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O'Reilly Network: Bootstrapping the YOPY PDA

Jun 17, 2001, 12:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Halsall)

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O'Reilly Network takes a look at the Yopy PDA, the third in its series on Linux PDA's. Besides the usual run down the specs, this review offers insight into an interesting design decision: G.Mate has decided to drop the W Window System for X.

"...Because of the incompatibility between W and X, not to mention the inability to import and export displays to W, the porting of applications has been significantly hindered. Despite complaints by developers on the mailing list, G.Mate stuck by its decision, arguing it provided faster displays and a commitment to other commercial parties to provide the W environment. [Note: See the update at the end of this article].

Fortunately for the developer community, Young Hoon Kim, a G.Mate programmer, ported X to the YOPY and made it available "unofficially." Finally, giving up trying to hold back water, G.Mate agreed an X environment would become the new base installation for the YOPY, dumping W Windows. In addition, a 2.4.x kernel would be made available, largely based on the work done by the group.

This shift in direction demonstrates (again) that introducing an incompatible technology without strong justification just won't work. Particularly amongst open/free programmers, no one is willing to invest in your new technology unless its worth their time. While W may be faster than X on a 206-MHz machine, is it worth the loss of compatibility? Empirically, NO!"

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