The company behind the Palm operating system, PalmSource, has just signed a technology partnership agreement with Montavista Software. Montavista, which specialises in GNU/Linux systems for wireless devices, is best known for its Mobilinux products for mobile phones.
PalmSource Acts on Linux Ambitions
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2005-08-10 8:48 pmFreakyT
I don’t think so, because PalmSource was saying that their OS would be linux with a proprietary layer on top of that. Still, maybe the Linux underpinnings will help, like unix helped OSX.
Linux is still GPL, isnt it?And how can they use linux with propietary layer?
2005-08-10 9:57 pmAnonymous
They can use Linux (the kernel) and properiaty userland.
BTW, I have searched the Montavista’s site for sources of their modified version of Linux kernel and found nothing… Anyone know where they publish their patches?
2005-08-10 11:31 pmrm6990
They most likely supply the source code only to clients, which is completely legal and in full compliance with the GPL.
2005-08-10 11:59 pmAnonymous
Montavista has a preview kit which you can download the source from their site. And it is very easy to have propriatary modules in GPL programs let alone having an opensource framework and closedsource UI. Although, it would set PalmSource ahead of the pack if they released their GUI under GPL. I would be less apt to use a closed GUI regardless of whats underneath.
2005-08-11 12:12 amAnonymous
Well, that’s all very fine and well for the political market, but releasing the differentiating feature that is what you’re really selling (the software portion of the hardware+software total user experience) when it is the only source of your income seems like a rather foolish thing to do. After all, it isn’t like PalmSource is selling DBMS and their support, or webservers and their support, or software that’s customized to the customer’s liking for a fee. An ideology for the sake of ideology is not profitable and isn’t likely to make shareholders happy. Besides, whatever became of all the BeOS IP and the engineers that they hired as part of the buyout? It’d be stupid to throw all that away, and not all of that is capable of being made OSS, due to reality being reality. People that refuse to use something that suits their needs at a reasonable price simply because they don’t get it “free” even if it is exactly what they need are fools. Use the best tool for the purpose, and don’t get too nutty about stupid ideologies that insist people must give away what they create just because others are too damned cheap and lazy.
2005-08-10 10:08 pmAnonymous
They could use a closed source GUI.
The value in using Linux is mostly that they can move to new and different hardware quickly. They would effectively become a Palm API and UI vendor, as opposed to an OS vendor.
One of the reasons PalmSource is moving to Linux is to get out from under the licensing terms for the proprietary KADAK kernel they are currently using that prevent PalmSource from allowing application developers to use threads. Developing software for the Palm OS is torture: no threads or real processes, everything must be in a silly database format, lots of size limitations (32k code segments, 64k db record sizes), a goofy UI paradigm, a goofy application event model, inadequate development tools, and the list goes on. As I understand it, most of these limitations exist to support backwards compatability or because of licensing limitations. I expect that what PalmSource is going to do is port their existing Palm OS over to Linux and use it as a kind-of virtual machine (on ARM processors, this is what is happening already) to provide a backwards compatability layer. Then they will undoubtedly encourage new applications to be developed on top of the Linux layer. I hope that they are not too late as the Pocket PC OS isn’t hindered by any of these limitations and when Magneto comes out it stands to quickly gather a lot of momentum. In my opinion, Palm/PalmSource has been asleep at the wheel for too long and they may lose everything because of it.
2005-08-11 5:21 pmAnonymous
PalmOS 5 no longer uses the KADAK kernel. It uses a custom microkernel that runs on ARM. The PACE emulates the 68K for running old programs. All the old 16-bit limitations are present. My impression is some technology (like NVFS) has been ported from Cobalt to Garnet.
Cobalt has the new Protein API which is used to make ARM-native apps. My guess is that PalmLinux will be the Protein API and PACE running on top of Linux.
PalmOS is finished, from their lame LifeDrive product, to their inability to revamp PalmOS, to their disasterous split/remerger it’s clear this is a company headed the way of the company whose intellectual property they purchased, Be Inc. Call it the curse of Gassee. Their only successful product, Treo, will probably end up being sold by the same fools in management that decided the split was a good idea.
If they’re lucky some larger company like apple will see fit to buy them when they’re cheap and desperate, otherwise we’ll see them in the downward spiral towards chapter 11 for the next few years. Such a sad demise for a company with so much history and promise.
I only use my PDA for playing MP3s and keeping track of my work hours, that’s something I could have done with a pen, paper, and a less expensive mp3 player. I thought I could write my own apps for Palm devices using one of the programming languages I already knew, but as it turns out it’s definately not that simple.
If Palm wanted to impress me there would have been a free developers ide and compiler ready from the point of installation to compile palm apps for the device, and it would also have included an emulator and full API documentation without requiring any form of registration.
If I can write C++ applications for Windows CE, my next handheld will run that; however, having used a PDA before, the entire novelty of owning one has worn off and I would much rather use a laptop or desktop computer.
PDAs make a good replacement for notepads because they can hold more notes, addresses, etc… in a device far smaller than the reuqired notepad. But at the same time for those to be useful even in that way they would need to have a larger screen, would need to be thinner, and could use something better than the problematic grafitti which I and several others have so much trouble with. Imagine a thin tablet about the size of a mouse pad with a scroll wheel on the left or right side like the kind you have on a mouse, capable of recognizing hand writing like Windows tablets, and with a very easy software development environment for your desktop along the lines of Visual Studio to write programs for the device.
a python wrapper. Pretty please.
2005-08-11 10:05 pmgg3po
a python wrapper. Pretty please.
Your wish is my command:
Will it run Windows ….. Oh, wait I have that the wrong way don’t I?
This could be really good, especially if it is easy to develop for and isn’t as tied down as current PDA OSes. I want to be able to tweak it like I can a Linux desktop.