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Linux powers SMS appliance

May 17, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Acme Systems has introduced a tiny Linux-based gateway that connects cellular SMS (simple message service) and TCP/IP networks. The SMS FoxBox integrates a quad-band GSM modem, offers web, email (smtp/pop3), and mysql interfaces, and supports local message storage through removable flash storage.

(Click for larger view of the FoxBox)


FoxBox ports
(Click to enlarge)

According to Acme, applications for the FoxBox include:

  • Radio or TV shows with live interaction with the public, such as real-time SMS polls

  • Data processing for alarms and measure/control units
  • Sending and receiving SMS from a web site
  • Mass SMS message distribution
  • Server control via SMS
  • SMS-based order processing systems

The FoxBox is based on Acme's FoxServe product, which adds a dynamic web server stack to the “GM” version of the company's original Acme Fox design. The board is powered by an Etrax 100LX MCM (multi-chip module). The module weds 4MB of flash and 32MB of RAM to Axis's Etrax 100LX, a highly integrated system-on-chip with a 32-bit, 100 MIPS (million-instructions-per-second) RISC core.


FoxGM with Telit modem
(Click to enlarge)

The FoxBox's I/O includes a 10/100 Ethernet port, along with a pair of USB 1.1 ports. The USB ports can support USB mass storage devices and wireless LAN or Bluetooth adapters. Alternatively, SD/MMC cards can be used to provide local message storage. The GSM Modem is a Telit GM 862 Quad Band attached using J6 and J7 on fox board (ttyS2 serial port), according to Acme Founder Davide Cantaluppi.

On the software side, the FoxBox is based on a 2.6-series Linux kernel, with busybox providing a Linux-like shell environment. Standard software includes an SSH server, telnet server, SMS server, fetchmail, procmail, mailsend, PHP5, and an FTP server. Firmware is remotely upgradable via LAN, Web, FTP, or SSH. The Boa web server serves the devices's primary UI.


FoxBox's browser control interface
(Click to enlarge)

The FoxBox's browser-based user interface offers various message management facilities, such as inboxes and outboxes, an addressbook with group messaging capabilities, tools for setting up an running polls, and configuration tools and logs. Additionally, a “Custom application” interface lets users write shell scripts and connect them to the system's event handler, Caltaluppi said.


FoxBox Widget for MacOS X
(Click to enlarge)

Also available is a Mac OS X “widget” (pictured at right) that lets users read SMS messages on their desktop.

Availability

The FoxBox is available now, direct from Acme Systems, priced at 750 Euro (approx. $1,000).

Acme previously shipped a clever Tux-shaped computer.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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