MobileInfocenter

Reactions from the Mobile Tech Industry

So what are other people saying about PalmSource's new moves? PalmInfocenter asked a few of our favorite webmasters, CEOs and mobile enthusiasts from all sides of the mobile Industry for their reactions on the historic events. updated

Rob Malda - Founder, Slashdot.org (USA, MI)
"A lot of companies have tried to use Linux for the core of their systems. I think this is fantastic, provided they understand that Linux comes from the guys who like to tinker. PalmSource will be legally obligated to return code changes back to the community. But I hope that they will take that further and make it not only possible to modify the system, but actually encourage it. I kind of doubt that will happen, but here's hoping!"

Peter Rojas - Engadget.com (USA, NYC)
"I don't know what exactly will come out of all this, or whether this will be enough for PalmSource to hit back against Microsoft and grab some marketshare away from Symbian, but it definitely shows that they're wiilling to take some risks and shake things up. Taking chances is exactly what they need to be doing right now."

Phil Torrone - FlashEnabled (USA, WA)
"I personally think Palm needs to drop the PDA line, only go after SmartPhones and if this get them shipping Operating Systems faster, it can only be a good thing for the entire industry. I'm still waiting for real multi-tasking once Cobalt comes out."

Kenny West - Founder, PalmGear.com (USA, NC)
"We are very encouraged and supportive of the recent announcement made by PalmSource regarding their acquisition of ChinaMobileSoft Limited," said Kenny West, vice president of Motricity's Palm Consumer Channel. "As a strategic partner, Motricity is well-positioned to support PalmSource's decision to develop a Linux version of the Palm OS. We are very committed in helping PalmSource further extend their leadership position in the mobile software industry."

Sammy McLoughlin - PalmAddicts (UK)
"I think this is a good move. I am excited and look forward to seeing what is to be developed. The Linux community are a enthusiastic and passionate group of people and I believe that Palm OS devices will be exciting and offer so much potential that I feel that as Palm users we will be able to take advantage of. To sum up how I feel - excited!"

Lindsey Dyson - Deputy Editor for PalmAddicts also notes, "Linux has appealed to me in the past. I share the same excitement as Sammy and I think that we will see some exciting developments and of course software titles. If anything I hope Linux will be able to allow us multitasking."

Jørgen Sundgot - InfoSync World (Norway)
"Although not entirely surprising given its shrinking base of licensees which develop mass-market devices, PalmSource's intent to acquire China MobileSoft is certain to raise eyebrows. The move could lend credibility to a platform which has attracted minimal attention from mobile device mainstays in the Western hemisphere, and is also likely to pose serious competition for mobile Linux market leader Trolltech's Qtopia platform."

Clint Patterson - VP of Marketing for Handango (USA, TX)
"We view this acquisition as extremely positive on three fronts. First, it ensures that Palm OS will exist - in one form or another - over the long term. Second, we applaud PalmSource's efforts to build smarter phones. Through our experience, smartphones drive significantly more revenue for developers and operators than basic phones, which only play midlets and ringtones. With more smartphones in the market, the entire ecosystem will benefit. Third, it promises an increase in the number of applications from which customers can choose. The loyal cadre of Palm OS developers coupled with the zealous Linux developer base creates a truly prolific developer community building more compelling mobile applications."

Michael Gartenberg - Vice President & Research Director, Jupiter Research (USA, NYC)
A year and a half a go I asked on my weblog, "What if PalmSource put the Palm interface on Linux?" and now it seems they have gone and done just that. This move can open up some opportunities for PalmSource to encompass a spectrum of products and allow licenses to build devices up and down the cost spectrum from the high to low end.

The Linux core will also give them the kernel functionality they need without having to develop it themselves, allowing licensees to innovate new form factors and get devices to market faster as well as serving as single source of platforms and applications for vendors.

The challenge they have is to carefully explain the platform differences to the market and how the old platforms will integrate with the new and what the opportunities for licensees as well as application developers are.

Rafe Blanford - All About Symbian (UK)
"The smartphone developer scene just got really interesting. Palm OS will be better able to leverage its 1 million developers in the smartphone arena. I've always seen Palm OS as more of a competitor for the Microsoft vision of smartphones (data centric versus Symbian's communication centric). Symbian, especially the Series 60 UI is something different. Which vision you agree with is both a personal thing and a matter for further debate, though I think there's room for both because it is more of a difference of use debate. Europeans favouring the communication centric versus the US data centric model resulting from a different history of PDA and mobile telephone usage."

