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Handhelds Software Hardware Linux

Palm to go Linux 253

jetkins writes "The Melbourne Age reports that company officials announced Tuesday that Palm will move to a new Linux-based platform 'to help the company compete better.' The move was announced 'during a meeting with analysts in New York, where they also discussed the company's business strategy and refused to talk about recent rumors of a possible buyout.'"
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Palm to go Linux

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  • Old News??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:04AM (#18689319)
    Were they not going to do this a few years ago as well and then shelved the whole thing.
    • Re:Old News??? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:17AM (#18689553) Homepage Journal

      Were they not going to do this a few years ago as well and then shelved the whole thing.

      They've been on and off talking about it. What I don't get is why Palm Hardware never used the BeOS-based Palm Software OS. It was an ultra-modern OS, with features that WinCE could only dream of having, was better suited to handheld profiles, and yet Palm Hardware started making WinCE devices.

      Ever since then, they keep pulling out this idea of a Linux handheld, then sticking it back in the box. Pull it out, put it back in. Pull it out, put it back in. Why don't they just go get their rights back from ACCESS so they use the bloody PALM OS?!?

      Ok, rant over.
      • by Lobo ( 10944 )
        They DID []!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *
          No, they DIDN'T! The article you linked to is about licensing of Garnet. Garnet is the current codename for the classic Palm OS that's been around since the stone ages. All this licenses is about is letting Palm Hardware pickup the source code where Palm Software (aka PalmSource) left off.

          The BeOS-based Palm OS is called Cobalt, and is going nowhere fast.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:23PM (#18690685)

        ..they keep pulling out this idea of a Linux handheld, then sticking it back in the box. Pull it out, put it back in.
        Sounds like they're just screwing with you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by walt-sjc ( 145127 )
        Why don't they just go get their rights back from ACCESS so they use the bloody PALM OS?!?

        Because palmos doesn't multi-task. This is why the palm version of the treo can't support a wifi card.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jsnorman ( 130339 )
        Actually, Palm (the hardware company) never announced until this PR any intention of moving to an internally developed OS. It was ACCESS (fka PalmSource, the Palm operating system company seperated from Palm hardware), that announced they were moving to Linux several years ago;but that project seems to be treading water at best.

        What is interesting is the Palm (hardware company) is basically slapping ACCESS's face hard here - they are tired of waiting for a new and improvied Palm OS, apparently did not like
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by metamatic ( 202216 )

        What I don't get is why Palm Hardware never used the BeOS-based Palm Software OS.

        What I don't get is why they don't use one of the 5 existing palmtop Linux environments, instead of wasting resources building their own from the ground up.

        Oh, wait, Palm has lots of ex-80s-Apple people. Never mind.

    • And they were going to move to a version of BeOS before that, but last I checked they were still using the years-old PalmOS v5. PalmOS is a POS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ceeam ( 39911 )
        PalmOS is definitely not POS. _I_ don't really need multithreading in my PDA. What is POS is Windows Mobile with apps basically hanging in background and constant problems because of it.

        But this talking has only theoretical interest now. PalmOS is dead. Windows Mobile soon to follow. Symbian has won for the moment. Pity. I like my PDA with a relatively big hi-res screen and I can handle my phone and PDA as two separate devices thankyou. I don't want to talk with my PDA any more than I don't want to have CD
        • Re:Old News??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Moofie ( 22272 ) <{lee} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @01:00PM (#18691281) Homepage
          The anti-integration grognards always crack me up. You are aware that you're sitting in front of the most multi-function device ever conceived of by Man, right?

          Convergence is not the problem. Poorly designed convergence is a problem. There is no technical reason why a phone shouldn't be a perfectly good music player. There's no reason for a PDA not to include phone capabilities. It's free pie. The hardware is basically the same stuff.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceeam ( 39911 )
            I want 4"+ screen on my PDA. I don't want to hold a device this big to my ear. As simple as that. Yes, bluetooth earset is an option but then we're back to two devices, ain't we?
            • by Moofie ( 22272 )
              Which PDAs have a 4" screen?

