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Dashboard Linux 249

zebziggle writes "The dashPC has Global Positioning (GPS) and Navigation, DVDs, Games (Quake 3, SoF, UT), Address book database, etc. It can run any programs that will run on an Intel/AMD i686 class computer. There is a Basic Stamp micro-controller that interfaces the Linux box to the car ignition for controlled boot/shutdown." The article says Linux, but that screenshot tells a different story. The website has other stuff and a lot more pictures.
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Dashboard Linux

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  • by blugecko ( 152079 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:06PM (#2671987)
    Now when I get hit on my bike again by a car, instead of the old "i was on my cell" they will "i was in the middle of recompiling my kernel..." to the officer
  • Jetta Coupe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Julius X ( 14690 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:08PM (#2672002) Homepage
    In addition the the screenshots that look a whole lot like Windows to me....I noticed that on the features page it shows a car which isn't even available in the US (yet the car has Florida Plates)---the Jetta 2 Door!

    Something about this site seems awfully fishy.
    • I forgot to mention that its not just the widgets...but the Winamp/Nullsoft for Windows icons too.

      And WHO in their right minds uses fake woodgrain on a Jetta? That makes the entire car look sooo cheezy!
    • The Jetta 2 door is indeed available
      in the US...or was. I wasn't very popular, so VW dropped it when the did the JettaIII. to ry.html

      That car, however, IS a sedan.
    • Re:Jetta Coupe? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Milican ( 58140 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:14PM (#2672044) Journal
      The listed software [] includes VMware. So it looks like your windows theories are true, but only by emulation.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Idiot.. You should read before opening your mouth. He is running win98 under vmware for some of the software (just gps according to the page).

      Also can clearly see the front door handle in one of the pictures with the back door open.

      The only thing that make this site fishy is that your head is buried in silt.

      This site and the information is one of the best uses for linux on pc equipment. I saw it a while back and is an arguement that if done right linux can be very user friendly.

      Overall this is a great hack.
      • You should pay attention to whom you call an idiot.

        I did read the whole site, dumbass. The site claims that VMware was used only for GPS equipment for Win98, yet the desktop shows Windoze clearly being used for other purposes as well...including Winamp/MP3 playing.

        WIth all that work on WIndows, it makes you wonder why he even installed windows.

        As for the Jetta Coupe ordeal, the PICTURES clearly show a sedan, but the features with the "beauty" shots clearly shows a Coupe....with him trying to show how nice a car he has, you'd figure he'd actually show HIS car! (Notice he never takes any pictures of the exterior of his own car--lowered suspension my ass.)
    • Re:Jetta Coupe? (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Buran ( 150348 )
      The Jetta coupe does exist as a concept only but isn't going to get built for the 4th generation A platform vehicles.

      The photo on the "features" page is a modified form of a photograph of that VW concept car . It was painted a lovely blue we don't get here in the US -- Jazz Blue. (A few Jazz Blue Golfs did make it as close as Canada, though. And you can get the color -- renamed -- on the Audi S4.)

      I can't seem to find a valid URL for the original photo at the moment, unfortunately.

      Jetta coupes existed for the first- and second-generation models only. They might come back for Generation 5, though. Who knows?
  • Beowulf? (Score:4, Funny)

    by czardonic ( 526710 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:09PM (#2672009) Homepage
    Imagine a ten car pile-up of these!
  • Frame style? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by JThaddeus ( 531998 )
    Are you sure he didnt just pick a Windoz look-alike frame style? His site says Red Hat Linux 7.1
    • One screenshot has Hollywood Magic Plus DVD software in it, its windows software, and they claim VMWare, but I seriously doubt DVD playing works all that well through a virtual machine. VMWare struggles to make office seem peppy on all but the newest machines.
      • ummm... Hollywood Magic Plus is hardware card... it does all the decoding in hardware not software... its not going to put any real strain the CPU. nice try
        • yes, I own the card. the software used with the card is what they are running, and I seriously doubt that you can play dvd's in hardware or software over vmware.
  • I can people to get out of my way when the light turns green now. I can just imagine if they start a game of Quake everytime they get stuck at a red light. I'm about as wired as you can get, but even I draw the line at that.

