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ACCESS Releases Hiker Application Framework for ALP

ACCESS Systems America today announced that the Hiker Application Framework, designed to specifically to meet the requirements of Linux-based mobile phones and devices, is now available for download.

ACCESS has developed the Hiker Application Framework as part of the ACCESS Linux Platform.

New ACCESS logoAnnounced in October 2006, the Hiker Application Framework provides a set of services to install and manage applications. Released under Mozilla Public License (MPL) v1.1, the Hiker Application Framework includes security features that enable secure application management and an integrated user experience. The Hiker Application Framework is also designed to enhance application security to prevent unauthorized use of phone services or tampering with critical system data.

The Hiker Application Framework from ACCESS also provides the ability to integrate communication between applications, enabling a seamless user experience for music, messaging and other advanced features.

The ACCESS Application Framework is designed for use with GTK+. Currently, GTK+ powers the extremely popular GNOME desktop, and its use in the ACCESS Linux platform is expected to enable developers to leverage existing expertise and code.

ACCESS Application Framework Services Description

An application framework – a way to install and manage applications, along with providing the ability for applications to interact with each other and the user – is a core part of any fully integrated mobile operating system platform.

The Application Framework from ACCESS consists of several services or “managers” designed to install and manage applications and enable applications to interact with each other and the user. These include:

  • Bundle Manager: provides a unified view of all applications on the system, whether these applications are in main memory or on an extension card. The bundle manager makes it possible to manage and launch different types of applications (Java, native Linux®, Palm OS®) in an intuitive, easy to use way.  Bundle Manager hides the complexity and differences of these types of applications and presents the user an easy to use interface, common for all types.
  • Security Policy Framework (SPF): The Security Policy Framework (SPF) controls the security policy for the device. The policy used by the framework is created by a licensee and is flexible, updateable and separate from the mechanisms used to enforce it. The Policy Framework works in conjunction with a kernel level enforcement component that works in concert with the Policy Framework.
  • Exchange Manager: handles the exchange of data between applications and between devices. Developers can readily add new transport protocols simply by writing a new plug-in. Once the plug-in is installed, Exchange Manager makes the new transport available to all applications.
  • Notification Manager: informs applications of unsolicited events, including incoming calls, messaging, system sleep and network signaling. Because messages are not “hard wired” to specific applications, developers can substitute and add new applications at any time simply by registering their application to the required notifications.
  • Application Server: manages an applications’ lifecycle—installation, launch, suspension, resumption and termination.
  • Attention Manager: provides a central clearing house for application-generated events that are displayed to the user. Alerts include incoming calls, SMS, MMS, appointment, incoming email market urgent, user-set target stock price alarms and low battery. Developers can easily customize these notifications for specific hardware, services and applications.
  • Alarm Manager: notifies both active and inactive applications of real-time alarm events (managed by the Attention Manager). This service provides developers a consistent way to request that an alarm be triggered at a particular time.
  • Global Settings Services: provides a common API for all applications and services to access user preferences, including fonts and font sizes and system themes.

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More open, less proprietary

cervezas @ 12/22/2006 11:36:20 AM # Q
I give ACCESS credit for opening up more of the MAX framework than I expected them to. Hiker does not include the user interface, which is where PalmSource's Rome project innovations live, and what folks here will be most interested in seeing. But together with the SQLite-based file system they contributed to open source earlier in the year they've opened up a pretty broad swath of their middleware: many if not most of the APIs that developers will work with day to day.

It's a very good move--the first and absolutely necessary step to combatting fragmentation of mobile Linux. The next step is working with LIPS and OSDL to get this stuff approved as a standard by the Linux community.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: More open, less proprietary
PenguinPowered @ 12/22/2006 1:17:41 PM # Q
It is certainly a good example of "it's due, ship whatever we've got."

I am surprised that ALP has retained the 'application must be a shared library' approach.

We'll just have to wait and see how that goes over with developers.

May You Live in Interesting Times

RE: More open, less proprietary
cervezas @ 12/22/2006 2:16:33 PM # Q
It is certainly a good example of "it's due, ship whatever we've got."

