An open letter to the Palm OS community from PalmSource

The following is a verbatim copy of a open letter to the Palm OS community just issued by PalmSource. Read on for more information about the new acquisition and FAQs about how PalmSource will use the new resources and the new Palm OS Cobalt version of Linux.

PalmSource, China MobileSoft, Linux - WOW!PalmSource, Inc. today announced that we're acquiring China MobileSoft Limited (CMS), a leading mobile phone software company with business operations headquartered with its subsidiary, MobileSoft Technology (Nanjing), in China, and with this step starting the next phase in the evolution of Palm OS®. We're very excited about this, and we wanted to give you some information on what it all means for the Palm OS community.

Before we get into the details, we want to emphasize our commitment to you. We owe our success in large part to the fantastic creativity and passion of Palm OS users, developers, licensees, and other business partners. We're very grateful for your support. Today's announcement expands the Palm Powered™ family, and is designed to bring you even better products and business opportunities in the future.

The center of our announcement today is that we're buying CMS. If you live outside China, you may not have heard of CMS, but it is a leader in the Chinese mobile software community. This acquisition will almost double our software development resources, and brings us new products and partners, especially in Asia, the world's biggest mobile market. With this change, PalmSource is no longer a predominantly US-centric company, we're a global company with major engineering centers in China, the US, and Europe.

The combination of PalmSource and CMS will give us the critical mass to make several changes we've been considering for some time. Many people in the Palm Powered™ economy have given us advice on topics like making our software available for lower-cost phones, increasing the rate of innovation in Palm OS, and getting more licensees. We can't change any of these things instantly, but we've been listening, and today we're starting down a new path.

Here are the changes we're making:

First, we plan to make the Palm OS look and feel and the PalmSource™ PIM applications available for all price classes of mobile phones, from entry level to high end. CMS and its subsidiaries already have a very wide range of mobile phone applications and a software platform for low-cost mobile phones, as well as a Linux-based smartphone offering. This software is used in a number of current and planned Chinese mobile phones. The CMS software programs will continue to be available, and in the future we plan to equip them with the Palm OS interface, PalmSource PIM functionality, and data compatibility with Palm OS -- and we'll be selling them worldwide.

Second, we intend to increase the rate of innovation in Palm OS, and the range of potential licensees, by making it available on Linux. The Palm OS user interface and the PalmSource PIM applications you know will remain, as well as the advanced features that we've built into Palm OS® Cobalt's software frameworks. Properly written Palm OS applications will also be able to run on Palm OS for Linux . We're making this change for several reasons:

Linux is intensely popular among electronics companies, especially in Asia, which is becoming the center of mobile device manufacturing. We think providing a Palm OS solution for Linux can help bring in more licensees.

  • The rate of innovation in Linux is faster than anything a proprietary operating system company can do on its own; in the future, we think getting things like device drivers and support for new chips and components will be much easier. This change won't be directly visible to Palm OS users, but over time we think it should mean faster development of new types of devices.
  • Providing solutions for Linux will allow our engineers to focus on improving the Palm OS interface, PalmSource™ PIM applications, and advanced software frameworks -- exactly the sort of user-visible innovation that many of you have been asking us for.
  • Many corporations broadly deploy Linux on servers. Palm OS for Linux will let companies leverage that investment to support and deploy Palm Powered products to their employees.

Overall, by teaming up with the Linux community, we think we can build a mobile alliance with the scale and resources to compete globally against even the biggest mobile operating system companies.

Much of the PR for our announcement is focusing on the phone market, because phones are the fastest-growing mobile category. But we want you to know that our partnership with Linux is designed to benefit all types of Palm Powered devices. With Palm OS for Linux, we think it'll be much easier for licensees to add new features to their handhelds, smartphones, and other products. It should also be easier for them to create new classes of devices. Meanwhile, both Linux and Palm OS software developers should see a greatly expanded mobile market for their products.

To summarize, we've announced the following:

  • We're buying a leading mobile phone software company in China.
  • We plan to extend the Palm OS interface and PalmSource PIM applications to cover all phones.
  • We plan to leverage CMS’s applications internationally
  • We plan to make future versions of Palm OS® available for Linux. The things you know and love about Palm OS will be maintained, but you should get faster innovation and a wider range of Palm Powered™ devices.