Kent Pribbernow - PocketFactory (USA, IN)
"What's really interesting is that PalmSource has violated one of its most sacred principles of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), that cramming a desktop OS into a mobile device was a flawed..inferior design solution; a vision that was often used as a basis for criticism against Microsoft's Windows CE platform, which many accused of being a bloated desktop crammed into a Sardines can. And yet PalmSource now intends to bolt its OS onto a full blown desktop/server platform...like a tipsy truck-mounted camping trailer. Physician, heal thyself."

Carl Zetie - Analyst with Forrester Research (USA, MA)
"With the announcement of its plan to acquire China MobileSoft (CMS), PalmSource will greatly extend its reach in both the low-end feature phone market and the highest end of the smartphone market, bringing Palm’s ease of use to a broader audience. The merged PalmSource/CMS will be attractive to both operators and handset makers as a single source that can potentially address the entire range of their smart device requirements."

Moaz HAMID - Palmdubai.net (Dubai, UAE)
"It look like palmOne doesn't have to look further than palmOS as palmSource found the answer to the formula that puzzled palmOne, especially the present of palmOS in the Chinese market."

Many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article.

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As usual, Kent gets it wrong...

jkirvin @ 12/9/2004 1:54:28 PM #
PalmSource is *not* cramming a desktop/server OS into a handheld. They're using the Linux *kernal* with the Cobalt UI. Kent is smart enough to know they're not cramming KDE or GNOME into a handheld, so I don't see his point, unless it's just to find something, anything, to complain about. The fact is that the Linux kernal isn't much bigger than the kernal already used by Cobalt. PalmOS for Linux will look identical to Cobalt (they use the exact same graphics system), but should be more "cross-platform" and have better device driver support. Essentially, the key difference between the Cobalt and Linux versions of PalmOS is that in theory, I *could* run the Linux version on x86 hardware, or any of the other 31 platforms that support Linux. All versions of PalmOS will run just fine on a handheld or smartphone.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Foo Fighter @ 12/9/2004 2:20:09 PM #
Don't you have something better to do...like play Duke Nukem on your Zodiac?

And this coming from a guy who said Bluetooth has killed WiFi! Bwahahahahahaahah!!!


-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/9/2004 2:28:41 PM #
> PalmSource is *not* cramming a desktop/server OS into a handheld.

Ah, but they are. Sure, they'll reduce it down to the core functionality that is needed, but Linux was designed as a desktop/server OS. There are much better designed operating system and kernels for mobile/embedded devices, including BeOS.

They are betting on the advanatages of using a more popular operating system with more developers who are familiar with its internals and the availability of more drivers for chipsets (often handled by the chip developers themselves). Oh, and it's free.

I think PalmSource is probably right with this decision, but don't let yourself believe that there are not better operating systems out there for this task.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Foo Fighter @ 12/9/2004 2:30:11 PM #
>> "The fact is that the Linux kernal isn't much bigger than the kernal already used by Cobalt"

Sort of off-topic, but do you have any evidence to back that up?

-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Foo Fighter @ 12/9/2004 2:40:14 PM #
Just because the upper level software is not present doesn't make the Linux kernal any less than what it is. It is purpose built for servers and workstations. Sure you can strip it down to bare bones, but truck is still a truck even with shiny red paint over it. And frankly if PalmOS will run on Linux as well (*sarcasm*) as QT Linux does, then this will be the last curtain call for PalmSource.

-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com
RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
jkirvin @ 12/9/2004 2:41:26 PM #
They're both about 4MB, IIRC.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
jkirvin @ 12/9/2004 2:42:53 PM #
"Don't you have something better to do...like play Duke Nukem on your Zodiac?"

Too busy getting actual work done on my Zod.

"And this coming from a guy who said Bluetooth has killed WiFi! Bwahahahahahaahah!!!"

