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Palm to go Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the will-change-precisely-nothing dept.

Handhelds 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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Old News??? (4, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689319)

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

Re:Old News??? (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689553)

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.

Re:Old News??? (1)

Lobo (10944) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689895)

Ummmmm....
They DID [palm.com] !

Re:Old News??? (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690135)

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.

Re:Old News??? (1, Informative)

Lobo (10944) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690589)

Palm OS is Garnet.
There is no Cobalt (not that ever saw the light of day anyhow). Cobalt was supposed to be Linux based, not BeOS.
Access killed the Cobalt concept when they started developing their own ALP (Access Linux Platform).

Re:Old News??? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Old News??? (1)

perbu (624267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690701)

How is the BeOS-based Palm Software OS different from vanilla PalmOS - found on the Palm TX? The TX is the last Palm to be shipped by Palm Inc and it has a really sucky OS. Its unstable, lacks multitasking and has a really crappy package management system.

Re:Old News??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690073)

They're switching to lunix to help compete better? They must be pretty desperate. That sounds to me a lot like switching to a nigger to not steal a watermelon; It just doesn't work.

Re:Old News??? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690085)

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:Old News??? (2, Interesting)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690363)

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 player in my TV.

I've always wanted to like the palm (1)

OptimusPaul (940627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689339)

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a gadget junkie so I may be a bit skewed. I think that is a great move for them.

BC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689379)

Will it be backward compatible?

Handhelds and PDF? (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689393)

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 would even be great.

Sure (3, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689497)

All handhelds have free PDF readers available. Frankly - this is something you could have found out from a 5 second google query.

Re:Sure (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690459)

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.

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (4, Insightful)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689541)

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 [plkr.org] or ,A HREF="http://www.isilo.com/">iSilo come to mind). I read lots of PG [gutenberg.org] material that way, as well as IBM Redbooks [ibm.com] that I've converted to text.

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (4, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689607)

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 [metaviewsoft.de] , 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...

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689701)

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.

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689871)

I *love* my Nokia 770... only complaint is that my phone don't do bluetooth...

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690155)

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.

Get a Windows Mobile PDA with WiFi and support for modern SD cards, and a VGA-resolution display, and you will have no problems. The QVGA (240x320) screen is pretty bad, although IIRC Adobe Reader for mobile devices [adobe.com] has cleartype. It's one of the largest apps on my iPaq.

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690393)

I have to agree. I own both a Palm Treo 700wx and Dell Axim 50v. Since the Treo's screen resolution is even less than that of its Palm OS based brethern its useless for anything beyond basic PIM and phone functions (but does a good job at both). The Axim with its VGA resoltion and more powerfull processor does a good job at rendering PDFs though I would recommend finding something else than Adobe's own reader which is bloathed (like most Adobe apps). The Axim is also a pretty good music/video player though it requires some DIY to get it to really shine. I have a 4G card in the Axim and use it mainly as MP3 player and GPS console (with TomTom bluetooth).

Re:Handhelds and PDF? (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690625)

I believe there is an acrobat for Palm, but 200meg pdfs sound kinda big. Maybe go with a Clie or something similiar or a PocketPC if money isn't a concern. Just make sure you can add external storage (SD, microSD, etc)

Great move for them. (3, Funny)

davidmillions.com (1086903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689425)

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?

Re:Great move for them. (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690439)

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.... (2, Insightful)

MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689431)

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 fact I have to use windows on my pda despite not using windows at home or work but I simply wouldn't get any benfit from a linux pda.

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).

Re:Great but.... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689785)

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:Great but.... (3, Informative)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690015)

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 [nokiausa.com] , which comes with Opera and Flash, works with a wide range of bluetooth GPS units, including Navicore [navicoretech.com] and TomTom, and has a freely available Rhapsody client [realnetworks.com] ?

interesting++ (4, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:interesting++ (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689707)

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 [palmopensource.com] attention [freewarepalm.com] 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 already. All their development these days has been going into the Treo line. This move will be to bring Linux to their smartphone line. And that's going to make developing for Palms much easier, and make a large number of Linux apps available for Palms. Sweet...

Re:interesting++ (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689713)

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 that has "Please hack and tweak" written all over it? Life would be good!

Re:interesting++ (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690061)

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.

