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Why Linux? Why choose to go forward with Linux as the underpinning for this operating system?
Diaz: It's been quite a journey. When we announced Palm OS for Linux last year, I would say our goals were to a large extent self-serving. What we wanted was not to have to create our own kernel anymore. Why do this? The kernel doesn't differentiate you a great deal. Why spend our engineering resources on that?
Also from an industry perspective, at the time moving to Linux especially at the kernel level allowed us to leverage all these drivers that are written by the silicon vendors as they bring up their systems.
So to begin with, I would say it was a technical reason. What we found, though, as we said "Palm OS is going to be based on Linux" is that the market came to us saying, "Hey, if you are doing this, we would like to work with you."
Kamada: Mobile phone requirements, especially for 3G, are very complicated. So we do features, such as you can check e-mail, (browse) and (at the same time) receive the phone call. Multitasking is a very essential requirement today. There are not so many choices for multitasking operating systems today--Microsoft, Symbian and Linux. It doesn't make sense to develop a new operating system, a multitasking operating system, from scratch. So Linux is a very natural choice for us.
What would have it entailed in order to bring the Palm OS into a multitasking type of product?
Kamada: Palm OS version 5 is a kind of pseudo-multitasking.
Diaz: You have the polite multitasking where the application asks, and you have the multitasking where the applications can just do what they want and the operating system rules it. I think the Palm OS 5 is more of the earlier kind of multitasking.
So to bring it to a true multitasking, what would that involve?
Diaz: Well, there is more than multitasking; it?'s the entire operating system. It goes back to our technology reasons: Why would we create things that are already there? We just wrote a white paper explaining everything we had to do to really make Linux mobile. And if you look?all these components come from open source, but there are many of them that had to be written from scratch. And even those that had come from open source--in many cases, we had to do a lot of optimization. It would be a sizably larger effort to build something from scratch than to start from Linux.
Is the idea with the Access Linux Platform to bring the same sort of philosophy forward from Palm OS, meaning the heavy reliance on third-party application developers to bring a lot of functionality to the table?
Diaz: Absolutely, I mean that's our strength. That's what we know how to do. If you look at the mobile space today, it's sprouting new applications. I started my career in the PC space and now applications tend to be the same. I mean, I don't think we are at the point where we see big revolutions, but the mobile space is still in a stage where things move very fast.
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