Mar 11 2010

MeeGo To Have Public Code By March

It was announced last month that Nokia and Intel were going on a joint venture to create an open-source Linux based mobile platform.  This effort, dubbed “MeeGo”, would be a combination of Intel’s Moblin OS, shipped on various netbooks, and Nokia’s Maemo platform, at the heart of the N900 Phone.  It is to be used on all sorts of products with both ARM and x86 architectures. By the end of this month, the companies hope to be able to release the source code to the public.

MeeGo is arguably the first truly open developed mobile OS.  Intel and Nokia are asking the Linux Foundation to watch over the development process, in order to dispel worries of corporatism and encourage 3rd-party involvement.  The first step will be to reconcile the differences between Moblin and Maemo.  Fortunately, they both have the same technical core, but ideological differences on direction and methodology will need to be addressed before MeeGo has a shot of becoming a coherent platform.

Nokia plans on supporting N900 users to MeeGo, at least initially.  This will allow a bounty of Linux enthusiasts to jump into the development cycle at the early stage. MeeGo will also stay in line with the fundamental Linux kernel build cycle, meaning it will eventually stand in stark contrast to Google’s Android platform.  Android uses a heavily modified Linux kernel, and is showing signs of diverging from the development tree entirely.

There are other major differences between Android and MeeGo.  Google, while making Android’s source code public, had a tightly closed development cycle, dumping onto developers massive amount of code with every release.  Intel and Nokia seem to be taking the more traditional route of Linux development; like Canonical’s methodology with Ubuntu, they will try to get 3rd party involvement from Linux and MeeGo users to help direct efforts.  Google now has real competition for the open source community’s blessing.

Via Ars Technica

Nov 29 2009

Google Chromium OS Beta Available For Dell Mini 10v Netbooks And More

The Chromium OS has been open-sourced for hardly a week and some industrious tinkerers over at Dell have already delivered a beta version especially designed for the Dell Mini 10v netbook.

Here’s how to get it:

I have released an USB key image file to: http://linux.dell.com/files/cto. The file name is: “ChromiumOS_Mini10v_Nov25.img.”  It contains a functioning image of my USB key loaded with ChromiumOS.  In addition, I have made a best effort attempt to get the Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter working in this image.  It’s definitely not perfect (read: highly experimental, untested, unstable, yada yada…) but it does appear to function.

This version’s boot time is around 12 seconds, a bit longer than earlier reported. The makers mentioned a few other minor issues you might be interested in knowing about:

  • It will take more than 5-10 *minutes* for the ChromiumOS network connection manager to “see” the access points and allow you to select and connect – be patient.
  • Wired connections appear to work fine and appear quick to connect.
  • There are currently issues with both the connection manager as well as the underlying components (wpa_supplicant) that can easily break or get hung. When in doubt, reboot and give it another try.
  • Use this image at your own risk – it comes to you totally unsupported and very minimally tested.

Still, for the amount of time that the Chromium OS has been available for netbook users to mess with, it looks like a solid effort. For more info on how to get Google’s new operating system on your netbook, read the article over at Dell.

Nov 21 2009

Google Open-Sources Chrome OS & Demos It On A Netbook

Google’s fabled OS has been released for open sourcing as the Chromium OS. By Google’s own admission, it’s “intended for people who spend most of their time on the web”, which seems like a long way to say ‘netbook users‘.

Enjoy some videos about the Chromium OS below.

At this morning’s announcement event, Google demoed the OS on a netbook. According to the speaker, the netbook goes from cold to usable in under 10 seconds, a number Google is working “very, very hard” to decrease.

Here’s the demo:

I’m excited.

Via ChromeBlog.

Feb 8 2009

One Laptop Per Child Creator To Open-Source Netbook Technology

Yesterday at the TED Conference, Nicholas Negroponte delivered a speech about the rise of and future of netbooks. He is the founder of One Laptop Per Child, and claimed that this very program  was responsible for the netbook category’s immense upwards trajectory.

OLPC has half a million devices out today, being used in many cases by children to teach their parents how to read and write.

One Laptop Per Child

He had some things to say about the influence commercial markets have had on One Laptop Per Child, saying they have competed with the project meanly. Similarly, he decried the fact that netbooks haven’t replicated OLPC’s emphasis on sturdy construction and specialization for kids.

