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Handhelds Software Hardware Linux

New Linux-based PDA due September 182

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-it-fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "LinuxDevices.com has a preview of a new Linux-based PDA due out next month. Some of you might recognize the form-factor; it's from Softfield, the folks who ended up with the rights to the first commercial Linux-based PDA, the black-and-white, MIPs-based Agenda VR3. Softfield's new model, the MX-7, sports a 200MHz CPU, full-color 240x320 display, 32MB Flash and 64MB RAM, an SD card slot, and Trolltech's Qtopia environment. All for $299 USD."
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New Linux-based PDA due September

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by aftk2 (556992) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:30PM (#6735015) Homepage Journal
    They must not have gotten the memo [macworld.com].
    • They not only haven't read the memo, they can't have done any market research. A PDA that isn't also a mobile phone is dead before it ships, in today's marketplace. How can a company and its investors be so dumb?
      • Integrated PDA mobile phone isn't always the best solutions, that's why it isn't very popular yet. The best PDA phones on the market right now are Handspring Treos and O2 (Pocket PC Phone Edition). However, they aren't taking off due to form factor, ease of use, and battery life. Some people want an integrated device that does everything, but many would prefer a simple, small phone that does the job well.
      • Simply put: IMHO I don't like the integrated phone/PDA's they are horrible, bulky, and down right inconvenient.

        Now before anyone panics let me explain my otherwise irrational rational. When I think mobile ease of use I think a small hand held phone in my pocket as easy. However the display you see on the phone sucks. To be blunt, I cannot SSH from my phone. So the next best thing is a PDA.

        My idea of a good mobile setup is a PDA in the car clove box ready to read mail, surf the web, and SSH to my home co

  • Not bad at $300 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mao che minh (611166) * on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:31PM (#6735024) Journal
    Not bad at $300, but it sorely needs an MP3 player (native) and some good games. Otherwise, a Palm powered PDA would be a hell of a lot more useful.
    • Personally, I can't wait until Linux based devices have enough funding or enough wits about them to hire good industrial designers. It's all well and good if it screams tech savvy because of its underpinnings, but it's even better in terms of raising public awareness of alternatives and looking bad-ass in public if it screams with sex appeal. Imagine what it would do for Linux if a Linux-based PDA were to appear that looks as if it could have come from the studios at Apple?

      I mean, Sony's Clies [sonystyle.com], while no

      • Hey, while we're at it, I personally can't wait until Linux-based PDAs have the funding or intelligence to hire good UI and application designers, good enough to provide a robust, consistent and feature-filled suite of built-in applications.

        PalmOS and PocketPC models certainly don't have the best suite of built-in software for PIM and other stuff, but it sure is good enough to fulfill the needs of most PDA users. With the Zaurus, since there really aren't any 3rd party options for a PIM replacement or sup
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If it doesn't run Ogg then can we actually say it will be useful? (tongue removed from cheek)
    • Use the commandline you lazy troll!

      I'm more concerned about wifi. My agenda was a nice little pda, or would be if I could use ethernet instead of PPP.

      I'll be sticking with my zaurus until I find a pda with a usb host controller, everlasting power cell, or wifi range equivalent to my iBook's.
  • Wondering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:32PM (#6735037) Journal
    Could linux based PDAs be the toe-in-the-door for some real commercial game development for linux? Or productivity and other such apps?