              Obviously, your mileage varies. But if you add up the bulk of a PDA plus a phone, that's a bigger load in your pocket than a "smartphone" (boy, is that ever a dumb word) and an optional Bluetooth headset.

              I'm much more concerned about a high-resolution screen than a large one. For me, 320x320 (or 320x480) would be just fine.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by PitaBred ( 632671 )
              Why not just make the bluetooth earset snap into the device? That way it's one device until you need it as two.
          • Re:Old News??? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @01:54PM (#18692147)

            Poorly designed convergence is a problem.


            There is no technical reason why a phone shouldn't be a perfectly good music player.

            Yes there is: it has the wrong interface.

            There's no reason for a PDA not to include phone capabilities.


            The hardware is basically the same stuff.

            Except for the interface.

            Now, here's what really ought to happen: divide up the hardware by interface instead of by function. Stop putting storage and transceivers (e.g. cellular, wifi) in all the devices; instead put that stuff on a brick (without a display) that I can leave in my pocket, and then give me a dumb terminal-like touchscreen (that's as thinner than a PDA), a headset, and maybe a calculator watch-like device for when the touchscreen is unnecessary. Then hook it all together with Bluetooth or wires or something. That's how "convergence" should be!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Doctor Memory ( 6336 )

            You are aware that you're sitting in front of the most multi-function device ever conceived of by Man, right?

            Which is fine, because I'm (as you say) sitting. When I'm leaving a meeting and need to call someone to tell them that I'm leaving early/late, I really don't want to have to negotiate a bunch of menus to pull up my address book to tap somebody's number to make the call. Or if somebody calls me to get somebody else's contact info, I could do without telling them "Hold on...", then searching for the info, then reciting some of it, pull the phone away from my ear to look at the screen, memorize the next lin

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by metalcoat ( 918779 ) rss&tag=2547-1_3-0-5&subj=news []

      Just Today.

      Linux OS by the end of the year. Maybe they are serious.

  • Handhelds and PDF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 )
    This is very good news. I hope Palm will follow up and deliver. I have a question though. I have never owned a handheld or even touched one, but would like to know whether a basic handled to be used to read PDF documents downloaded from the internet is reasonable. I am concerned about fonts, battery life usability and durability.

    Currently, I have documents in excess of 200MB abd would like to read them while on the go. Could a slashdotter help me out thanks. If one can go ahead and recommend a model, thay

    • Sure (Score:4, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:13AM (#18689497) Homepage
      All handhelds have free PDF readers available. Frankly - this is something you could have found out from a 5 second google query.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Thanks. I have a question though. I have never used a google or even seen one, but would like to know whether a search tool to be used to look for information downloaded from the internet is reasonable. I am concerned about fonts, response time, usability and durability.

        Currently, I have documents in excess of 200MB abd would like to search for them while on the internet. Could a slashdotter help me out thanks. If one can go ahead and recommend search engine, thay would even be great.
    • by tmasssey ( 546878 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:16AM (#18689541) Homepage Journal

      I've owned a Treo 300, 600 and 700. I've read PDF's on all of them.

      HOWEVER: It is not easy. The best is the 700. The high-res screen (320x320) makes a big difference. But even then, you're talking about using a device that has a screen that's 2 inches x 2 inches to try to read a document formatted for 8.5 x 11. The whole idea of a PDF is to preserve precise paper-based formatting. Working with that on a handheld is awkward at best.

      Your best option is to convert the PDF to text and read the text on the PDF, using some sort of eReader (Plucker [] or ,A HREF="">iSilo come to mind). I read lots of PG [] material that way, as well as IBM Redbooks [] that I've converted to text.

    • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `171rorecros'> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:20AM (#18689607) Homepage

      I have never owned a handheld or even touched one, but would like to know whether a basic handled to be used to read PDF documents downloaded from the internet is reasonable. I am concerned about fonts, battery life usability and durability.

