Motorola, who has seen its fortunes in the phone market decline a bit thanks to nimble European and Asian competition, is hoping that the Linux operating system and Chinese manufacturing and engineering talent can turn the tide, according to an article in The Register. These phones will run Linux but most of the applications that run on top will be Java.
David Adams Archive
There's a cool little app called Konfabulator for Mac OS X that allows you to display, build, and modify little "widgets" for your desktop, like the weather, a clock, or the OSNews top stories, updated continuously! Screenshot here. Thanks to Adam Pearson for the source sample. Additionally, we added support for a truckload of mobile devices and we would need your help testing them.
We've had quite the Powerbook-fest here on OS News over the past few days. I also ordered a 12" Powerbook, and I would have received it several days before Eugenia if Airborne hadn't sent it to the wrong state and then lost it somewhere between Ohio and my house. But it finally arrived, and mine is the hot commodity, a 12" Powerbook with Superdrive (DVD Burner), 640 MB RAM, Airport Extreme (802.11g), and a 60 gig HD. My impression is a little different than Eugenia's and I'm approaching from a different angle.
The Free and Open Source Software Developers' Meeting is this weekend in Brussels, and they're published several more interviews with event contributors: Harald Welte about netfilter/iptables, Solar Designer about Openwall GNU/*/Linux, Yoann Vandoorselaere about Prelude IDS, Thomas Vander Stichele about GStreamer, and Damien Sandras about GnomeMeeting.
Mega-ISP America Online reported that it lost 170,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2002, after of years of steady growth. Still, more people access the internet through AOL than any other source, but several factors have made AOL less relevant and more susceptible to competition in the past few years.
NEC and Samsung, two Asian electronics giants, have each announced new hardware components that will help them make smaller, cheaper, and more-functional devices, particularly, "smart" mobile phones. NEC has developed a new small display with a serial interface that requires fewer connecting wires and uses less power than older displays. Samsung has designed a small chip that contains a 206 MHz ARM920T processor core, 32MB of NAND flash memory, and 32MB of SDRAM on a chip measuring .7" square and .05" thick. Read more at PC World.
Apple has posted a chart in its Applecare Knowledge Base that outlines which Mac will support which releases of Mac OS 9, all the way up to the current machines which will not boot into OS 9 at all.
Until now, Sun Microsystems had a hands-off approach to the implementation of Java on mobile phones, which resulted in a chaotic and fractured Java implementation industry-wide, as different companies went their own way. Sun has taken the reigns and had proposed a road map, called "Java Technology for the Wireless Industry" or JTWI.
According to a PC World article, not only is built-in 802.11b wireless capability becoming the must-have feature for higher-end notebook computers, but vendors are starting to use dual-band chipsets that support both the widespread 802.11b standard and the faster 802.11a. 802.11a operates at 5GHz with maximum throughput of up to 54 mbps, compared to 802.11b's 2.4 GHz/11 mbps.
In preparation for the Free and Open Source Software Developers' Meeting (FOSDEM), to be held in Brussels next week, the event organizers have published interviews with several people who will be speaking at the conference. This week, they interviewed Jon Maddog Hall, who discusses Linux and the role of Linux International, and Havoc Pennington, who covers free standards and platform interoperability.
In a Microsoft mailing list posting sent yesterday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates reports that the company is making progress on its initiative to make its products more secure, though he also notes that the demand for security has risen since Microsoft began the initiative. New versions of Windows Server 2003, SQL Server, and Exchange Server will have all passed the new, more stringent, testing, and users will notice that vulnerable services will be turned off by default. Gates also promoted the use of smart cards for authentication in the email. Read more in this PC World article.
We spoke with Bill Moffitt, Product Line Manager for Solaris at Sun Microsystems. The second update to Solaris, called Solaris 9 12/02, was released this month. (Sun puts the month and year of the release date after the version number. Apparently, it was "released" in December, but don't ask why it was only made available a few days ago). In addition to bug fixes and updates that you would expect in a release like this, Sun has included a couple of big extras for capability and performance.
An article in Baseline covers the increasing reliance that everyday appliances have on complex software, and the potentially disastrous results when that software fails. One prominent example of this is the BMW 745i, which has a sort of uber-control joystick that controls a WindowsCE-based system. This system was so buggy that BMW has done two recalls. The software was too ambitious and too poorly tested, so things like the brake lights not working and the units suddenly changing to metric are the result.
A ZDNet article covering the opening of the Linux World trade show also has a thorough "state of Linux business" overview. Some highlights: Big firms like HP, IBM, and Microsoft(!) will have a big presence; it seems like Linux willl continue its rapid rise in adoption, though it will still be difficult for firms to make the huge profits that companies like Microsoft have made because Linux resists lock-in; enterprise software vendors like BEA will continue to support Linux; and hardware vendors are embracing it more.
Infoworld is reporting that Handspring, who has been an exclusive Palm OS licensee, is interested in the RIM email software. The RIM Blackberry devices have proven very popular among business users, but the Blackberry units have limited PDA capabilities. Palm-based wireless messaging devices have been less popular. Presumably, Handspring is interested in producing a "best of both worlds" solution.
The folks at Linux Journal used a time machine to post an article from the future about Intel's compiler for Linux, and specifically about the optimizations they used to beat gcc on benchmarks. The increasing acceptance of Linux among developers and researchers has yet to be matched by a similar increase in the number of available development tools. The recently released Intel C++ and Fortran compilers for Linux aim to bridge this gap by providing application developers with highly optimizable compilers for the Intel IA-32 and Itanium processor families.
In more Linux consumer electronics news, Computerworld has a short article outlining the latest inroads that the open source OS is making in the already crowded phone-OS space. NEC Corp. said today that it's working on the development of Linux-based cell phones with MontaVista Software Inc., and an executive of the Sunnyvale, Calif., software company said it's in talks with other major cellular handset makers on similar projects.
Apple is starting to promote its public beta of X11 for OS X: "X11 for Mac OS X offers a complete X Window System implementation for running X11-based applications on Mac OS X. Based on the de facto-standard for X11, the open source XFree86 project, X11 for Mac OS X is compatible, fast and fully integrated with Mac OS X . . . Native Aqua and X11 applications run side by side on the Mac OS X desktop. You can cut and paste between X11 and Aqua windows."
ZDNet is running an article that coincides with the big consumer electonics show in Las Vegas that highlights the use of Linux in electronic (non-computer) devices. Monta Vista is the vendor that has been most successful in selling its version of "embedded" Linux into devices, and they're set to release a new version especially for consumer electronics. The article gives a good background on Linux' adoption in the consumer space, in places where people don't know, and don't care, what OS their gadget is running.
Steve Jobs just announced in his Macworld Keynote that Apple is releasing its own browser, called Safari. Its claim to fame is extremely fast performance on the Mac. The Mac platform has struggled from sluggish browser performance with IE (the old default browser). Update: According to Jobs, Safari is open source and based on khtml. It only runs on Mac OS X and will be available for download today.