Our overall goal remains the same: to create the world's best software for smart mobile devices, and to help our licensees create the world's best mobile products. What we're doing today expands the scope of that goal in almost all directions -- we will have more partners, we'll cover more types of product, and we'll have many more resources to get the work done.

As usual in any acquisition, there are still a lot of details to be worked out. We'll give you regular updates. In the meantime, following are answers to some likely questions:

Q. Can you give some background on CMS?
A. China MobileSoft Limited is a Bermuda-based holding company, founded in 2000, which owns 100% of MobileSoft Technology (Nanjing), the Chinese operating company. MobileSoft Technology was approved as a Wholly-Foreign Owned Enterprise (“WFOE”) under Chinese law in 2001. A WFOE qualifies for government incentives and is legally treated as a domestic company in China, even though it is funded from overseas. MobileSoft Technology offers a broad range of mobile phone software, from low end to high end. CCID Consulting, an arm of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry, named the company one of the “30 Chinese Software Enterprises with the Most Growth Potential.”

Q. What are CMS' products?
A. CMS currently offers its customers a wide range of software for mobile phones, including more than a dozen phone applications, operating software for smart and feature phones, and has been developing a version of Linux optimized for mobile devices. In the future, the phone applications and phone software will be able to take advantage of the Palm OS® look and feel and data compatibility, extending the Palm OS ease-of-use to all classes of mobile phones, and will be made available worldwide. CMS and PalmSource customers will continue to be able to customize the user interface to meet the needs of their markets.

Q. Does Palm OS for Linux replace current versions of Palm OS?
A. This is an addition to our line, not a replacement. Other versions of Palm OS continue to be available. As always, we'll make decisions on their future growth path based on feedback from our licensees and other partners.

Q. Will this delay delivery of devices running Palm OS Cobalt?
A. No. Palm OS® Cobalt version 6.1 is already finished, and the software is in the hands of licensees. We expect devices based on it to ship in 2005.

Q. Why Linux?
A. PalmSource's business model has always been based on shared innovation and enabling partners to innovate. The Linux community has the same philosophy, so we think we're a good match for each other.

We think by offering Palm OS for Linux, we can attract more licensees and developers, create more new devices, and bring in more users than either could on its own. Linux has a large community of developers who innovate rapidly and support new technologies aggressively, far faster than any proprietary operating system company can on its own. We bring an award-winning user interface, software frameworks-based on the best of Palm OS® and BeOS®, a large base of professional and consumer applications, and a community of more than 25 million enthusiastic users and over 360,000 registered developers. We believe we can help mobile Linux move beyond the embedded space, and grow rapidly in the consumer and enterprise mobile markets.

We believe that together we'll have the technological and market critical mass to challenge, and beat, even the biggest proprietary operating system companies in the mobile market.

Q. Will existing applications continue to run?
A. We intend to continue to offer the Palm OS® Application Compatibility Environment (PACE), allowing properly written Palm OS 68k applications to run on future versions of the operating system.

Q. When will Palm OS for Linux ship?
A. We intend to provide more information at our developer conference in the Spring.

Q. If you're not shipping yet, why announce now that you’ll support Linux?
A. Our partners -- developers, licensees, operators, chip vendors, and so on -- need to know the long-term future of our software. The development cycle for mobile devices can be very long (for example, some of our licensees plan products up to two years ahead). This happens with almost all platforms. For example, Symbian has announced Symbian OS version 8, but most Symbian products are still based on Symbian 6. And Microsoft has been talking about the next version of Windows for years.

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The end of PalmOS - Amen!

Georg @ 12/8/2004 2:49:39 PM #
Now it´s out!
This will be the last trial for the Palmsource management to save their a.... for some time!!! PalmOne left already for Microsoft mobile the sinking boat (the rats jump as first!) and now Palm source try to save whats not anymore to save. Its time now to sell the Palm Source stocks, because they will be in short on the market just for pennys!
It´s a real shame, and as first, if there have just one pund caracter, the hold managment should resign! If Linux would be a handheld solution, Sharp would controll already the Handweld market! But waht did Sharp do for mobile phone application? Yes they switched to Symbian!!!

looking for a industrial stile PalmOS divice

RE: The end of PalmOS - Amen!
Scott R @ 12/8/2004 9:42:28 PM #
The "Palm OS look and feel" for smartphones, eh? Hmm...the Palm OS "look and feel" isn't meant for smartphones. It was meant for stylus-based portrait-mode PDAs. Handspring did all they could to modify the Palm OS "look and feel" to get it into a workable form for the Treo. They did a noble job, for certain, but the "look and feel" was the main thing holding it back.

