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Linux Journal: The Next Bang: The Explosive Combination of Embedded Linux, XML and Instant Messaging

Aug 27, 2000, 12:57 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Doc Searls)

"As potential soars for the collaboration between embedded Linux and instant messaging, we are bracing for a deluge of new applications and services. More importantly, we stand on the threshold of a new way to think about--and use--the Internet...."

"In the RT world, applications were usually in highly isolated markets. Even in the home, just about every potentially "intelligent" real-time application belonged to a very isolated professional specialty that had little if any interest in other specialties. Home security, outdoor irrigation, fire-safety sprinkler systems, heating and air conditioning, kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, indoor and outdoor lighting, telephones, computers and networks...these were all served by different businesses with different kinds of expertise. For proof, try to find a single contractor to install (much less service) telephone, security, computer network and home entertainment systems. The Net was never a factor for many of these categories, so it was pointless to think of all of them in a connected context. Their vendors didn't, even if their customers did."

"Now, connected-context is increasingly the point. "People are going to have to think differently here--even people already in the embedded space," says David Rieves, Director of Product Marketing at Lineo, one of the leading embedded Linux companies. "Now, 32-bit hardware is cheap commodity stuff. So you hold overhead down in the OS, which is why Linux is so appealing. As hardware costs go down, interest in Linux goes up", especially for devices that live on the Internet."

"This means we need to start thinking about real-time development in a network context. While the network context is old hat for Linux, real time is not. The most familiar network services--e-mail and the web--are both essentially store and forward concepts. But to a growing community of Open Source developers, the missing piece here is instant messaging (IM), which, by definition, is much closer to "real" time."

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