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AllLinuxDevices: Weekly Roundup: October 18, 2000

Oct 19, 2000, 00:25 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

Embedded Linux, despite the recent adulation it's received, is still slow in turning up in things you can pick up off the shelf. In the next couple of months that picture will change slowly but surely. The Agenda handheld, for instance, will be available later this month, and the company's accepting pre-orders now.

Just this week, though, several announcements were made that indicate there's plenty of motion in the sorts of projects that form the building blocks for Linux in the embedded space. Of particular interest are the ongoing improvements to Microwindows, which recently added support for features that will make it particularly useful for handheld devices. Hot on the heels of the newest release came news that Mozilla has been made Nano-X-capable, meaning the browser is now also able to turn up in Internet appliances and handhelds:

That wasn't the only news, though:
  • SiS Accomplishes the First-Ever x86 Platform for LinuxBIOS
    "In contrast to traditional BIOS, the LinuxBIOS takes less than 32KB of flash memory and enables the whole booting process within 8 seconds. These two leading-edge features are considered to be the keys of the future Internet Appliance (IA)."
  • deepLINUX announces new dELT RC2
    "This is a major bugfix, repairing the init issues as well as the 8.3 filename problems of deepLinux's embedded toolkit."
  • PeeWee Linux 0.52 Released
    PeeWee Linux is an attempt to make the configuration and installation of a Linux operating system on an embedded platform as painless as possible. Based on Red Hat 6.2, PeeWee Linux provides a gui configuration tool, USB capabilities, and X support. Single floppy systems may also be built out of PeeWee Linux.

In addition to the variety of projects making announcements, there was a spate of news about the first laptops using Transmeta's Crusoe. From a speed point of view, the chip's performance isn't startling, and even comes up looking a little anemic, but momentum is building all the same, as the week's headlines indicated:

  • ZDNet: Intel's low-power Crusoe challenger
    "The chips, which consume less power than current mobile Pentium IIIs with Speedstep Technology, are being moved into production sooner than originally planned to counter Transmeta's low-power Crusoe processor, which began shipping in notebooks in Japan last month."
  • Yahoo/Reuters: Sony Unveils New-Look VAIO Laptop PCs
    "Inside, the VAIO GT uses Transmeta Corp.'s Crusoe chip, which conserves laptop battery life by using software to perform many functions previously reserved for hardware."
  • The Register: NEC shows off Transmeta notebook
    "NEC claims the laptop can run up to 11 hours on a single charge because of the processor, the kind of LCD screen it has used, as well as the high-capacity lithium polymer battery. The reflective LCD screen doesn't need a power hungry backlight."
  • Wired: Transmeta Chip No Speed Demon
    "Sony and NEC launched the first notebooks based on Transmeta's revolutionary new Crusoe chip, but preliminary benchmark scores seem to indicate the much-ballyhooed chips are no speed demons."
  • osOpinion: Transmeta's First Products
    "Wasn't this thing developed with Linus Torvalds' input? Why the heck doesn't the first Crusoe product have Linux pre-loaded on it?"

Cobalt continues to be the source of no small amount of curiosity. Sun recently announced their intentions to purchase the server appliance company, but no one's exactly clear on whether Sun intends to keep the company intact as a "Linux company," or move their appliances over to a Solaris-based OS.

  • Cobalt Mum on Sun's Plans, Rolls out Qube3 Appliances
    "There's been a lot of speculation on the future of Cobalt now that Sun has announced its intentions to purchase the company for $2 billion. During a rundown of the company's new Qube3 server appliance, we asked about the future of Linux at Cobalt, and found out no one's ready to talk yet."

And the Indrema took one step closer to availability with this reminder from CEO John Gildred:

  • The Indrema Developer Network is Coming!
    "The Indrema Developer Network (IDN) will allow today's independent game developers to access Software Development Kit tools and additional information about the Indrema console -- L600."
We previously reported on the Indrema Developer Network, a joint production between Indrema and CollabNet:

The Indrema/CollabNet parternership: An Open Source Run on the Titans of Gaming

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