Now, compatibility with the core OS...that's important. But I guess we won't have that anymore since this won't be based on the same core OS. So why should developer X waste their time on this instead of some other company's Linux-based PDA/smartphone?

And another reason they're doing this is because it enables them to get the prices down? They can't do that with the OS they already own? Oh, I get it. It's because they've bought a company which employs workers in a communist country. That must be it. Interesting that this company is based out of Bermuda, though.

PalmSource: I just lost a lot of respect for you today. Congrats!

- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

Break one weak company into two FEEBLE ones. Real smart!
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/8/2004 10:25:54 PM #
PalmSource has watched the Cobalt (PalmOS 6) dream turn into a neverending nightmare. So now they're simply trying to fix the mistake they had made when Palm went with Be as the architect of Cobalt. Cobalt has a lot of potential, but the switching of PalmSource's focus to Linux signals that the company feels Cobalt is incapable of getting the job done.

I fail to see why the he11 Palm didn't see a Linux kernel as a better solution than a custom Be-created kernel two years ago. We've now gone from a weak single company (Palm) to two feeble, schizophrenic, confused companies (pa1mOne + PalmSource). How is this an improvement?

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

RE: The end of PalmOS - Amen!
kevspalm @ 12/9/2004 5:40:10 PM #
Did any of you read the article? Their main reason for acquiring CMS is so they can break into the world mobile market. That market is dominated by Linux-based software and operating systems. Why is it a bad idea to go with an established leader? That's what Microsoft does all the time, and they're nipping on PalmOS's heels for domestic mobile leadership.

Everytime I talk to someone about buying a PDA, encouraging them about the benefits of PalmOS, they eventually decide to go with PocketPC. Why? Maybe cause they think that since they're using MS programs on there, it'll work better with a MS handheld, despite anything I say about PalmOS working just as well or better with more efficient resources. Palm is simply doing the same thing, working with what's already established.

And if this move truly makes PalmSource more innovative, I'm all for it. I want to see PalmOS run circles around everyone else. But they need resources to do it. This move doesn't sound like fear, but strategy, to build up their resources. What's all the negative reaction for?

Powered by Linux is scary to normal people
Surur @ 12/9/2004 6:16:17 PM #

Did it occur to you that a logo saying "Powered by Linux" would scare even more business people over to pocketpc's?


Does this mean layered operating systems?

EthiopianFlash @ 12/8/2004 2:54:57 PM #
I hate to be the dumbest one in the room, but what exactly are they saying?
Since Palm OS and Linux are both operating systems how will this work? Will they run Palm OS on top of Linux kind of like a front end?

SJ30 > T|T3
RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
just_little_me @ 12/8/2004 3:15:46 PM #
I assume it means they will make the PACE compatibility layer available on Linux devices - meaning that any well-behaved Palm OS app should run without a problem...


RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
batmon @ 12/8/2004 4:16:01 PM #
I remember back in PalmPilot time, there is a korea company mod Palm OS to use Linux kernel, and has all Palm's apps. I think they got suit by Palm so they have to take that OS out.

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
ehanneken @ 12/8/2004 4:22:54 PM #
According to PalmSource's open letter to the Linux community,

"We intend to offer future versions of Palm OS Cobalt as a software layer on top of Linux (specifically, on the Linux kernel plus selected Linux services appropriate to mobile devices). The Palm OS software layer will include our well-known UI as well as a set of middleware and applications that encompass the best of Palm OS."

Naively, I take this to mean that they intend to reimplement the PalmOS API using Linux system calls plus some userland services (e.g. Sendmail?). Alternatively, they might be able to put some of the PalmOS API in the Linux kernel, but that code would then have to be GPLed, so I doubt PalmSource will do that.

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
Michael Mace @ 12/8/2004 6:03:55 PM #
EthiopianFlash wrote:

>>what exactly are they saying? Since Palm OS and Linux are both operating systems how will this work?

Sorry for the confusion.