Never said that. I said Bluetooth *and 3G cell data* would kill WiFi. A friend of mine is ditching his Tungsten C this weekend for a Bluetooth-enabled T5. He's tired of me being able to check my email and RSS where he can't.

kernel size
hotpaw4 @ 12/9/2004 2:50:57 PM #
There are linux distributions that will run on systems with as little as 2 MB of RAM plus 1 floppy drive. The original PalmOS 1.0 Kadak kernal was smaller, running in only a 32KB system heap + some ROM, IIRC, but was a lot more limited.
Pilot 1000 - Palm OS 1.0
Admin @ 12/9/2004 3:38:46 PM #
I still have a fully working Pilot 1000. It is a timeless device, remarkable even today.
Stick to "Writing on your (hairy) Palm"
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/9/2004 3:56:12 PM #
They're both about 4MB, IIRC.

Guess again, Bubba.



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

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
hkklife @ 12/9/2004 4:05:43 PM #
I have a nearly fully working Pilot 1000 that unfortunately has a faulty digitizer. I have a PalmPilot Pro that is flawless and has the 2mb OS 3 upgrade card in it. In theory, it could still handle all of my basic PIM needs with room for an e-book or two. An absolutely classic design but still a few rungs down from the timeless V/m500s.

As far as article comments go, I'd like to hear from some ex-Palm Inc/PalmOne/Handspring staffers. Are they predicting doom & gloom like the rest of the PIC faithful?


Rant:
Going back to the previous comments about the "Zen" of the older units. The other day I met with a guy who still kept a HS Edge in his briefcase. I briefly played with it. That could have been a phenomenal unit had it just had a bit more oomph under the hood and an SD slot instead of that stupid mini-Springboard. In fact, P1 should have immediately tried to shoehorn a 320*320 color screen, SD & BT into that fellow as soon as the Handspring acquisition became official. Now THAT'D be a proper T|E2!

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Wollombi @ 12/9/2004 4:09:32 PM #
Somebody...please....make the Voice-s stop!

_________________
Sean

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/9/2004 4:35:03 PM #
"Sure, they'll reduce it down to the core functionality that is needed, but Linux was designed as a desktop/server OS. There are much better designed operating system and kernels for mobile/embedded devices, including BeOS"

It is BeOS that was designed, from the ground up, as a desktop operating system. Its tightly integrated design also meant that targeting it at a different device type was going to be a lot of work.

Linux, on the other hand, is widely used in embedded devices, cell phones, and handheld devices already. Linux implements the most widely used standards for embedded operating systems. Linux and its predecessors run on machines with a few hundred kilobytes of RAM. And Linux cleanly separates the GUI from the kernel, allowing Palm to do just what Palm wants to do.

"They are betting on the advanatages of using a more popular operating system with more developers who are familiar with its internals and the availability of more drivers for chipsets (often handled by the chip developers themselves)."

Yes, that's the point: Linux is already widely used in handheld and embedded applications, so it is already supported.

"I think PalmSource is probably right with this decision, but don't let yourself believe that there are not better operating systems out there for this task."

Maybe there are, but BeOS isn't one of them. BeOS was a bad design even for desktop use, and it made absolutely no sense to port it to handhelds.



RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Foo Fighter @ 12/9/2004 4:57:14 PM #
>> "BeOS was a bad design even for desktop use, and it made absolutely no sense to port it to handhelds."

From a technical standpoint maybe, but it had...by far..the best GUI. If developers could have layered the BeOS graphical interface over Linux, it would have made the perfect desktop solution, rather than KDE and Gnome..which frankly aren't very appealing. BeOS was the first non-Apple/Microsoft desktop OS I used that I actually found compelling and a pleasure to use. Sadly Linux does not offer the same user friendly experience.



-------------------------------
Editor, http://Pocketfactory.com
Contributing Editor, http://digitalmediathoughts.com

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/9/2004 5:07:58 PM #
tompi, I responded to these comments in the "An open letter to the Palm OS community from PalmSource" thread. I'm not going to re-state them here, ... but I might blabber on for a bit. Windows is "widely used" on desktop systems. That does not make it a "better" OS for those systems.

Just so you're clear on this, BeOS was never designed to be a traditional desktop OS. When it was designed, desktop systems had the power of today's PDAs. It has a microkernel design and was specifically geared toward handling multimedia. The BeOS folks did years of work on using it for non-desktop systems.

Targeting BeOS to other device types was not a lot of work. Getting Linux to even be a reasonable possibility for embedded systems was. Go back and look at the history of it. The big difference was that BeOS was closed source and done by a handful of developers in a short period of time. Linux efforts are open and have far more effort and time behind them.