    I mean I see major commercial titles hitting Palms and WinCE, if some ported to linux based PDAs, it might snowball into linux, well (get ready to mod me down, zealots), doing something useful for me besides routing packets to my Windows machines and Xbox.
    • Re:Wondering (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Papa Legba (192550)
      but linux already has the perfect PDA game. I think Nethack would run beautifully on this device. The only problem is that I would get even less done. Nethack on this PDA with a nice tileset may very well be a must have killer app.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      i dont get it, why get a "linux" pda only to have a proprietary gui environment, this utterly missed the real power and freedom of linux. honestly, until these suckers run a nice free software gui i see no compelling reason to stop using palmos devices.
    • Actually (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458)
      Linux is very nice for mobile devices in general, including/especially laptops. In desktops I think it tends to lag because of well, the games, and the whole mess around Wine, Hardware Acceleration, and proprietary/buggy 3d-accelerated hardware drivers. I *do* have it on my desktop at home, it just doesn't quite do everything my windows machine does (games, and the Nvidia driver craps out and locks if X gets shutdown in a way it doesn't like).

      Now, on my laptop, I've got an iceWM XP-styled desktop with: Mo
      • Linux certainly has the potential capability for just about anything- but just like desktop Linux doesn't have most of those new and fancy 3D games (of questionable worth, IMHO), PDA Linux doesn't have much in the way of ... good PDA applications. Qtopia is definately lacking in the way of decent PIM apps- nothing you can get for the Zaurus is anywhere near the builtin stuff for the Psion or Newton or the 3rd party stuff on PocketPC or PalmOS. Maybe someday Linux will make a good PDA platform, but maybe s
        • by phorm (591458)
          Linux *could* become a PDA platform now. Maybe Ximian should take a break from evolution and write some nice palm stuff, or another company in the area of productivity software.

          For games, part of the holdback is the lack of hardware-software integration (driver issues) for the games. Handheld/palm devices shouldn't experience such a setback, as 2D graphics have been good on 'nix for awhile (though X could use some support for hardward 2D primitive drawing).
    • Perhaps (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PigeonGB (515576) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:55PM (#6735283) Homepage
      But there is plenty available for Linux Game Development.

      garagegames.com [garagegames.com] provides the Torque Engine for only $100 a programmer. A number of quality games already exist for free or (more likely) as shareware at their site.

      There are different libraries like PLIB, which as I remember was used for Tux Kart and other games.

      Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be active websites for the community of GNU/Linux game developers. Usually the mailing lists are more active though. The websites look defunct which may make people think that nothing is happening.

      As for productivity, yes, it is possible that more Linux-based PDAs will make people want to work on GnuCash and other such projects that are needed for productivity. I think that it might be a catch-22 in that demand for such apps would fuel development but development requires demand...The difference here is that if the hardware developers would hire programmers to actually MAKE the software in the first place, it would solve the problem.

      Maybe not the most direct answer, but it is my $.02
      • I'm not talking about homebrewed stuff and endless tetris clones, but real big-house published and polished games.

        So far we pretty much just have Carmacks work to play under linux. So just getting the tools into the hands of serious dev houses is at least a step in the right direction.

        Too bad the iDreama was just a wetDreama. A linux based commercial console could have been just the ticket to pave the way for professional desktop linux ports.

        Though, the way I see it, PC gaming is dying a slow death any
        • Re:Perhaps (Score:3, Informative)

          by Harbinjer (260165)
          Agreed,
          Agreed,
          Agreed,

          Wrong! PC gaming isn't dying! Have you seen counterstrike? Biggest online PC game out there. Biggest tournaments. How many people out there have won thousands of dollars on console games?

          Graphics don't make a game, but they make a good one better. And with Doom 3 and half-life 2, PC games will get a huge boost in graphics and environment soon.

          They may be diverging. Strategy games and 1st Person shooters are best on PC. As are flight sims. The only games that I think are completely be
        • Not a lot of big name commercial developers are developing for the *nix platform. Couple that with Carmack's statement on being able to ignore the platform without losing too much sleep, and you have a lot of people who just won't develop for Gnu/Linux.

          It is hard enough to make money on the Win32 platform. Publishers don't want to take a risk on Linux-based machines.