      Well, there's PalmPDF [], which I've had reasonable success with on my Treo 650. PDFs contain their own fonts so that's not an issue, really. My Treo doesn't have a case and seems to be holding up pretty well, even after I've dropped it a few times (and my kids have dropped it a few more times). Works pretty well, though with only a 320x320 screen, there's only so much you can see at a time. You'd probably want one with a bigger screen (e.g. 320x480 ones exist), and as much RAM and as fast a processor as possible.

      I make too many phone calls with it, but I use its PDA and viewing functions quite a bit every day, and battery life is fine. Don't think I've ever gone below 75% charge (I plug it in every night).

      I can't say that I've worked with 200MB PDFs, though. I think ~10MB is the biggest I've messed with. And someone else will have to tackle Windows or Linux-based platforms. However, I've heard generally good things about the Nokia 770 - it's basically a small Linux box with an 800x480 screen...

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )
      I have a Palm Tungsten C, and I have had decent luck reading PDFs on it. For Palms, you can get the reader from Adobe. When you choose a pdf you want to load, it gets converted to work better on the handheld - reformatted, images reduced, etc. It seems to work well for text, though I prefer straight text usually. If the pdfs are scans, ie. just large images, I don't think it would work well. There is also a program called Documents To Go which has PDF support, but I haven't used it.
    • I *love* my Nokia 770... only complaint is that my phone don't do bluetooth...
  • by ( 1086903 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:10AM (#18689425) Homepage
    It is probably a good move for them because: 1. Lower the cost as they don't have to spend as much in development (eventually) for their own OS. 2. They are in a niche now since Linux has a great following 3. Did I say we are all Linux lovers?
    • by CompMD ( 522020 )
      Whew, I was scared. The first time I read this post I saw "Lower the cost as they don't have to spend as much in development (eventually) for their own OS/2."
  • Great but.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    I had a Sharp Zaurus which is/was a GNU/Linux based PDA. Out of the box it only had support for Windows, and was really designed for windows users. In fact I get much better performance out of my Windows Mobile 5 PDA + Fedora Core 6 than I ever did with my Zaurus. I get proprietry stuff on the PDA like TomTom satnav (not available for linux PDA despite the Tomtom standalone uint being linux based). Development branch of Synce support syncing my PDA with Evolution. I can use Minimo web browser. I hate the fa
    • If Palm were using ALP, then it would support HotSync and SyncML. Palm would be shooting themselves in the foot if their solution were not at least as interoperable as ALP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evil_Tak ( 964978 )

      In short. Linux on a PDA is a huge success for Linux but is really no better for everyday linux users unless we get proprietry stuff like Tomtom, RealPlayer, Flash available for it (not completely unlikely).

      You mean something like the Nokia N800 [], which comes with Opera and Flash, works with a wide range of bluetooth GPS units, including Navicore [] and TomTom, and has a freely available Rhapsody client []?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by giminy ( 94188 )
      Out of the box it only had support for Windows, and was really designed for windows users.

      Yes, it was designed for Windows users. That is evident by the the security [] of the original release. no root password + an ftp server that binds to all interfaces (and can't be disabled without killing the graphical environment) == instant fun!

  • interesting++ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:11AM (#18689435)
    Given that PDAs are falling behind in the face of smart phones, going to Linux might just entice the linux haXX0r community to produce some fun applications that help Palm in the marketplace.

    I don't know if there is already an unofficial palm Linux, but having it officially sanctioned would be a good thing.

    Hell, I'm tempted to get one now just to have some coding fun, seriously.
    • Given that PDAs are falling behind in the face of smart phones, going to Linux might just entice the linux haXX0r community to produce some fun applications that help Palm in the marketplace.

      Actually, there's been plenty of developer [] attention [] paid to Palms already. Thanks to the head start, I think it still has more apps available for it than Windows handhelds. This despite the fact that developing for PalmOS is at best quirky and at worst painful.

