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Korean developer ports Linux to Palm

Embedded marketeers not the first, though

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Korean operation OSK has released what it claims is the first version of Linux for the Palm handheld organiser. In fact, it's not the first -- that honour must go to µCLinux but OSK's WindStone does appear to be the first implementation of the open source OS' kernel to provide PalmOS compatibility too. WindStone is based on three components, the Kernel Environment, which is actually based on µClinux, itself derived from version 2.0 of the Linux kernel; the Graphics Environment, which provides "a high-speed graphics engine for embedded devices"; and the Portable Environment, which is the PalmOS binary compatibility module. Right now, WindStone runs on the Palm's Motorola Dragonball CPU, but OSK says it plans to port the software over to Intel and ARM processors, at which point it can begin to promote WindStone as the basis for embedded applications. And it's going to have to push hard given that more-established Linux companies, most notably Caldera Systems' Lineo subsidiary, already developing versions of the open source OS specifically for the embedded market. OSK is not currently offering WindStone as a commercial products, but its Web site does contain a ROM image which runs under the CoPilot emulation utility for evaluation -- though it's by no means a fast site; perhaps OSK is serving it from a Palm? OSK promises to release WindStone's Kernel Environment under the Gnu Public Licence, but has yet to issue the software's source code -- we're cleaning it up for distribution, the company says. Whether the other components make it out of the door as open source remains to be seen -- certainly OSK hasn't pledged to do so, and given the company's commercial interests, we suspect they won't be so released. ®

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