          On the other hand, there is more to shareware than "homebrewed" stuff. There are professional quality games that are shareware by choice.
    • I mean I see major commercial titles hitting Palms and WinCE, if some ported to linux based PDAs, it might snowball into linux

      I always figured that was the reason they made the Linux/Java based PDA's. So that way it would recieve better acceptance and software companies would be more inclined to write a Java program that will work on a WinCE than just a Linux port.
  • Damn!

    Powermac G5, now this!. My Sony Clie PEG-415 and Tungsten W are now on sale...

    I need to get back to work to make the big bucks...

    • Eh, how is this better than the Palm Tungsten? I just got a Tungsten C, and it seems the greatest thing since swiss cheese.

      The only thing that seems good about this is that it's a bit on the inexpensive side. But it runs Linux, so it must be Great!

  • I had an Agenda and I have a Zarus.

    The key to the Zaurus are the two expansion slots, the keyboard, and the fact it runs OpenZaurus.

    It looks like the new Softfield PDA will have the SD slot (less useful than CompactFlash) and MAY in time be able to run OpenZaurs.

    If it does, it will be a useful device, but you can already pick up a Sharp Zaurus 5500 for less than $300 (I paid about $280 for mine)

    - Serge Wroclawski

    • Heck, I got my SL-5500 for $180.

      And sold it a month later for $170. The SL-5500 is pretty much crap compared to almost any other PDA. I'd rather have a mono Newton or Psion screen than the pitiful excuse for a color screen that is found on the SL-5500. Let's pray to any and all gods that the screen on this MX-7 isn't as bad...

      I now have a Zaurus C760- it's a great platform for running Squeak Smalltalk [squeak.org] and Dynapad [sf.net], especially with its 640x480 screen, but as a PDA, the entire Zaurus line is exteremely lacking.

      Anyone know how fast this particular CPU is compared to a 206 MHz StrongARM? If it's any slower than the 206 MHz StrongARM SA-1100 (or the 400 MHz PXA250 XScale, which is about the same speed), it'll suck to run Qtopia and its apps on it. Qtopia is *slow*, especially on PDAs with the 400 MHz PXA250 XScale (SL-5600, SL-C700) or 206 MHz StrongARM (SL-5000D, SL-5500), but it's still kind of sad on the fast 400 MHz XScale PXA255 CPUs in the SL-C750 and SL-C760. You'd think you were using OS X 10.1 on a 400 MHz G3 sometimes...

      Hey, read the article- CF (as well as bluetooth and a camera) will be an option. Yeah, more money spent, but at least there is the potential.

    • I had an Agenda and I have a Zarus.


      It's slashdot. I thought everyone who posts here had an agenda.

  • Want want want...I've been lusting after a VR3 for a while, but I might have to hold off for this.
  • My new plan (Score:5, Funny)

    by SirLantos (559182) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:34PM (#6735071) Homepage
    Hmmmm....
    1. Find something non-Linux based
    2. Make a linux version.
    3. ???
    4. Profit


    SirLantos

    • 3. Sell it to millions of Linux-dummies
    • Re:My new plan (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jargoone (166102)
      More like:
      1. Find something non-Linux based.
      2. Make an overpriced Linux version.
      3. Watch everybody rave about it on /.
      4. ???
      5. Watch as established competitors outsell new Linux version.

      Sad but true, at least at the beginning. Any PDA costing over $200 has a color screen and an mp3 player these days.
    • 1. Find something non-Linux based
      2. Make a linux version.
      3. ???
      ( = Charge a $100 Premium over the non-Linux version [amazon.com] )
      4. Profit


      I'd much rather these porting efforts concentrated on providing ports of the OS to inexpensive existing PDA's rather than trying to build their own hardware and then effectively charging a premium to run a "free" OS. I'll pay $20 - $30 to run Linux on my PDA - I won't pay $100.
  • syncing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by net_bh (647968) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:35PM (#6735075)
    Of all the Linux PDAs out there has anybody been successful with syncing them to Linux apps and Windows apps without any pain?