I don't specifically want to argue for BeOS here. I'm glad that we have Linux as an alternative to Windows, because it is clearly the winner there. The simple fact of the matter is that Linux won out with PalmSource because of cost and support, not because it was the best software solution (and that is not saying it is a bad solution) for the task. It was the best decision for a company that wants to make money.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
mikecane @ 12/9/2004 5:13:56 PM #
Listen, Jeff, your newfound enthusiasm over this PalmNix is rather difficult for me to swallow. According to you, Cobalt was to the a "mini BeOS." Maybe that's why they've all but killed it?

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
JonathanChoo @ 12/9/2004 5:23:14 PM #
Embedded Linux kernel with limited functionality can take as little as 300KB of space. Same with CE.Net. Not sure about PalmOS.
RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Calroth @ 12/9/2004 6:05:55 PM #
You can run Linux on an m68k device (read: an old 68K Mac) in 16MB of RAM. It also runs already on the Zaurus, etc. etc. The Linux kernel is designed to scale both up and down. Anybody saying that it's server/workstation only is spreading FUD.
RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Surur @ 12/9/2004 6:20:16 PM #
The more you cut down the OS, the less compatible you will be with the rest of the linux software offerings. The value of the move can not be in all the brilliant handheld optimised linux software available, can it?

Didn't people complain long and hard about win ce being a cut down windows system, and therefore a resource hog with little optimisation for handhelds? Who's playing the same game now?

Surur

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
AyDb @ 12/9/2004 6:28:17 PM #
"Anybody saying that it's server/workstation only is spreading FUD."

Anybody who says it's universal is only spreading Linux fanboyism. Like it or not, it was designed first and foremost for servers, and it translates very poorly into a desktop environment for the average user.

I wish this whole thing sounded like good news for the Palm OS, but it doesn't. At best, it means that Cobalt was so unusable that they had to completely throw it out and start over after two or three years of wasted effort. At worst, it's PalmSource's death throes, blindly grasping at straws to hold on in the face of a downward spiral.

Anyone else remember how the PC market began? Apple had a large majority of the user base, including a very passionate core group of users, and was argued to be superior to PC-Compatible computers because it was so much easier to use. Slowly, Apple's lead began eroding in the face of more, more powerful, and cheaper PC-Compatibles. Eventually, despite the Apple loyalists' protests that Macs were infinitely better in every way, more customers chose PCs, and it's been that way ever since. Apple got hit by a death spiral because they didn't diversify and compete, so they lost the market leadership position. Sound familiar?

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/9/2004 7:15:00 PM #
pmjoe, you made two claims.

First, you claimed that Linux was "designed as a desktop/server OS". That's simply wrong. Linux was designed to be a work-alike of UNIX, nothing more and nothing less. UNIX derivatives have been used for decades in embedded applications and have requirements that are a fraction of those for BeOS. Also, Linux is one of the most popular embedded operating systems and already powers a huge number of mobile and embedded devices; claiming that it's a "desktop/server OS" is just unreal.

Second, you claimed that BeOS is a "much better designed operating system for mobile/embedded devices". One will never be able to settle that argument definitively, but just because there is a zealous and vocal group of BeOS advocates out there doesn't make that true. To me, BeOS is a textbook example of poor engineering: it does what it does fairly well, but it does completely the wrong things.

I hope we will eventually get something better than Linux. I also hope its successor will look nothing like BeOS because BeOS got just about everything wrong.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/9/2004 7:29:16 PM #
The more you cut down the OS, the less compatible you will be with the rest of the linux software offerings

The value, as far as Palm is concerned, is probably primarily in drivers and chipset support.

. The value of the move can not be in all the brilliant handheld optimised linux software available, can it?

Actually, that is also a benefit. There is a lot of Linux code that is useful for application writers and requires no adaptation to handheld use (libraries, scripting languages, etc.). And there is actually a sizeable amount of very useful handheld software out there, including ports of the Mozilla and Konqueror web browsers, real ssh implementations, etc.

Didn't people complain long and hard about win ce being a cut down windows system, and therefore a resource hog with little optimisation for handhelds? Who's playing the same game now?

Yes, but Linux isn't WinCE. WinCE is cut down in places that cause real problems: resource limits, string handling, file handling, networking, etc. You can't just recompile a Windows program for WinCE, even if your WinCE has the memory to run it.

Embedded Linux has the same core libraries and kernel functionality as any other version of Linux; it is "cut down" in areas like command line programs, and libraries that are included by default. But if your application needs something that isn't preinstalled, you can just include it--no code changes required.

