Linux forms the foundation of a handheld designed and produced
by Sun. It will be used by field engineers, includes wireless
communications, and utilizes a Java VM. No WinCE, the article
mentions, for ideological and performance reasons.
"...Going with Linux was a "gut-wrenching" decision for
Greg Richards, senior manager of Sun's global operations unit, who
says his main concern was that Sun field engineers embraced the
handheld systems. "The last thing I wanted to do was to be a
pioneer," he says.
The new device needed a reliable, full-blown operating system to
cache lots of data locally and run big applications at the same
time, along with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), a Web browser and
personal information management applications. But, equally
important, the final combination of hardware and software had to be
such that the 3,500 field engineers could put it to work quickly
In the end, Sun worked closely with a team of vendors to create
a rugged, PDA-sized handheld, packed with memory, running a compact
version of Linux and a suite of applications ported to it. The
initial test group of 50 engineers has taken readily to the
handheld, called the Field Information Appliance."
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