The man, the legend: a main developer of the BeOS. Did the App Server, Interface Kit, Application Kit. These days, Benoit Schillings does something else entirely: he’s currently the chief technology officer at Myriad, where he and his team is working on Alien Dalvik. Now that I know he’s the one leading this team, I know for sure we’ve got something special here.
Schillings is obviously somewhat of a legendary name around these parts. Some of the more recent additions to the OSNews readership might not realise it, but we are, effectively, an illegitimate bastard child of BeNews, where Eugenia worked before breathing life into OSNews. Fun fact: she found OSNews simply by typing the URL into the address bar, without knowing if she’d actually end up somewhere. OSNews was – if I recall correctly – pretty barren at that point, so she contacted its owner (hi David!), and rewrote the site from scratch to suit her needs.
Yes, I cherish our heritage. It does explain why OSNews always had a sort of special association with the BeOS world, which was further strengthened by the fact that I, too, am a massive BeOS zealot. But, enough history.
We already reported on Alien Dalvik not too long ago, but apart from a nice demo, we didn’t really have anything to go by. Luckily for us, Engadget dropped by Myriad’s booth at Mobile World Congress, and Schillings himself demonstrated Alien Dalvik running on Maemo on the N900.
Let’s start with a bit of news that should make the boatloads of Qt fans around here very happy: it is coded using Qt (not s surprise considering Schillings worked at Trolltech), in an entirely portable fashion. While they’re focussing on Maemo on the N900 right now, you should eventually be able to run this on Symbian as well, and possibly wherever else Qt runs.
Intriguingly, he also stated that it should be able to run on devices that do not have Qt – so I’m guessing the necessary Qt bits are then embedded inside Alien Dalvik or something? Some experts out here that could help with this one?
As good as it already seems to work, this is very much pre-production code, so there are a number of limitations. For instance, Schillings mentions that Angry Birds is problematic because it requires native code execution. He states that they know how to solve that issue, but that they haven’t yet implemented it.
Us end users won’t be able to just buy Alien Dalvik once it’s ready; the idea is that device manufacturers and carriers will buy the technology and integrate it into their devices. Now that I know Schillings is involved, I’m actually quite excited about the prospects of this technology.