Linux for iPaq -- the Son of Itsy

Compaq's release of Linux for the iPaq will allow researchers and developers to write new applications for handheld computers and other intelligent appliances, said Nora Hahn, a Compaq spokeswoman. The idea is to try to encourage use of Linux as a common operating system and development tool for handheld computers.

The iPaq, released in April, will continue to use the Windows CE operating system commercially, however. The Palm and Microsoft Windows CE operating systems hold the small device market now, but Linux "may become a second platform in the future", she said. "Customers are pretty focused on a Windows environment," she said.

The program may prove promising to Linux enthusiasts in the scientific, research and development set as a next step toward the release of more of Compaq's Itsy project, said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC.

The Itsy device -- which has been demonstrated but is still in development -- is a multifunction computer the size of a deck of cards, with enough processing power to run real-time video and the capability to use voice and motion input.

"A lot of people in the Linux community have been saying, 'come on, Compaq, release the device', " he said. The Itsy project foretells a future in which consumers can use appliances to speak, either in person or online, and get answers in return, he said.

However, Compaq doesn't see the teeny-weeny Itsy as a product to release but a process, a program in constant development, the fruits of which will find their way into other products like the iPaq, said Dick Greeley, a program manager for the Open Handheld Program.

"There's no plan right now to come out with Itsy itself," he said. "There's a lot of Itsy technology in the iPaq, like the expansion card and the work we've done on power management. The iPaq is the son of Itsy."

The Itsy runs Linux. Linux is sold by commercial software houses that charge users for the software and related services, but it is also available for free on the web and it is based on the open-source model of development. In the open-source model, developers and users worldwide, many of them working on an unpaid basis, collaborate to modify and update the code.

"One of the things Linux strives to do well is to write extremely good modular code. We're trying to stimulate the community. That's part of the exploration here, to see how this plays out. Some of this innovation is starting to find its way back into the Linux community," Greeley said.

While technically minded software developers embrace Linux, it has only a 4 per cent share of the personal computing market. Linux is associated with use on servers -- the realm of the computer-savvy -- rather than on handheld computers, which are supposed to be more consumer-friendly, said Jill House, a senior analyst for IDC.

"It (Compaq's new program) represents the first time someone major has supported Linux for handhelds," she said, noting Compaq's presence in portable computers. "Compaq is a big name. They're a major player in the mobile space."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?