Well, it looks like there might be some truth to that. The docs are incomplete and they stated that there would be another drop by Dec 31 (!) including the missing security libraries. Somebody's working through the holidays I guess.

I am surprised that ALP has retained the 'application must be a shared library' approach.

We'll just have to wait and see how that goes over with developers.

Heh, as far as Palm developers go, keep in mind that they're used to applications being written as mere subroutines called from inside a single system process.

Whatsa matter with an app being a shared library? I like the prospect of apps being able to make calls on each other.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: More open, less proprietary
Gekko @ 12/22/2006 3:06:13 PM # Q

>It is certainly a good example of "it's due, ship whatever we've got."

-----

April 21, 2005
Joaquin Menchaca (San José, CA USA)

Now I was there before and after Amelio was there, when things were in dire straits. My manager in a team meeting would ask "Common sense, and why is there none at Apple?" When in a rare moment, all of the QA divisions would say thumbs down to shipping the buggy OS, the infamous Dave Nagel would say ship it anyways. The local community college in Cupertino (who dearly love Macs) had actually put a purchase freeze on Macs. I recall Amelio relaying a story about him trying out the new Macs at his desk, and had it crash all the time; he understood there was a serious problem and tried to do something about it, but unfortunately there was Nagel and others. Some engineers' attitudes was the workaround for the bug was to "buy a new computer". Now Nagel is off to Palm to destroy drive that into the ground.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0887309194/ref=pd_sxp_f/102-2493192-9888151?v=glance&s=books



RE: More open, less proprietary
PenguinPowered @ 12/23/2006 3:26:12 AM # Q
The arguments pro and con on 'application as shared library' are detailed esoteric discussions of the fine points of shared libraries versus processes on a unix-like OS such as linux.

Rather than go down the path of that level of detail, I'll just say that the approach is enough at odds with "the linux way", that we'll just have to wait and see how well it is received by developers.

As far as apps being able to make calls on one another, the "linux way" is heading in the direction of d-bus, which is a local backplane for IPC mechanisms. d-bus is low level and it makes sense for ALP to have a mechanism on top of it to make it more programmer friendly but it meets the needs of applications calling each other with modest overhead and without introducing a novel unfamiliar programming model.

May You Live in Interesting Times

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Community Reaction is Positive

stonemirror @ 12/23/2006 2:02:54 AM # Q
My collesagues and I presented this at the LiPS architectural working group meeting in Seoul just this past week; the release timing was intended to coincide with that. It was greeted was a significant degree of enthusaism, and has also been the subject of some interest on the OSDL MLI mailing list and elsewhere.

There's an improved drop up there as of today, which includes the security components (which we wanted to take a couple of extra days with) and some other additional material.

I guess we can't win for losing with this crowd: if we bring it out expediently, we get moaning that it's incomplete; if we wait to bring it out until it's complete, we get accused of dragging our feet.

There's simply no satisfying some people, I fear... Me, I'd say it compares quite favorably with the initial version of many, if not most, open source projects I've seen. Obviously, there are gaps; obviously they'll improve. And, of course, it is open source: if you feel strongly about something being lacking, you're quite welcome to pitch in and attempt to help, within your capacities, abilities and expertise to do so, of course...

Merry Christmas! Hope Santa Claus brings you something better than coal and sticks.

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
PenguinPowered @ 12/23/2006 3:32:48 AM # Q
Congratulations on the acceptance of Hiker by Lips.

I wish for you a continuation of the success ALP has had with its previous open source release, OpenBinder, and look forward to the web site, accessable source repository and discussion mailing list for Hiker.


May You Live in Interesting Times

Waiting for something REAL. Waiting for Godot. Waiting for Gassée
The_Voice_of_Reason @ 12/23/2006 5:53:21 AM # Q
and look forward to the web site, accessable source repository and discussion mailing list for Hiker.

Build it and they will come? It's a fine line between begging for help Vs. fostering an environment conducive to voluntary donations, isn't it? Unfortunately, the Linux community doesn't need ALP-OS, whereas Access/PalmSource NEEDS the Linux community. I suggest dangling a few more carrots and thinking long + hard about the best ways to encourage Linux geeks to contribute.