    I own a Sharp Zaurus 5500, and I am not impressed with its syncing prowess. Luckily, I know enough to back up the whole PDA using 'scp', but that doesnt go for Joe and Jane.

    I hope Multisync [sf.net] does on to become the defacto tool for synchronizing all kinds of handhelds, mobiles with email, calendar, address books, etc.

  • Needs two slots... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chill (34294)
    One for data storage expansion, one for peripherals.

    Think: camera & place to store pictures; WiFi card & place to store downloaded files.

    Other than that, seems like YALP (yet another Linux PDA). Not that we couldn't use more of them...
  • It's too bad that Softfield is wasting this opportunity to do something actually *interesting*. QVGA screen? Please...how passe. Why not match up an innovative OS/UI with some innovative hardware? I mean, it's not like this current device is going to set the world on fire, so try something creative and maybe establish yourself as a credible player? Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time with this lame sub-incrementalist crap.
  • by clifgriffin (676199) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:38PM (#6735115) Homepage
    This thing would never have caught my eye when I was searching for a PDA.

    It looks atrocious (at this point) and doesn't have near the specs dell offers for the same price.

    The fact that it's "linux based" doesn't send me into "I want one!" orgasms.
    • Dude,

      Its Free.

      Free as in 300 bucks!

      People pay twice as much for half the machine if it runs OSX, why not transfer that to the PDA market?

      What you need is a blitz marketing campaign with testimonials from tech-savvy individuals like tony hawk and ellen feiss.
      • Heh! I like this idea!

        Except, of course, it'd be kind of the polar opposite of Apple's campaign. Ellen Feiss wouldn't be talking about switching from the beeping computer that didn't work right to one that did... Instead, she'd be like

        "Well, so yeah, my dad bought this little computer... It think they call it like a pee dee aay. He says it means it is cool. So, I was like writing a paper for class in TextMaker, and I was going to save it to RTF and email it to my teacher and suddenly I was like- so Mr P
    • I'm going to have to agree on the atrocious aspect. My Sony Clie looks better than that thing. And well, as a chick, I think PDA's should have function AND form.

      Hopefully, the next version is a little easier on the eyes.

      Which makes me wonder if PDA's will ever be "skinnable" like some cell phones are.

      -carolyn
      • Most people put their PDA in a case anyway, so in a way they are already skinnable. By the way, is it really all that difficult to create a good-looking PDA? So far only SONY seems to get it right.
    • And- if you really want to run Linux, you'll be able to do that on the Dell Axim *very* soon. It works partially already, but it's only a matter of not-that-much time before the whole chebang works.

      The Axim is a pretty nice little device. Probably the best color 240x320 screen I've seen on a PDA and SD/CF expansion. Hell, if you're not feeling zealous, you can still do most of that weekend Unix User Group show off stuff on WindowsCE/PocketPC as well as on Linux. :)
    • It looks atrocious (at this point) and doesn't have near the specs dell offers for the same price.

      Actually, if it's similar to the old VR3, the hardware design is really nice: the rounded corners make it easy to carry around, the screen protector works great, and the device is quite small.

      Palm or PPC hardware looks flashier and more high-tech, but hardware like the VR3 is more usable.
  • by thefoobar (131715) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:39PM (#6735123) Homepage
    $299 + SCO license = Too expensive!
  • Please please please (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 1010011010 (53039) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:39PM (#6735125) Homepage
    ... sync with iSync, and sync with something on Linux.

    I wonder if "Opie [handhelds.org]" will make an appearance in commercial hardware anytime soon... it started as a fork of the QTopia environment, and is coming along nicely. It would be really cool to have Opie become the standard palmtop environment.

    • As far as I can tell, Opie is a dead end: being an open source fork of Qt, the only license under which it is available is the GPL. That makes Opie an impossible platform for many commercial applications.

