Linux Vendors Boost Client, Handheld Development

SAN MATEO (01/28/2000) - WHILE THE LINUXWORLD expo in New York next week will showcase a raft of new technologies that spans the product spectrum, several major developers will be zeroing in on desktop clients as well as embedded and handheld devices.

Leading the march will be Red Hat Software, which is expected to roll out its first product for the embedded market. Called Red Hat for Embedded Developers, the new toolset is designed to let developers create a range of open-source applications for embedded or handheld devices that contain as little as 32KB of memory.

"This represents our entrance into the Internet appliance or 'post-PC device' market. These tools will help developers create applications for things like point-of-sale terminals, digital jukeboxes, and even car stereos," said Michael Tiemann, Red Hat's CTO.

Red Hat for Embedded Devices will contain the EL/IX set of APIs for embedded applications, which were announced late last year and will be formally rolled out at the show. EL/IX allows developers to create applications for appliances as well as higher-end desktop and server systems.

Red Hat Tools for Embedded Developers support x86 and Power PC platforms and are expected to be available March 1. They will be priced at $599. That price will include e-mail-based installation support along with a one-year subscription to priority FTP service.

Linux backer IBM will introduce its first two Linux-based thin clients at this week's show and will host a forum in which users can exchange information about IBM's Network Station series of thin clients.

The new IBM Network Station Series 2200 and 2800 with Linux complement the company's existing client systems including the ThinkPad series, PC 300, IntelliStation, and Netfinity servers.

"We see this expansion on the client side playing into the whole Linux initiative we announced earlier this month on the software side. We think the software development efforts there will stimulate sales among both server and thin-client hardware," said Paul Boulay, program director of marketing at IBM's Network Station.

IBM had underscored its commitment to the market by offering to give the open-source community access to software such as its Jikes compiler that is coming out of its research and development.

Compaq Computer, meanwhile, will announce it is forming the Linux Program Center, a unit within the company dedicated to offering a range of different hardware, software, and service offerings, according to a source familiar with the company's plans.

The new unit is an acknowledgement by the company that Linux is coming of age and will be an integral part of its overall strategy.

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