    On the other hand, for kids in the back seat with head phones, maybe quiet trips will make a comeback.

  • by Lewisham ( 239493 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:10PM (#2672014)
    Do drivers really need any more distractions? They're supposed to be watching the road, rather than whomping through pedestrians. Why the hell would you want to play UT in the car? Frag a few people at the traffic lights? The real kicker is that it doesn't actually run when the engine is off. Hooray!
    However, the rather pointless walnut styling on the keyboard really sells the thing to me :)
    • by bhsx ( 458600 )
      He very clearly states that it's there for his passengers. He does not use it while driving. It's more of a toy to show off to friends/co-workers. He's been working on this a long time, I'm suprised he hasn't been /.ed earlier. Kudos and Hoorah, I know I'm inspired. :)
    • I SO want to play Grand Theft Auto 3 when I'm driving...

    • There are always naysayers whenever Linux achieves something good. I say Linux needs MORE driver support, regardless of the consequences. If it takes a few dented bumpers to get a SANE interface to my Scanjet, well, dems the breaks.
  • by Talisman ( 39902 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:10PM (#2672017) Homepage
    What with all the automobile modifications for running computers, the next logical step is to simply replace the windshield with a monitor.

    Cameras mounted on the front of the car would provide the driver with images from the road. The rest of the 'screen' could be divided into whatever the user(s) would like.

    Say the passenger wants to play Quake, he opens a window and plays it on the right side, while the screen in the middle plays The Lion King for the kids in the back.

    This would also allow stronger bodies on cars, as the composite used in place of windows would be far stronger than glass.

    • Re:The Next Step (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lewisham ( 239493 )
      On the idiot box I saw something like this, where a small HUD was projected to the corner of the windscreen, which screened thermal imagery to the driver to be used in conditions of poor visibility. Worryingly, I would doubt it took long for some fool to post on the Internet how to turn it into a DVD player, causing people everywhere to crash their cars at the nail-biting final scene...
      I think a full on windscreen display would be a bit OTT. By the time that comes viable, the cars will be flying themselves :)
    • Exactly how many trust do you have in technology. I love the idea but if some circuitry failed i'd like it to be returned to normal see-trough glass automatically.
      You don't wanna see your binary-only nvidia driver blow up on you when driving (or X for that matter).
    • So what happens when the vehicle loses power while driving?

      I can see it now. The monitors go blank, you can't see a thing out the window, and you are driving down the Interstate at 85 miles an hour. What do you do? Crash, that's what.

      Also, I can imagine that people who suffer from claustrophobia would have a hard time in a vehicle such as this, no matter if they are seeing the outside through a virtual method.

      I guess I just do not see the use of virtual monitors in vehicles happening for some time to come. Glass is cheap, and can be strengthened to provide quite a bit of protection.
    • Re:The Next Step (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:32PM (#2672146)
      Cool idea. I've often thought of something similar for a car, but I've since thought that a Heads Up Display would be better suited for the purpose of displaying video on the windshield. Everything you mentioned could easily be done with a heads up display, and I think it would also end up looking cooler and being safer.

      (Actually my idea I had was about 7 years ago, while I was a major trekkie, was for a car that looked like and worked like a ST:TNG shuttlecraft. I had blueprints and everything, but somewhere along the lines I grew up :) ).
    • by brer_rabbit ( 195413 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:39PM (#2672192) Journal
      And after that, the next obvious thing is to replace the mouse with the steering wheel. And wire up the gear shifter as a joystick.

      It's all fun and games until someone *thinks* they're playing Carmageddon but they're really driving around the Target parking lot at 80 mph...
    • Re:The Next Step (Score:4, Interesting)

      by milkmandan9 ( 190569 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:46PM (#2672229)
      Besides the obvious safety considerations (what happens if the monitor dies or if a nicely-sized rock manages to punch a hole straight through the camera lens?), there are many advantages to having nothing besides a piece of glass in your way.

      First off, the windshield is big enough that if any significant portion of the glass gets damaged enough so that you can't see it, you generally can see enough to pull over to the side of the road. Glass is ungodly simple this way--if you critically damage part of it, the whole thing isn't going to fail.

