Take Linux with You Wherever You Go
GITWiT (Kirkland, Washington) is currently developing a Linux-based wireless handset that combines communications and entertainment within a uniquely customizable two-part design. The company plans to aim the device at the lucrative teen market initially by offering a colorful phone with cool teen-oriented capabilities.
According to GITWiT's market research, roughly 25% of the 40 million teens in the US own wireless phones today, leaving 30 million potential additional subscribers up for grabs.
Physically, the GITWiT phone consists of two pieces (see photo). The GITWiT-enabled handset contains the core telephony functionality. A software-enabled cover, called a Smart Skin, snaps onto the handset core to define a specific and easily alterable look, feel and wireless-user experience.
Each Smart Skin contains a Smart Key, which is built around an industry standard, secure smart card module. Smart Keys contain encrypted data and software that changes the wireless-user experience to match the theme of the skin.
As an example, users snapping on skins branded by their favorite music group might get a new look and feel for the user interface, plus customized ring tones and graphics, preconfigured wireless web bookmarks and subscription content for the group's latest CDs and upcoming concerts.
GITWiT expects its innovative approach to be popular with wireless carriers because it permits them to embrace changing fashion and entertainment trends rapidly by refreshing the relatively expensive core cellular component with an inexpensive snap-on Smart Skin.
From a technical perspective, GITWiT-enabled handsets are composed of three main parts: a cellular processor, a proprietary Smart Key operating system and an embedded host processor.
The host processor, an embedded computer running Linux, is the heart of the phone. It is built around an ARM7 microprocessor and contains a number of embedded peripherals and I/O interfaces for the keypad, color LCD and for communicating with the Smart Skins. A separate cellular processor handles all of the on-air cellular communications.
GITWiT uses the 2.4.5 Linux kernel with ARM patches from Russell King and Nicolas Pitre, as well as a number of in-house patches. The system software also includes portions of Microwindows for its GUI, as well as BusyBox.
“We chose Linux for a number of reasons”, explains GITWiT VP of Engineering Peter Zatloukal. He continues:
We are building a user interface that is leagues beyond what exists on current wireless phones, and Linux provides us with a rich environment with which to render our ideas.
Also, since most of our development work is in the application and object layers, we're glad to be using an open-source kernel so that we can contribute to efforts that make it easier for others to develop embedded solutions.
We feel that increasing the ease of innovation in the embedded space, even if it also strengthens our competitors, helps us because it broadens the whole market. We like the world where low barriers to entry fuel competition around what really matters—a richer wireless-user experience.
See www.GITWiT.com for more information.
IBM Research and Citizen Watch have announced a collaboration through which Linux-based WatchPad prototypes and related technologies are being developed. The collaborative project, which builds on IBM's earlier Linux Watch efforts, has the goal of exploring a new type of personal information access devices for the pervasive computing era. IBM Research first demonstrated the Linux Watch last year, in an effort to illustrate the viability of Linux across all platforms, from the S/390 to the smallest intelligent devices.
Citizen Watch decided to work with IBM to develop enhanced features and new technologies for use in future “intelligent watches”, such as using them as communication devices. Thus far, Citizen Watch has contributed packaging and component design, including display and input device. IBM provided the hardware architecture, system design and software—including Linux. The two companies also say they plan to collaborate with universities by sharing the WatchPad technology for joint research, in hopes of accelerating progress in the development of next-generation intelligent devices.
The WatchPad contains a high-speed, low-power 32-bit MPU, 16MB of Flash memory and a quarter-VGA (320 × 240 pixels) LCD. Wireless connectivity includes both Bluetooth and infrared. Users interact with the device through a touch panel, buttons and modified winding knob. In addition, an accelerometer is embedded in the device to explore the possibility of arm movement being used as an input method.
Here are a few key technical specs of the WatchPad, taken from a fact sheet distributed by IBM Research:
Size: 65mm × 46mm × 16mm
Weight: 43g (without wrist band)
CPU: high-speed, low-power 32-bit MPU (18-74MHz)
Input devices: touch panel, a winding crown switch, button
Display: 320 × 240 dots, monochrome liquid crystal display
Memory: 8MB low-power DRAM, 16MB Flash
Interfaces: Bluetooth wireless technology (v1.1, voice-enabled), IrDA (V1.2), RS-232C (via a cradle)
Others: speaker, microphone, vibrator, fingerprint sensor, accelerator sensor
Power: Li-Ion battery
Cradle: RS-232C, AC adaptor and AA batteries
Operating system: Linux kernel version 2.4
Bluetooth stack: IBM BlueDrekar (L2CAP, SDP, RFCOMM)
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide