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New Linux based OS for handhelds touts ease of use

Jan 30, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Updated Jan. 31Lycoris will ship a version of its desktop Linux operating system (OS) designed specifically for handheld devices in Q2, 2004. The OS, dubbed Desktop/LX Pocket PC Edition (DL-PPC), will provide a “commercial-ready” and user-friendly OS that Lycoris hopes to license to device designers as well as market… directly to consumers.

DL-PPC applications

DL-PPC will initially support ARM-based PDAs such as the Sharp Zaurus and HP iPaq. However, it uses a standard Linux kernel — version 2.4.18 initially, with updates planned soon — making it relatively easy to port to other architectures, according to Lycoris Founder Joseph Cheek.

According to Cheek, DL-PPC adds customizations to the OpenZaurus, Opie, and other open source project code bases that improve usability. Cheek has worked to improve Linux usability on the desktop since founding the Redmond Linux project — which later became Lycoris — in 1999.

DL-PPC's Opie-based PIM

DL-PPC will include the Samba-based Lycoris “Network Browser,” enabling it to share files and printers with Windows networks via wired, wireless, USB, and infrared networks. Its Opie-based PIMs will support synchronization with Lycoris's Desktop operating systems, including Desktop/LX Personal, Professional, and Tablet Editions.

DL-PPC will support a variety of text-input methods, including gesture-based handwriting recognition, on-screen keyboard, pickboard, built-in touchscreen, and, on select devices, a physical keyboard.

DL-PPC's “today” screen

The OS will also come equipped to play back popular audio, video, and streaming media formats, and will include a Web browser and email reader supporting HTML, CSS4, and POP3.

The Microsoft connection

Joseph Cheek, a former Microsoft employee, says Lycoris performed extensive trademark research before choosing the “Pocket PC” name. “We couldn't find anything at the Office of Patents and Trademarks, and we couldn't find anything at Microsoft,” he said.

Cheek, who formerly worked for Microsoft, says that he renamed his Redmond Linux Project “pre-emptively,” and was not put under any legal pressure to do so by Microsoft, which, being based in Redmond, Wash., is sometimes referred to metaphorically as “Redmond.”

More details about Desktop/LX Pocket PC Edition will be available at the Lycoris Website when the OS is officially launched on Monday, February 2.

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