      Secondly, glass is relatively easy to fix and cheap to replace: A new windshield runs for around $200. Any camera/monitor combo would likely cost tens of times as much. What's more, even if you've got a chasm-of-doom running down the middle of your windshield, you can still drive (albeit not terribly legally). With a cam/monitor combo, a dead camera means a useless car.

      Lastly, and most importantly, is the human factor. The human optical system is a very complex systems that's been honed for tens of thousands of years to process lots of bits of information at once. When I'm driving down the freeway at 75mph, maybe ten or twenty car-lengths behind someone, I can feel if I'm getting closer or farther away from them, despite there being a speed difference of only a couple of mph. Most peoples' eyes are also much sharper than most LCD screens (we won't discuss CRTs -- they're big, heavy, and a major safety hazard -- would you like a vacuum-filled glass tube in front of your head when you get in a wreck?) I've seen camera-and-LCD rear-view mirror replacements, and I haven't been impressed. Even at high resolutions, there's a lack of detail and intuitive connection to the image. It's the same feeling as looking through a periscope--your mind loses its connection to the object that you're looking at. You don't have any of those problems with glass.
      • we won't discuss CRTs -- they're big, heavy, and a major safety hazard -- would you like a vacuum-filled glass tube in front of your head when you get in a wreck?)
        Everyone who drives a Riveria from the years 1989-1996 do. That center system is a 9" monocrome tube.

        They are very safe, and work better in a vehicle that isnt in the warm south.
    • What with all the automobile modifications for running computers, the next logical step is to simply replace the windshield with a monitor.
      Yeah, like in the old "Spectrum Pursuit Vehicles []"!!! (From this page [])...
    • Check out this review of the honda insight - ght-1.html ... the guy modded the car and replaced the side mirrors with ccd cameras linked to displays to the sides of the stearing wheel. They also mounted a windmill to charge the battery :)

      The info about the mods is on the 4th page - ght-4.html
    • Imagine that... if you replaced the windshield with a "monitor," that'd sure bring a whole new meaning to the Blue Screen of Death!

      Rendundant, yes; but it had to be said!
    • What with all the automobile modifications for running computers, the next logical step is to simply replace the windshield with a monitor.

      Cameras mounted on the front of the car would provide the driver with images from the road. The rest of the 'screen' could be divided into whatever the user(s) would like.

      That's all very well and good until you swerve to avoid a fucking X10 popup and end up taking out some poor grannie crossing the

    • Interestingly enough, everyone has mentioned BSODs, etc, but has missed the big reason for not replacing a windshield with a monitor, probably because most of you take it for granted. You won't get depth perception with a monitor screen. It's amazing how much more difficult someone who uses depth perception day in and day out finds it when it's removed. For example, try this test. Hold your fingers pointing towards themselves at about 3/4 your total arm length at different distances away from you. Now touch them together. Now try the same trick, starting with your hands beside you, but before you hold them up, close one eye.

      Kids: Don't try driving your parents' car with one eye closed.

      I've never had depth perception, and I'm here to tell you I leave a lot more space when I'm driving then most people because of it.
  • Games!?!?! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Xenopax ( 238094 )
    I hope they come out with a driving game for this.
  • The software page talks about vmware and win98 being installed for the GPS/Street Atlas software. On the screen shot they might have taken the windows view, although it seems to be running just a bit more then GPS software there.
    Is there no good Linux GPS/Atlas stuff out there? Maybe someone should give them a pointer to it.
  • Read this! (Score:4, Informative)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:13PM (#2672040) Journal
    Article [] about the dangers of car PC's and cell phones use while driving.
    • Re:Read this! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nuintari ( 47926 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:23PM (#2672096) Homepage
      They wanna outlaw talking on cell phones while driving, with good cause. Then someone comes along and inventsd "mobile quake 3 for the really bvored driver!"

