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QNX RTP Running on iPaq 157

Posted by michael
from the more-stuff-to-lose dept.
An anonymous reader sends in: "iPaq just got new gracious looks. QNX microkernel and the gracious Photon micro GUI did wonders to iPaq. Get a sneak preview here. If you are in Boston next week, be sure to drop by Embedded Systems Boston to try your hands at the qPaq... ;)"
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QNX RTP Running on iPaq

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  • I can't find anything about QNX on the iPaq on their website - anyone have more information? This blows anything I've seen about Linux/X on an iPaq away for usability (at least from the screenshots) and looks. Will this be available soon? And any suggestions on justifying an iPaq with the purchasing department?
    • Doubtful they will release it for the public.. Companies typically do things like this to get the press, but they don't want the development/support costs to get everything ironed out into an actual product.

      They will likely get a bunch of press/developer interest in QNX at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston..

      • Actually they prolly will release it to the public eventually (there are other things like the version of QNX6 inhouse running on the Mac G4 that they wont).

        QSSL did not do this to get attention, as they would have released a press-relase if they did, someone (I actually know who now... their a student at IIT) who hangs around QSSL employees and other users found out and thought it would be good to post.

        Ahh well, the cats outa the bag now.

  • In another article, I had said that PDAs were pretty much useless.

    I take it all back. :)

    • it still looks half-useless.

      we have seen several *VERY* pretty pics there, but are there enough applications to actually make this a viable choice over WinCE (which IMO looks like hell compared to this)

      I would love to run something other than WinCE on my Cassiopeia... I am almost sickened everytime I turn the damn thing on. It is very slow and ugly and it gives me little desire to use it.

      Maybe QNX has found its niche ;)
      • The issue isn't apps, as the majority of Gnu code will compile under QNX, as will most Posix code. The issue is that the GUI code would have to be rewritten, and things would have to be tightened down a lot to fit.

        Still, if there is a *nix OS out there that could make it happen, QNX would be it. Their message-based process distribution opens up some real interesting possibilities with a secure wireless environment.

        For example, consider having repeaters throughout a work complex to allow techs to do more than just bounce emails back and forth from a Palm or other such unit. Your handheld could theoretically be *part* of the system, with direct integration to the applications environment.

        Sure you could do that with XML or something as well, but QNX just pimp-slaps XML for network efficiency!
        • The issue isn't apps, as the majority of Gnu code will compile under QNX,

          The issue of apps is still important, most gnu code isn't suited to PDA's. You could get emacs working, but would you really want to use it on a PDA with pen input?

  • TuPaq??

  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 01, 2001 @01:00PM (#2243287)
    So here is the question:

    I see all of those hot little modifications and what-not.

    Who can I write a check to right now to get one? I love cool things like that, but I generally do not have the time to sit down and make one of those things work. This is becoming a really angering a trend.

    So please, could someone please do this and provide a retail, normal person outlet for them??
    • As far as I know QSSL (QNX Software Systems Limited) will release a supplement to QNX 6.1 (Or 6.1.1) that will contain what is needed, however I doubt it'll be out any time soon.

  • That is gorgeous. Simply brilliant.
  • wow (Score:2, Redundant)

    by enrico_suave (179651)
    holy jimeny christ that looks cool! *drool*,
    *checks online checking balance*,



  • by Uruk (4907) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @01:05PM (#2243295)
    These PDAs are getting neater and more powerful every day, but when are they going to be real machines?

    I mean, eventually we could have a setup where you would buy a full size monitor and keyboard for office and home, and then just buy one little Super PDA to plug the monitor and keyboard into to use as a full PC. If they can get wireless networking down into that size package (which I'm sure they will eventually) you'd even be able to network without current crappy PDA packet modems or anything like that.

  • I won one in a contest. After trying, and I mean really trying to use it, I couldn't "de-Palm" my brain, and the lack of organization in WinCE just didn't agree with me. SO, I sold my iPaq and got a Palm m505.

