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Palmtop Linux Machines

The world of PDA based Linux has been growing rapidly in the last year. Linux is a natural for this environment with its reliable kernel, suitability for embedded systems, and well-tested networking capabilities.

A welcome addition to the playing field is the MyLinux PDA project, which is putting together an open PDA hardware platform that is designed to run Linux from the start.

Featuring PCMCIA and CompactFlash slots, an HR-TFT Active Matrix LCD panel capable of displaying 64K colors and a whopping 256 MBytes of super fast SDRAM, this unit aims to fulfill the needs of even the most demanding Linux Advocate. Scheduled for early release to Linux Developers worldwide in April with full production planned in August 2001, this project brings the full power of 32-bit RISC processing home in this incredibly portable form factor. With a list of big-name sponsors including Hitachi, Xilinx, Sharp, Micron and Epson, this completely Open Source project seeks your active involvement.

A limited number (200) of the units will be made available to developers.

Along those same lines, LinuxDevices.com is starting a new series by Jerry Epplin on Exploring Linux PDA software alternatives. The series explores the use of Linux on PDAs and handheld devices:

For several years, Linux advocates have predicted that Linux will become a significant factor in the embedded market. In addition to its virtues as a full-featured modern operating system, it is inexpensive to duplicate, an especially important factor for embedded systems. Others, coming from a more traditional embedded device development background, have been more skeptical, contrasting the compactness of older, more primitive software environments like VxWorks, QNX, or Lynx, to the relative bloat of Linux.

One of the biggest challenges that PDA based Linux systems designers face is zeroing in on a common graphical user interface that application designers can rally around. Despite all of its complexities, the X Window System has been a major unifying force in the Unix world. The Linux PDA arena needs a similar unifying platform. Hopefully, as time marches on, the best of the palmtop GUIs will rise to the top and get adopted by the masses. A situation where there are several competing systems, as with Gnome and KDE, would probably make for some healthy competition and keep the designers on their toes.

LinuxDevices.com recently published a large list of possible choices for embedded window systems. There are currently ten open source projects and six commercial projects listed. In the long run, it is likely that only a few of those will ever see wide use. Several of the projects are X Window System derivatives, those will certainly have a big advantage in being able to use existing applications with little or no modification. X Window System based systems would also have the advantage of remote displays. Imagine plugging your palmtop into your LAN, connecting to it from your desktop via ssh, and running full-sized applications from your desktop machine using a real keyboard. The idea is not that far-fetched.

The lightweight window systems would have advantages in the form of a smaller memory footprint, more speed, and possibly better battery life due to lower computational requirements. If only there were a standard system with a big pile of applications to go with it.

Fortunately, in an open-source environment, it may become possible to choose from both X and a smaller GUI on the same PDA. These new toys will certainly be fun to play with.


A browser renaissance (ZDNet). Mozilla is not the only option in the open source browser market, according to this opinion piece from ZDNet. "Open-source software invites developers to dive in to address weaknesses. Browsers such as Galeon and SkipStone have jettisoned the mail-reading and page-making cruft in favor of smaller and faster browsers that still have most of Mozilla's browsing strengths. Rounding out this category of speedy browsers we have the Opera browser, now free, and the Links browser (not to be confused with its predecessor Lynx), one of ZDNet's most popular open source downloads."

Mozilla 0.6 released. Version 0.6 of the Mozilla browser has been released. See the Release Notes for more info. "Mozilla 0.6 is a milestone release based on the same branch as Netscape 6. It is aimed at developers who wish to create products that extend Netscape 6 or who wish to port it. "

Embedded Systems

Embedded Linux Newsletter - December 7th, 2000. The latest issue of the Embedded Linux Newsletter has been published. New features include updates to the Embedded Linux Quick Reference Guides, an interview with Greg Haerr and the usual assortment of device profiles.


Wine Weekly News for December 11, 2000. The December 11, 2000 edition of the Wine Weekly News is out. News includes a large DLL / X11 separation effort, Linux joystick input, and fixing game startup deadlocks.

Network Management

Fully automated installation for Linux clusters. Version 1.4.1 of a package called FAI (Fully Automated Installation) has been released. This package permits the unattended installation of a cluster of Debian GNU/Linux systems.

OpenNMS Update, Volume 1, Issue 38. The latest edition of the OpenNMS Update has been published. Topics in this issue include updates on project status, documentation problems, and a wish list.

Office Applications

Gimp 1.1.30 developer release. Version 1.1.30 of the Gimp is available for download. This is a developer's release.

On the Desktop

KDevelop 1.3 Released (KDE Dot News). The KDevelop Team announced the release of KDevelop 1.3, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) based on KDE for the C and C++ Programming languages.

KDE Gets Digital Camera Support (KDE Dot News). The Digital Camera application gPhoto2 has been integrated with KDE by theKompany.com. The integration added kio_slave to gPhoto2, allowing any application that uses the kio facilities to access a digital camera through gPhoto2.

Linux Online interviews David Faure. KDE's David Faure talks about KDE2, Konquerer and more in this Linux Online interview.

Linux Online: You've just released KDE 2. If you've been using the KDE 1+ builds, what important improvements are built into KDE 2?

David Faure: KDE 2 has been under development for 18 months. It's a major release, very different from KDE 1.1, so there are too many improvements to list them all. The most important improvement for the user is probably the full-featured web browser, Konqueror, which has reached a level where it can honestly compete with the other major Web browsers out there. The first release of KOffice is a major step forward too, although it may not yet be as fully-featured as the well-known commercial office suites. The KDE 2 desktop is also much more configurable than KDE 1 used to be, and it's also less memory-hungry, thanks to a better design.

KDE.themes.org Needs Your Help! (KDE dot News). KDE dot News reports that the kde.themes.org site needs help to maintain the site. They are looking for people with intimate knowledge of the KDE theme system.

OSF/Motif bug database. ICS has placed the OSF/Motif bug database online at their MotifZone web site.

Balsa 1.0: Mail in the GNOME Environment (LinuxPlanet). LinuxPlanet reviews Balsa 1.0. "Balsa is stable, configurable, and integrates well with the overall GNOME environment. It's very easy to use and configure, and if there's any feature that I'd complain about missing, it's the as-yet-to-be-completed filtering tools, which would give the project parity with kmail, Netscape Messenger, and others."

Gaby 1.9.95 released. Version 1.9.95 of the personal database manager, Gaby has been released. "Gaby is a small personal databases manager for Linux using GTK+ and Gnome (if available) for its GUI. It was designed to provide straight-forward access to databases a 'normal' user would like while keeping the ability to easily create databases for other needs."

Web-site Development

Zope 2.3.0 Alpha 1. Zope 2.3.0 Alpha 1 is now available. New to this release are built-in Python scripts, a fixed initial-user account process, and a security assertion system. An online Zope Book has also been released, this version of the book is up to date with the current release. Finally, a new cache management system for Zope has also been announced, it requires either the CVS version of Zope or the upcoming 2.3 Alpha 2 release.

Take the Free Way (ZDNet). ZDNet has published a quick look at Zope, PHP and Tomcat - three open source solutions for web site development. "Zope, from Digital Creations, is another open-source application server project, with strengths in content management. In fact, some of the technology in Zope is used for online versions of major newspapers. Internally, it's built in an object-oriented language called Python, but you develop for Zope using its Document Template Markup Language (DTML) scripting tags."

Midgard Weekly Summary, December 6th, 2000. The December 6th issue of the Midgard Weekly Summary has been published. Features include a holiday season release for version 1.4 and the early stages of Midgard 2.0.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

December 14, 2000

Application Links
High Availability

Open Source Code Collections
Le Serveur Libre



Programming Languages


A C++ open source library for quantitative finance. The QuantLib project is working to build an open-source library for financial calculations. " The QuantLib project is aimed to provide a comprehensive software framework for quantitative finance. The goal is to provide a standard free/open source library to quantitative analysts and developers for modeling, trading, and risk management in real-life.

QuantLib plans to offer tools that are useful for both practical implementation, with features such as market conventions, solvers, PDEs, etc., and advanced modelling, e.g., exotic options and interest rate models." Python language extensions will be included.


Stand Alone Erlang. Stand Alone Erlang is an add-on to the current Erlang R7B release that allows ERLANG applications to be condensed into as few as two files. This allows code written in ERLANG to be distributed to non-development machines.


Two-Way Telephone Interaction (Webreference.com). Jonathan Eisenzopf writes about using Perl to talk to a voice modem. The article covers dialing, sending voice messages, recognizing touch-tones, and dialing extensions. Interesting stuff with lots of potential uses.

Fun With Jabber. DJ Adams has written several articles on working with the NET::Jabber Perl module. He includes code for mail notifiers and an RSS Headline delivery program.

Perl 5 Porters for December 10, 2000. The December 10 issue of Perl 5 Porters has been published. Topics include implementing Unicode on EBCDIC machines, Unicode on hash keys, and Unicode and PerlIO.


Dr. Dobb's Python-URL! - December 12th, 2000. Dr. Dobb's weekly Python-URL! has been posted. Featured topics this week included mutual dependencies between modules, a C version of the Weak Reference Module, and the introduction of PyHTML.

Ninth International Python Conference. The Ninth International Python Conference will happen March 5-8, 2001 in Long Beach, California. The keynote speakers will be Guido Van Rossum and Bruce Eckel, the conference includes tracks on Zope and Python applications among other things. Conference Registration is now open.

Python Programming Tutorial. Richard G. Baldwin has published an online Python Programming Tutorial. Check it out for a tour of the Python language.

Boost C++ Python Library. The py_cpp project has been renamed the Boost C++ Python Library. With the new name comes a new web site, www.boost.org. The library allows C++ code to be integrated into Python.

Python 2 Efficiency. Eric Raymond posted this letter to the Kernel mailing list concerning code reduction and Python 2. "Using Python 2.0 rather than 1.5.2 lets me cut close to 600 lines out of the CML2 system, a bit more than 10% of the 5334 lines of code in this version."


Dr. Dobb's Tcl-URL! - December 12th, 2000. Dr. Dobb's weekly Tcl-URL! has been posted. Featured topics this week include using Tcl to manage X.25 channels and FIFOs, an example of the BWidgets notebook in use, and the case for a new nroff-based documentation standard.

Tix 8.1.1 released. Version 8.1.1 of the Tix widget set has been released. This version fixes some Python integration bugs.

Moodss Version 12.1 released. Version 12.1 of the Moodss system monitoring tool has been released. This version adds threshold alerts via email, and includes various other features and bug fixes.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

Language Links
Caml Hump
g95 Fortran
Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC)
Gnu Compiler for the Java Language (GCJ)
IBM Java Zone
Free the X3J Thirteen (Lisp)
Use Perl
O'Reilly's perl.com
Dr. Dobbs' Perl
PHP Weekly Summary
Daily Python-URL
Python Eggs
Ruby Garden
MIT Scheme
Why Smalltalk
Tcl Developer Xchange
O'Reilly's XML.com
Regular Expressions

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