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GNOME Mobile and Embedded Initiative launched

By Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier on April 19, 2007 (8:00:00 AM)

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The GNOME Foundation is scheduled to announce the GNOME Mobile and Embedded Initiative (GMAE) today at the Embedded Linux Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The initiative is aimed at bolstering GNOME usage as an embedded and mobile development platform. Founding members include open source organizations and commercial interests such as ACCESS, Canonical, Intel, Debian, Nokia, Red Hat, Fluendo, the Linux Foundation, and Maemo.

The initiative has been in development since last year, says GNOME Foundation board member Jeff Waugh. GNOME participants got together to discuss a "more formalized community approach to GNOME mobile and embedded technologies" at the GUADEC conference in July.

Since the first meeting, Waugh says that the initiative has "brought together an incredible team, defined the GMAE platform, learned from more success with shipping devices, and proven what we can achieve together as a focused community. Members have cooperated on major GNOME performance work, and brought many vendor patches for mobile and embedded functionality into the main [GNOME] tree."

The GMAE platform includes a subset of GNOME technologies used on the average Linux desktop -- specifically, the GTK+ toolkit, the Gstreamer multimedia framework, Telepathy, Avahi network service discovery, Evolution Data Server for contacts and calendaring, and BlueZ Bluetooth support. The platform will provide APIs for developers working with C, C++, and Python.

The platform will be distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), which makes it useful for proprietary and open source projects alike. In the next 12 months the group plans to add a mobile email framework called Tinymail, the GeoClue geolocation service, Java Mobile & Embedded (Java ME), PulseAudio audio management, and the HAL hardware information system.

You may already be using the GMAE platform. According to the group's release, the platform is present in the Nokia N770 and N800 Web tablets, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, and the OpenMoko Neo1973 mobile phone, among others.

Many open source industry groups focus on contributing standards or guidance, but GMAE is one of the few that plans to worry about actually shipping usable product. David "Lefty" Schlesinger, director of open source technologies for ACCESS, says that GMAE is all about shipping code. "We're not about standards and requirements docs, we're about code."

Schlesinger also says that the group has already had some success in bringing together the players who work on GNOME technologies in embedded and mobile devices. He says that there were some issues with adoption of current versions of the GTK+ toolkit due to performance problems with Cairo on machines without floating point processors, such as the ARM processor. Through the group's twice a year meetings, Schlesinger says that the initiative was able to gather enough data to determine the problem and work toward a solution to provide better Cairo performance on other CPUs.

Given the focus on embedded equipment, how does the initiative affect the average GNOME desktop user? Waugh says that improvement of GNOME's "mobile experience" will improve the platform for all involved, with "integration of mobile technologies into the desktop environment, which will help laptop users in particular, and a better experience for users working with multiple devices, such as laptops, phones, and PDAs."

Schlesinger says that the formal announcement is just "the first step in opening" GMAE for participation, and that "we're open to anybody that participates in GNOME."

Waugh says, "GNOME has always had a fantastic combination of community and commercial uptake. GMAE continues that into new markets, with massive industry and community support. It is primarily about writing code, sharing work on our awesome platform, and supporting the ecosystem around it.

"With the demonstration of GMAE technology on so many device profiles -- Web tablets, UMPCs, mobile phones, specialised laptops, and scientific/education measurement tools -- we're seeing the GMAE platform grow into entirely new markets, and even creating new markets. We are extremely proud of these 'beautiful new ideas' that we have contributed to through our great platform."

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Will we see an update from Access any time soon?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 20, 2007 01:01 AM
So when can I look forward to replacing the old PalmOS with the new Linux based OS on my Tungsten T5? I know there is a Linux and Dos for it already but both blow away the running OS and provide then only command prompts.

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time machine

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 20, 2007 02:39 AM
ok this is only indirectly related to gnome-or is it? What would I do with a million dollars and the oportunity to assist in the development of a community? I would approch the problem as infrastructure and technology only, recognizing the community as posesed of every esteamable human virtue. I would establish aboard of 3-5 members (leagle, interpreter, business managment, accounting-perferable independant, and enginering). This board would communicate with national and local government to approve projects.
I would locate a civil enginer to live in the community to supervise project implementation. I would give him an interpreter and there complement a satalite link and communications system accesse. Stepwise: A machinest and used equipment or sponsored new eqipment necesary to manufacture and rebuild a standardize power plant (probaly an old VW engine as it could be converted to an air compresor and aircraft engine with readily available aftermarket parts and proven tech. for off road vihicles) install water and sewage infrastucture. and them apply projects one at a time to avoid a shoping spree mentality. A general medical doctor would be next. And then provide education and selection of aprentie to learn machining and equipment maintanence. To creat marketing and advertising synergies I would open the project to the world community creating wikies and project ideas filtered through the board members. This could involve classrooms and schools all over the world and universities providing projects and reasearch to multiply the effect of available funding.

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Re:time machine

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 20, 2007 03:53 AM
I've seen a couple acres of medow sustained by what would be the equivalent of a leaky water faucet. Using the simple, extensible, and open(not neccesarily free) philosophy. And while I'm at it GNU/Linux. The time machine project could provide a usefull model (templat, abstraction) of problem solving and project management usefull in schools and by other developing communities strugling with solutions that address there economy (infrastructure, local government). Projects mite include food sources using biological food chain cycles. Example: possibly use a light source to attract indigenous bugs as a food source or suplement for chickens or fish that provide eggs as a food source and recycle waste as input to some other resource? Maintain independant data sets to create virtual economic models similar to the scaling metrics used in fluid dynamics to examine the consequences of various economic inputs. Allow projects to fork and to live and compleat with 1-3 person contingents to see the project thru. Allow a minimume time delay 1-6 months between projects to assess cultural impact, and to address culture shock. Emailing gives me cause to try to condence my thoughts rather than trying to be terse. I'v allways enjoyed a cirtain talk show in America and noticed a story of a homeless person being given $100,000.00 who with in a year was homeless. As was alluded to briefly in the story how the host ascended through graduated pay scales during there professional carrer I thought that the homeless person mite have done well to have been offered a job in recieving at a recycle plant then move to a shiping company etc.. As some of the articles at this sight reflect media and as I have noticed at times are relected in media if only by coinsidence I would like to say that I've seen the value of free markets demonstrated and the majic of people working together toward an common goal - good luck Amature Radio, carma_popcom@hotmail.org? And maybe purchasing decisions mite include other countries trying to develope there economies as well such as buying those Mexican sandles that seem to never were out.

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Re:time machine

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 20, 2007 11:24 AM
What the fuck are you people talking about.

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Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 20, 2007 04:13 AM
I wonder if Nokia, Motorola, etc and the one in that embedded Linux group will bring anything interesting...

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