The Latest on Palm OS for Linux

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Late last year, PalmSource announced that it is developing a version of the Palm OS based on Linux.

At the PalmSource developer conference this week, many people were hoping for additional details on this upcoming operating system.

Although the company did make a demonstration on Wednesday of a few of the functions of Palm OS for Linux, clearly a lot more work needs to be done.

PalmSource didn’t release at the DevCon what a lot of people were hoping for: an official timetable on when this operating system will be available.

However, unofficially, sources say PalmSource hopes to have it to licensees by the end of this year, and that the first devices running it will be available by the middle of 2006.

More on Palm OS for Linux

Although basing it on Linux will be a major change for the Palm OS, for the most part users should not notice a difference.

The Palm OS user interface and the PalmSource personal information management (PIM) applications will remain the same.

In addition, the advanced features that PalmSource has built into Palm OS Cobalt’s software frameworks will also be a part of the Linux version of the Palm OS.

PalmSource says that properly written Palm OS applications will be able to run on Palm OS for Linux.

Basing the operating system on Linux will allow PalmSource engineers to focus on improving the user interface, PIM applications, and advanced software frameworks, while the open-source community will do the work to develop device drivers and support for new chips and components.

PalmSource will continue to offer both Palm OS Garnet and Palm OS Cobalt, the two current versions of this operating system, to licensees who want to use them. The company will decide later, based on feedback from its licensees, whether to continue the development of non-Linux versions.

However, at its DevCon this week, the company certainly gave many the impression that it is almost entirely focused on Palm OS for Linux, and its other operating system versions have been relegated to the backburner.

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