      Areas where a Linux PDA could shine are gaming, inventory support, hospitals, instrument control, etc. But the developers of that kind of software simply are not going to make it open source, nor are their customers going to care whether it's open source or not. So, a GPL-only toolkit has no chance. Bu
      • The GPL licensing on the apps is probably going to stick around, but the plan is to replace the current libraries with LGPL replacements. You would still need to purchase a commercial license for QT if you are insterested in building a commercial PDA, but OPIE wont be preventing it.
  • by jacken (98085) <{es.nekcaj} {ta} {nekcaj}> on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:40PM (#6735142) Homepage Journal
    The only killer app I have seen so far on PDAs except the basic PIM stuff is GPS navigation. Is there any navigation software available for linux PDA? And Im not talking about raster map software, but vector based maps.
  • FPU? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OutRigged (573843)
    Can anyone tell me why none of these mobile ARM processors, such as the StrongARM, Xscale, etc, never seem to have floating point processing capabilities? Is it due to power contraints, or is it something else?
    • Because there's been little need for it. The majority of mobile ARMs go into devices that use integer only maths - like network devices. And even the ARM's integer unit cannot divide - you have to do divides yourself the long way. Whether these missing features are a function of the RISC design of the chip, or for historical reasons, or some other reason entirely I'm not sure - no doubt an ARM expert will correct me.
    • Re:FPU? (Score:3, Informative)

      by kyllikki (88559)
      Historicaly when Acorn first created the ARM CPU even X86 had the 387, however as time went on and Acorn split off ARM they did develop a floating point co-processor (early ARMS had the co-processor bus exposed) the FPA10 and FPA11. Unfortunately these were not very popular and the emulated maths routines (done with unknown instruction aborts) were an adequate solution for most users.
      The only SOC device that *ever* had Floating point hardware was the 7500FE (99ukp dev board available from http://www.simte
  • $299+ (Score:3, Funny)

    by cperciva (102828) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:43PM (#6735171) Homepage
    All for $299 USD

    Only if you believe the marketing. More likely, it will be somewhere around $299 (PDA) + $699 (SCO license) + $50 (shipping and handling) + 15% (taxes) = $1205.20
  • by penguin7of9 (697383) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @01:48PM (#6735223)
    I have a Sharp Zaurus, and I think Qtopia just doesn't cut it.

    Sure, it looks pretty nice and it has most of the functionality you might want in a PDA, but it is still significantly worse than either Palm or PPC. Some of the problems include badly thought out user interaction, wasteful use of the limited screen real estate (probably a result of being based on an adaptation of a desktop toolkit), and pretty excessive resource consumption by Qt/Embedded. And there is far less software available for Qtopia than for either Palm or PPC. If you want good PDA functionality, get a Palm.

    On the other hand, as a Linux PDA for vertical apps, Qtopia-based PDAs also fall short: you are limited to the Qt toolkit and all the graphics and UI code from existing Linux apps require complete rewrites. You can't use any of the open source GUI tools you are likely used to (Tcl/Tk, Python/Gtk+, etc.). And if you want to write commercial apps, it's going to cost you (you can do commercial Palm development for free).

    Linux PDAs will keep failing until their makers recognize that it is futile to compete with Palm and PPC head-on. Linux PDAs can thrive in the niche of providing portable little Linux machines, but that means not limiting the machines to running just a single GUI toolkit.
    • by toganet (176363) <gwhodgson@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @02:47PM (#6735824) Homepage
      Remember, though, that the Zaurus _is not_ and PDA -- it is a PMT, or "Personal Mobile Tool".

      Semantic distinction or SHARP marketing garbage? A little of both -- but indicative of SHARP's awareness of the problem you mentioned or taking on other PDA's in their own segment.

      I use my Zaurus as a mini-workstation and network troubleshooting tool. And to play games, browse the web, take notes, SSH into servers....