      But Palm is pretty much in the smartphone business alr

    • I think the goal is a Linux Trio. If it was a truly open Linux Trio it would be fairly close to the penultimate hackable hand-held. The only thing that would make it perfect is if it had a real USB jack (or better still two) that way I could use any standard USB devicewith my SmartPhone, connect to any computer with a standard cable, and as long as I am dreaming, I want my car to have a powered USB hub so I can charge my phone, connect it to my GPS, and use it to transport music files. All that with a OS
      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        Uh, for everything but the charging there is Bluetooth, and for high bandwidth there is the upcoming ultrawideband version of Bluetooth. A handheld with lots of wires sucks and is something that not even most geeks would be into.
        • I love cables - but then I am a bit paranoid. I get kind of uncomfortable with the idea of wireless (I've borrowed enough broadband to know that nothing is secure). Also, if my phone had Bluetooth some one will find a way to make it buzz and go "the store you are walking past has a sale on _____, why not stop by!" or "Show the cleark your phone and get 20% off at _____!"

          That's why I want a USB jack. That way I need only one cord for everything.

          • There are adapters from mini-usb to standard usb. Off the top of my head I can tell you that office depot has a package with a standard usb cable and adapters for all the mini connections.

            It's unlikely that palm will have included the driver for your device in their kernel, so you'd pray they make the driver module source available so you can recompile.

    • Re:interesting++ (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:29AM (#18689751) Homepage
      nope. The Nokia 770 is way better hardware than Palm has ever produced, same as the Sharp Zaurus line. Nither one has came to the front as the holy grail.

      Both are awesome, and honestly do thigns that all other PDA's dream of. But it all comes down to one simple fact.

      The biggest buyers of PDA's are executives and they dont care to run a SSH session, sniff wifi packets, watch movies, or hack the planet... they want complete integration with their outlook application and email.

      and they chose blackberry because it's the only item that has the complete integration that works right. (not that I'm a fan of the blackberry, but adoption and useage of it is way WAY greater than pocket windows and palm put together.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bfree ( 113420 )
      Hackndev [] has been working on Linux ports for many of the current Palm models for quite a while now. Unfortunately some things (like Wifi) are virtually impossible to get working but a wide number of models have the core hardware working. The biggest issue now actually seems to be creating the applications/environment which is suited for the Palm inputs.
  • About time... (Score:4, Informative)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ ( 415866 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:12AM (#18689465)
    My Treo 650 does some real weird things sometimes.
    My 650 will freeze for up to 20 seconds, at least once a day.

    I have friends who own the Palm version of the 700 and these do some very weird things. They reboot themselves constantly, email is very flaky, syncing to Mac computers is so-so at best. Basically syncing is a crapshoot.

    I find this to be a good thing and I hope the linux version will be a more stable OS than Palm.

    Any cell phone that doesn't have me wishing to toss it through a window after 1 month of initial use, someone tell me, I'd gladly buy it.

    I'd love to get a symbian phone but Verizon doesn't have it. I loathe Verizon. I was a t-mobile customer and I really miss the GSM phones. I think once my contract ends with Verizon I will go back to t-mobile or cingular.
    • Re:About time... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fishybell ( 516991 ) <fishybell@hotmai ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:52AM (#18690141) Homepage Journal
      At my work we have roughly 20 salespeople and project managers that are using Treo 700p's and 650's. Yes the 650's were a crapshoot, but with the updated firmware, they work great (and even survive being dropped, having the screen cracked, etc. and almost survive being washed). The 700p's though...not so much. They are in desperate need of a firmware update. Palm has hinted that the problems are hardware related, but as not Rev B. is slated for arrival, I'd say they're just too cheap or lazy to fix the problems.

      As far as syncing is concerned, we use the 650's and the 700p's to sync through the phone network to our internal linux server. It updates their client contacts, the employee directory, and their personal contacts nearly flawlessly. It's not too hard to do with pilotsync and python/tcl/perl/whatever. We use tcl here, and the code to run the sync (connect to postgres, wrapper for pilotsync api calls, etc) is 474 lines of code, and the code to manage and initiate incoming syncs is 6.

  • by d0n quix0te ( 304783 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:12AM (#18689469)
    Let's see Palm OS, Win CE, and now Linux? Sounds like just the way to lose even more developers.

    This is Palm's management clutching at straws.... what was that comment about the iPhone from the Palm CEO? Sad to see a once pioneering company being run over a once beleaguered company.