      God we're dumb.
      • by Quizme2000 ( 323961 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:06PM (#2672307) Homepage Journal
        Great, now Bill Gates can say open source movement can kill.
        When somebody gets hit when the driver's attention is distracted by the radio, phone, or tv it is an accident that was 100% avoidable in the eyes of the law. Just having this rig in your car makes you liable for any accident your in, and any would be theif walking pass your ride. If this is for passenger use Only(?) it fine, just like the game systems/TVs in minivans. Adding anything to the dashboard that distracts the driver is extremly dangerous period. Voice activitation and HUD won't solve the problem either, its still distracts.
        IMHO when automated driving systems become standard (which they will) then I'll have no problem with the driver of the SUV fragging the scrpit kiddie in the minivan.
  • by tmhsiao ( 47750 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:14PM (#2672043) Homepage Journal
    If you look at the site, he mentions that he's running VMWare for Windows 98 access to the GPS software.
    • and the reason is because all of the current gps/mapping software projects for linux are completely dead.

      mayko xmap is gone, the open source xmap called hugo is gone, and noone will use the free map database (tiger line) for their map sources.

      Linux fails miserably in the land of navigation and mapping, and unfortunately it will stay that way for a really long time.
    • might not do to good under 98:

      open(INFILE,"while () {
      if ($_ eq "[SHUTDOWN]\r\n") {
      exec("/sbin/shutdown -h now");

      Let's see!

      'PERL' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
      operable program or batch file.

      There you have it.

      • oh yeah...

        C:\>perl -V
        Summary of my perl5 (revision 5 version 6 subversion 1) configuration:
        osname=MSWin32, osvers=4.0, archname=MSWin32-x86-multi-thread

        I also run '.pl' files as executables from the command line, without even having tu add the .pl. (ie. will run if I type 'hello')

        Besides, like 300 other people have mentioned (because they read the article) - the guy was running VMWare on Linux...

    • and he doesnt have to.
      I just tried it and YES Delorme 5 works fine under wine with the delorme tripmate.

      so the added costs and overhead for vmware and winsomething is overhead that was never needed.

      Windows is not needed on this machine for any reason.
  • did anybody catch anything on either site that explains how the realtime weather information got in there? There's no mention of a mobile data link, other than GPS. Is GPS capable of relaying this type of information?
    • Re:question... (Score:2, Informative)

      by bergeron76 ( 176351 )
      The weather and traffic data are gathered when the car is still in the garage via 802.11
      • did you just make that up? Nothing on the site indicates that the box has WiFi built in. It mentions a 10/100 ethernet card, but i would imagine that it's only for VERY occasional file transfers, involving removal of the box.
        • did you just make that up? Nothing on the site indicates that the box has WiFi built in.

          It's on his News page. The 10/25/01 entry had the following:

          The screen resolution on the display is limited to 640x480 so I've decided to drop the window manager. I'm going to use perl/Tk to roll my own UI. I put a few pictures at the bottom of the pictures page. I'm currently downloading the images (via 802.11) for weather and traffic before I leave the parking garage. By the time I get out of the parking garage, the system has booted, the network connection is live, and the system pulls the images off the web. In addition, the car uploads the latest GPS coordinates, so if the car ever disappears, the authorities can recover it. Since ricochet went down, I'll have to figure out another way to do the wireless connectivity. I'm thinking about cellular at this point, but I'm not sure just yet. The user interface is coming along nicely. I also added a radio card to the system. It was killing me not having talk radio on my way in to work. The Hauppauge cards have a coax connector which is why I chose it.

          Sometimes, when I'm stopped at a red light, I can get an ethernet connection. I must be jumping on to someones 802.11 base unit. All your 802.11 base are belong to us.

    • by Ledge ( 24267 )
      There is a REALLY long retractable spool of cat5 with amplifiers every so often mounted on the rear bumper. Works fine as long as you return home using the same route that you used to get to work.
    • by Jestyr ( 17062 )
      He looks ouside the window.. instant weather updates :P
  • Take a large dose of computing power, throw in a dash of hackerism how-to, and top with a smattering of WiFi... beowulf supercomputing on the (real) highway!!!
    Now those long, traffic-jam laden commutes might not be so bad for society after all- just add a little distributed computing.
  • by ReidMaynard ( 161608 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:22PM (#2672094) Homepage
    Please note: This system was designed for the enjoyment of my passengers.

