An Interview with Dr. Ari Jaaksi of Nokia
The first day of the recent LinuxWorld Summit in New York City was a busy one for Dr. Ari Jaaksi of Nokia. He fielded questions throughout the day, following the press conference that introduced the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. This handheld device induces double-takes from potential users and offers impressive Wi-Fi capabilities. Plus, it is an open-source success story, demonstrating a successful collaboration between a large manufacturer and the Open Source community.
Nokia is encouraging external development for the 770 with the release of the maemo platform. Furthermore, the company actively is supporting mainstream open-source applications, while encouraging maemo developers not to fork from these foundational applications.
Shortly after he delivered his afternoon conference session, "Give and Take: An Open Source Play for a Major Telecom Manufacturer," I sat down with Dr. Jaaksi to discuss aspects of the 770.
Linux Journal: Nokia is known for phones. VoIP is scheduled as an upgrade to the 770 next year. What considerations led to the decision to release the 770 without phone capabilities?
Ari Jaaksi: Phones are Nokia's bread and butter. We got it right. Why would we do it again? We are interested in expanding our reach into new markets. While watching the fast adoption of broadband plus Wi-Fi, we decided that this is a space where we want to play.
LJ: The decision to consider desktop Linux and the open-source application community as sources for the 770 software, was that an easy decision to make within Nokia or did it require a lot of discussion?
AJ: There was a lot of discussion about it. The thinking went as follows: go to where the technology is most mature for the maximum benefit. In my opinion, the current embedded distros need much more work. Also, given our in-house expertise, it takes surprisingly little work to get the kernel from kernel.org working on the 770 hardware.
LJ: Given all of the various distributions available, what led Nokia to select Debian as the Linux distribution for the 770?
AJ: To be exact, we get our kernel from kernel.org. The processes and package management [come] from Debian. We consider Debian to be the most advanced and most alive, truly open-source distribution.
It is important that Linux for the 770 is not controlled by any company. We go straight to the source. None of the distros were ready for Nokia hardware anyway, and we have internal expertise, so why go through a commercial vendor?
We are in this for the long run. Too many middle men is not a good strategy.
LJ: The 770 is targeted explicitly at the consumer market, but do you envision the hacker community adopting this device as well as its derivatives and hacking them for different purposes?
AJ: Why not? The communities will need to find the way to do that.
LJ: Nokia has stated that the Internet Tablet platform is not intended to compete with the TabletPC. However, is there any R&D you can discuss that could drive your Internet Tablet into larger form factors that could be used for networked applications in a corporate setting?
AJ: We don't have those plans. That's not in our thinking right now.
LJ: Handwriting recognition is quite a difficult application. How committed is Nokia to furthering the state of that art?
AJ: For a device such as the 770, one is concerned with the input and the output. The output is beautiful. We have the challenge to improve the input. For the 770 we actually use the same handwriting recognition engine as in our telephones that support it. We are working closely with the innovators. Handwriting recognition is only one input option. There is also the virtual keyboard.
LJ: Apple routinely comes under fire for storage and battery subsystems in its smallest devices that cannot be replaced or upgraded by the owner. How easy is it for a 770 owner to manage storage and battery upgrades?
AJ: [He quickly popped out the battery and the memory card.] Extremely easy! The 770 battery is the same as in Nokia phones. The card is an MMC card. We don't restrict the users.
LJ: Given the proclivities of the Linux community, it has to be asked: will Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora be supported on the 770?
AJ: There's nothing technical that prevents it. However, the 770 is a consumer device. The challenge is that there is not much [Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora] content right now.
LJ: The 770 is slated to be available in Q3 of this year. Where will we be able to purchase them?
AJ: In the US there will be various Web channels. We are working now to develop other channels.
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