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Mobile Linux computing coding contest underway

Oct 27, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

A contest to create applications and find bugs in a mobile “Linux desktop server” is underway. Realm Systems will award $75,000 for the best entertainment, security, IT infrastructure, productivity, and “other” applications for its Black Dog Linux device, as well as for “most bug… reports.”

Realm is a small (75 employee) startup focused on secure desktop mobility products. Its “Mobile Enterprise Platform” is based on a cell-phone-sized device (pictured at left) that works in conjunction with a management router (pictured at right) to allow users to maintain secure, VPN-based mobile desktop environments with biometric (fingerprint) protection. User sessions can be suspended and resumed almost instantly on any PC, simply by plugging and unplugging the device, the company says.

Realm's BlackDog server (pictured at right) is essentially an open source, Debian-based version of the company's mobile client technology. The tiny device measures a mere 3.5 x 1.75 x 0.5 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces. It has its own embedded PowerPC processor, 64MB of RAM memory, 256 or 512 MB of Flash storage, and an integrated biometric fingerprint scanner. It also includes an SD/MMC slot for expanding memory or adding SDIO peripheral devices, and provides a USB client port compatible with USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 ports.

The BlackDog is powered completely through the USB port of the host computer. Upon insertion, it uses Windows, Mac, or Linux autorun features to launch a script that commandeers the host PC's keyboard, mouse, and video.

The company hopes its coding contest will help establish an open source developer community behind the technology.

A grand prize of $50,000 will be awarded for the best application created or ported to run on Black Dog. First prizes of $5,000 will be awarded for applications in security, communications/networking, entertainment, productivity, and “dogpile,” which is everything else. Winners will be flown to the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco next February, where a Grand Prize of $50,000 will be awarded. Prizes will also be awarded for the most bugs reported that are determined to be critical to BlackDog functionality. The contest began on Oct. 15, and ends on Jan. 15.

Director of Sales Steve McCool said, “[BlackDog] can be programmed to carry the applications, data, web sites, and desktop that users need wherever they may go.”

Additional contest details can be found here. More background on Realm Systems and BlackDog can be found in this story, based on an interview with CEO Rick White.

Realm says the Black Dog is shipping now, priced at “loss leader” levels of $200 (256MB) and $240 (512MB). Multimedia expansion cards are also available.

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