    *My* passengers are to busy praying not to die, while I navigate my bmw @ 2xSpeed Limit speeds.

  • wowowow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    can you imagine a Steppenwolf Cluster of these??? Now *that's* a magic car-pet ride!!!
  • I can't tell a lot from the screenshots other than a default Win desktop with some Winamp shortcuts. I was wondering if this is that "Mobile Windows" thing from Microsoft that is supposed to be specific for automobiles? OTOH this looks more like a standard small-footprint PC than anything else.

    If so then it's probably nothing new - just clever wiring and some GPS software.

    I have to say though, the keyboard seems mighty stupid. And games??? I mean, maybe in a traffic jam but I can't see the point.

    Devices like these need to be voice controlled, if anything. Actually, someone needs to come up with an input device that can be mounted in the steering wheel and functions as both a mouse and basic keyboard, maybe even support for gestures and so on.

    Oh, and definitely put the display in a HUD or something. More people have died from looking down to change the radio station than hit by trains at intersections =)
    • I wish you would read at least some of the article. he clearly states that the system is for passengers while he is driving, not to fuck with when he is driving. any person that has a brain knows that would be very dangerous. if i were a passenger, i would love to play wolfenstein while on a roadtrip.

  • Add wirless networking capabilities and each traffic jam will transform into a huge gaming party.

    Anyway, there is many practical uses for this. However, a sticker should state: "Don't surf and drive!"

  • Am i the only one who visited the "software" section of the site? for everyone's benefit:

    * Red Hat Linux 7.1
    * M$ Windows 98 installed on VMWare for Linux (used only for GPS/Street Atlas RWE)
    * VMWare for Linux

    * XMMS (Linux)
    * StreetAtlas Road Warrior Edition

    so the answer is: yes, indeed the screens do look like windows, because they are.

  • It might be that the screenshots are of a "proof-of-concept" prototype that had Win98 loaded, but Linux will be loaded on the "production" version...

    If (as has been previously suggested) this is not much more than a mini-PC with some additional extra stuff to manage a graceful shutdown, then replacing a full Win98 install with a Linux install should not be too difficult.

    And he wouldn't have to may the M$ tax.

    Just my C$0.02...

  • What I am looking for is a single DIN GPS system.

    I have a WRX with an area for a gauge pod on the dash that could hold a single din unit, I saw someone had mounted a Kenwood there.

    Does anyone know if such a beast exists?
  • Seems like the GPS could be used as an alternate controller for Quake.... Then head on out to your neighborhood salt flats... Actually, you could do this now with a GPS and a laptop :)
    • The biggest problem here is refresh rate. Otherwise your idea is pretty cool. Probably want to use it to run doom instead, because mouselook in your car might be tough.
  • Nifty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:37PM (#2672174)
    This is great.
    I've put a system in my car that does a few of these things. It's based on a regular x86 system, but uses straight DC-DC for power (eats less power). The BASIC STAMP I used (BS2-SX) is set up to power up the computer on ignition and it can start the car on a signal from the computer, as well. I'm in the process of setting my trunk button on my keyless entry to turn on the computer instead. I have a 5" LCD (no touchscreen yet!) and tiny keyboard (keypad next to the LCD, too).
    So far it has integratio with my GPS: moving map, output to my stereo, 802.11b (to work on it from my home, transfer music, etc), and the beginning of an interface to my car's CPU and testing system.
    I'm using a big deep-cycle battery to power it (charges from car) when the car isn't on, but I really just want to make it more low-power from the bottom up. My car is pretty light-weight anyway (RX-7), so I'd like to lose the battery eventually.
    This is mostly spare parts and home-built electronics, though, so I spent less than $200 on it as it is. My entire CD collection is in it in fairly high bitrate mp3/ogg files.
    Once the car CPU interface is complete, I can have all sorts of useless realtime stats to look at instead of the road!
    Now I just need retractable wings and I'm set. (Maybe oil-slick and caltrops, too!)
  • Great (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You can watch a DVD, make a call, or play Half life while running over pedestirans...