Since Linux is already used on so many embedded devices, we don't have to guess about how useful this is. My Linksys access point runs Linux, and people take advantage of that for creating all sorts of very useful add-on software.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/9/2004 7:40:04 PM #
Anybody who says it's universal is only spreading Linux fanboyism. Like it or not, [Linux] was designed first and foremost for servers,

The relationship between Linux and desktop software is no different from the relationship between Windows XP and the Windows GUI and between Macintosh and the Macintosh GUI: it's a kernel with a separate user-mode GUI environment, composed of a window server and lots of dynamically loaded toolkit libraries.

UNIX/Linux has had that architecture from the start, while Windows (3.1->NT) and Macintosh (OS9->OSX) basically had to start over to get there because there previous systems were architected so poorly.

and it translates very poorly into a desktop environment for the average user.

There is no basis for that claim; Linux desktop usability is comparable to that of Macintosh or Windows.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
ChiA @ 12/9/2004 8:05:20 PM #
>" Slowly, Apple's lead began eroding in the face of more, more powerful, and cheaper PC-Compatibles. "<

Cheaper, yes, more powerful - arguable. PCs starting pulling ahead of Macs in the power stakes towards the late 90s. Prior to that it was neck and neck.
Whether it's back to neck and neck now is debateable but I don't want to turn this (yet another) PC vs Mac argument - especially in a Palm OS forum!

>" Eventually, despite the Apple loyalists' protests that Macs were infinitely better in every way, more customers chose PCs, and it's been that way ever since. Apple got hit by a death spiral because they didn't diversify and compete, so they lost the market leadership position. Sound familiar? "<

Ya, ya ya. I think it's more a case of PC market grew much faster than Mac market and Apple NEARLY went into death spiral as a result of their mismanagement in the mid 90s. Yes, Apple has small slice of computer market BUT, unlike PalmOne and PalmSource, it's a PROFITABLE slice and APPLE has US$4 billion in the bank - that's what counts whatever business you're in.
Compare with what's happened to IBM, the inventor of the PC. It's PC division has been offloaded unto a Chinese company; it can be said that the PC business hasn't worked out for them. Unlike Apple, many PC compatible companies have come and gone.

The only company which has CONSISTENTLY gained the greatest benefit from the PC compatible market since its creation (both of market and company) is MICROSOFT.

Relating all of this back to PalmOS, it appears that PalmSource has struggled with OS 6, in the same way Apple struggled with Copland in the 90s and Microsoft seems to be struggling with Longhorn now. It also infers that Palm's BeOS aquisition was a bad move, why didn't they make the move to Linux then instead, now they're having to throw stuff out and start anew - just as Apple did when it threw out Copland, went for NextStep/Rhapsody and transformed it into OS X.

It also suggests this is a last chance move by PalmSource in it's battle to stay alive - I ask rhetorically just how many major licensees of the PalmOS remain now?


RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
abosco @ 12/9/2004 8:22:46 PM #
Hey, here's an idea. Let's pretend Cobalt never happened and skip straight to OS 7. Add true multitasking, remove limitations that plague the system, but still include PACE, and find out based on well-spent R&D polling data what people like in a PDA and what they don't. Then use that data to build an operating system with the versatility to run on a smartphone or a mini-laptop.

PalmSource, I can understand you want to flee from the PDA market as soon as possible. But it appears to be stagnant because nobody is making anything desirable. Let me repeat that. Nobody is making anything desirable. I'm a gadget enthusiast and I haven't bought a new PDA in over a year and a half. That's unprecedented for me. There is nothing fresh, and that's a fault of your licensees. But you can cure that, and the solution is to build a more compelling and more convincing OS to get those unsure PPC licensees to jump ship. There was a nice slot for Toshiba in the high-end here, while in the WinMob market it was crammed. Now they're gone, never to return again. We already scared off Sony, but what about Sony Ericsson? Hell, get Henry Kissinger to convince them your OS has more support than Symbian, which is controlled by Nokia. There are a disgusting amount of ways to spread your reach, PalmSource, but the ways you are choosing truly are .. well .. disgusting.