Prediction: Ain't gonna happen. Real leadership was needed 12 - 18 months ago + was sorely lacking. At this point we have half a dozen chickens running aroung with their heads cut off. The situation doesn't exactly compare well with Symbian or Windows Mobile...

TVoR

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
cervezas @ 12/23/2006 7:58:20 AM # Q
Well, as you yourself have pointed out, Lefty, the folks who participate in this forum are self-selected, and most who aren't in it to watch or administer the daily "biotchslappings" left long ago. That's obviously going to skew the reaction you get and filter out most of the folks that could extend a sincere "Congratulations."

Kudos for the LIPS win, and here's to seeing it parlayed into a successful public open source project in the New Year, with all that that entails (public source control repository, developer forum, etc.)

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
freakout @ 12/23/2006 8:51:38 AM # Q
Merry Christmas! Hope Santa Claus brings you something better than coal and sticks.

Giggle. I read that just after reading this Onion article:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56321

Don't read it if you're a teenager. It will give you nightmares.

Merry Christmas to you too, and godspeed giving us another alternative to Microsoft. :)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
twrock @ 12/23/2006 10:21:49 AM # Q
I can certainly agree with the "another alternative to Microsoft" sentiment. I do hope that ALP can help keep mobile Linux moving forward. And if you really can retain some of the classic Palm OS goodness in there, then more power to ya.

(And don't worry too much about the negativity here on PIC. I think turning forty this year has made "some people" particularly grumpy. Maybe they'll feel better in 2007.)

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
cervezas @ 12/23/2006 11:01:11 AM # Q
twrock wrote:
I think turning forty this year...

Forty? In that case, I'm back to calling you "boy!" :-)

Back on topic: Not that anyone would take TVoR's assessment about the Linux community seriously, but for the record, the kind of application framework that ACCESS just released seems to be exactly what the Linux community needs. I don't mean that as a technical assessment of Hiker, which I'm probably not the best person to give. I just mean that mobile Linux has been crying out for a standard way to do the things that Hiker does. I'm optimistic that the interest from the LiPS and MLI standards bodies bodes well for mobile Linux having that standard now.

In response to Marty's point about "the Linux way" and the need for ACCESS to follow it: again, I don't have Marty's Linux creds, but as a mobile developer of many years I do know this: part of what makes integrating Linux on a mobile phone difficult is that "the Linux way" does not always work so well in that context. I've been saying for a while (going back to when there were the discussions about whether or not ALP should use X) that the first priority should be coming up with a system that is appropriate to the machine it's running on. Consistency with the desktop "Linux way" is desirable within the constraints of that priority, but not a be-all-end-all consideration, IMO.

Also, it's my understanding that the shared library scheme Marty was referring to is not as far out of the Linux mainstream as he might be suggesting. I just had an exchange with Ben Combee who mentioned that KDE uses a similar scheme with KDE-launchable modules: apps written as shared libraries that can inherit the app startup code from the kdeinit daemon.


David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
twrock @ 12/23/2006 12:11:34 PM # Q
"Forty?" I blew by forty quite some time ago! I only wish I could say I had turned forty this year. No, I was referring to "someone else". He knows who he is. ;-)

Now regarding the terms and lingo people like you and Marty and David throw around, I'll just sit on the sidelines and (hopefully) cheer when the team scores a touchdown. If ACCESS can deliver a great mobile Linux (like I'm finally starting to experience on my PC), I'll be very pleased. But I'm completely lost in all the "details".

I'm still waiting for the mythical color HandEra.

RE: Community Reaction is Positive
PenguinPowered @ 12/23/2006 1:35:44 PM # Q
part of what makes integrating Linux on a mobile phone difficult is that "the Linux way" does not always work so well in that context.

Over the past two years I have come to the conclusion that "not so well" may well mean that Linux is never going to have more than a niche role in mobile devices.

the first priority should be coming up with a system that is appropriate to the machine it's running on. Consistency with the desktop "Linux way" is desirable within the constraints of that priority, but not a be-all-end-all consideration, IMO.

