[Klug-general] Linux phones

J D Freeman dt at quixotic.org.uk
Thu Jul 12 16:16:55 BST 2007

Hash: SHA1

On Thu, Jul 12, 2007 at 04:06:35PM +0100, Karl Lattimer wrote:
> Yep nokia is your best bet. OpenMoko just isn't mature enough, and I
> don't think it actually has opensync or syncml support yet.

Hold on, is that you agreeing with me?

> > Linux is a general purpose OS
> > which works well on general purpose computers, 
> "
> That's a logical fallacy if ever I saw one! Just because Linux is a
> general purpose OS doesn't mean it should be used on general purpose
> computers.
> In point of fact, general purpose OS generally means something which can
> easily be transported across architectures.

Yes, which means it can do many things to a varying degree, but not
necessarily do any of them well. Compare contrast: Leatherman,
lindstroom wire cutters.

> > Whilst its not open source (boo his) Epoc is a
> > far better OS for this sort of platform. That said I quite like VX works
> > for embedded stuff, but thats mainly cos its very well tried and tested
> > (hint the two nasa mars rovers run on it IIRC). 
> WRT VXworks and Epoc, Epoc isn't exactly alive is it, last release IIRC
> was in 2003 running on the psion revo. Which was actually a general
> purpose computer built on a OS which was designed for low power embedded
> applications, doesn't have a full API stack, you must re-invent the
> wheel in order to get much custom stuff working on it. Do they even sell
> licenses for Epoc32 anymore? As PSION are out of business and Symbian is
> the evolved version of Epoc.

Sorry, thats me being an old fart again, epoc is now called symbian. Its
worth noting that Psion are still in business, just not selling to the

As for the full API, that is both a feature and a bug. Depending on how
you want to look at it.

> VXworks is even worse, a friend of mine who works with both ucLinux,
> Linux 2.6 for embedded and VXworks daily does nothing but complain about
> how many missing kernel level and user space API's there are. For
> instance you'll find that there is no such thing as libc on VXworks,
> they have a base library set, but it doesn't cut the mustard. VXworks is
> crippleware essentially which means the developer needs to do a lot more
> work in order to get something running.

Again, feature or bug. If you are using VXworks on something, like say a
robot or a highly embedded system, you probably don't want to be using a
general libc  the performance (bare in mind many things are going to be
real time) doesnt cut it. 

Horses for courses.

> Compare this with Linux running on embedded devices, Linux has an
> enormous library of tools and apis which can be implemented by a
> programmer on any platform thanks to GCC/glibc and the way the Linux
> kernel is developed. 

Yes, an enormous library. Thats really useful on my embedded sytem with
half a meg of ram.

> With all that said, 80% of new photocopiers run Linux, 80% of network
> printers run linux, 80% of soho routers run linux. Thats the 80/20 rule
> for you, with a larger developer community, a larger API stack, many
> embedded device stack elements etc... I think that its a better bet for
> Linux to run on all hardware than VXworks or Epoc and I think you'll
> find that 8 out of 10 developer cats agree. 

And how many desktop machines run windows? Just cos many people do it
doesn't mean its the best way of doing it.

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