    I can not wait till cars start to fly and we have them start to hit buildings and fall from the sky so distracted drivers can kill people by the score. Because one or two at time is what we seem to be limited to now...
  • by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:41PM (#2672199) Homepage Journal
    A bunch of us were talking once about how keen it'd be to actually have Linux RUNNING your car. As in, replace whatever's in the "little black box" with Linux.

    So you'd actually have /dev/engine, /dev/wheel[0123] . . . Some stuff under /proc to report stats and the like. You'd have things like "steerd" running in the background to handle steering. Get a remote interet connection up and you could even SSH into your car to diagnose engine problems! Think of the possibilities!

    You could even use the standard Linux sound structure to deal with your car's audio system. /dev/audio and the like. Have mpg123 for mp3s, some cd player to deal with CDs. Heck, since we're doing mp3s now, you could actually serve mp3s up to OTHER cars running Linux! We could probably hack up Gnutella to do some keen P2P stuff. ("Damn, I forgot my NIN CD at home. But wait! That Honda over there is sharing them! Great!")

    Of course, then you've gotta worry about people h4x0ring into your car. That'd bite. We'd have to make sure there's some pretty thorough iptables rules going on . . . And what happens if your kernel panics? Doh! Probably not the best situation to be running a "testing" kernel on. I can see the website now: "Well, the bug that was causing engine meltdowns was fixed in 2.5.13-pre5, so I suggest everyone upgrade . . ."

    Gives a whole new meaning to the whole "no warranty implied" thing, eh? Would you want the preemptible kernel patches on that thing?

    So what do most cars actually run on, anyway?

  • I have just a few questions.

    First, can it download my e-mail? Second, can it read my e-mail, and maybe e-books, to me, using a text to speech synthesizer? Third, can it read it to me in a pleasing female voice?

  • by thrillbert ( 146343 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:45PM (#2672219) Homepage
    In-Dash PC emmulating windows: US$1,000

    802.11b Wireless LAN card: US$120

    Airsnort: Free

    Sending a WinPopUp that says "YOU ARE AN IDIOT" to the moron who just cut you off: Priceless

    For some things there are hand signals, for everything else, there's Linux.
  • This would be much more useful with a headsup display [].
  • by tangent3 ( 449222 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @03:52PM (#2672254)
    Anyone care to write a parallel parking script for this?

    cat "right 30" > /dev/wheel
    cat "25" > /dev/accelerator
    sleep 2
    cat "0" > /dev/accelerator
    cat "left 30" > /dev/wheel
    cat "reverse" > /dev/gear
  • Why run Linux when your GPS software and other apps are native Windows apps? Just so you can say "Look at me! I'm one of the l33T linux dudez!"?

    If you want to run Quake, UT, Winamp (or equivalent), and commercial GPS mapping software, you need Windows, not Linux. Of course, there's always someone with a really big hammer, a square peg, and a round hole...
    • by gol64738 ( 225528 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:03PM (#2672297)
      isn't it obvious? since linux is open, it's a lot more configurable.
      let's say he only wanted certain processes starting or stopping at particular times?
      what if he wanted to run his choice of a journaling filesystem and wanted to tweak it for speed?
      what if he wanted to run a webserver and database server without having to waste money on any licenses?

      let's see you hack a unsupported touchscreen display into windows, hahaha.

      look, with linux (and vmware) he has the best of both worlds PLUS ultimate configurability. he can make his car computer do whatever he wants.
      if he were to install only windows, boy would he be limiting the power of his project.
      • let's say he only wanted certain processes starting or stopping at particular times?

        As long as the process is a linux process and not a windows one.

        let's see you hack a unsupported touchscreen display into windows, hahaha.

        since when does anyone release a device without windows drivers? The only people who have those sorts of problems are non-windows users (and XP users currently I guess), or those that built their own gear.

        Besides, generating appropriate mouseup and mousedown events using SendMessage isn't too hard if you really wanted to do it.
      • what if he wanted to run a webserver and database server without having to waste money on any licenses?

        Then he could run any number of them that are available for Windows. My favorite free web server for Windows is Savant. There's probably as much free Windows software as there is free Linux software.

