Linux in the Palm of Your Hand
Good as Linux is in a laptop, it's better in your
hand. Now that I've used a couple of Linux palmtops (the Agenda and Sharp
Zaurus SL-5500), I'm never going back.
- It's reliable: I've hardly ever had a Linux machine lock up
irretrievably because of flaky software. A palmtop is a little
different because it might not be connected to a network (so you can't
just telnet in and kill whatever is grabbing the console), but even so
it's extremely stable.
- It's multi-user! You may not think that a palmtop -- the epitome of
personal technology -- needs to be multi-user, but it does. Your
palmtop is docked by the side of your desk: are you going to use its
tiny little screen and stylus, or are you going to telnet (or ssh) over
and run commands on your full-sized keyboard and monitor?
- It's networked. Unlike Windows and Palm, which had networking grafted
on rather late in their development, Linux has had it since the
beginning, and it works right. Run apps over the network
with X, mount files with NFS, build a VPN out of
- It's multitasking. You can be backing up over the network, browsing
the web, and listening to an mp3 all at the same time.
- It has a huge collection of device drivers. If all you have is a
serial port, you can use SLIP or PPP to connect; if you have a compact
flash-to-SCSI adapter you can burn CD's.
- It has applications. Almost any Linux program is just a compile
- And most of all, it has an active developer community. The entire
development environment, including cross-compilers for whatever CPU
your palmtop is using, is free and widely deployed. Developers will
eagerly port their favorite applications to whatever palmtop they own
-- it's easy.
$Id: linux-in-hand.html,v 1.1 2002/03/31 04:06:03 steve Exp $
Stephen R. Savitzky <steve@theStarport.org>