News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Embedded Linux for iPAQ

Aug 10, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Century Software, a company founded by Microwindows and ViewML project leader Greg Haerr, has announced that it will be demoing a Linux-based windowing system and graphical development environment for the iPAQ at next week's LinuxWorld. The iPAQ distro includes a color windowing system, touch screen input, handwriting recognition, Internet browsing, and an SDK for graphical apps development. MontaVista's open source Hard Hat embedded Linux OS and tools will help you replace the iPAQ's Microsoft Pocket PC OS with the new embedded Linux distro. As you might have guessed, the windowing, GUI, and browser components are provided by Microwindows and ViewML which, of course, are both open source. Here is the full press release of the iPAQ support . . .

Century Software Introduces a Linux Alternative to Pocket PC

Century Software Embedded Technologies introduces a graphical development and runtime environment for the Compaq iPAQ at LinuxWorld Expo

Salt Lake City, UT — (press release) — Century Software Embedded Technologies, a leader in open source applications technologies for embedded Linux, today announced the availability of a Linux-based windowing system and graphical development environment for the new Compaq iPAQ handheld computer. The open source and binary distribution includes a color windowing system, touch screen input, handwriting recognition, Internet browsing and a software development kit for new applications development. This environment, coupled with MontaVista Software Inc.'s Hard Hat Linux operating system and tools, allows the iPAQ's Microsoft Pocket PC operating system to be replaced with a graphical system running Linux instead.

“Introducing our Linux-based graphical environment so quickly after the iPAQ's introduction will allow Linux developers around the world to take advantage of
the iPAQ hardware platform and enable Linux applications developers to keep pace with Microsoft,” said Gregory Haerr, CEO of Century Software.

The iPAQ hardware allows the operating system and windowing environment to be reloaded into flash memory using a serial cable download. The full environment, including touch-screen operability and Internet browsing, will be shown during Linux Expo next week by MontaVista Software in booth #208, and in Applied Data Systems' booth #1214.

The environment includes the well-known Microwindows graphical windowing system for embedded Linux, along with the the recently introduced ViewML Internet browser, and the Fast Light Tool Kit (FLTK) applications framework. A stroke-based character-recognition technology, based on Scribble, provides the basis for handwriting recognition.

The Microwindows graphical windowing system was chosen because of it's extremely compact size, and it's support of the ViewML browser. “Our selection of Microwindows as the graphics system and ViewML for the browser allows our environment to run in 1/3 the RAM as non-embedded Linux solutions, leaving 8 Megabytes free space for use by other applications,” said Jason Kingan, Director of R&D for Century Software, and Chief Architect for The ViewML Project.

The ViewML Internet Browser is a small memory footprint, high-quality web browser targeting the needs of the rapidly growing embedded Linux market. Requiring only 800k ROM and 2Mb RAM, ViewML was introduced in July by Century Software and MontaVista Software as the first open source, royalty free browser targeted for embedded Linux systems. The Microwindows Project, created in June 1999, is the leading open source graphical windowing environment designed for small embedded systems. Both projects were created by Century Software CEO Gregory Haerr.


The open source and binary distribution for the iPAQ will be available just after the Linux Expo show, on August 21, 2000, from The ViewML Project's source code, as well as screen shots and frequently asked questions are available now from Microwindows is available from Hard Hat Linux is available from The ViewML and Microwindows projects plan on releasing regular enhancements as well as accepting contributions from the embedded systems community. MontaVista's embedded systems CDK (Cross Development Kit), available from, supplies the necessary toolchains necessary to compile the distribution.

About Century Software Embedded Technologies

Century Software Embedded Technologies, a newly created division of Century Software, Inc., is a leading developer of core technologies for the worldwide embedded Linux applications market. These technologies include: graphical windowing system development and runtime environments; customized Internet browsers and HTML viewers; embedded multimedia technologies, including MP3
audio and MPEG video players and recorders; and PDA runtime and development suites. These core technologies are designed specifically to allow chip manufacturers, hardware board vendors, and their customers to build embedded applications on x86, PowerPC, StrongARM, MIPS and other microprocessor architectures running on either the Microwindows or X Window System. Based in Salt Lake City, Century Software was founded in 1985 and is privately held. Century Software's CEO, Gregory Haerr, is the founder and chief maintainer of the Microwindows Project, founder of the ViewML Project, and Chief Strategist for User Interface Technologies for MontaVista Software, Inc.

Related stories:
Vers 0.88 Nano-X and Microwindows are released
Microwindows project leader 'drops the other shoe'
Insights into ViewML development: history, status, and plans
ViewML — an open source embedded Linux web browser
Glue layers simplify porting graphics apps to Microwindows
Microwindows: a Graphical Windowing system for Embedded Linux
Linux + Microwindows: challenger to WinCE
Enabling embedded Linux graphical applications
The Microwindows and NanoGUI Projects
Display connectivity solution for embedded Linux devices

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

Comments are closed.