Negroponte’s generalizations aren’t completely correct – one might note the possible exception of the Classmate PC, which was as hardy as he prescribed. Similarly, the Victorian Government bought netbooks for Australian children but didn’t invest in the toughened-up ones of OLPC – instead they used netbook technology from Lenovo and Acer.

So, what’s he going to do about it? Nicholas intends to open-source the OLPC hardware, inviting competitors to mimic it and improve on it. His hope is a philanthropic one: three years from now, he wants 5-6 million OLPC-type netbooks in the hands of the world’s children three years from today.

What will open-sourcing do for his One Laptop Per child netbook technology? We’ll have to wait and see, but hopefully anything using the same model as the rampantly successful Linux should greatly expand OLPC.

Via Gigaom.

Dec 5 2008

Rumors: New Coby Netbook For Under $100?

The tech blogs and review sites have been squealing with delight at the idea – Coby is rumored to offer a netbook for under $100, a record-breaking price. Sounds good, right? But don’t freak out just yet.

The original announcement delivered by an affiliate of IndyMedia.org (Arkansas.IndyMedia.org), stated that Coby Electronics’ new netbooks were set to be available this March. They anticipated the netbooks would be based on the Chinese Loongson processor and feature a keyboard comparable with that for the original Eee PC. Known as the Poquetmate-7 and -9, these new netbooks would be making appearances on the shelves of grocery stores and discount markets.

The netbooks, informally known as ‘Midget PCs’, would run free open-source software as well as Linux. While the choice of OS would surely decrease Coby’s consumer base, who could possibly resist that price tag? This certainly explains the rapid spread of the rumors – it sounds amazing.

Arkansas.IndyMedia.org’s announcement claimed that Coby said the machines would be perfectly capable of running “90 percent” of consumer applications. It would also have drivers for “all major brands” of accessories.

The first few netbooks are rumored to set the stage for a line that Coby hopes to continue with, unbelievably, even smaller netbooks at lower prices. The blogs are mentioning “pocket PCs with foldable screens and keyboards” to fit into your pocket.

Now, for the bad news: these rumors are a bit too good to be true.

Arstechnica is calling the enthusiasts out by delivering the following announcement by Coby: “This story, or any announcement regarding a netbook, was not (emphasis theirs) initiated, condoned, or approved by Coby Electronics.” Apparently IndyMedia has a somewhat low standard for sourcing its material!

Well, that’s all we’ve got for now. Given the rapid evolution of the netbook market, nothing’s impossible – but for now, my hopes are tempered.

UPDATE (01/09/09): It seems like Coby does have a netbook, which we found at CES in Las Vegas. Check it out our article on it here.

Via Arstechnica.

Nov 17 2008

ARM Netbooks To Feature Ubuntu Linux OS

The UK-based mobile phone chip designer ARM recently announced that it will feature Ubuntu, the open-source Linux operating system, on its upcoming netbooks.

Noting that ARM is known for the long battery life of its mobile phones, analysts believe the joined forces will produce something ideal – efficient, light-weight, cheap netbooks. Increased battery life is enticing for buyers, for whom netbooks’ compatiability with their busy schedules is a main concern.

ARM Logo

ARM’s Vice President of Marketing Ian Drew said the aspect of mobile devices that is most quickly growing is “the always-on experience.” Increased battery life will be a necessity in the coming months as the emphasis on this feature continues to grow.

“The release of a full Ubuntu desktop distribution supporting latest ARM technology will enable rapid growth, with internet everywhere, connected ultra portable devices,” Drew continued, emphasizing the positive prospects of the partnership.

The ARMv7 architecture, including ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processor-based systems, are expected to be the aspects utilized by the Ubuntu Desktop OS.

Ubuntu Logo

The COO of Canonical, Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor, focused on the varied choices this partnership will give consumers, stating that “[ensuring] that a fully-functional, optimised Ubuntu distribution is available to the ARM ecosystem” will offer “wider choice for consumers looking for the best operating system for their digital lifestyles.”

“This is a natural development for Ubuntu, driven by the demand from manufacturers for an ARM technology-based version.”

It is likely that this partnership will create even more competition with Intel’s Atom, especially given the recent announcement from AMD.

According to Rob Coombs, Director of Mobile Marketing at ARM, the first devices should be seen around the time of the June Computex show next year. We’ll keep an eye out.

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