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Lineo pitches Linux-based CE clone at MS OEMs

By making apps easily portable, the company hopes to steal Microsoft's custom

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Lineo, the successor company to Caldera Thin Clients, is developing a Linux-based CE clone at its new research facility, cheekily set up earlier this year in Seattle. The product, Lineo Embedix PDA, is scheduled to ship in Q1 2001. Embedix PDA will include a CE-compatible layer on top of Embedix Linux, allowing CE applications to be ported easily to the platform. So long as this works, it'll provide Lineo's OEMs with a fairly simple route to applications, because, as Lineo CEO Bryan Sparks says, although CE hasn't been a raging success, quite a few companies have developed applications for it. Sparks also reckons that Embedix Linux (try saying that when you're drunk - the name's obviously Utah-inspired) will be "a more stable, lower cost embedded OS base for PDAs and other devices running Windows CE applications," and that CE OEMs will be tempted to defect. Embedix PDA is based on Willows technology. This was originally a Ray Noorda-funded start up that didn't get anywhere with the original licensees (Award and QNX), so it was made open source under a GPL. Now here's the cunning part: Noorda wasn't keen on selling the Willows technology rights to Caldera Thin Clients, since it would have had to borrow his money to do this, so Lineo apparently negotiated the rights to the prior version, so that it owns that intellectual property. Originally, the CE clone might have been developed on top of Sparks alma mater, DR-DOS, but it will now be done with Linux of course. ®

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