    Now I find myself wishing I'd kept it for this. :(

  • Linux on my desktop, qnx on my iPaq, Microsoft in my long forgotten history. The world is perfect! :)
  • how is input done ?

    I see for the shell that a keyboard popup is there

    BUT for normal apps how is it done? for X their is Xscribble from the boys and girls at CRL (compaq) which is standard part of the distro and palm of course have the dedicated part of screen with WinCE vendors chouseing how they do it

    how about voice input ?
    now that would rock if only IBM recompiled their Linux ViaVoice for StrongARM I bet a bunch of vendors would be real intrested
    WinCE already has this in their beta builds but its very much like the Apple Voice control (which is kind of funky) but I find that the Apple Implementation is sensitive to background noise and depends on what Mic you have: in my mind I can see the people shouting at their organisers to "mail, oh e-mail, post , arrrch how do I pick up mail ??" (-;

    I really cant see how they are going to do it on QNX

    any details ?


    john jones

    • Look at the top-right screenshot, the lower half of the screen appears to be a palm-style pen input area, with an icon to switch to a keyboard input (as shown being used in the bottom-left screenshot with the terminal window).
    • Re:Input How ? (Score:3, Informative)

      by variable (13935)
      There is an application running called ipaq_input. It takes care of resizing apps and coming forward when they need/want input (handwriting, keyboard, etc). You can see from the screen shots that it is forward when the URL area is in focus and the terminal always requets to have the input area present.
  • by Bodero (136806) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @01:09PM (#2243308)
    You should hear our embedded systems engineers laughing or crying about "Real Time Windows CE" depending on whether they chortling at it's response times, or miserable about being forced to use it respectively.

    Your laughter is borne out of ignorance. Everybody publishes OS times for their OS when running in kernel mode only (which offers zero protection from processes run amok). But CE and EPOC don't run in that mode--you can't on these platforms since they're open and could be running malicious code.

    To wit, look at QNX ( rmance []) and On Time ( []) . Great numbers, but only for kernel mode operation.

    For protected systems using the MMU, it seems all the big players don't publish numbers. Why? Because this is a tough environment and the numbers look like shit. QNX offers nothing on their site about their Neutrino product performance. Neither do Mentor or Wind River.

    Even the RT Linux folks are flaky here. rtai.pdf [] claims they can deliver a 4 uS average interrupt response time with 13 uS of jitter, resulting in 17 uS worst case interrupt response time. This is on a 233 MHz Pentium II.

    Microsoft are claiming 7.5 uS worst case ISR latency on a 90 MHz Pentium II for CE ( rf.htm []). We're seeing similar numbers on a StrongARM platform at a similar clock.

    Clearly, CE is probably on par with the QNX/PSOS/VRTX crowd.

    So, until Symbian actually publish some numbers on their interrupt performance, we can assume that, like code size, they are merely FUD'ing the industry.

    As for the topic at hand, however, it's wonderful to see something like QNX running on iPac, maybe make one worth getting after all ;)

    • Man, at first take a look how the jitters etc are looked into and how OS deals with them. Read the following articles Concepts of Time - I [], Concepts of Time- II [] and What is Realtime [].

      And please! don't tell me that M$ too lets you know the architecture and philosophy behind the OS and how exactly it does Realtime execution. Plus, You don't get to develop on a desktop class gracious OS and transfer it as it is to target.
      You can test/debug/compile your realtime progs on an x86 listening to MP3's (Yeah! everything is prioritised!) and when you're satisfied, compile it for arm,sh-8, or whatever. The screenshots you saw were almost direct ports of the stuff existing for QNX RTP desktop OS!
    • And man there is more to QNX... 1) transparent networking: so your desktop computer and your iPaq become one machine! you can control GUI, audio, applications (even run and kill) from any on any machine. 2) fault tolerant OS 3) Micro kernel: no kernel mode drivers. You can kill off everything including HDD drivers, network, and filesystem. just leaving a shell and console driver, and can get back to a full GUI playing MP3's. So if anything goes down, the system still ain't dead!
    • Re: QNX, why bother? (Score:5, Informative)