It's a little bit of an oversimplification, but an easy way to think of this is the Palm OS interface, PIM apps, applications compatibility, and software frameworks (multimedia, wireless, graphics, etc) implemented as a software layer that runs on top of the Linux kernel. To a user, we expect that it'll look and work like any other Palm OS device, except that you'll also be able to run "native" Linux apps if you want to.

CCO, PalmSource

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 7:44:16 PM #
And STILL lack a / icon in the Status Bar!

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
hkklife @ 12/8/2004 11:11:35 PM #
Sounds like a Microsoft BOB reprise for the new millenium to these skeptical ears...

Win 9x aside, piggyback OS's have never fared too well, at least in the consumer sector. This reminds me of when JTS, an ailing harddrive manufacturer, gobbled up the remnants of Atari, sold off most of the IP, burned through the remaining warchest of cash and then fizzled out themselves.

The only remaining hope is for IBM to buy the whole bundle (PS & P1) and try to leverage it into their new-found Chinese alliance(s) to compete against MSFT in "emerging" markets and smartphones.

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
Kesh @ 12/9/2004 1:04:18 AM #
Actually, it sounds like they're taking a cue from what Apple did with MacOS X and BSD. A home-built GUI on top of a known kernel and core system, with an app-compatability layer between the two.

Not a bad idea, really. It lets them move to a more stable, supported 'foundation' for future apps, while keeping a known GUI and backwards-compatability with older apps.

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
drw @ 12/9/2004 2:24:20 AM #
Reminds me of the summer that offered os/2 2.0 and quarterdeck's Desqview/x. Both could run well behaved win3.1 apps I believe. Wasn't pretty, but it worked. Course Windows 95 killed both of those os's.

It's a little late in the game to invent a new wheel, imho. Palmsource should be bankrupt by the end of 2005. Better snatch up the urls and before it's too late. :-)


RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
mikecane @ 12/9/2004 8:47:25 AM #
>>>Actually, it sounds like they're taking a cue from what Apple did with MacOS X and BSD. A home-built GUI on top of a known kernel and core system, with an app-compatability layer between the two.

>>>Not a bad idea, really.

If they go the Apple route, it's a horrible idea. The Zen of Mac was killed by it. Spare me those idiotic traffic light icons! The new MacOS looks like it came from MS!

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
atrizzah @ 12/9/2004 1:12:17 PM #
I agree with Kesh. I think this is a step in the right direction for harnessing both the vibrant PalmOS and Linux communities.

Peace Out
RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
Kesh @ 12/9/2004 6:17:31 PM #
Mike, you neatly ignored the substance of my post to reply with an anti-X rant. Nicely done. ;)

Seriously, though, I wasn't talking about how the new PalmOS would look. Rather, how it now sounds like they're building it: a gui on top of a known-stable OS core.

And you do know you can turn off the stop-lights, and make them all grey, right? Just go into System Prefs->Appearance and set it to Graphite. :)

RE: Does this mean layered operating systems?
MountainLogic @ 1/18/2005 8:52:24 PM #

Atari was doomed long before JTS bought them. Juggi Tandon (the JT in JTS) and his COO, Tom Mitchel had long had their fingers in both Atari and Comadore. I assume that they knew what meat was left on the bones and decided to pick the remains before the bones were tossed out.


LiveFaith @ 12/8/2004 3:01:53 PM #
PSRC is pulling out the big guns. Seems like the most sound strategy to expand the range of the Palm OS. Linux is to M$ like mercury is to fingers trying to pick it up ... just keeps slipping away.
Hey, and they even threw us a bone by saying that OS6 devices would be out in early 2005.

Pat Horne;
RE: Awesome!
DevPOV @ 12/8/2004 7:06:27 PM #
Nothing was said about EARLY 2005. Just 2005.

Next, Unix and Mac!!!

vesther @ 12/8/2004 3:13:32 PM #
I would also like to see PalmSource support Macintosh and Unix as well, not just Linux. Sure, a Palm OS-device based on Linux would be great, but I would like to see PalmSource deploy Unix and/or to create a Palm OS for Unix as well. If Palm OS would be based on Unix (BTW Unix is a product of The Open Group, while Linux is a product of Linus Torvalds), then Palm OS would be the most stable mobile operating system in the market.

My ideal Palm OS infrastructure would be Unix-based, just like Mac OS X.