In summary, Cobalt and Linux won't get you back your marketshare. Resting on your laurels won't get you back your marketshare. Beating Microsoft to the punch will.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T637

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
sdf @ 12/9/2004 8:25:26 PM #
More than 4MB?!? I had no problem finding a Linux kernel that was below 400k. 1MB would probably fit the Linux kernel, TCP/IP networking, a web server... and you'd still have half the space free for web pages.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Cikub @ 12/9/2004 9:52:25 PM #
"The more you cut down the OS, the less compatible you will be with the rest of the linux software offerings. The value of the move can not be in all the brilliant handheld optimised linux software available, can it?"

I'm sure the last thing that PalmSource is thinking about is getting PalmOS smartphones to run existing linux software. They want people to develop to their OS layer--not everyone elses.

C

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
voice of chaos @ 12/9/2004 10:42:22 PM #
Actually, if we look at the history of Unix (not Linux), it was designed for a spare DEC PDP that was lying around (Ken Thompson wrote it to run a game in which he was interested). The Unix V6 code fit into 64K (I've got the Lyons book).

Linus wrote Linux because he wanted an OS that he could tinker around. That it has evolved into workstations and servers is just one market path. I've had a Sharp Zaurus for several years and the startup time and battery life are real pain points (and QTopia isn't so hot an environment, either, IMHO). If mLinux has solve those problems as they claim then they have a good jump on the Linux/Palm OS experience (well, at least the old Palm OS experience, maybe ;) ).

(Personally, while I think Palm OS on Linux is a good idea, the better aspect of the deal is the move into the China market. And I really don't see many vendors jumping on the Be-based Cobalt now - if I didn't have the device ready to ship at this point I'd at least want to know the timeframes for the Linux-based OS first, and I would probably wait for it. CMS also seems to support the same ARM vendors as PalmSource, so it's a very good fit from that standpoint.)

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
Deslock @ 12/10/2004 10:47:37 AM #
Kent has a point, however, there is a difference between MS' approach and this one:

Cramming an inefficent, buggy desktop/server OS design into a handheld *is* a flawed, inferior design decision. The problem with CE is that MS used Win32 along with its shared-DLL, registry, and memory-management nightmares as well as its general temperamental nature.

Using a more modular, stable, efficient desktop/server OS as the foundation still has some disadvantages over designing an OS from the ground-up to run on a handheld. But with mobile hardware as advanced as it is, that's no longer the issue it used to be.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/10/2004 11:39:43 AM #
> UNIX derivatives have been used for decades in embedded applications
> and have requirements that are a fraction of those for BeOS.

LMAO! You're kidding right? If you said over the past decade, you'd be pushing it. Decades??? Hilarious!

Yeah, you might of seen some "embedded" systems running Unix derivatives in the 1990's, but they were running on relatively high-end hardware for the time. Maybe even in the 80's but once again, it would've been on very high end hardware for the time. Hardly what I'd call an embedded system, and most Unix derivatives at the time didn't have much support for real-time stuff either.

Requirements-smirements ... who cares about requirements. Any decent OS today from a company other than Microsoft should be able to run circles on today's 100-400MHz PDA processors. I'm talking about pluggable micro-kernel achitectures, consideration in the design for low power requirements, real-time support, etc. Things you want for mobile/embedded devices. I can't think of one Unix-related OS that goes (or at least had its origins) in those directions. Sure Linux, with A LOT OF EFFORT, has gone in those directions, but just imagine that kind of effort behind an OS that was designed that way from the start.

> just because there is a zealous and vocal group of BeOS advocates
> out there doesn't make that true.

Well, I'm actually NOT one, but you probably think I am. I'd just like to see a mobile device with an OS that was designed for the task, and Linux isn't it. I hadn't had a chance to take a look at Cobalt yet, but I had been hoping PalmSource would use that opportunity to put together an OS designed right for handheld devices.

> To me, BeOS is a textbook example of poor engineering: it does
> what it does fairly well, but it does completely the wrong things.

Well, get your textbook out and educate us about what's wrong with BeOS (or Cobalt for that matter). When you keep telling me that Linux is better because everyone else is using it, your argument doesn't hold much weight.


RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong... (true multitasking)
FlaSheridn @ 12/10/2004 11:39:57 AM #
One correction to abosco's posting: Palm OS Cobalt does have "true multitasking" at the OS level, and the API's are exposed to third-party developers. There is still a single main application, but that's a UI decision, based on the Zen of Palm design philosophy, not an OS limitation. We don't expect this to change in PalmNix/Palm OS on the Linux Kernel/Palm OS for Linux/whatever our marketing department decides to call it.