    RIP Palm... here lies the Filofax of the late 90's.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      Palm OS was a brilliant OS for the day but it is very limited. Palm has been talking about an Developing a PALM OS based on Linux for years. This is the next generation of Palm OS not really a replacement. It a lot like the move from Mac OS/9 to Mac OS/X. It could be a very good thing.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )
        Well, one of the thing about Palm "in its day" was how brilliant in what they chose not to do. So "brilliant but limited" is not really a valid criticism.

        However, one thing is clear: the days of basic PIM functions being worth competing in are over. There just isn't enough profit. Handheld devices have to compete as phones, platforms, or both.

        There are three really great things about going Linux. First, it's for practical purposes Unix. This means a classical development paradigm. For skilled develope
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
          I don't consider brilliant but limited a criticism at all. While I really like Linux I also wonder if it is the best choice for a PDA. Your comment about how it isn't great for people slapping together apps with a RAD is actually a pretty big criticizing of Linux. One thing that I notice is that many applications that other people would do in Visual Basic or Delphi under Windows are done with LAMP under Linux. While a not a bad way to set up an application if you are running from a server it really isn't e
          • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:20PM (#18690643) Homepage Journal
            Speaking as a mobile developer, while a RAD system would have its uses, the problem with making a RAD for mobile development is that mobile applications (like web applications) require different paradigms and attention to different details than desktop apps.

            The closest thing to a mobile RAD right now is Visual Studio targeting the compact framework.

            The problem with mobile apps is not laying out screens. In fact, I think sound UI designs don't fit into the VB form model at all, and not just because they conflate business and presentation logic, a philosophy I agree with but am not doctrinaire over. It's just too easy to paint a form which works very well on a desktop or laptop that is awkward on the PDA; the natural tedency in such cases is to blame the PDA form factor, not inappropriate design.

            But the biggest problem of all is how the mobile app fits into the entire information "ecosystem". What does the app really need to accomplish, and what information does it need to do it. While this is true of any app, mobile applications are different, and in my experience much more easy to make errors of judgment in.

            Remember the days of horrible flash abuse on the web? Now imagine a world where most people had never seen a better model than that.

            No, what the mobile app field needs is an influx of ingenuity. There have been some impressive efforts at enabling less skilled developers to field mobile applications, this is not a viable growth strategy until those developers have well worn application models that they are copying.

            WRT to Linux, while I don't believe in one size fits all, I think its clear we aren't talking about anything like any of the common distros. We're talking about a different user interface on top of the Linux kernel. I doubt we'll see X for example. The user will have no idea he is using Linux. A properly configured Linux kernel should be a very good choice for a modern PDA, given the computing power and resources available, and the requirements. It might not be the best choice for a real time embedded system with much greater resource constraints.

        • by kisrael ( 134664 )
          However, one thing is clear: the days of basic PIM functions being worth competing in are over. There just isn't enough profit. Handheld devices have to compete as phones, platforms, or both.

          Which sucks, because NO ONE did a PIM UI as well as Palm. Everyone else takes crap that was mediocre even on the desktop and then tries to scale it down.
          • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:54PM (#18691203) Homepage Journal
            What I'd really like to see is somebody offering the equivalent Palm m505 for under $50. Ideally well under. That would not only revive the idea of a PIM, but actaully revitalize the PDA product category. The problem is at the price points vendors sell modern PDAs at, you have to stuff more power and functions into them than people need. The results are to bulky, expensive and complex to justify the price point.

            That's what's really behind convergence. If you're going to buy a lot of things you don't need all that much, its very inefficient to buy them more than once.

            Given modern technology, PDAs should be one step up from disposable. If you drop your PDA or lose it, you go to the drug store, grab a new one, sync and go.