      by variable (13935) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @01:55PM (#2243418) Homepage
      First of all - those numbers are for QNX4 (our previous generation kernel, x86 only). The iPaq is running QNX6. And we do have numbers - I am not sure if they are posted on our website yet or not but they are going to be made with each and every release. And yet another thing - QNX isn't your average monolithic kernel. There is no "kernel" mode for timings that mean anything. Everything is based on a message passing infustructure (from device drivers to networking to filesystems to the GUI).
      • Eeeek! I just implied that QNX was a monolithic kernel - it isn't. It is a micro-kernel where the OS only provides a limitied set of features that enable all the rest of the system to be built. ACK!

      • I love QNX. I work for the Post Office. our letter sorting machine is powered by QNX. the Techs, who used to be Windows drones, now love QNX. I think if you could. Pitch QNX for the desktop, replacing Win 95 they are using. Sooner or later MS is going to make them upgrade, and the cost will be astronomical.

        They are, I believe using WebObjects for their intranet, so show them how well it works with that.

        I am sure you can under bid MS.
        • Check out [].
          It is a full download of the QNX6 Realtime Platform that you can try out. Full desktop system. It is pretty nice if you don't need to run Word. ;)
          • I don't have an Intel box. I am a PPC kind of guy. They used to have some PPC stuff. I will dig to see if it is still there.

            I wonder if it will run in VirtualPC?

            • Hmm it shows PPC as supported, but on the download page there was no PPC download shown.

              • Hi

                Yeah PPC is support as a target not as a development platform. You can install QNX RTP, then make a target buildfile for your PPC with all stuff you want and go!

                The only hitch! though OS runtimes are available for PPC target, you'll need to recompile the applications you need for PPC target. Thus even though its just a straight recompile on QNX, but you need to have the sources.

                Keep Smiling
                - mritunjai
            • VPC 3.x: no, VPC 4.x: yes (a bit slow but that's not QNX's fault).

    • by fm6 (162816)
      I'm old enough to remember when QNX was first introduced. They actually claimed to provide reasonable performance on an 8086! More than that, clustering was a basic feature, so you could boost performance just by accumulating hardware. (Skeptical? CTOS [] used the same approach and worked very well.) Quite an appealing alternative to DOS.

      Alas, high licensing costs prevented most people (including me) from giving it a try. Never captured a wide audience, but they always seemed to find enough fringe markets to survive.

      Ironically enough, Linux has given QNX a second stab at becoming a mainstream OS. At least, that's the attitude the QNX marketeers are taking. Instead of viewing Linux as competition, they've decideded it's a source of Posix-knowledgable programmers. One can but hope...

    • You are so full of shit.
      1. Your QNX numbers are out dated
      2. QNX doesn't run stuff in kernel mode you dumb fuck
      3. Your microsoft link doesn't exist
      4. I am not aware of a 90MHz Pentium II ever existing. To my knowledge, the lowest clocked PII was the 233MHz []
      5. Who the fuck cares what Microsoft claims
      I can't tell if you are a troll, liar, or stupid.
  • Uh, excuse me? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Danborg (62420) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @01:16PM (#2243321)
    ...but isn't this supposed to be a PDA? Look at the screenshots [] again... look at the 10 apps.... where is "Calendar"? -- where is "Contacts"? -- where is "E-mail"? -- where is "To Do List"?

    Beautiful OS, but clearly not an organizer.
    • The definition of PDA == organizer is far too restrictive. After all, PDA is supposed to be a 'personal digital assistant' or 'personal data assistant' or something else involving 'personal' and 'assistant.'

      An assitant assists, in whatever a person needs done with data when on the move. That does not mean calendar, contacts and to-do for every person; some people do other stuff with data and with their lives. Should they not have PDAs? The Palm crowd especially seem violently opposed to devices assisting anyone but executives who have too many meetings to keep. I for one am glad that the PocketPC has become more flexible, so that it can assist everyone to some extent, rather than only assisting the rich, anal executive in the expensive suit.

