Palm, Inc. has announced that it will be working with Wind River to improve the version of the Linux operating system that is at the heart of the Foleo Mobile Companion.
During the Foleo’s development, it was based around the Linux 2.4 kernel. However, Palm developers made extensive changes to this make it more appropriate for this upcoming device.
Going forward, Palm and Wind River are going to work together to make these same modifications to the more recent Linux 2.6 kernel, so the Foleo can be based on that.
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"Wind River’s open Linux platform gives us the reliability, performance and stability we need to continue driving innovation," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president, Business Development, Palm, Inc.
Are You Supposed to Salute a Kernel?
Although a significant change, it is not the sort of thing most Foleo users will notice, as it only involves changes to the Linux kernel.
The kernel is the basic foundation of the operating system, and performs many essential tasks. But lying on top of it is the user interface (UI), which is what people interact with. Changes to the kernel don’t have to have any effect on the user interface.
In addition, operating systems include Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that developers use to make their applications capable of exercising both low-level hardware features like graphics and wireless connectivity and higher-level features like UI toolkits and databases.
Like the UI, which users see and interact with, these developer APIs won’t necessarily change when the Foleo kernel is updated. This means that applications written for the initial version of the Foleo shouldn’t be affected by any changes going on behind the scenes.
Development Tools, Too
One group who will notice this change is developers. One of the major effects of the modifications to the Foleo’s kernel will be support Wind River Workbench, an established, Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded Linux development. Going forward, developers will be able to use this suite to create applications for the Foleo.
"The Wind River Workbench IDE is regarded as being one of the best tools for mobile Linux development in part because of excellent debugging capabilities on either a host PC (emulated hardware) or on the target hardware itself," said David Beers from Pikesoft Mobile Computing.
Wind River will also be providing customer support to help Palm and developers extend the Foleo’s capabilities.
Thanks to all the people who helped with this article.