        Why would he run a web server when the thing is not connected to the web and has no IP address?

        what if he wanted to run his choice of a journaling filesystem and wanted to tweak it for speed?

        Then he needs a life. It's a dashboard toy. Use NTFS with Windows 2000 and be done with it.

        look, with linux (and vmware) he has the best of both worlds PLUS ultimate configurability. he can make his car computer do whatever he wants.

        No, he has a compatability mess and grotesque wasting of CPU horsepower.

        if he were to install only windows, boy would he be limiting the power of his project.

        What a boatload of penguin shit! There's not a single thing of consequence that he would need to do in a dashboard PC that can't be accomplished just as well under Windows as under Linux.

        He can't even get decent GPS mapping software that runs under Linux.
    • by Milican ( 58140 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:11PM (#2672336) Journal
      Well the article mentions some logic tied into the auxilliary power on the car. If he is using Linux he can design a rudimentary program which will shutdown the OS nicely when the car is shutoff (aux power off). If he is using Windows the task isn't trivial. Thats just one reason to use Linux. Good question though. The appropriate tool should always be used for the task at hand.

      • Well the article mentions some logic tied into the auxilliary power on the car. If he is using Linux he can design a rudimentary program which will shutdown the OS nicely when the car is shutoff (aux power off). If he is using Windows the task isn't trivial.

        Ever seen what windows does when hooked to a smart UPS? Windows shuts down based on relay closures in uninterruptable power supplies, so he would have zero software to design for Windows.
        • Thats a good idea, and I had thought about that. If the designer of this system was to do this he would have to build a basic UPS interface to present to Windows. However, what is the standard for building the simplest, most basic UPS device? What is the standard for communicating to Windows you are a UPS device? I'm not sure. It may be really simple. It may require a microcontroller (pic or otherwise) to implement on the UPS device side. I'm not really sure. Both solutions require that you know serial port communications and electronics interfacing. The Windows solution would require that knowledge and the knowledge of UPS systems. Both would work. I feel more comfortable implementing this in Linux, but thats just me. I still think doing the job in Linux would be easier because I can get access to the serial ports with no problem in Linux (IMHO a pain in the ass in Win32), and I can roll my own circuitry in Linux without having to implement the UPS interface and protocol (whatever they may be). Clearly though, like all solutions there is more than one path.

  • Carmegeddon (Score:4, Funny)

    by schporto ( 20516 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:01PM (#2672290) Homepage
    So you can play Carmegeddon while driving? There's just something inherently screwy about that. Or playing a racing game while stuck in a traffic jam. Yesh the irony.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:07PM (#2672308) Journal
    My car was stolen a few months ago, and I got it back after about five weeks. From now on, when my car starts up, I want it to note where it is, take a picture of whoever's starting it up, and upload that information to a hidden FTP directory at my ISP.

    The next time some asshole takes my car, I want to be able to e-mail their picture and location to the SFPD.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    No wonder everyone is confused - the original link points to an article that only mentions Christopher's project. Full site can be found at where he explains everything! (from where to get that flat screen to why he uses windows running on top of linux)
    Please mod up so other people can actually find useful info.
    P.S. Is anyone else pissed at VW for not bringing their in-dash navigation system that is available for Passat in Europe?
  • by djsable ( 257312 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:37PM (#2672522) Homepage
    Jesus Christ, why not just paint over the windows with black spray paint, and go driving around in the mall. You won't be using the windows to see, between a computer, a dvd player, and a cell phone, why bother with such lame things as WATCHING WHERE YOU'RE DRIVING.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:17PM (#2672779) Homepage
    The LCD he uses for the dash will last exactly 1 week in any US location above mid-ohio.
    LCD's die when they freeze and most every LCD from his listed source are rated only down to 20 degrees F michigan get's to -1 -2 on a regular basis every winter (except this winter, it was 65 yesterday) and in minnesota it gets to -15 at least twice.

    the best choice for an LCD is something designed for vehicle use which has a wide temperature range. Nothing from his supplier is useable in a vehicle in the upper 40% of the northern hemisphere.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken