Tux makes home on the iPhone
Linux means never having to ask why
The iPhone DevTeam has managed to get a Linux image to boot up on an iPhone, at least to console level, though they've resolutely failed to explain why one would want to do such a thing.
It's hard to imagine there are many iPhone users out there who love the hardware but are unhappy with the OS and interface, but that's never stopped the Linux crowd before. They won't be happy until the little penguin has been replicated everywhere, and today it's the turn of the iPhone to feel the touch of rebel code.
Some details are missing: the port won't support writing to the storage memory, networking or the touchscreen. It can't make noises or phone calls, but it can take console commands sent over the USB connection, and that alone is pretty damned impressive.
The developers are keen for anyone with experience porting Linux to aid the effort, and are in particular looking for anyone with experience of Google's Android OS, which presents an unlikely but entertaining scenario.
But why? Planetbeing, as the developer identifies himself, makes some attempt to explain on his blog, but really there's no need. Just like the chap who wrote a ZX81 emulator for the ZX80 about 2 years ago, hacking projects like this don't need a reason for being. Simply proving the unnecessary can be done should be an end in itself. ®
If you want Linux programming down the pub, get a Nokia Internet Tablet, the latest being the n810. You can get a bluetooth keyboard working on them, and hack the usb port so it can be used for pendrive support etc. And the display is very readable at 800x480.
Oh, and you can install WiFi hacking tools on them as well, if you so wish!
@Martin w/r/t pub based coding
It may be heresy to mention it in a comment on an article about linux, but I use a Windows Mobile PDA for this. You can get a wide choice of languages on board, Python, Tcl, C*, C#, Java and some others, You can get some nice units, mines got on board WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth, so eminently hackable, and lot's of fun. Even though MS want you to give them more money to code for it on a desktop, you don't have to, since Embedded VC++ is both free and still quite capable. It targets no higher than the Pocket PC 2003 SDK (superseded by WM5 and 6 SDKs only available in >= VS2005, although there are in fact ways around this limitation), but I haven't found anything that's missing that I can't cope without just yet.
Depends on what you're targeting, obviously, but for hacking away on algos and suchlike, it's quite nifty.
"And yes, I do take mobile computing devices down to the pub"
Yeah, me to, that's why it's "mobile", innit ?
*Even a port of GCC, although currently unmaintained.
to all the naysayers...
...i say "baaaaah!"
there is no need for 'why'. 'because' is the answer.
leading on from Cosmin Roman's point, there are some serious goings on afoot in the mobile linux arena. Angstrom, for instance, is making serious progress and the number of supported handets is slowly increasing.
in the mobile market where we can't yet build our own handsets (like we do our PCs) device-specific ports are crucial. if the naysayers had any idea about linux development, they'd understand this.
personally, i quite like the iPhone handset but i find the GUI a little bit 'Fisher-Price'.