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Low-cost board runs Linux, Google Apps

Nov 7, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

For $60, developers and Linux hackers can now buy the guts of the recently unveiled $200 Everex TC2502 Linux PC. The compact, ultra-efficient, x86-compatible “gOS Dev Board” comes with “gOS,” a lightweight Linux-based OS meant for use with Google Apps.

Everex TC2502
(Click for details)

The gOS operating system was initially created for use in Everex's TC2502, a $200 Linux-based PC available for $200 at and at select Walmart locations. The gOS Developer Board product lets developers and Linux hackers buy just the TC2502's motherboard, along with a CD of the gOS distribution.

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Along with a Firefox browser supporting the Google toolbar, gOS includes local productivity applications, such as However, its main goal is “coherently packaging Google Apps to give users the idea that they can use Google as their main environment,” explained Paul Kim, of Everex.

Kim added, “Our dream is to combine Linux with Google and put it into the mass market.”

Everex and gOS have no formal partnership with Google, Kim said. However, the search giant reportedly vetted the distro prior to its release. Kim said, “Our first conversation with Google was that we'd like them to provide the Google toolbar for our browser. Then, we got them to look at gOS, and I guess everything checked off, because they approved the deal.”

“Usually, Google will only work with PC product lines with over a million units,” Kim added.

Kim believes Everex could sell 50,000 to 60,000 TC2502s. However, the initial production run was limited to 10,000, he said, admitting that the company decided to control sell-through rates until support requirements were better-understood. “We anticipate quite a few support calls and questions, so we beefed up our support operation quite a bit. It's still a bit of a mystery.”

For example, Everex's Los Angeles-based gOS spinout set up an “FAQLY” — a cross between a wiki and an FAQ — in hopes users would support one another, according to David Liu, gOS software product manager.

Despite support call costs of just over $30, the TC2502 will be “profitable all through the channel,” Kim expects. One key might be using parts not supported by Vista, thus getting away from Microsoft's restrictions on hardware. Like the Everex PC, the gOS Dev Board supports XP, Windows 2000, and Windows CE, but not Vista.

The gOS Dev Board
(Click to enlarge)

The gOS Dev Board is a Micro-ATX form-factor Via “PC-1” motherbased on a 1.5GHz Via C7 processor. The board's hardware specs are listed as follows:

  • Processor — Via C7-D 1.5GHz
  • Chipset — Via CN700 + VT8237R plus
  • Memory — 2 x DDRII slots, for up to 2GB
  • Storage:
    • 2 x PATA interfaces (up to ATA133)
    • 2 x SATA interfaces (up to SATA150)
    • Floppy drive interface
  • Networking — 10/100 Base-T Ethernet based on Via VT6103L PHY
  • Video — Via UniChrome Pro IGP (VIA CN700)
  • Audio:
    • Based on Realtek ALC655 (supports 6 channels)
    • Connectors — audio line out/in, mic jack
  • Other I/O:
    • VGA out
    • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 2 x PS2 ports
    • Parallel printer port
    • Serial port
    • IR interface


    • PCI slots
    • CNR slot
  • Power:
    • 20-pin ATX power connector
    • +12V 4-pin power connector
    • Supports ACPI S1/S4/S5 mode power management
  • Dimensions — 7.5 x 9.0 inches (190 x 228 mm

The gOS distribution that comes with the development board is based on the just-released Ubuntu 7.10 (“Gutsy Gibbon”) distro, but with the lightweight Enlightenment window manager instead of heavy Gnome/KDE desktops. A bit of history: driven by Red Hat, Enlightenment came out in the late 90s and was the first window manager for Linux to support transparent windows. It's now up to version 17.

Everex, currently the world's eighth-largest PC maker, is the U.S. subsidiary of FIC (First International Computer), an even larger Taiwanese PC and consumer electronics manufacturer. FIC, incidentally, is notable for sponsoring the OpenMoKo project and for delivering the first low-cost user-modifiable phone platform, the Neo1973.

FIC engineers did most of the initial work on gOS, Kim said. However, gOS has now been spun out as its own company — much like FIC's OpenMoko project, which was spun out after the Neo1973 reached market.


The gOS Development Board is available now through online retailer Club-IT, priced at $60.

Everex spinout gOS is maintaining the gOS distro as an open source project. It is available for download now, here.

Henry Kingman

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.

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