            The 500 series is just about right with one proviso: it should be possible to dial your phone wirelessly from them. It might be nice to be able to browse the web, but that could go in Cheap But Highly Useful PIM v 2. If you could buy something that useful for $49, you probably would. If you could buy it for $19.99 you almost certainly would. Multiple PIM ownership would be common. You'd probably even pick one up if you forgot yours at home.
    • It is all a ploy, I tell ya. Palm is just trying to engender the support of millions of unpaid Linux programmers to make their product better since they lack the resources to do it themselves. I can see right through this plan of theirs. Next thing you know, geeks will be arguing about which Linux will run better. And then, someone will mention BSD. And, of course, someone will turn a Palm into a web server just to strut their geekness to the world.

      But, kudos to Palm to being able to admit their own ho
  • ..... as Palm sat on their OS for years and allowed RIM and all of the Windows Mobile based handhelds to pass them. Even if the new LINUX based OS is great, they've already lost all of the mindshare that they once had and it won't make any difference.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      RIM didn't pass Palm because of the Blackberry device, (which are quite good), they passed them because they took a page from Palms's book - don't have a lot of bells and whistles, but what you do, do very well.

      Palm would do well to reexamine the whole concept of the PDA interface if the do end up changing the OS. Don't try to do what everybody else does, don't try to make it just like a laptop, but smaller. Just do what you do simply and well.

      Apple's got the right idea with iPhone (well, except for possi

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 )
    Unless they plan on changing their marketing strategy completely, I don't think it makes any difference WHAT they use. Palms as strict PDAs are dead, although the Treo line seems to be doing well.

    The Zaurus was firmly marketed at the Asian market, and the Nokia Internet Tablets are marketed at the western market. I think the Zaurus was successful for its time in its intended market, but couldn't do well in the US/Europe (although it may have done better had the company actually sold the SL-C3xxx series

  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:19AM (#18689587)
    TFA it somewhat ambiguous. It is hard to tell whether Palm, inc. announced that they are going to release a pda based on the Access Linux platform, or if they have gotten back into the software business and developed their own platform.

    For those who don't know, several years ago Palm split into PalmOne, the hardware side, and PalmSource, the OS developers. Since then, PalmSource has been bought by Access Ltd, and PalmOne has renamed themselves Palm, Inc. PalmSource's PalmOS 6, aka "Cobalt", was never used in a production PDA. After PalmSource was bought by Access, it was announced that future PalmOS releases would be based on Linux, with binary compatibility for previous PalmOS apps.

    Unfortunately, Palm, Inc.'s website doesn't mention anything about Linux in either the press release section or the Developer section. And Access released the Access Linux Platform 1.0 two months ago. TFA does say that Palm, Inc. will once again have control over their own OS. This seems to indicate that they have spurned the ALP. If that is the case, one has to wonder how they will offer backwards compatibility, given that the PalmOS IP is owned by Access. Perhaps the permanent license they acquired gives Palm the right to do this kind of thing.

    On the other hand, I don't see how they would have any less control if they just used ALP, given that most of it is GPL, and the rest is the same backwards compatibility code that they will need anyways.
  • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:22AM (#18689635) Homepage
    I loved the classic Palm applications. No boot-up time, no waiting, no graphics-heavy Windows-like desktop compressed to the size of an index card ...

    There seemed to be a lot of hobbyist development, too. People found ways to make the Palm keep track of what they wanted. As I recall, the Palm database format encouraged a lot of interchangeability and standardization. Mind-mapping and outlines were easy as pie and quick to bring up, so I rarely lost any ideas.

    When they moved with Windows CE (or whatever they called the mobile variant that week), I threw up my hands. The hardware wasn't suited to it, and there were few -- if any -- replacements for the apps I cared to use. As far as I know, all the good stuff went the way of the dodo.

    So I guess my question is: how does the move to Linux bode for developers? Will there be compatibility with any of the classic Palm OS or Windows CE apps, or will we once again have to build from scratch?
    • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:40AM (#18689915)
      Palm is still mostly a PalmOS shop. They only introduced the first Windows Mobile smartphone (the 700w) in September 2005, and only two more windows models since then. All the PalmOS based products still support even the old 68k apps. It is hard to tell if the new Linux platform will support PalmOS apps, because Palm doesn't own PalmOS. However, if Palm, Inc. uses anything similar to the Access Linux Platform (developed by the owners of PalmOS), there will be GTK+ compatibility, which should satisfy quite a few hobbyists.
    • Yes, the plan is to retain the Palm OS API, in addition to whatever new APIs the create. Of course they've been talking about this for years, so I'll believe it when I see it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MS-06FZ ( 832329 )
      I love classic PalmOS, too, but here's the thing: hardware has changed, a lot.

