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AllLinuxDevices: Weekly Roundup: October 25, 2000

Oct 25, 2000, 19:48 (0 Talkback[s])

In This Issue:

Community Notes:

We're very interested in the http://handhelds.org project for a couple of reasons. First, it's attracted some noteworthy hackers; second, it offers a path to handheld Linux that doesn't require waiting around for a manufacturer. The project has yielded results already: a dramatically reduced X (under 800k), numerous ports, and some other interesting developments, not the least of which is the port of the Python programming language to the environment:

  • Handhelds.org: Programming in Python on the iPAQ mini-HOWTO
    Edward Muller has prepared a mini-HOWTO on programming in Python on the Compaq iPAQ. The iPAQ is one of several handheld platforms upon which Linux developers are currently working to develop handheld Linux. Handhelds.org is sponsored by Compaq, who opened the specifications of the iPAQ up to open source developers.
  • We were also pleased to note that the Bayonne Telephony project has a new web page with a lot more information. David Sugar's announcement appeared on the site Monday:

  • Bayonne Project Has a New Site

The Week That Was:

Three items offered a look at Linux from the embedded angle, with a piece appearing in Business 2.0 proving especially provocative. We're still fond of imagining a place for Linux on the desktops of moms and pops everywhere, so the notion that Linux will be a mere 'also ran' in that area wasn't the most palatable. We're in full agreement, though, with the idea that the Linux kernel is nothing if not malleable. Argue the merits of the applications all you want, Linux is turning up everywhere.

  • Linux.com: Why Embedded?
    "The new generation of Linux-based embedded devices have a different market. ...the largest advantage to an embedded system is what it doesn't have ... it doesn't have the look of a computer. As far as personal computing has come in two decades, a majority of the public still associates moderate discomfort with configuring a computer system."
  • Business 2.0: Darwin, Linux, and Radiation [embedded applications are the future of Linux]
    "If you want to understand why Linux is the most important operating system in the world, ignore the posturing about Linux on the desktop, and pay attention to the fact that IBM has just ported Linux to a wristwatch, because that is the kind of news that illustrates Linux's real strengths."
  • ZDNet: Linux Gets Smaller
    "Odds are, you've heard about the advent of embedded Linux, given the many recent news announcements. Several high-profile companies (including IBM and Intel ) are developing prototypes. Embedded Linux will lead to a wide range of diminutive products running the open-source operating system. In fact, many believe embedded-Linux devices will outnumber Palm devices in two years." "

Transmeta continues to be in the headlines, as well. First, we caught ZDNet with a set of benchmarks they claim indicate Crusoe just isn't a real performer:

  • ZDNet UK: Crusoe fails to deliver on promise
    "...IT Week Labs tests of the Sony Vaio PictureBook PCG-C1VE laptop, launched today, indicate that performance is around half that of a 500MHz Intel Celeron-based system."

    And just this morning, the Register chimed in, noting that the characteristics of the Crusoe make it a tough one to benchmark by traditional means:

  • The Register: Transmeta speed debate - damned lies and benchmarks?
    "The problem is that Transmeta's new chip confounds the traditional one-pass benchmarks that their propeller head authors have spent years perfecting. Since the Transmeta architecture allows for dynamic and smart execution of code in software, the first pass of any test sample is guaranteed to be if not crap, then not quite optimal."]

From elsewhere in the embedded world, we also had a pair of stories about other embedded operating systems from the *nix side of the fence:

  • ZDNet UK: Neutrino OS is Unix flavour of the month
    "And unlike Linux, which requires licensers to provide source-code changes back to the community, QNX owns the rights to all of its POSIX APIs, so vendors can make changes to differentiate their products without having to go public with them."
  • BSD Today: BSDCon 2000: Choosing an OS for Network Appliances
    "Lastly, Evans covered BSD: impressive platform support (such as NetBSD), very stable, very secure, fastest TCP/IP stack good driver support for standard devices, amendments to kernel code doesn't have to be made open source and another pro is that BSDs have early access to "experimental" technologies. Some cons for the BSDs, according to Evans, are: limited commercial technical support, limited driver support for niche devices and BSD requires a "leap of faith."

Freelancers Sought:

AllLinuxDevices welcomes freelance writers. If you have an idea for an article, please contact the editor with your proposal.

Coming Up:

  • We talk server appliances with IBM.
  • This is the month for the initial release of the Agenda Linux handheld computer... we're in line for ours, and we'll bring you a look at one as soon as we can!

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