      Keep your Palm, but I have no use for it. I will, however, continue to use PocketPC/WindowsCE.
      • I agree,

        for me personal a Palm never made sense, I have appointments, contacts etc. I need to keep my hands on but in the end it simply didn't offer anything else.

        The big thing I was looking for to have access to e-mail (or if possible a shell) anytime I need it. My compromise was to get a Blackberry, it has two things I really like about it:

        1. a Keyboard.
        2. Wireless.

        Now if someone could combine a Blackberry and an iPaq I would be happy, the idea that a PDA shouldn't have a keyboard but rather be used with a pen in my opinion is a bad decision anyways.

    • First of all you must remember all the iPaq is a computer, the big difference between it and your dekstop is the CPU - an ARM (little endian). Now with that in mind... MAKE YOUR OWN! Download QNX 6.1 ISO at and burn it to a CD. Install all the needed developement tools including those for different archectures. QNX can build binaries for other arahectures (arm, sh2, ppc, etc) nativly on your x86, so really all you have to do is fire up PhAB after everything is installed and do it yourself. Applications like PhAB make it extreamly simple and rather quick. Want a Calendar? PhAB has a pre-built Calendar widget called PtCalendar, simply drop it on a window and VIOLA! Your very own Calendar (See et_ref/ptcalendar.html for more information on it). Contacts & E-mail would be pretty simple as all QSSL would need to do is recompile Phemail (tho alternations would be best). As for a todo list it's much the same as the first example I gave except it's the PtText widget (see: et_ref/pttext.html). None of the apps you named are really 'killer apps', there simple apps anyone could make with next to no programmer knowledge - which is why QSSL diddent put such a high priority on them - they not only wanted people to play with the QNX version of the iPaq but to try to learn how to develop for Photon/Neutrino too, and once someone tried to make an app like you mentioned they'd instantly realize how truly easy it is.
  • I was going to use Linux as the OS for a lab at school for web surfing, but I'm gonna look at QNX, does Netscape run on it?
    How fast is the bootup?
    • Mozilla 0.9.2 runs on it (see:

      Opera also runs on it (see:

      But I'd personally recomend Voyager for most things are both Opera and Mozilla need alot of refining before their truly ready for QNX.
    • you might want to check out the software of ThinkNIC. Using basic stripped down Linux/ Xfree building blocks and Netscape 4.76 they have made a "browser-only" kiosk from PC hardware. In other words X starts automatically with no login necessary and with Netscape already running.There is no menu based access to other programs or terminal emulators and no taskbar. (Those things are all available to you if you hack a custom cd) It comes with java and plugins, SSL, ssh client, VNC client, helper apps etc, so it imposes no compromise on the web experience. If you were looking for excitement you could try dropping in Mozilla 0.9.x in place of Netscape.

      You can download the iso for the ThinkNIC system free of charge from their site and see how they do it.

      They also sell really inexpensive hardware ( $199 US) to run all that but it sounds like you already have the hardware.

    • Well QNX 6 RTP X86 is, I don't know about the rest.

      Also bootup time with QNX makes Linux look like a 90 year old grandma doped to the eye balls on stelazine & benzos to make things easy for the nursing home staff.

      Except for the fact it has a login dialogue popup QNX makes BeOS bootup look slow.
  • iPaq just got new gracious looks. QNX microkernel and the gracious Photon micro GUI

    Can anyone please tell me how the hell the adjective "gracious" is justified in this context??
    • Gracious
      1 a obsolete : GODLY b archaic : PLEASING, ACCEPTABLE

      Perhaps the author is learning English, and starting at the beginning.
    • If you've seen CE on a iPaq, you'd know what "gracious" means when you look at the screenshots
    • 2*b || !(2*b) is a tautology

      From []


      A repetition of the same meaning in different words; needless
      repetition of an idea in different words or phrases; a
      representation of anything as the cause, condition, or
      consequence of itself, as in the following lines:

      Your sig is composed of two phrases, 2*b and !2*b, the second is not a repetition of the first. A trusim, perhaps, but not a tautology.

      • See the entry for tautology [] (search for "logic" within the page) -- Most people who've taken a course on discrete math would be familiar with this usage.

