem. The kernel itself is a very small part -- we actually have only a few engineers working on ours, not much more than what would be needed to do customization and integration if we had licensed it. Oh and think about this: Be already had a fully functional Unix-like protected memory kernel, one that had been in production use for many years. Cobalt did not ship with the BeOS kernel. Are you saying the Be engineers are so stupid that they just kind-of forgot they had this thing?

* What is this pretty UI? Are you talking about running X Windows? Maybe embedded KDE? What are the trade-offs of these? If you aren't talking about licensing something, how is this any different than what we did for Cobalt?

* PACE clone. Cobalt -has- PACE. That is what runs all of the existing applications. The main difference I can imagine between what is there and what you are thinking is that in Cobalt PACE (for the most part) doesn't take care of translating the old system calls into what is needed in the new system architecture. Instead, we implemented that part of the compatibility layer outside of PACE so that (a) ARM native applications could also use them (to ease porting of existing applications to ARM); and (b) for the initial release we could re-use and grow the existing APIs instead of introducing a completely new application framework. This decision was a significant measure in cutting down on the time to market: by making the traditional APIs available in ARM it was much easier for us to port all of our own existing apps, and we could avoid a -ton- of work in designing, documenting, and testing a full set of new APIs.

Enough of the spin. Enough of the games. Get your house in order and let us know when you know when you finally figure out what you're doing (assuming that ever happens).





******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

RE: Open Letter to Palm OS community
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 7:13:59 PM #
>>>I know "simple" is a loaded term, so I checked with engineering to make sure they really meant that. They said yes.

OK, now even *I* am disgusted by this.

We were told the same damned thing about COBALT -- the OS Missing In Action. In fact, PS's PR trotted out a dev who adapted his app to Cobalt in about a "half hour." (Those quotes are QUOTES.)

Now we have some Linux nerd who says, Oh, I'll just type 'make' and boom! PalmOS on Linux.

WTF?!

Look, you guys just put out that damned installer app that's been wreaking HAVOC on my TE. I wake up yesterday to discover -- ONLY BY USING FILEZ -- that the damned Aggression demo (WHICH DIDN'T WORK!!! it went into some lunatic loop that eventually forced a HARD RESET!) was put on my SD and named with a HYPHEN in front of it (and maybe even a space or other hidden character) so it wasn't easy to find on my SD. That effer was eating nearly a MEG of my SD space WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE. THIS is the new "simple" for PS?

I've investigated the Linuxed Sharp Zaurus. You practically need a goddammed engineering degree to load apps onto that thing. And even the Linux cultists couldn't tell me HTF to get FONTS onto it to use with the Hancom WP app!

We've already had hackbod here (I like her; so shut up, youse guys!) defending the telecom-dictated security measures that made Cobalt much more "closed" that PalmOS has traditionmally been. And now you expect these same telcoms to go for LINUX?! Something so OPEN? And not just Linux, but CHINESE Linux?

Your credibility as a spokesman is shot with me. PalmSource looks like it doesn't know what the eff it is doing (well, the execs sucking at its malnourished teats know what *they* have been doing!). Not one device with Cobalt yet. Eleven unnamed ones set to announce next year -- allegedly (and, yes, not ALL of them will be doing Cobalt -- and that could mean as few as ONE allegedly will!). Hey, if I was one of those licensees, I'd be screaming into Nagel's ear about this. And I'd *dump* all current development and write it off as R&D that didn't pan out. Maybe their local government will reward them tax-wise for the wasted effort.

Yes, I know you guys inherited a legacy of Benhamou, et al, foot-dragging. But, damn, these were *Be* people! HTF could you have so much talent and yet have so LITTLE to show for it?

I'm disgusted.

The winner for quote of the year: Mr. Mike Cane!!!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 10:54:35 PM #
"Your credibility as a spokesman is shot with me. PalmSource looks like it doesn't know what the eff it is doing (well, the execs sucking at its malnourished teats know what *they* have been doing!).


Congratulations, Mike. Where would you like your prize (a used Tungsten E) mailed to?

It amazes me that Michael Mace is brazen enough to show up on Palminfocenter with his dog and pony show. Many will find his attempts at spin doctoring to be an insult to the intelligence of the Palm enthusiasts who look to PIC as the place for HONEST information regarding the PalmOS world.

I'd be shocked to see that the market buys PalmSource's spin. PalmSource just reached a 52 week low price today and is still falling. Realistically, it will likely drop below $10 within a few days.

Desperate moves from a desperate company. Palm has basically just written off the Be acquisition, Cobalt and the past three years of development, all in one fell swoop. And does PalmSource think the market will keep waiting for them forever? Brilliant.

Just wait until you see what's in the PalmSource's SEC filing on December 22!



******************************************************************
Sony CLIE UX100: 128 MB real RAM, OLED screen. All the PDA anyone really ever wanted.

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