Re:interesting++ (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690341)

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.

Re:interesting++ (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689751)

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:interesting++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689781)

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.
You do realize that Palm already sells a few smartphones that are relatively successful? Including both PalmOS and Windows Mobile Smartphones?

Re:interesting++ (2, Interesting)

bfree (113420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690523)

Hackndev [hackndev.com] 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.

Re:interesting++ (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690541)

Did you know that Palm makes a couple of smartphones [palm.com] ? They're pretty popular.

Are we going to be able to see the source code? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689455)

I'd be curious to see the details of distribution. Do they have an obligation to provide the source code? I would think so, but I don't feel like getting into the details of the GPL.

Re:Are we going to be able to see the source code? (3, Interesting)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689725)

You have severely underestimated the GPL. I suggest you go read it. The GPL is not that dense. But to answer the question at hand, yes, all customers will have access to the source code for the GPL portions (which will be the bulk of the OS). All customers will have the right to re-distribute and modify that code. That is the price Palm pays for using Free software.

Given Palm's history of being developer friendly, it will probably be possible to flash the PDAs with custom ROMs with all proprietary code stripped. Depending on the exact terms, it may even be possible to create a custom ROM with proprietary backwards compatibility code included.

Re:Are we going to be able to see the source code? (0, Flamebait)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689947)

That is the price Palm pays for using Free software.
That's the price they pay for using GPL'd software. OpenBSD runs on the Zaurus, and even though NetBSD is no longer more portable than Linux Palm could certainly go with a BSD instead of Linux if they wanted to keep their IP to themselves.
However they probably decided using Linux would create a buzz, and they may be right; I can't remember the last time I heard Palm mentioned in news.

Re:Are we going to be able to see the source code? (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690013)

My mistake. The GPL puts a legal obligation for them to release modifications. The BSD license gives them the option to keep their changes to themselves, but their customers probably wouldn't be too happy with that. They are obviously trying to impress geeks by using open-source software, and that strategy can only succeed if they release the modified source.

Re:Are we going to be able to see the source code? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690183)

Only if you consider the BSD license Free. Many, including myself, do not.

Re:Are we going to be able to see the source code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689881)

There are two kinds of people, those with loaded GNUs (who understand the GPL and thus are true Slashdotters), and those who digg. You digg.

So who owns what and who? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689461)

Is Palm the people making the Treo?

I love my PalmOS based 650, but the 700 running windows is a little bit hinkey, from what I've heard.

Or am I thinking about a different palm?

I dont even know who makes what. I just want a new Treo.

And I hope I can use my existing software, too. And I hope it doesn't take 40 minutes to turn on, like other linux-based consumer devices. (Seriously, you could fall asleep waiting for a Tivo to reboot).

Re:So who owns what and who? (2, Informative)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689579)

There's two 700 smartphones. The 700w, a Verizon Wireless exclusive, and the 700p. I've had 3 clients return the 700w's and get 680/700p's. I've had only a couple of them keep the 700w's.

I've used a 700p myself for nearly a year. Much more reliable than the 600p it replaced. I've been *very* happy with it...

About time... (4, Informative)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 7 years ago | (#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... (3, Interesting)

fishybell (516991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690141)

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.

About Time! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689467)

I'm suprised that it took them that long! (However, that isn't going to stop me getting one... ;) )

Wonderful Triple OS strategy (3, Insightful)

d0n quix0te (304783) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

-S

Re:Wonderful Triple OS strategy (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689575)

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.

Re:Wonderful Triple OS strategy (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689873)

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 developers (where' not talking people who slap together apps using a RAD), there is no better environment to target. Secondly, there are a wide diversity of free tools. This means lots of experimentation and a good chance to spark some real innovation. Killer apps sell systems. Finally, the platform has an exellent networking architecture, and a large number of people who are familiar with the internals necessary to innovate in that area as well.

Really, if you aren't going to compete as a PIM, you have to be a platform. It makes sense to tap the strength of a popular, robust platform which is not tied to the whim of any single party.

A serious, mainstream effort at a Linux PDA is wonderful news for develoeps everywhere.

Re:Wonderful Triple OS strategy (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690187)

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 easy to install and run for the average Grandmother. A good RAD system would be a killer app for a PDA. Linux is great but it is also very general purpose. Symbian is a great example of an OS that is optimized for a PDA type system. I am excited to see what Palm produces since I am no fan of WinCE but I still wonder if Linux has become a one size fits all OS at the expense of other ideas in OS development. I would love to see something new and really different come from FOSS.
BTW
Linux could have a killer RAD development system. All we need is to integrate Eclipse, SWT, SQLite, and GJC into one easy to use and configure package.

Re:Wonderful Triple OS strategy (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690643)

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.

Re:Wonderful Triple OS strategy (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690537)

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.

It is all a ploy, I tell ya (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689921)

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 home-grown product is no longer able to deliver the goods.

Re:It is all a ploy, I tell ya (1)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690203)

Just to be clear. The Palms are all better than those Windows CE monstrosities (can you say bloatware squared). Linux is the right move. Too bad they didn't make it a year or two ago. Nokia has clearly demonstrated that Linux can power a superior pocket computer. I've loved my Palm's (and still have one running), but the larger screen and true multitasking of the Nokia N800 clearly make it the better machine right now.

Nowhere else for Palm to go... (1, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689471)

The beauty of Microsoft OS's is that it turns all the hardware vendors who run it into commodity vendors*. This is happening to Palm today as well: as Microsoft's handheld OS is run by more and more handhelds, the value of "Palm" devices and its brand name is also decreased. Apple won't let anyone license its proprietary OS, so Linux is the only major OS name (that means anything to consumers) left for Palm to pursue if they want to remain a viable (and independent) handheld producer.

* There would have been no cheap Linux today if Microsoft hadn't flattened/commoditized the computer hardware market by the start of the 1990's.

Re:Nowhere else for Palm to go... (3, Insightful)

alucinor (849600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689841)

"There would have been no cheap Linux today if Microsoft hadn't flattened/commoditized the computer hardware market by the start of the 1990's."

Because somehow Microsoft doing this inspired Linus Torvalds to create a MINIX-like free kernel for research purposes?

Or because Windows made x86 popular (rather than the other way around)? Yet I still don't even see how that would've mattered one way or the other to the creation of Linux.

Not the creation...the propogation... (3, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690165)

Because somehow Microsoft doing this inspired Linus Torvalds to create a MINIX-like free kernel for research purposes? Or because Windows made x86 popular (rather than the other way around)? Yet I still don't even see how that would've mattered one way or the other to the creation of Linux.


The key word in my post was "cheap". Linus's little hobby may not have taken off it wasn't easy for college-age folks like me to buy the components for a cheap PC and run either Linux or Windows on it in the early 1990s. A lot of the people who helped Linux (and its programs) get going couldn't afford a second PC, or were happy a second PC was cheap when they did get one.

So...although Windows may not have helped the creation of Linux as a hobby, it certainly helped make Linux accessible to more people by making PC hardware cheap.

Let me know if you need more help...

Re:Nowhere else for Palm to go... (2, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690575)

I never get that "if it weren't for Microsoft" argument either.

What, there was no computer industry, no competition between diverse new products, no standards activity, no open source software? I was there, man. The industry was thriving, there were dozens of different microprocessors hitting the market, vendors were moving in droves from proprietary operating systems to Unix, the price/performance trend had never been better, every University department was getting its own computer and building its own network, and there were interesting jobs everywhere. Though there was as yet no GPL, software developed and shared among users was actively supported by the industry.

All Microsoft did was to show up at the party with a cheap bottle of wine. Indeed, its notoriously poor quality of software plus parasitic corporate ethics arguably skewed and damaged the industry far more than it helped.

I would very much like to see what the world would have become without Microsoft. My guess is that Linux would still have come along as an alternative to the commercial Unixes, and would have tipped the balance toward much better interoperation between all of them. They were never very far apart to begin with. We would have a Unix world, or possibly by this time we would have (gasp) collectively outgrown Unix in favor of something even better. Instead Microsoft has done little more than hold us back.

Re:Nowhere else for Palm to go... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689961)

There would have been no cheap Linux today if Microsoft hadn't flattened/commoditized the computer hardware market by the start of the 1990's.
That's a really interesting notion, but I don't think it goes far enough. Back in the day, "IBM-PC compatable" really meant "Lotus 123 compatable", and/or "Microsoft Flight Simulator compatable". The only serious hardware need for *NIX is a hardware memory manager, which was basically in place with the 386, and certainly complete by the time of the Pentium. We really should say it was the hegemony of the x86 architecture that gave us cheap Linux; even though it was because Windows was x86 only.

