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Linux OS for Palm Hardware Available

Empower Technologies announced today at the LinuxWorld Expo that it has released the full version of the Linux DA operating system for the Palm IIIx, IIIxe, and Vx. They also announced licencing deals with two Taiwanese companies to ship handhelds with their OS preinstalled.

Linux DA O/S v1.0 DBE replaces the Palm OS within the handheld but still remains fully compatible with the hardware. Using the open source Linux kernel, they created the first Linux compatible OS scaled down for Palm platform. Linux DA can back up to a desktop PC and is able to utilize handwriting recognition for data input.

The consumer version is $40 and the professional one, which adds an SDK and tech support, is $60. A demo version is available.

Linux DA has fifteen apps, including apps for keeping track of schedules, addresses, memos, and expenses. It also has a drawing app, a couple of games, and more. It includes some desktop apps, too: To-do, Memo, Expense, Address,  Schedule, Install, and DataSync.

"Just as the PC market shifted radically when the operating system was unbundled from the hardware, we believe that the Palm-compatible market is going to explode with the release of our embedded Linux DA O/S," said Paul Leung, President and CEO of Empower Technologies. "The consumer and licensee markets are definitely ready. When we released the demo version of Linux DA O/S for Palm just over a month ago, the download rate on our web site was over 30,000 copies in under three weeks."

Elitegroup Computer Systems and APlux Communications both plan to release handhelds running Linux DA.

"We are very pleased to have secured a licensing agreement with Empower Technologies,'' said David Chang, Vice President of Elitegroup Computer Systems, one of the leading motherboard manufacturers in Taiwan. "We believe that the availability of a Linux Palm-compatible operating system will serve to provide more choice to consumers.''

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Awesome!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 5:43:55 PM #
Another one for the penguin!

RE: Awesome!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 5:51:39 PM #
Is the kernel GPL'd or LGPL'd, are they really following the licencing? Hard to imagine this gone be any success if you have to pay 40$ for it.

Wow! 15 apps!

palmcoder @ 8/27/2001 5:58:47 PM #
They've already surpassed the number of PocketPC apps!

Kidding aside, can someone explain why I would want to flash this linux OS over the preinstalled palm OS? I fail to see the value...

-pc-



RE: Wow! 15 apps!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 6:07:34 PM #
lol. Having just purchased a PPC, I hear that!

Seriously, given the simplicity of Palm OS, and the number of apps for it, I have to wonder the same thing - why get linux? I guess there's a large and active developer community for it, but I have to wonder if the OS is really the best thing for handhelds, and whether it's something the average consumer will want to bother with. Actually, I don't wonder at all about the last bit. If you're going to go linux, I'd say you're better off doing it on PPC hardware.

Also, I'd have to take issue with the statement that "...the PC market shifted radically when the operating system was unbundled from the hardware," It doesn't seem that is true, at least on a consumer level. Very few consumers run linux, and 99.99 percent of all consumer PCs come with Windows...

RE: Wow! 15 apps!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 6:14:01 PM #
People would want this so their friends can go "woooo" when they see what you've done with your palm. But I get enough "woooo"s from Silver Screen already.

RE: Wow! 15 apps!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 8:58:02 PM #
Agreed! Silver paired with a color Palm is 2 di fo'....

RE: Wow! 15 apps!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 2:34:01 AM #
There are several reasons why Linux is very suitable for handheld computing, including Palms.

Quality is not an issue here. The Palm OS is a solid one and there are many good apps for it. But Linux has more.

A Palm computer running Linux is a potentially awesome network client. Linux is a mature network OS whereas Palm is still developing that. Employing such a device in an enterprise network environment would be easy. Internet? Peanuts.

There are a lot of apps around for the Palm OS. But imagine the possibilities of having all those Linux apps available. Many of which should require little or no porting at all since they were designed to run efficiently on modest hardware anyway. The next generation of handhelds will be more powerful than an old 386. All that is required to run Linux.

And I don't think it's wrong for Palm to have some competition and for the buying public to be able to choose whatever fits their needs.

Mind you, if these guys manage to build up a developer community around this, things could go very quickly from here. Having the full power of the open source movement working for you means you can get great things at an incredible speed.
Ask Linus. Ask Bill, too.

RE: Wow! 15 apps!
tipds @ 8/28/2001 9:56:20 AM #
I disagree about the power of Linux DA. It is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the Palm OS. There is no command line, no multi tasking, etc. It has lost everything that makes Linux desirable. On top of that, Empower is unresponsive to tech. support questions. The only Linux inherited quality of Linux DA is it's lack of "across-the-board" support. I will be suprised if it goes anywhere, withouth MAJOR change.

Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 6:25:38 PM #
.

RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 6:59:58 PM #
I agree!

RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 10:33:48 PM #
What? You mean you don't want to pay $40 so that you can do less with your Palm-powered handheld than you can right now? Where is that open source spirit? :)

RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.
sub_tex @ 8/28/2001 8:53:57 AM #
I agree that $40 for it is nuts, but you people are forgetting that if you were a linux developer and you had the chance to write your apps for your palm, you'd jump on that in a second.

Just because YOU personally don't dig it, it doesn't negate the opportunity it allows linux enthusiasts.

I know even if I was a hobbyist Linux dev, i'd install it on my old palm.

But then again, they want you paying dough for this thing........why would i pay for linux again?

RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is d
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 9:26:44 AM #
"I agree that $40 for it is nuts, but you people are forgetting that if you were a linux developer and you had the chance to write your apps for your palm, you'd jump on that in a second."

First, most Linux enthusiasts expect everything to be free, not $40-$60. It's $60 with the SDK! Second, it's already easy for people using Linux to develop apps for the Palm OS. All the tools including emulator are available under Linux, easily downloadable, and for free.


RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 1:54:32 PM #
I am a Linux diveloper and agree too. Linux for pal is ridiculous. The only thing beautiful about Linux for the PC is that it is powerful. The palm itself does not have the hardware power needed like for example to be used as a network server.

any way, altough i write linux software I still use Windows me because of its ease of use and software (who can live without office, Encarta and all the games ;)
I won't be paying 40 bucks to make my palm less capable and more complex to use.

RE: Linux for Palm is a solution without a problem.This is dumb.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 2:15:08 PM #
Although LinuxOS on Palm hardware sound ridiculous, LinuxOS as PDA OS alternative sound reasonable.

If we talk in individual consumer side, consumer may satified with what PalmOS can do. But how about corporate side??? PalmOS is far behide PPC OS (such as radio streaming, network, media capability)

while PalmOS can't do something that PPC OS can do, I'm sure that Linux PDA OS has capability to do anything that PPC OS can do. so power users have more choice.


Cool!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 8:18:10 PM #
I can't WAIT to run Apache on my Vx!! This is the greatest idea ever! Where can I invest in this company? They should also get into the online grocery business!!

RE: Cool!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 9:26:57 PM #

dude, you don't need *nix for that!

you can already run an HTTP server on a palm device with a Minstrel modem.

http://www.citi.umich.edu/u/rees/pilot/

believe it or not, but this actually works! It creates a website where you can access records held in the datebook, address book, etc.



RE: Cool!
Hed @ 8/27/2001 9:28:58 PM #
I'm planing on running my company's MySQL database on mine.

RE: Cool!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 2:02:36 PM #
Not so cool.

You wont be able to run apache. Standard Linux apps don't run on the palm. Apps for the palm OS version of linux have to be specially written for the palm. Trust me i already tried porting some programs I developed myself in linux and it is a pain. This Linux for palm is totally different from the regular PC linux.

RE: Cool!
Hed @ 8/28/2001 6:47:42 PM #
Yeah, and we weren't being sarcastic either.

Hint: That was sarcasm.

Who are the idiots paying these guys' bills?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 9:06:01 PM #
"Just as the PC market shifted radically when the operating system was unbundled from the hardware, we believe that the Palm-compatible market is going to explode with the release of our embedded Linux DA O/S,"

Hmmm ... except the hardware you're developing for is about to become obsolete.

RE: Who are the idiots paying these guys' bills?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 9:51:15 PM #
Tell that to Palm Inc.

RE: Who are the idiots paying these guys' bills?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 8:25:16 AM #
Huh? First off, this thing is going to be dog slow. Secondly, it's hardly free, so it's a sure flop with the community it's best targeted at.

Linux on Palm

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 10:30:35 PM #
The idea of Linux running on Palms is intriguing. With the possible exception of very specialized uses, there is little motive to move to Linux. Think of all of the applications which won't run any longer. But the port raises two very interesting questions:

1. With a virtual PalmOs environment running under Linux, might this mean that we could run multiple applications concurrently? Now THAT would be incredible. Since I started using my Minstrel I am faced with having to wait until my mail is sent and received, or my AvantGo is synched before I can look up a phone number. The point is that being able to run a couple of applications in the background while I run another application in the foreground is tantalizing.

2. How about upgrading the PalmOs operating system to allow for switching between multiple concurrently-running tasks? If Linux inspires Palm to do this, that would be a great service to the Palm community.


RE: Linux on Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 3:14:35 AM #
Consider it done.
Palm bought Be...

When's the IPO?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 11:15:11 PM #
...and no shell tool? What's the point if you can't talk to the kernel?!

This company also had another press release stating that they were porting OpenGL over to Palm hardware, but it will only support the Palm III and M100.

RE: When's the IPO?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 4:09:53 PM #
I would presume that it might be possible to get busybox to help with shell tools. If the open source part of their
release is better then uClinux, that group may just start building on that.

I don't see how they can do M100 given that it doesn't flash.