Powered by Palm OS since March 2002

RE: Next, Unix and Mac!!!
haslo @ 12/8/2004 3:35:02 PM #
Actually. OS X is based on BSD, which is a UNIX-compatible (even binary compatible, for the most part) operating system. It is not based on UNIX. Linux is UNIX-compatible as well.

What does this mean? If they are running on Linux, they're entirely and completely compatible with any other UNIX-compatible operating systems out there. And while BSD is certainly strongest in many areas, it's Linux that is on one hand well-known to the public, and on the other hand pretty well supported by hardware vendors, and thus has a pretty broad range of drivers. So I think it's really the smartest way to go Linux...

Just my two cents

RE: Next, Unix and Mac!!!
MountainLogic @ 12/8/2004 6:00:58 PM #
This may be a very smart move. The one thing that is driving CE is Outlook. Users get used to outlook so they want it in their pocket when they travel. Putting Palm built-in apps on the desktop will get users used to Palm apps as their standard PIM. Smart. As for 3rd party apps, Palm does not really care one way or the other since they don't make anything from 3rd party apps.

Let me put this in marketoid speak. It is clear that Palm management sees its primary value proposition to the end-customer base as its PIM applications (Addresss book, Todo, etc). This anouncement really speaks nothing about the wonders of the (internal) Palm OS. Even the low-end phone anoucement speaks to the PIM apps and UI.

How does this change the basic user's view of the Palm world. If you are like me, you are always pecking at your Palm while sitting in front of your PC. This proposal will have us using our PC to do our Palm stuff while at our desk and then grabbing a subset of our PC and sticking it in our pocket when we leave.

As noted above the current MAC OS X is a Unix spin-off (BSD), but I expect that it would require at least a modest porting effort to move to the Mac from Linux due to different libraries and low-level APIs. Given the much greater horse-power of desktops mapping Palm APIs onto the desktop should prove very do-able.

What is most interesting is the lack of a win port. The way I've usually seen these things happen at tech companies is that Palm has a customer paying for the Linux port so keep an eye out for the first.

This is a major re-positioning of the company more in line with the M$ "windoze everywhere" plan. M$ has done a really poor job of providing PIM application coverage. Outlook, if tha tcan be called a PIM, is used by so many folks only because it is free and M$'s back-office support for it. It will be interesting to see if Palm can get IT department to switch over. Wow, really interesting stuff.

RE: Next, Unix and Mac!!!
jackpipe @ 12/9/2004 5:12:21 AM #
The palm PIM applications have changed very little in almost a decade. And they were designed to run on very limited hardware. Every single one of them has a third party replacement, because the originals suck.
The cobalt apps are better, but the data format is not compatible, and no-one currently uses them.
I don't believe Palm have a strong enough hand in PIMs to be basing their strategy on it. ?

A linux base does make sense in many ways, but the marketing here seems to be completely off, and will have a very serious impact on developer perspective re: Cobalt. Apple doesn't advertise the OS as MacOS for Unix - it just happens to use a unix kernel.

A Linux base will attract a new bunch of developers, but at the expense of some of the existing ones - how many truely commercial Linux apps are there, compared with even PalmOS ones ? As someone else has said - PalmSource don't really care either way about developers, as they make no money from them.

RE: Next, Unix and Mac!!!
atrizzah @ 12/13/2004 2:51:17 PM #
Apple does advertise that it's built on BSD, just not to the general public normally. And you can bet they did when they announced OS X.

Peace Out

mixed feelings

pmjoe @ 12/8/2004 2:51:56 PM #
Well, I appreciate the somewhat direct letter from PalmSource. I have mixed feelings about a move to Linux though. IMHO, Linux is not really a good OS for mobile/embedded devices. Things like BeOS and QNX have much better approaches for these devices. That said, Linux is better supported, is free, and as PalmSource has said, this will make it easier to support new and different chipsets.

In the end, this won't be much different than the previous Palm OS versions that ran on the Kadak kernel or even the current emulation layer.

The obvious questions would quickly become why should someone use this Palm OS over existing front-ends like Qtopia, which was used on the Zaurus (maybe you could even build this Palm OS on top of that). PalmSource providing quality PIM apps is a great start though.

Anyhow, mixed feelings. I think this has the potential to be really great, but it leaves a lot of things to think about.

RE: mixed feelings
ehanneken @ 12/8/2004 4:15:32 PM #
> The obvious questions would quickly become why should someone
> use this Palm OS over existing front-ends like Qtopia . . . .