      Phones these days have specs like a desktop PC from ten years ago - except for the screen, which is physically smaller and lower resolution. Classic PalmOS was very well suited to handheld devices of 7-10 years ago: small memory footprint, very lightweight and CPU-efficient. The new devices are much, much more powerful, and Palm's not using that power effectively at all. The current hardware can accommodate a richer environment
  • Will it run LINohwait
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:37AM (#18689861)
    OK, lets be honest, we all need our cell phones.
    Some of us need our blackberries.
    We all want our music.

    Rather than juggle all three, there is no reason why the cell phone can't do everything and more. After all a computer, whether it is in a P.C., Cellphone, or what ever is still a computer.

    IMHO, Palm is wrong, they are coming into the system from the wrong direction, they MUST focus on the phone first and most, then blackberry, then MP3 player. Deliver a package to Verizon, Cingular, Orange, etc.

    This is why iPhone will do better.
    • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7 @ k c . r r . c om> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:18PM (#18690607) Homepage
      I would argue that excessive integration has ruined the PDA/phone market. For every person I know that actually uses the bells and whistles on their phones I know 10 that don't do anything beyond a contact list and phone calls. I am evidently in the minority but I would rather have several devices that do their job well than one that does them all half-assed. I have yet to see a "music" phone that was really a decent mp3 player, I haven't seen a "game" phone that was really a good gaming platform and I have yet to see a Smartphone that hasn't made extreme sacrifices in order to cram its functionality into a postage stamp screen.

      I've gone from palm to windows mobile to a smartphone and finally to a blackberry. In going from platform to platform I have had to make concessions and sacrifices for the sake of convenience with my latest move I just ditched all the functionality for decent email and phone support. The integration push has killed the pda, Palm and MS just dont know it yet.
    • by CompMD ( 522020 )
      The iPhone is nothing innovative.

      I guess you've never used a UTStarcom (Sprint\Verizon PPC\XV) 6700. Everything the iPhone can do (except the retarded accelerometers to rotate the screen) and a real keyboard. Sure, it comes with Windows Mobile, but I can partition a miniSD card, change some settings in the device bootloader, and actually run linux on it.

      Quality hackable devices for enthusiasts are few and far apart, and the 6700 is definitely very high up in hackability for fun and productivity. And how
    • Rather than juggle all three, there is no reason why the cell phone can't do everything and more.

      I don't need to carry my music with me everywhere, so I could only use two: the phone and the PDA. And I don't want a combo device. I want the display on my PDA to be largish, and my phone to be smallish. You can't do both in a way that will suit me. Sure the phone can be a acceptable address book (read only), but I have no desire to use it as a calendar, memo pad or any other PDA application. When I don

  • "Palm users, Palm users, Palm users"
  • Translation: "We're going to spend yet another year on yet another wild goose chase, so if you were hoping for a new PDA, or even an update to one of our old models, keep hoping."

    Their current models are already two years old. That's an eternity in the gadget market. And they weren't exactly cutting edge when they were new.

    Talk about taking your customers for granted!
  • Another Article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:53AM (#18690157) Homepage Journal
    at linux devices []

    I'd call your attention to the transition chart in the center.

    Does this really make sense to anybody? Has the business market shown any real preference for the Windows Mobile platform over, say, RIM's BlackBerry?

    There are two things that drive MS OS hegemony in IT departments: (1) management complexity and (2) the idea that they will develop and maintain apps internally. However, once you introduce mobile devices into the mix, it really doesn't matter what OS they run from a management perspective. The dominant question is how complex is to integrate the device into corporate infrastructures, a game at which RIM excels and Palm fails. Also, successful mobile apps developed in house by IT departments are rare. There are too many complexities and idiosyncracies. Working in the field, it's a lot like developing web applications would be if there weren't a massive industry trying to train us and sell us tools to make the job easier.

