AllLinuxDevices: Weekly Roundup: October 25, 2000

In This Issue:


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

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

    “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

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

    “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.”


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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