        Btw, the antonym for tautology in this sense would be "contradiction": an expression which never evaluates to (boolean) truth, irrespective of the values assigned to its sub-expressions. "It is raining outside my house and it is not raining outside my house" would be an example of a contradiction. Replace and with or and you have a tautology.
    • Can anyone please tell me how the hell the adjective "gracious" is justified in this context??

      Perhaps he meant graceful. Either way, he way overused a two-dollar word. He should have said: "The Ipaq just got a new graceful look with QX microkernel and the elegant Photon micro GUI".

      Then again, this is "news for nerds" not "news for over-educated literate-types".

  • I think this is another existence proof for a nice, non-Microsoft OS on the iPaq. I'm not quite sure why I would want to run it, though: Linux for handhelds is quite functional (even if its icons are not as nice), and it is free, open, and standard.

    The biggest problem I have had with running non-WinCE operating systems on the iPaq is the installation, which is a very laborious and slow process that takes hours to download stuff over the serial line. What is really needed is the ability to overlay a new OS from Flash and/or to install a new OS by clicking on an application in Flash memory. Or, of course, Compaq might finally preinstall Linux on the iPaq; even HP will be shipping a Linux PDA.

    • QNX on the iPaq will be free for personal use, QNX is a POSIX based OS (from the outset, so things like threads are not a hack onto the side of a UNIX kernel), and, to top it all off, it runs really well on the iPaq. :)

  • iPaq just got new gracious looks. QNX microkernel and the gracious Photon micro GUI did wonders to iPaq.

    Hmmmm all this graciousness from an anonymous coward. Any chance they work for QNX?
    • Come on... Have you ever tried Photon? QNX has it booting from a floppy in their demo disk (*small* footprint), it *flies* performancewise, and it looks better than most X window manager. It fits all my definitions of graciousness. Can the non-Linux knee-jerk reactions, okay? :-)


      • Well, yeah. That floppy demo is QNX4 demo, the old and not-free-even-for-non-commercial-use.
        the one showed here is QNX 6.1, which has a gorgeous GUI and runs on a lot of processors. Get it yourself free-for-non-commercial-use at!
  • When are they going to fix the QNX filesystem? It runs real bad on every machine I've tried it on (and it is #1 on the wishlist). Eventually, people are going to put those cool IBM microdrives on their PDAs and start noticing the deficiencies of the filesystem. They have Dominic Giampalo (of BFS fame) working for them, so what's he doing?
  • QNX on iPAQ looks sweet...

    But I don't see anything that the Qt Palmtop Environment [] doesn't do already, and with similar style and panache.

    Not to mention that QPE has a web-browser available FAR in advance of anything on any other handheld platform - Konqueror/embedded [] which has the full KHTML rendering engine that normal desktop Konqueror has, but with a UI optimized for a handheld's screen.

    Of course, I shouldn't have to mention that both QPE and Konq/e are fully-fledged GPL'ed projects, which I'm pretty sure QNX isn't, last time I looked...

    • i was look (quickly) on their web site is for the ipaq? can i download it and install it on my ipaq???

    • IMO, from the screenshots on the QPE site you linked to, the QNX interface is much, much, *much* nicer.

      But I guess the difference is that one is available for download and one is just (so far as I'm concerned) pretty pictures.

    • Re:QNX? QPE! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheeAlien (518930) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @02:49PM (#2243525) Homepage
      I have two different replies for you; one to why QPE is not better, and one about your GPL zinger....

      Firstly reasons to chose QNX over QPE for your iPaq...

      (1) QPE has alot of legacy attached to it.

      (2) Qt applications can already run fine in QNX so all they really need is a recompile to work.

      (3) It's cheeper to develop on QNX then QPE.

      (4) It's bulky, really bulky - QNX can run quite comfortably in 5 megs of RAM - QPE requires much more.

      (5) It's prettier... sorry, it just is.

      Now the GPL issue..

      Sorry to tell you but the GPL is not a good thing (TM).