What a combo!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2001 11:30:08 PM #
Imagine - the raw power of a Motorola Dragonball CPU and a high resolution 160x160 screen combined with the intuitive and user friendly Linux operating system. Where do I sign up?

Brad Benson
brad@notamd.com

RE: What a combo!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 7:00:00 PM #
Don't forget the vast 8MB of storage.

I think

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 12:35:06 AM #
I think this has little to offer for folks that are already using Palm PDAs - except for some hard-core linux geeks that want Linux everywhere.

The folks that will really be interested in this are PDA manufacturers that don't want a closed-source, licensed OS, or who need something that Palm can't provide.

I can't think of a specific example, but that doesn't mean there isn't someone out there for whom this is the perfect answer.

What confuses me is the high price. $40? Sheesh! I'll grab µLinux and do it myself...

RE: I think
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 3:47:00 PM #
Hi,

I am still struggling with uClinux since I have linux 2.4 kernel, the old kernel standard with uClinux does not compile. Also, I don't know of GUI with uClinux. The site is not well maintained. The mailing lists and combination of other sites have to be used to find out how to do 2.4 kernel and I'm still not sure.

I have tried Linux DA demo and it does have a GUI and sample apps. The problem is they will have propietary GUI which may mean porting problems. I may be possible to come up with FLTK lib based on their gui and port Agenda apps, but it's just a theory. Since palm VIIx is so cheap (I paid more for my IIIxe last year) I installed Linux DA and will live without the wireless capabilities.

The biggest problem with Linux DA is that the way they are releasing it it has no community now, and I don't know what they mean by licensing an allegedy open source OS unless it's like Cygwin.

RE: I think
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/30/2002 10:55:40 PM #
I tried on VIIx (eventhough it says it's not supposed to work on it).
It looked OK, until I tried to sync it on windows. The tech support
said that it's not supposed to work with VIIx. If you know a way
to get it to work, let me know yinlight@netscape.net.

Clever Empower

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 1:13:03 AM #
While you fools are debating the usability of Linux on a Palm handheld, Empower is laughing all the way to the bank by selling thousands of licenses to the many hardware OEMs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China whom Palm has high-handedly spurned.

Within twelve months expect to see first Asia Pacific and then later the world flooded with cheap sub $100 handhelds which will effectively pull the rug under such low end Palm models like the m100 etc.

This will force Asian Palm licensees like Sony, Acer and Samsung to concentrate on the mid to high end of the market and effectively clobber Palm.

As I look at it, if Palm don't wake up the idea soon, they'll go the way of the Apple II.

RE: Clever Empower
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 6:19:17 AM #
There is a bright thought. LOL Like your "vision"...idiot.

RE: Clever Empower
ganoe @ 8/28/2001 8:28:32 AM #
"While you fools are debating the usability of Linux on a Palm handheld, Empower is laughing all the way to the bank by selling thousands of licenses to the many hardware OEMs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China whom Palm has high-handedly spurned."

At $40 a pop they're not. I seriously doubt they can do any better, most likely worse, than Palm's licensing fees. Plus they're going to have a hard time getting anyone to develop apps for it at that price.

RE: Clever Empower
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 9:16:23 AM #
we know that palm is charging something like $9-$10 per seat for the OS to OEMs, so how is a $40 a pop Linux OS going to undercut palm? the hardware is the same so those costs don't change.

RE: Clever Empower
Ed @ 8/28/2001 9:38:31 AM #
I'm sure Empower is charging their licensees much less than they charge their regular customers.

I agree with the original "Clever Empower" comment; these companies plan to hit the Chinese market with low-cost handhelds. They probably plan to under-cut Palm's prices by not doing much advertising, customer support or R&D, allowing them to sell the handhelds at just above cost and still make a profit.

I'm not saying this is a guaranteed success. I don't know enough about the Chinese market to make that judgement, but it at least seems to have a decent chance. I've read reports that handheld use is taking off in China while Palm has mostly ignored the whole country.

---
News Editor

RE: Clever Empower
Lucky @ 8/28/2001 11:18:46 AM #
What I don't understand is how they expect to SELL Linux when it's GPL. Isn't that illegal?

RE: Clever Empower
ganoe @ 8/28/2001 11:29:45 AM #
Just speculating from the download area of their website, it looks like they're going to release the source for their Linux kernel, which is probably enough to cover them under GPL. Their PDA desktop and apps probably won't be free then, which I'm sue most will frown on. What's really bad is $60 for the SDK. That'll kill any chance of most serious Linux people developing apps for it.

RE: Clever Empower
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/28/2001 2:10:31 PM #
I china no one uses Linux.

Trust me we Chinese people want simplycity and standrad abaliability of programs. The linux user base for Pc in here is about nonexistent while Windows has almost 100% of the market. I think Pocket PC and palm OS has much more chance for these people using Windows.

Linen Wong

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