Move over PalmOS, Here comes Linux

Recently I found out that PalmOS is ending the life cycle of it's operating system. I read this on my Treo 680 and I didn't like it. I depend upon that phone for so many reason. Of course I depend upon a phone that resets at any given moment, has bluetooth fubar'd beyond belief, and can sometimes frustrate the stuffing out of me.

Understand that I had been waiting for a specific update (the bluetooth issue) for a long time now. It never came. Instead I have to hear they are calling it a day.

But not so fast. Soon after I read this I find out that the plan is for the Palm OS to be replaced by, guess what, a Linux-based OS! Now this is good news. I have been telling myself as soon as a good Linux-based smart phone arrived I would be all over it. Now maybe my chance will come.

However...(there is always an "however")

It was also released that the new Linux-based Palm OS would be a seamless conversion and the new OS would look and feel exactly like the old OS.


Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the Palm OS. But at the same time I don't LOVE it either. What bothers me about this is that a Linux-based Palm OS could take advantage of a lot of things. It could be a multi-tasking OS (the biggest downfall of the Palm OS). It could allow compliation of programs within the device itself. It could take advantage of a VNC-like capability. And first and foremost, it could be open source.

My fear, however, is that it's not going to take advantage of any of the above. Instead it will just be the same old Palm OS with a Linux kernel. It will be more secure, more stable, and, probably, multi-tasking so it will certainly be an improvement.

But....will it be released under an open source license? This does concern me. Why? Well I would like to see the open source community tackle this creating some really killer aps for the device. It's been said over and over that Linux is the next big thing for mobile devices. Should the new Palm OS be released under the GPL and Linux developers be allowed to do their thing, the new Linux-based smart phones could really take that sector of the market by storm. The Windows mobile platform could be seeing a mighty giant on the horizon and that mighty giant is open source. But this could only happen if those release the new Palm OS do it intelligently. Release the OS so that the Linux community can do their thing and take it to places it's never been. Move over PalmOS, here comes Linux!

PS: And please include a nice terminal application!


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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