Red Hat partners on Linux GUI for PDAs

Offshoot of Sharp Zaurus Linux port

Red Hat's Japanese subsidiary has signed a deal to market and sell a new Linux GUI aimed at PDAs and other mobile devices.

The GUI, dubbed Sikigami, was developed by Japanese software developer AXE as a broader version of the Linux code it used to port the open source OS over to Sharp's Zaurus PDA. Developer 10art-ni is also working on the Sikigami project.

According to a Nikkei AsiaBizTech report, Sikigami isn't simply a scaled down version of Gnome or KDE - a cut-down desktop interface, in other words - but was specifically designed for PDAs.

For example, it boasts a Palm-style character recognition called Nunome which, AXE claims, has a 98 per cent accuracy for pen-input Japanese characters. That's not much below Graffiti's hit rate, and Japanese characters are rather more complex and varied than the Palm input system's glyphs.

That's as much as we know. The Sikigami Web site is in Japanese, which we don't - alas - read. Those who do should go here. Poor old Babelfish wasn't much help.

Incidentally, we recalled our earlier story about Sharp's plan to release a version of its Zaurus PDA that runs Linux. Given AXE's Zaurus development work, we wonder if Red Hat and AXE might be working with - or at least pitching for the job - Sharp on its Linux Zaurus project. It's one mighty coincidence otherwise... ®

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