Disclaimer: I'm a PalmSource employee (the QA lead for the Cobalt Arm Native C/C++ Compiler), but you can check this out yourself by downloading PODS from our developer site. On the broader issues, I'll defer to hackbod's posts; but on this issue, she argued strongly that we should expose our multitasking to developers. I argued against it at the time, on testing grounds, but I'm glad she won.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
abosco @ 12/10/2004 3:30:21 PM #
I know Cobalt has the capability to multitask. The problem is, developers need to recode their apps to be able to do so! What if I wish to run an old 68K version of AIM 1.1 for Palm OS and multitask it with Blazer Web Browser since I'm using a cell phone and the page trimming features of Blazer are ideal for minimal downloads? I'll be stuck doing it the same way I've been doing it for years - task switching.

Cobalt should have an option to inefficiently multitask two applications with notification of activity in a background process, so long as the user desires. This issue can be addressed by allowing the people to turn on and off multitasking in Preferences for individual applications. That would kill two birds with one stone - it would allow true (inefficient) multitasking to those of us who demand it, and turn the feature off for those of us who lack the system resources on their device. This, in my opinion, should be the types of things PalmSource should be investing R&D into - how to give customers what they demand.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T637

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
wilyone @ 12/10/2004 3:30:58 PM #
>> UNIX derivatives have been used for decades in embedded applications
>> and have requirements that are a fraction of those for BeOS.

>LMAO! You're kidding right? If you said over the past decade, you'd be pushing it. Decades??? Hilarious!

QNX has been in the RTOS business for years (embedded systems). http://www.passageway.com/camz/qnx/qnx4.html
"1.3: QNX History.

QNX was originally created by Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell in 1980 and ran on prototype, wire-wrapped 8088 and 6809 machines. The QNX community benefits tremendously from the fact that Dan and Gord still play an active role in the development and coding of the QNX operating system.

The OS was originally called Qunix, "Quick UNIX", until they received a polite letter from AT&T's lawyers asking that they change the name"



RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/10/2004 5:11:24 PM #
"UNIX derivatives have been used for decades in embedded applications and have requirements that are a fraction of those for BeOS."

LMAO! You're kidding right? If you said over the past decade, you'd be pushing it. Decades??? Hilarious!

UNIX has been used as an embedded OS for communication switches, network switches, high-end printers and copiers, industrial devices, and high-end machinery for more than 20 years. POSIX arrive in 1988 and was quickly adopted by embedded OS vendors.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/10/2004 5:17:05 PM #
"Well, get your textbook out and educate us about what's wrong with BeOS"

Do you drive a Lamborghini or some more sensible car? I assume, like most people, you drive a more sensible car. Likewise, most people only care about seeing one video at a time; the fact that BeOS thirty meant that they had optimized the wrong thing. And that's why companies like Lamborghini and BeOS are always near bankruptcy.

"(or Cobalt for that matter)."

Pretty much the same thing, only worse. BeOS might have been led a quirky side-line existence, but Palm is a mainstream business and they can't afford to mess around with that sort of nonsense. Palm needed a mainstream, industry standard kernel.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/10/2004 5:18:28 PM #
> QNX has been in the RTOS business for years

Yes, and if you looked any further into it, QNX isn't a "UNIX derivative" despite the name.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/10/2004 5:21:47 PM #
> UNIX has been used as an embedded OS for communication switches,
> network switches, high-end printers and copiers, industrial devices,
> and high-end machinery for more than 20 years.

Well if you want to call what was essentially a computer with the latest and greatest CPUs stuck in a $10,000+ switch or printer an "embedded device", that's up to you.

RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
tompi @ 12/10/2004 5:28:06 PM #
Yes, and if you looked any further into it, QNX isn't a "UNIX derivative" despite the name.

And if you looked even a little further, you'd see that both QNX and Linux implement the UNIX APIs.

http://www.qnx.com/products/rtos/


RE: As usual, Kent gets it wrong...
pmjoe @ 12/10/2004 6:05:54 PM #
> you'd see that both QNX and Linux implement the UNIX APIs

http://www.qnx.com/developers/docs/momentics621_docs/neutrino/sys_arch/intro.html

"Despite its decidedly non-UNIX architecture, QNX Neutrino implements the standard POSIX API."

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