Re:Nowhere else for Palm to go... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690003)

There are numerous examples of Unix implementations that don't require a hardware MMU. The original Minix is one. Xenix for the 286 is another. SAGE used to have a Unixlike called IDRIX that would run on the MC68000. And so on. It does make things a lot faster though, because you don't have to translate addresses in software.

Re:Nowhere else for Palm to go... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690667)

"The only serious hardware need for *NIX is a hardware memory manager, which was basically in place with the 386, and certainly complete by the time of the Pentium."

It was the high volume of PCs (due in part to MS enabling the lower-cost clones) that provided a business case to create the 386. As you correctly point out, pre-386 x86 processors couldn't support Linux.

Ok, this is all well and good but.. (1)

JayPee (4090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689485)

I thought they had this killer new OS based on Be? Palm OS 6 (Cobalt) has supposedly been out for a couple of years, and now they're going to scrap that in favor of a completely new OS based on Linux? I find this confusing but then again, I'm reminded of Apple's floundering pre-Jobs when Rhapsody was the Next-best-Thing(TM). Perhaps this is Palm trying to do the same thing?

This may already be too late.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689507)

..... 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:This may already be too late.... (1)

donaldGuy (969269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689763)

yes and no ..

sure, currently when people are going out to buy a handheld they often get it from another company, but how many people still call that handheld, regardless of its manufacture, a "palm pilot" ... I know a f

Good news (1)

ozmodiar (729190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689521)

This is very good news. It always amazed me how good it feels to have a real OS on these devices (I've had a Sharp Zaurus and several Palms). It is not a special , reduced version of Linux, but the real thing.The only problem I always had was lack of stability of end user aplications. I hope Palm has addressed this issue.

Re:Good news (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689775)

This is very good news. It always amazed me how good it feels to have a real OS on these devices (I've had a Sharp Zaurus and several Palms). It is not a special , reduced version of Linux, but the real thing. The only problem I always had was lack of stability of end user aplications. I hope Palm has addressed this issue.
(bold added) No offence, but isn't that like saying that the only problem you had with your new car was that it wouldn't start reliably?

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689525)

But can I run Windows on it?

Eh. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689529)

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 in those markets). Time will tell for the Nokia. One thing Nokia are doing right is NOT marketing their device as a PDA. It's marketed as an Internet Tablet. And I can tell from first-hand experience that it's a joy to use when paired with a BT phone or WiFi. They got those right.

cool (1)

normuser (1079315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689555)

Thats good and all. But does it run DOS?

So Palm own... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689567)

both PalmOS and BeOS, and they decide to use Linux...

Re:So Palm own... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689825)

Palm hasn't owned PalmOS for years. That is why they are switching to Linux, rather than ship pdas with the latest PalmOS.

Article has no information (5, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Article has no information (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689735)

From other articles about the announcement, this is definitely not the Access platform, it's a completely new in-house Linux based system.

For me, Palm died when PalmOS went away (5, Interesting)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689635)

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?

Re:For me, Palm died when PalmOS went away (3, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

That's the plan (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690039)

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.

Yes, but (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689737)

Will it run LINohwait

which is why... (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689777)

I love my new Nokia N800! Intelligent company's are realizing the benefits of lowering their overhead by using an OpenSource OS, as well as the benefits of an opensource development community. My Nokia is running Maemo and the development community has everything I could ever want or need. All for free. I'm glad to see Palm make the shift, and hopefully this will be how Linux spreads to the masses. First into their hands where they will fall in love with its smooth operations and next will be on their laps where it will continue to warm their hearts... finally... the Desktop where love will conquer all and Vista will be nothing but the past.

There can be only one!!! (3, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:There can be only one!!! (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690247)

With bluetooth the need to have it all in one box is reduced.

Re:There can be only one!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690297)

Bullshit. So you want to get the worst of every package (very large PDA screen (makes no sense on Phone, iPod), joke battery life (makes no sense on Phone, iPod), stupid über-closed operating system (makes no sense on PDA), .... ).

Every of those items has got it's predefined form-factor and features you can't just "forget about" and mix all of them into a single gadget. We PDA lovers want big screens. Smartphone users don't want that (Palm knows it. Remember "taco"?). MP3 lovers want long battery life, PDA lovers prefer functionality.

Re:There can be only one!!! (3, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690607)

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.

Re:There can be only one!!! (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690633)

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 well did this device do? Well, I've seen about six of them total "in the wild." But everyone and their dog has a Treo. So tell us all again how the iPhone is going to do well...

I can see the chairs flying around : (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689969)

"Palm users, Palm users, Palm users"

Article with more details (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18689973)

Mod parent Informative (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690143)

That article has a lot of good information. Apparently, Palm's gotten the right to modify the PalmOS 5 codebase in order to make it run on top of linux. This means that they have created a direct competitor to the Linux platform put together by the current owners of PalmOS. It also mentions that Palm will not be allowing third parties to use their OS. That could backfire, or it could help them a lot. They did the opposite with their first OS, and it led to a lot of innovation.

So, no new Palm PDAs for another year. :( (1)

Thag (8436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690091)

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!

Is Palm even relevant? (1)

Dissident (20799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690119)

This move might have been nice around five years ago but at this point isn't it too little too late? I don't see anyone in the business world these days proudly whipping out their Palm or Palm clone and hastily scribbling away in Graffiti during meetings anymore. It's been years since I've even seen one, with the exception of the Palm III we found recently in a formerly sealed cabinet from the dot-com era.

I guess I just don't see the relevance with the proliferation of BlackBerry and other PDA/phone combos so dominant. I think this ship has sailed...and come back...and sailed off again.
 

Another Article (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690157)

at linux devices [linuxdevices.com]

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.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690213)

This is excellent. I was really tired of the way I turn on my Palm and it just starts right up. I was thinking, if only there were some way I could sit for a couple minutes watching arcane messages about device trees and bogomips fly by; if only I was forced to enter bizarre commands like "chmod mfumble +666 grep nice sparkle /~.>;;;" to look at my calendar; if only I could compile all my applications to install them, instead of just dragging and dropping; if only there were lots of text files to edit to set preferences, and a really gay 1970s-era text editor to do that with, wouldn't that be great!!!! Oh, and now I'll be able to use all kinds of peripherals with it. All I have to do is find some internet forum populated by people with names like Sbjorkograaad Fjogbjorgfnord, and ask them to write drivers for me, and all my software will have help files that sound like "Please to be enjoying the installation of the this programme! First is to be compiling to directory temporary of the system and then to do linking."

Yeah, I can't effing wait.

Old news? (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690243)

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 PalmOS Linux, or Something Else? (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690347)

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?

Re:ACCESS PalmOS Linux, or Something Else? (1)

crabbz (986605) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690609)

This is not the PalmSource/ACCESS Linux platform, it is something new. Apparently they have been working on it for a few years. More info at palminfocenter [palminfocenter.com] .

Upgrades for existing? (1)

Jedi Holocron (225191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690357)

Yeah, but will I be able to install this as an upgrade to my Palm TX???

Yes, but does it run -- (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690461)

-- oh never mind

Keep the good stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690551)

I don't care as long as they keep the 64K segment barrier. I'm sooo in to pain!

PalmSource, now known as ACCESS is going Linux- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18690585)

The Palm OS is develped and Mainatinted by PalmSource, now known as ACCESS Systems Americas, Inc., is a subsidiary of ACCESS .

They are developing a new version of Palm based on Linux-
http://www.access-company.com/about/opensource/ind ex.html [access-company.com]

My guess is that Palm Inc isnt changing OS vendors, they are just moving in the direction that ACCESS is moving- To Linux, and that Palm Inc will continue to use ACCESS as the OS development company- I dont think Palm Inc is going out on there own.

Mozilla suite for Palm? (1)

mrmcwn (566272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690597)

Could Palm not implement some form of Linux that would allow them to run a Mozilla suite on their handhelds? That might get them over the hump of integration with Windows in the business community (if they could come up with a way to synch between Linux-based Mozilla on the handheld and PC-based Thunderbird+Calendars in a Windows environment).
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