      For PDA stuff, I use a PDA
    • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@noSPAm.hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @02:50PM (#6735868) Homepage
      Some of the problems include badly thought out user interaction, wasteful use of the limited screen real estate (probably a result of being based on an adaptation of a desktop toolkit), and pretty excessive resource consumption by Qt/Embedded.

      Indeed. This is true from both the user perspective as well as the developers- Qt/Embedded wasn't designed for use on PDAs, and it shows. I am talking about the API, not the way things look and feel, although that is certainly an issue as well. Qt/E was designed for a system with a mouse like its desktop counterpart, rather than for a stylus based system. This wouldn't be a big deal if TrollTech made the neccesary adaptations and changes to make for a system that worked well on both kinds of systems (there are Qt/E systems with mice and not touchscreens).

      For instance, Qtopia has a simple character recognition system in which you write in a little box, ala Graffiti 1 or the Character/Block Recognizer in PocketPC. Developers have wanted to create a new input method that allows one to write letters anywhere on the screen, perhaps using the same engine, but not making you write in a little box. But nope, it appears to be next to impossible within the confines of Qtopia and Qt/Embedded due to the way the event loop works. This is just one example, but these things add up, painting a picture of an embedded GUI toolkit that really doesn't make much sense on a PDA.

      And Qtopia/Linux does use an excessive amount of resources. For one, it's quite slow.

      I have a Zaurus SL-C760. I just did some timing tests for launching applications, here are my numbers:

      Calendar: 6 sec
      Opera 6: 6 sec
      Netfront 3: 4 sec
      Hancom Word: 3 sec
      Simple Calculator: 3 sec

      And for comparison, I launched analogous apps on an iPAQ 3650. Mind you, the iPAQ has half of the RAM and about half of the CPU power as the C760.

      Calendar, Word, PocketIE, Clock, Calculator: all > 1 sec

      One way to get around the slowness of app launching on the Zaurus is a feature called "fast load." Basically, the system loads the application into memory and keeps it resident, even when you quit it. When you tap the app it appears to open, and the icon shows up in the taskbar. If an app has "fast loading" turned on, launching time is pretty similar to the PocketPC. Of course, for each app you have "fast loading" turned on, it uses up a MB or more, depending on the app. Turning on fast loading for Calendar uses 1.2 MB of RAM.

      As far as memory requirements, the Linux+Qtopia combo uses up a pretty fair amount. On a fresh boot of my C760, with no applications in "Fast load" mode, 16 MB of RAM is used up. No application loaded. On a fresh boot on the iPAQ, WinCE is using up 3 MB.

      As far as vertical apps, you may not be able to run GTK+ or Tk apps within the world of Qtopia, you can run X11 and these apps if you want. It negates any advantage percieved for Qtopia, but it's still an option. Then again, you can also run Tcl/Tk, Perl/Tk, X11 and other apps on WinCE without having to go outside the WinCE environment, so it depends on what your needs are.

      The "Familiar" Linux distro and the Yopy PDA both use X11 and are thusly not limited to only one GUI toolkit. I myself would rather have one main GUI toolkit, but having options is always good. For me, consistency is more important, but even on WinCE/PocketPC- which is seen as a single toolkit environment can be host to other toolkits as long as someone does the port.
      • by joaorf (695907)
        The latest version of Qtopia comes with significant performance improvements. Read more: http://www.trolltech.com/newsroom/announcements/00 000137.html
  • Can we say dork? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And you thought you couldn't get laid when you showed of your "regular" PDA. Just wait until you flash your Linux PDA.
  • by PCM2 (4486)
    Call me naive, but is there really a purpose in having a multi-tasking, Unix-like kernel ... in a PDA?

    Open source PDA operating system, OK I can see that. But why Linux? Seems to me somebody's just riding on buzzword cache without any regard to whether there's really any demand for a device like this.
    • Open source PDA operating system, OK I can see that. But why Linux?

