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O'Reilly Network Weekly
Open Source Roundtable
Sponsored by IBM developerWorks

When Will We See Linux PDAs?

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Although we've been hearing about Linux PDAs for months, at the recent LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose, the only company we found showing a Linux PDA was Transvirtual Technologies, which had installed its PocketLinux system on a low-end Helio from VTech, as well as the high-end iPaq from Compaq. Even so, these Linux are still not ready for a prime time audience. A warning on the PocketLinux site explains that loading the Linux system onto the Helio will render it unusable as a personal information manager.

We talked with the CEO of Transvirtual, as well as a journalist who's been following the evolution of Linux devices, about the near-term future of Linux on PDAs.

Tim Wilkinson
Chief Executive Officer
Transvirtual Technologies

"What we've released so far, we're terming a developer device. My mother is not going to be doing this anytime soon ... We're hoping to ship a product where this stuff will come pre-installed sometime next year. But for now, this is purely aimed at the developer community, a community that can deal with mucking around with weird loading code, and getting stuff into flash memory, and generally doing a bunch of esoteric things to get the stuff on the device."

John Gowin
Chief Executive Officer

"[Screen Media of Norway's Freepad] ... looks really promising ... it's going to be embedded Linux ... and it combines phone services with web browsing and can actually function as part of a workstation. It has a docking station."

Derrick Story
Managing Editor
O'Reilly Network

"It sounds like that not too far in the future there will actually be some real choices in the Linux space for PDAs. We've heard a lot of stuff, but we haven't seen much materialize. PocketLinux is one of the first Linux PDA tools that you can actually download and tinker around with now."

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