One good reason is that it would be able to run all (or almost all) of the software that runs on the current Palm OS. We can't run Pocket Quicken on a Zaurus.

RE: mixed feelings
tompi @ 12/9/2004 12:26:52 PM #
"IMHO, Linux is not really a good OS for mobile/embedded devices."

What's not good about it? Linux runs on millions of embedded devices, probably far more copies than Palm every produced handhelds. Linux supports a full GUI and desktop on a machine with 1/10 the power of a modern Palm handheld. It runs on $50 access points. What more do you want from an OS for mobile/embedded devices?

"Things like BeOS and QNX have much better approaches for these devices."

That's what Palm thought, too, and it's why they bought Be; you are seeing the results of that decision now. BeOS, in any case, was a desktop system through and through. QNX costs money, and it's unclear that it would have any tangible advantages for Palm.

RE: mixed feelings
pmjoe @ 12/9/2004 4:35:50 PM #
> What's not good about it?

Monolithic, not designed for devices with varying power requirements.

> Linux runs on millions of embedded devices

Which does not make it better (see Windows for an example of this).

> Linux upports a full GUI and desktop on a machine with
> 1/10 the power of a modern Palm handheld.

With a "full GUI"??? Just barely maybe, and so what? Other options out there offer more with even less.

> It runs on $50 access points.

Sure, that's where being free, supporting many chipsets, and having a steady power supply make it a somewhat easier choice.
> they bought Be; you are seeing the results of that decision now.
> BeOS, in any case, was a desktop system through and through.

Not really. Sure it was originally designed for that as a primary use, but the design was flexible enough to support other types of devices. The problem with using BeOS at the core (along with these other more obscure, but more appropriate OS's) is that developers are few and far between. If the difference is between asking PalmOne, Sony, etc. to write device drivers for BeOS or Linux, I can probably guess which can be more easily done (because more people with the experience is there for Linux) and more cheaply done (because more likely than not someone has already written the Linux driver).

> QNX costs money, and it's unclear that it would have
> any tangible advantages for Palm.

Well, money was clearly a factor (if not the factor, along with the "Linux" name) in PalmSource's decision. Licensing and supporting a wider variety of chipsets at a much lower cost are the clear factors here. Read any independent review of operating systems for these types of devices and the "tangible advantages" are very clear.

The simple fact of the matter is that when any new chipset comes out, it usually gets at least a Windows and/or Linux driver done for free by the vendor. Even if the Linux one doesn't get done by the vendor, there are usually enough people out there that it'll usually happen for free or greatly reduced cost. Anybody else (other operating systems) usually has to pay one way or another for the drivers.

RE: mixed feelings
tompi @ 12/9/2004 7:49:30 PM #
[Linux is] Monolithic,

No, Linux is highly modular, both in user space and in kernel space. The one thing it is not is a microkernel, but microkernels have almost universally failed.

not designed for devices with varying power requirements.

Linux has full support for power management, CPU throttling, and other power-related features, and it is widely used on battery powered devices.

[Linux upports a full GUI and desktop on a machine with
1/10 the power of a modern Palm handheld.] With a "full GUI"???

Yes, with a full GUI. The real question is why PalmOS, as it is, has always performed so poorly compared to UNIX and Linux.

The problem with using BeOS at the core (along with these other more obscure, but more appropriate OS's) is that developers are few and far between

The problem with BeOS was that its design was driven by a bunch of gearheads who thought that the measure of a good OS was how many heads they could bounce in parallel and how many irrelevant features they could add to the file system, and for that, they gratuitiously broke compatibility with industry standards.

If you are going to break compatibility with industry standards, you better have a really good reason and long-term vision. Newton was the only system in recent memory that even came close to meeting that standard. Otherwise, conservative and traditional systems like Linux are the better engineering choice (and these days, your best engineering tradeoff for something like Newton would be to run it on top of a Linux kernel as well).

Kicking Be when they're down (for the count?)
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/9/2004 10:54:36 PM #
The problem with BeOS was that its design was driven by a bunch of gearheads who thought that the measure of a good OS was how many heads they could bounce in parallel and how many irrelevant features they could add to the file system, and for that, they gratuitiously broke compatibility with industry standards.

At lest Pépé Gassee got a few million $$$ (to restock the blow jar) out of the Be "deal".

