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Handhelds Software Hardware Linux

Samsung's Linux-based Diskless Camcorder 199

An anonymous reader writes "LinuxDevices has a story about the Samsung Miniket, a digital camcorder the size of a pack of cards that also works as a portable MP3 player, webcam, voice recorder, storage device, and more. The Miniket (annoying Flash and sound) will be available in February or March in the US, for $600-$700, with a rugged 'sports' model to follow. The device runs Linux, boots in under a second, and is the first of several products from Samsung that will run a new variation of Linux called 'ARM-no-MMU.' LinuxDevices also has a whitepaper about Samsung research that shows the new Linux variant to be faster than normal Linux."
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Samsung's Linux-based Diskless Camcorder

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:53PM (#11505314)
    MMU stands for memory management unit. It is a component used to protect parts of memory from being accidently overwritten, for example.
  • by greechneb ( 574646 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:58PM (#11505396) Journal
    The Miniket boots from 128KB of NOR Flash, and includes 16MB of SDRAM. As noted above, various models offer different amounts of user file storage, which is based on a single internal NAND Flash chip. The 128KB NOR Flash is only used for bootloader functions; all other system software, including the kernel, is stored within the much larger NAND Flash.

    I think diskless means no CD/DVD/floppy
  • nothing new? (Score:2, Informative)

    by PW2 ( 410411 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:09PM (#11505563)
    I bought a little camcorder from HSN about 8 months ago for $140 that records to SD. It did voice recording / MP3 playback / still / MP4 video recording. -- it's a little larger than a stack of 40 credit cards.
  • by soramimicake ( 593421 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:10PM (#11505579)
    The 'white paper written by Samsung' mentioned in the submission is titled 'Context Switching and IPC Performance Comparison between uClinux and Linux on the ARM9 based Processor'. So it is indeed uClinux.
  • by updog ( 608318 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:11PM (#11505593) Homepage
    There's thousands of products which are "diskless devices" that don't require a server!! This is simply an embedded device - everything it needs is on flash memory.
  • I wonder... (Score:3, Informative)

    by vought ( 160908 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:11PM (#11505601)
    If this is using something like Portal Player's 5002/5003 chips? Those "media chips" were based around a dual ARM core.
  • Not necessarily (Score:3, Informative)

    by pslam ( 97660 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:13PM (#11505620) Homepage Journal
    Since it has no MMU. Without the overhead of actually having to manage the memory, it's got to be faster.

    This is not necessarily true. The difference in speed you'll get with a properly arranged MMU will be negligable. I hate SoC manufacturers who fall for this line of thinking and miss out the MMU "because it's not needed". It just makes development and debugging 10 times harder for a mostly negligable speed and power consumption gain.

    Any SoC designers out there: please stop producing high spec CPUs without MMUs! You aren't doing anyone a favour.

  • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:17PM (#11505675) Homepage
    I notice on the site it says it captures clips in an MPEG-4 QVGA format for playback with 'Windows Media Player'.

    So it is probably using a proprietary Windows media codec for with there is no 'official' support under Linux.

    You will, of course be able to play back / manipulate the video using 3rd party tools such as Mplayer/Mencoder which provide this sort of interoperability.
  • by MrJerryNormandinSir ( 197432 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:18PM (#11505680)

    I don't know about you but I haven had luck with samsung. I own a samsung minidv camcorder and a cuircuit board blew up within 18 months of owning it. The LCD and viewfinder screens have no video, just backlight is on. It charges, and plays, but that's it. If samsung would take my old scd80 and
    send me one of these new digital camcorders running linux I would forgive them and buy other samsung products... but for now i would not buy another samsung product because I am not convinced that they last.
  • Re:Pathetic (Score:4, Informative)

    by exhilaration ( 587191 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:04PM (#11506340)
    The Canon S1 IS [] has 10X optical zoom, image stabilization, 30fps 640x480 movies, 3.2 MP still shots, and uses CF cards - all for around $300 []. Check out this review [].
  • Re:Pathetic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Schweg ( 730121 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:25PM (#11506596)
    I agree, that's a nice camera. I like Canon's products.

    The only problem there is that I think they use an older video format, since they can only get a maximum of 9 or 12 minutes (depending on compression) on a 1GB CF card. That really limits its use as a replacement for a camcorder.

  • by Jusii ( 86357 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:39PM (#11506789)
    Well, if two mouse clicks is too much, how about one? []

    And no, they don't have to publish their diffs for everybody, only for those who has bought the camera if they ask for them.
  • by rhaas ( 804642 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:40PM (#11506791) Homepage

    Unless I'm mistaken here, this will allow one process to take down the entire machine, just like Windows. I've always said that the problem with Linux is that it needs to be made just as fast and reliable as Windows.

    (Before someone mentions it, yes, I know that Windows has memory management. But it also has poor process isolation, of which this design creates a more extreme version.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:41PM (#11507557)
    Dude... It's a camera. How many processes do you suppose are going to run on it at any given time? I'd say 2-3.. Maximum. How many are critical to the functioning of the camera? All of them. It's not a fucking general purpose computer. Frankly, Linux is totally overkill... BUT They're using it because it's there, it suits the purpose, and they didn't have to re-invent the wheel. I'm all for that.

    The only way this is going to have a problem is a) Their programming screws up. b)Linux is bugged c)The user tries to use it as a something it's not designed to be used for. Everything except A is an extraneous circumstance.
  • by Kiaser Zohsay ( 20134 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:51PM (#11507705)
    From TFA:

    The Miniket encodes and compresses video using a codec included in the MPEG4 standard. Its video files can be played back using Windows Media Player 6.4 or later, or on Samsung's DVD recorders, the company says.


    Photos can be played back on the device's tilt-and-swivel color LCD, transfered to removable storage cards, or copied to a PC over a USB mass storage device connection. USB mass storage support also allows the device to be used for generic data storage.

    WMP 6.4 is positively ancient in Windows terms, and the codec is included in the MPEG4 standard, so it's not proprietary in that sense. And USB mass storage is about as universal as USB interfaces get. If this thing doesn't work with Linux, its only because you're not trying hard enough.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?