      Software on the QNX version of the iPaq can use the GPL if the author desires, however many real embeded developers have a great dislike for it (for many reasons). In fact, I'd like to tell you a little story.

      Back before QNX 6.0 was released to the public QNX uses ALSA for sound... for it seemed like a good idea at the time - "simply tweek the drivers and recompile for QNX" said the QSSL engineers "It'll make our jobs alot easier!" they said.

      But it diddent! See, many of the big audio corporations had what is known as "propritary hardware", and in order to have a real, fully-accelerated driver they'd have to relase all their secrets to the public and their competition.

      QSSL soon figured out the problems with this; Is it better to have an OS that has rocking sound with a few-closed source drivers or an OS with okay sound and a couple of problematic drivers beacuse big busness dosent wana share technical specs?

      So, the poor old QSSL engineers rewrote the sound system from the ground up so it wouldnt be tainted (yes, thats the right word - tainted) by the GPL. Now big busness likes them! As they can make driver or submit secret information to QSSL under a NDA for them to make excellent drivers, plus most of the sound system is open-source (download the Audio DDK and see for yourself). It's really a win-win situation.

      And remember - Many pats of QNX -ARE- open-source (not just the sound system!), and the open-source parts (for the greater part) can be used for both comercial and non comercial purpose, but are not GPL'ed.

      One must NOT confuse the GPL and the open-source philosphy, as they are two different things.

        • If you'd worked in hardware much you'd know that reverse engineering hardware specs is a breeze with the right equipment (ie. your competitors have it). And from all reports, its mainly the lawyers you just don't seem to get this point. So in the end you're only hurting the open source/free software developers and users.
        • As you pointed out the open source philosophy is not the free software philosophy. One is about Freedom, while the other is about building a better mousetrap.
        • There seem to be many things that you cannot fully comprehend... firstly...


          They are making money from large corporations that like to keep secrets. Now dont get me wrong - they like the ideas they hold and in a utopia there would be no secrets and everyone would be happy... but this isnt a perfect world.

          Next, reverse-engineering is unacceptable for a company like QSSL - QNX when used in the real world depends on being as acurate as possible and alot of the time reverse engineer is unaccurate or impossible on some devices (I'd tell you a little story about the Dallas MCU and Mr Coffe but I've told a bit to many stories today...).

          Not only is reverse engineering a bad choice as mention above it's also an ILLEGAL choice in many places where QSSL has brances, and illegal activity is not good umm-k? QSSL dose not like to pay million dollar lawsuits for the free-software community.

          You seem to misunderstand that QSSL as an OS developer is always stuck between a rock and a hardplace, between end-users who want the world to be open and developers who feel knowledge corrupts and absolutely knoledge corrupts absolutly.

          Frankly QSSL is doing the very best possibly, there making as much source code free to everyone (busness and privite users alike) while keeping powerful friends that might later bless them for their patronage. I hope you can understand where their comming from.
    • Of course, I shouldn't have to mention that both QPE and Konq/e are fully-fledged GPL'ed projects

      Qt costs lots of money if you want to write commercial apps for it. Fortunately, there is a cheaper and better choice for writing embedded apps: just use FLTK. It's much more compact than Qt, you can use it freely for writing commercial apps, and it runs on Linux.

  • Absolutely gorgeous! My applause! Too bad it's not Free.
  • x-mame.

    mame and ssh are the only 2 apps i use on my ipaq. The only problem with ipaqs it doesnt handle multiple buttons pressed at the same time.
  • I have been running QNX for a while now. I recently got a PictureBook with a Transmeta chip and decided to use the machine with QNX. Since MS does want people to dual boot, I zapped their OS and put QNX instead. I am pretty happy with the machine. Needs a few more drivers (working on the camera support) but things are running smoothly. It's a very reliable OS. I just wish they would do a port to the iBook too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 01, 2001 @05:49PM (#2243882)
    The embed platform interrest is define both by the quality of the OS and a powerfull dev-kit.

    The quality of the OS is important for the end-user, but the power of the dev-kit is important for the dev costs (easiest is the dev time, cheapest is the application).

    But this was yesterday statement .... today, a new OS just blast all this and change the init data !

    SavaJe (a Lucent spin-off) released betas of XE, their OS for StrongARM.

    What's the difference ... simply cristal clear : dev process is speedlight fast !

    What's the trick ?

    Just one word : it's Java !

    Ok, i heard Java "friends" that says, : "but how can you expect to run a java application on such a device ?"

    I will add, it is not simply a java platform compatible but GUIs applications are also written in Swing !

    The same "sceptics", can say not : "Gosh ! Are you kidding ?"

    And there i must add : and it is damned fast !

    You don't trust me, just go to and download the latest beta of XE and set it up to you iPaq ....

    But beware, it's a drug-like : once you get into no way out !

    Ok, so about the specs :
    - It's fully Java2 SE 1.3 compliant
    - It is also JNLP compliant (cf JavaWebStart and JNLP)

    Just imagine : your develop you application, click on deploy as JNLP, the type-in the URL on your ipaq and voila : the application is running on it !!!

    For those who still consider that Java is just one more stupid language and not a complete new way of programming ... they ckeck XE and you will be part of the fun.

    Of course XE still lack some features (only few CF & PCCard supports), no IRDA at this time ... but the Java part is pretty impressive !

    XE for me is quite interresting in a enterprise architecture as it offer a great opportunity to leverage all the skills and legacy systems available. Creating a mobile device application has never been so easy !

    As a conclusion, XE just prove that when stilled peoples work on something then impossible things can became true.

    Don't get me wrong, Linux is the greatest OS for PC desktop applications ... but who can expect a whole bunch of application there when using XE we already GOT them ?! It's Java babe :)

    Please note that i am sure this message will be moderate down as it will hurt the /. linux-geeks as were my previous posts related this topics :( Thanks for the censorship ... )

  • by Juln (41313)
    QNX is a nifty little operating system, as I determined by installing it on my desktop system.
    Those screenshots from the qPaq look totally awesome. That + Opera and that little thing will just rip!
    QNX definitely has the art of making pretty interafces down, and the code behind it is super solid and interesting (too bad we don't get to see it...).
  • I thought that I saw somewhere that QSSL was making parts of QNX open source? Anybody hear anything about that? An Photon Linux port would really rock. Photon has tons of features, is really small and fast, and the fonts and UI graphics look orgasmically good. QNX's kernel is nice for embedded systems, but on the desktop (which RtP tries to support) it is kinda flaky due to an anemic VM and filesystem. For example, it doesn't support paging directly, an app has to be coded with it in mind. Great for RT, but for GCC.
    • Ahem...

      > I thought that I saw somewhere that QSSL was making parts of QNX open source? Anybody hear anything about that?

      Download any DDK and you'll find driver source and more, also check out (It needs an update but it's gitting there).

      >An Photon Linux port would really rock.

      Bah... it's been ported to windows, but it aint gonna be ported to Linux anytime soon.

      >Photon has tons of features, is really small and fast, and the fonts and UI graphics look orgasmically good.


      >QNX's kernel is nice for embedded systems, but on the desktop (which RtP tries to support) it is kinda flaky due to an anemic VM and filesystem.

      Anemic VM and filesystem? The VM and filesystem are fine - it'd be good if you gave a real example of how they were bad (the one below dosent count as I nip it in the bud...).

      >For example, it doesn't support paging directly, an app has to be coded with it in mind. Great for RT, but for GCC.

      munlockall() - is that so hard? Watch...

      int main()
      printf("info: enabling swapfile...");
      printf("info: swapfile enabled!");
      return 0;

      The ability to enable or disable paging in an application is an asset in any device including desktops, not a fault.
      • Anemic VM and filesystem? The VM and filesystem are fine - it'd be good if you gave a real example of how they were bad (the one below dosent count as I nip it in the bud...).
        How 'bout these?

        1) The filesystem is as slow as molasses. Untarring an archieve takes twice as long as on Linux. Throughputs above 10MB/sec (on my 7200RPM drive that gets 27MB/sec in Linux) are hard to come by. Apparently, something in libc has been fixed with 6.1, but the underlying FS problems are there. Also, no journeling, no softupdates, no features of any kind.

        2) The VM cannot keep an mmap()'ed file in sync with with the disk if you use read/write to modify the file. That tells a lot about the deficiecies of the underlying implementation.

        3) The VM and buffer-cache are not integrated. This was a big fault of BeOS's, and really hurt its I/O performance. BeOS and QNX are apparently the last big OSs without a unified buffer-cache/VM.

        As for "nipping" the swap problem, you haven't. You still have to call munlockall(). So you either have to modify program source, or (if you have binary programs that don't call it) just live with it. Also, it was apparently put in just to support GCC, so I wouldn't be too sure that the underlying impelementation is very good.
        • >> 1) The filesystem is as slow as molasses. and other blah

          ext2fs is a PIG (just as all else of Linux stuff!). Robustness is the thing embedded system filesystems are designed with in mind. The filesystem drivers are deterministic in nature. Infact each and every core driver is deterministic and overned by realtime execution rules. In an ext2fs, if you loose a few superblocks in badblocks you're doomed. In qnx even if you loose most of it, you can still recover most of the data. Because every critical portion has a magic identifier. Reliability is what matters in an atomic reactor (that's like where QNX is being used!) than a filesystem that gives 27MB/s one day, and bombs (:P) the other day!

          And man, does it need to have a journaling filesystem, if it checks and corrects my 10 GB partition in under 20 seconds! (don't wipe your eyes, its correct!). while in lab I administer no *nix does it in 5 mins. also talking about NTFS (a journaling fs), W2K takes around 5 mins to check entire 6GB volume for inconsistencies.

          Infact that's why I made a QNX boot image for myself with mandatory disk checking after mount (yep! after mount ;) )

          I suggest you to take a few readings on about realtime OS and you'll know what does it take to make a realtime OS.
          • I suggest you to take a few readings on about realtime OS and you'll know what does it take to make a realtime OS.
            I think you missed my point. I never said anything about QNX in the embedded space, I was talking about RtP in desktop space. According to QNX's docs, RtP is competing in desktop space. In that space, speed is more important than determinism. Maybe QNX doesn't want to fork the OS or change its deterministic policies, but then they shouldn't be competing in desktop space!

            PS> Yes, all modern FSs should have journeling. Its not the fsck that matters, but the fact that in order to achieve good consistancy, it must use synchronus writes to the disk for metadata. That why the old BSD's without softupdates were so slow for compiling and untarring (very metadata intensive uses) and which is why QNX is slow for the same tasks.

            PS2> QNX RtP really isn't used in nuclear reactors. QNX4 is used for those tasks. So far, the only thing QNX RtP (or QNX6 in general) has been used for embedded devices, which don't have the same life-or-death requirements of determinism that do nuclear reactors.
            • Ick...

              I think you've missed the point ;o

              You say you werent talking about qnx RtP in the embeded space but as a desktop - yet this entire slashdot post was on QNX RtP on the iPaq, an embeded device.

              Frankly, I can use QNX6 as a desktop and have for quite some time. The issues you present are trivial at best in my view.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most people don't know that a free near-realtime OS exists that draws its architecture from QNX and Plan-9.

    Its called VSTa, or Valencia Simple Tasker. One of the main features of VSTa and QNX is that of a true microkernel architecture. The entire kernel runs in on-chip cache in around 40k of memory.

    VSTa has been around for a while and is GPL'd. It has an elegant design, but unfortunately it doesn't have a large group of developers working on the kernel and associated software. Too bad, I say.

    As much as I love linux, I think that VSTa would be an ideal kernel for the iPaq and similar devices. Now someone needs to do a port for StrongARM.

    If you're interested try

    jim burnes

  • by cluening (6626)
    If I could go out and get one of those little things running QNX and Photon instead of WinCE, I might have reason to move past my wonderful Palm device - Manos, the Handspring of Fate... That thing looks really slick and quite exciting

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long