By the time ALP is delivered, the "machine it's running on" is going to be two Moore's-Law generations beyond the current machines. It's likely to be a 500+mhz ARM11 based device with a lot more storage, four radios, fake surround sound capability and even video.

The issue with "Linux way" isn't simply a matter of consistency with the desktop. It's a matter of leveraging the available tools. The farther you veer from the Linux desktop the more difficult it is going to be to use the open source tools that attracted you to Linux in the first place and the more difficult it will be to get your modifications into the mainstream Linux open source.



May You Live in Interesting Times

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Does It Matter Anymore?

Haber @ 12/23/2006 11:35:42 AM # Q
I don't see how much this will actually matter. Palm seems to be set to further developing their own PalmOS off of Garnet. What Palm licensees left won't want to break software compatibility with the Palm units, so they'll most likely be using Palm's OS, not ACCESS. I don't see a future for ACCESS in the Palm world.

RE: Does It Matter Anymore?
Gekko @ 12/23/2006 12:31:35 PM # Q

Agreed. Having three OS's would be like having three tits. You only need two and a third one would just get in the way.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!



RE: Does It Matter Anymore?
e_tellurian @ 12/25/2006 12:11:14 PM # Q
OS Purpose?

Currently we have mobile phones, PDA, and smartphone OS, will we need/want application specific OS for an interactive we-com industry? $222,000,000,000 in identity theft issues is a good reason for a fourth application specific OS.

Merry Christmas, and happy new year.

E-T

e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

Reply to this comment

yay

matt_laughs @ 12/24/2006 3:22:13 PM # Q
treo 680 just ordered after reading this story.

thats what she said!
RE: yay
AdamaDBrown @ 12/24/2006 4:55:04 PM # Q
Er, you do know that you can't put this framework on the 680, right?

Reply to this comment

,

matt_laughs @ 12/24/2006 7:46:42 PM # Q
Yeah i know that, thats not the point. i have used linux and my dad was a programmer for 30 years, kobol fortran basic assembler binary (before they had compilers) even had a dual boot xp system so the reason is that I believe this could be upgradable.

thats what she said!
RE: ,
freakout @ 12/24/2006 10:57:07 PM # Q
Just to step in as a spelling nazi:

COBOL = the programming langugage.
Kobol = the 13th Colony from Battlestar Galactica.

:P

RE: ,
matt_laughs @ 12/24/2006 11:01:29 PM # Q
the thing with linux is, on a desktop, you cant get it to slow down. the reason they arent going with faster cpus is not battery life.

thats what she said!
RE: ,
matt_laughs @ 12/24/2006 11:57:15 PM # Q
hey spelling nazi would you go over to the order center at the palm store.

i called in the order cause i am on wifi and they mispelled my name (matthew is such an exotic name i know, not as exotic as mathew though)my street name was wrong. and of course i just found out, and they're closed.

thats what she said!

RE: ,
retrospooty @ 12/25/2006 5:30:06 PM # Q
Just to step in as a dork nazi (and I feelreally embarreassed for even knowing thisbut...):

Kobol = the original planet that the 13 colonies fled from thousands of years ago. 12 went to one genaral area, the 13th went to Earth.

D'oh! My geek credentials have gone up in flames.
freakout @ 12/25/2006 6:02:24 PM # Q
^^ An amateur mistake! My apologies, BSG fans yelling at their monitors. I humbly submit myself for a flogging. Preferably by Six. :D
RE: ,
Gekko @ 12/25/2006 8:25:22 PM # Q
>COBOL = the programming langugage.
Kobol = the 13th Colony from Battlestar Galactica.

and don't forget about COBALT.



RE: ,
matt_laughs @ 12/26/2006 2:11:19 AM # Q
yeah dont forget about low ball, thats how us jews negeotiate.
i thought nibiru planet x was the planet we came from, according to egyptians

thats what she said!
Reply to this comment

BRING COBALT BACK !!!

uuhh @ 1/15/2007 5:50:26 PM # Q
GET AWAY THIS F*** PENGUIN !!!
NO UBUNTU ON PALM !!!


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