    I doubt the Windows Mobile platform is really intended to play the market role outlined there. They have some other reason to have it in the lineup.

  • I guess we all knew that a year (or two?) ago.

    But frankly, as it stands now, I can easier see Palm to go RIP rather than Linux.

    And Linux - doesn't that mean that Linux based "PalmOS" should be GPL?
  • ACCESS, who own the PalmOS (except the piece Palm bought the rights to development to), has said for over a year that the next version of PalmOS will be running Linux, with a current PalmOS compatible front-end. Is the article talking about this, or something new, that Palm itself is creating a Linux PDA OS?
  • Yeah, but will I be able to install this as an upgrade to my Palm TX???
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @12:59PM (#18691259) Homepage Journal
    One product Microsoft really has gotten right is the PocketPC. I'm not saying it's perfect, but the Windows Mobile platform has F/OSS and commercial software available for it, is not crippled like Apple's iPhone, has excellent handwriting recognition based on work pioneered by Apple's Newton project, and offers excellent multimedia capabilities (in fact I rip most of my DVDs so I can play them on my PocketPC). Up to now, I've HATED Palms, dating back to the original Pilot. I've had Palm PDAs, and hated them. Palm dropped the ball on multimedia, downplaying it, saying customers don't want it. Microsoft, with PocketPC 2000, included full multimedis support (hell, there were even video capture and TV tuner accessories for PocketPCs then!). Palm forced you to learn Graffiti. Microsoft offered handwriting recognition, block character recognition (Graffiti compatibility), and an on-screen keyboard, as well as support for physical keyboards. Palm's sync software sucked, and Microsofts, although unstable at times, didn't suck nearly as much.

    I've thought about installing Linux on my iPAQ 3670, since Compaq actually used to install Linux on the iPAQ for customers, but now that PocketPC is so old it's doubtful that I'd be able to get it up and running again if the flash fails, and the iPAQ oldtimers are not with HP/Compaq any more. Even though I never use the 3670 any more (I have an hx2795 now) it's nice to know that I have the option to use it if the new one fails.

    The down sides of the PocketPC:
      - Linux will not mount it as a mass storage device (I work around it by using ssh/SCP over Wifi but as you know SCP is slow)
      - SynCE is a pain in the ass to set up
      - It is not user-repairable (software-wise): HP's daylight savings time fix DID NOT WORK. Were it Linux, I'd be able to easily fix it myself.
      - Microsoft still insists that a close/kill button is unnecessary
      - The memory model is still lame
      - Vendor support (for updates, bug fixes, etc.) is weak to nonexistent

    if Palm switches to Linux, here is what it would require for me to buy it:
      - Let me customise the desktop
      - multimedia should meet or exceed the high end PocketPCs (such as the hx2795)
      - Comply with the GPL. Release the source, let us modify it. Don't DRM the appliance so we can't make fixes.
      - Make syncing with Linux a high priority
      - Make it mountable as a mass storage device
      - get Teletype or TomTom to port their GPS products (I know, TomTom appliances run Linux)

    Multimedia and GPS are what attracted me to the PocketPC in the first place. Before then, people would GIVE me PDAs, and I wouldn't use them.

    It'll take a lot to get me to buy a Linux PDA, because Microsoft has largely gotten it right. I hate desktop Windows, I hate server editions of Windows, and I hate Microsoft's anti-customer policies as of late, however, they got one thing almost completely right and that is the PocketPC. Every Linux PDA I've seen so far has been limited either by low volume (so little support), weak hardware, or really lame GUI designs and limited I/O options.
  • Instead of trying to turn the Palm platform into a laptop replacement, they should have concentrated on its strengths (small size, low overhead, low processor requirements, SUPER-reliable syncing) and ridden the wave of Moore's Law down to Walmart. How many Palms do you think they'd sell if you could buy one for $29.95 at the checkout counter when you're picking up your school supplies... bundled with a program that emulates the school's required Ti-83 that you're having to fork out just as much money for?


"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan