Linux for handhelds: fact or fiction?
What Does The Future Hold?
There is a great deal of interest in a GUI for the operating system. There already exists a separate project called
MicroWindows, part of which is a GUI for Linux handhelds called Nano-X. With an implementation of this GUI on Linux7k, there is
no reason why the Linux applications already using Nano-X cannot easily be ported to Linux7k. Similarly as Intel-Linux itself, there
is a vast scope for applications to be readily available for Linux7k.
As previously mentioned, USB support would be a great step forward.
As it stands, the Intel version of the Linux kernel supports USB, and hence very little work would be required to include this support to
the Linux7k kernel. As well as handhelds in the future, there is a number of Psion handhelds available now that will keep the Linux7k
team busy for the foreseeable future. Machines such as the Revo and the Series 7 could be added to '7k's repertoire.
Other Handheld Linux Projects
As well as Linux
on the Series 5 range of machines, there also exist a number of Linux projects for other handheld platforms. Perhaps surprisingly, there
does exist a Linux port for the Series 3 palmtops, developed by completely different people to the Linux7k team. In their own words:
"the goal of the ELKS project is to create a Linux option for 8086 to 80286 class PC's, Palmtop computers, single board microcomputers,
embedded controller systems and other old computers." The ELKS Project is significant in
that Linux was originally developed on the
386 architecture, and hence could not run on a 286 or below. Getting Linux onto the Series 3 is a subset of this project.
There are two ports known by linux.org porting Linux to Windows CE handhelds. Since many WinCE handhelds are very similar in
architecture, it is possible to create a more generic port, suitable for these different devices. These projects include
LinuxCE, and LinuxSH3.
It is likely if you have a WinCE handheld, you will find a project that will support your hardware.
Linux7k website - http://www.calcaria.net
Linux website - http://www.linux.org
Microwindows - http://microwindows.censoft.com/
ELKS project site - http://www.elks.ecs.soton.ac.uk/
Windows CE Linux sites - http://linuxsh3.cjb.net/ http://www.linuxce.org/
About The Author
Paul Maddox, studies Artificial Intelligence at the University of Birmingham, England. He is website and public relations coordinator for
the Linux7k project. Paul can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.