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

What a crock

mikecane @ 12/8/2004 5:54:15 PM #
Let me put this into English:

We effed up. Boy, we REALLY effed up. WOW, did we ever EFF UP!!

But you can't blame us. We were spun off too late. We had a legacy of foot-dragging that we couldn't overcome. We tried to get Cobalt in usable form, but when licensees saw it, they bailed on us.

Really, not our fault. But we DID EFF UP. (PINlets, anyone? No / icon in the Command Bar?)

So now we are all looking to save our lazy, unimaginative a$$es and stock-sucking entrenched positions and overpriced executive-like jobs by gobbling up an obscure company that has "applications" (notice we didn't give any **names** or use examples?) for CHINESE (stop laughing!) cellphones.


My own comments:

Hey, you can't make up this kind of blatant stupidity, can you?

If I'd predicted this last year, I would have gotten flattened!

But Linux WAS in the cards AS FAR BACK as the DEBUT OF THE VISOR! Go see my report (I'll try to dig up the URL, or Ryan will have to) from PC Expo where The Great Bird of the Galaxy (oops, that's Gene Roddenberry) -- The Great PDA God of the Sky (well, what DO we call Jeff Hawkins?) mentioned looking at others OSes and a guy next to me piped up with "LINUX!!!!"

I don't care how they color or spin this. It's a last-ditch effort to save themselves.

PalmOS = D.e.a.d.

RE: What a crock
Altema @ 12/8/2004 6:28:30 PM #
Why? Because you can't update your TE? Mike, this may cause concern on some issues, but it also opens some huge possibilities. Keep an open mind.

RE: What a crock
mikecane @ 12/8/2004 7:08:25 PM #
The links to the articles are busted. Ryan will fix them and post them.

Eff updating the TE. If that's as far as you can see, you need more than glasses.

RE: What a crock
twrock @ 12/8/2004 9:09:59 PM #
"...for CHINESE (stop laughing!) cellphones."
Hmm..., let's see, China has how many people, and how many of those people are buying cellphones, and what is the overall potential for the Chinese cell phone market? I'm struggling to see the humor in this one, but maybe you can explain the joke to me.

Since I live in a country with over 100% cell phone saturation and those people all speak Chinese, maybe I just have a different perspective than the average American, but I do suggest you expand your thinking just a little to include the idea that English is not the "end all" of languages (and that the US is not the "end all" of markets).

Incidentally, what is the current number one selling piece of third-party software for the PalmOS? How long has it topped the list? Who makes it? (Just have a look at that #1 spot in PalmGear "best selling" list if you haven't yet figured it out.)

RE: What a crock
twrock @ 12/8/2004 9:44:47 PM #
Oops, sorry to imply that the PalmGear list accurately indicates PalmOS software sales. I really don't know if it does or not. But I hope my point is made anyway.

RE: What a crock
whitemiata @ 12/9/2004 8:12:47 AM #

I went to Palmgear to check it out.

Selected Best selling and the one that showed being most downloaded was Documents To Go 7, with some 290,000 downloads.

What was your point?

RE: What a crock
mikecane @ 12/9/2004 8:51:19 AM #
I intended no slur to the Chinese, but even you must see that this is just so damned bizarre on the face of it. Sharp, which is no slouch, did not go with any Chinese-originated variant of Linux for their devices.

And speaking of Sharp, is everyone here aware that their latest clamshell Zaurus uses an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LINUX KERNAL than past Zaurii? And that many drivers are currently NOT available for it?

Let's see how long before PS gives us *another* kernal bait-and-switch...

RE: What a crock
twrock @ 12/9/2004 9:09:07 AM #
whitemiata, I've got no idea why the #1 spot on the "Best Sellers" list when I hit the page has been and continues to be ZLauncher. That's simply the way I have seen every time I've gone there for weeks and months now. So as to why you are seeing something else, I have no clue. But since you got a different result, let me simply say the point was that a Chinese company is putting out (what appears to me to be) the #1 selling piece of software at PalmGear.

RE: What a crock
mikecane @ 12/9/2004 7:37:35 PM #
On Handango, it doesn't even place!

Palm OS(R)
1. WorldMate Standard Edition
2. Agendus Professional Edition
4. SplashID
5. AOL
6. 9.95 CLOCK
7. Agendus Standard Edition
8. DateBk5
9. Ms. PAC-MAN(R)

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