      To develop aplications right in your desktop with the same compiler, API and libraries you will have in your PDA.
    • I love my Zaurus because developing for it is free and easy. Plus I use it as a laptop replacement, many of the simple tasks I do through the day can be accomplished with the Z in my pocket instead of having to boot my laptop all the time. Yes, my use is a _very_ limited market.

      I'm very glad it exists but I do question the marketing dude's approval of such a device. Moreover I question the engineers since almost anyone that actually owns a zaurus will agree with the fact that it is not a consumer level dev
    • Call me naive, but is there really a purpose in having a multi-tasking, Unix-like kernel ... in a PDA?

      This argument was won many years ago, as far as GUI based systems are concerned. Multi-threaded GUIs are much more responsive than old cooperative multi-tasking systems. Try going back to an old cooperative multitasking system, and you'll notice an immediate difference.

      Open source PDA operating system, OK I can see that. But why Linux?

      The same reason Linux is being used for more and more interactive e

    • I totally agree with y... oh... DAMN! My iPAQ just locked and I didn't save... reset not working... have to pull the battery out... again.
    • Call me naive, but is there really a purpose in having a multi-tasking, Unix-like kernel ... in a PDA?

      I was looking into making a networked game for Palms. The OS just isn't designed for servers, or background tasks, or anything like that. A few simple tweaks [google.com] would go a long way to providing that, but even then "it just isn't possible to write a robust server app using PalmOS" [sourceforge.net].

      This doesn't just affect games. This kind of limitation means you can't write generic apps that let a Palm reliably serve any ki

      • If you find the Windows API displeasing, you can choose to develop applications using the .Net Compact Framework. It has a completely new set of API, made specifically for mobile devices, and you have the option to use C# and VB.NET
  • by greymond (539980) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @02:06PM (#6735376) Homepage Journal
    but does anyone else find the design monsterously ugly. It seems like a decent device - although I'll stick with my Zaurus, but unlike any of the other PDA's on the market this one just LOOKS ugly. I know that this could seem like a troll post, but honestly i'm sure there is others like me who don't like using ugly things - similar to my complaint with the Xbox Giganta controller - which was quickly replaced with a smaller one.
  • Kinda cheap looking, huh? Not impressing specs (need a CF slot!) and it looks like the buttons and cover will fall off on arrival..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What could they be thinking?

    My Tungsten C has a 320x320 screen. This "new" PDA has the "old" Zaurus screen.

    At least they could have used the Zaurus SL-C700 640x480 screen.
  • Is this PDA going to actually come out, or is it more vapourware (like the original Agenda) or will it really, truly be available? It was a complete outrage what happened with the Agenda, when /. hyped the hell out of it, they took a bunch of orders and money and then did not deliver. I was going to buy one, and was glad I kept my money so they did not get it. So the question (beyond the unanswered question of what happened to everyone's money the first time) is will this "new company" actually deliver o

    • The original Agenda came out. You could buy it for a while from the original Agenda Computing, and can still from Softfield [softfield.com] the maker of this new MX-7. The Agenda may have been a piss-poor PDA that suffered many long delays, but it was released and it was for sale.
      • The original Agenda came out. You could buy it for a while from the original Agenda Computing, and can still from Softfield the maker of this new MX-7. The Agenda may have been a piss-poor PDA that suffered many long delays, but it was released and it was for sale.

        The Delays IIRC were over a year, and a year after announcing it Slashdot announced that the company was no longer shipping to US customers (despite having a big backorder). Yes, some people got them, but I was left with the impression taht a

  • by krokodil (110356)
    it is indeed cool that it runs linux, but look at the pictures: it is offence to good taste.
  • I am waiting patiently for the PDA that would ideally run Linux, play stereo MP3s/oggs, with built-in WiFi. Usual PIM apps too, of course.


    my $0.02

  • That has to be the ugliest PDA I've ever seen.
  • include the $32 SCO embedded Linux license?
  • by CountDown (694948) on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @02:50PM (#6735854) Journal

    Idunno. I have a VR3d. My second one(broke the first one). A lot of software was developed for the VR3 and things were going great, but the hardware just wasn't up to snuff. Broken screens, buttons, lids, and the occasional projectile stylus were more than the developer community could stand.

    This new one looks too much like the old one. A revamped power system, more memory, expandability, and the reduction of buttons are all improvements, but the biggest problem with the VR3 was the screen.I will not buy the newest linux-based PDA until I see improvements to the case. The days when I would buy a block of wood with a penguin on it have passed.

    I also have an IPAQ 3150(running Familiar Linux) and a Zaurus SL5000d. The Zaurus is my favorite. Native Linux, expandability, and durability seem to be its strong points.

  • As a former owner of a Zaurus, I just feel like I have to post my rant about it here. Essentially, I hate the Qtopia environment and really, really hope something better comes out. The PIM apps are plain unusable, e.g. when you make a repeating calendar entry, you can't edit only one of them; you have to edit them all! Palm OS doesn't have such restrictions. Sure, I can use another calendar app, but then it can't sync with my computer, and believe me, you really do want to sync when your PDA crashes, and yo
  • by samantha (68231) * on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @03:09PM (#6736029) Homepage
    Definitely do not buy it. The first was utterly unusable due to extreme slowness and seeming lack of real multi-tasking. I was amazed they even bothered to put it out in such condition. The CPU is relatively slow in today's PD world. There is no support for standard cards for wifi and such, only memory, no room for a microdisk for instance. Extra hardware needed even for bluetooth? SIGH. I don't see anything at all compelling here.
  • The article is almost three years old. Didn't this thing get released, everyone bitched about the crappy screen and it faded away a month later?
  • I've been considering buying a PDA for 2-3 years, and now have money set aside for one. But I've delayed because I still haven't found the answer (possibly through not looking hard enough) to this question:

    If I buy any normal FS/OSS based PDA (such as the Sharp Zaurus, or this one), can I *actually* wipe off everything that's on it, recompile all the software, and reinstall, in the same way as I could on a PC? To put it another way, if I want to add a progress indicator to GNU gzip, or make the error mes
    • Re:My question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by prostoalex (308614)
      There are differences between the full re-install process on PC and Zaurus, but to answer your question - yes. You will have to build your own image on PC first, check http://docs.zaurus.com/ [zaurus.com] for more details, then have the zImage and the filesystem in place, after which you "reflash" your Zaurus with the help of a CompactFlash card and a certin key combination. Everything in the image is pre-compiled on PC (gotta make sure you're compiling for ARM target) and then packed into the image.

      If you screw up you
    • gzip (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gothmolly (148874)
      Since gzip is stream based, unlike bzip, you really can't add a progress indicator - gzip never knows how far along it is!
  • by Randy Rathbun (18851) <slashdot.20.randyrathbun@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday August 19, 2003 @04:42PM (#6737171) Homepage
    I have a 5500. At first it was a major cool toy. I mean, it is so easy to impress your geek friends by running a webserver in your pocket. But then what?

    Once the gee-whiz factor wore off, I was left with just that. A gee-whiz toy. I have yet to actually do anything with it.

    When I had a Palm I used it daily. When I had a PocketPC, I got to reboot it every fifteen minutes and quickly dumped it. The Zaurus never has crashed on me, but I find myself leaving it at home more often than not.

    I am going to get rid of the Zaurus soon and go back to the Palm platform. I got a lot more use out of their stuff. Sure, it might crash at the drop of a hat (though nothing like PPC2002 does) but at least Palm thought out the thing from the start instead of trying to be like everyone else.

    Linux in a handheld is probably going to be very cool one day. Just not right now.
  • So can I get NetHack on it? I like my Visor Edge, I can play Robotfindskitten on it, but memory addressing limitations keep NetHack off PalmOS.
  • What a great PDA... for me to poop on!

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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