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BOOK: Professional Palm OS Programming ISBN: 0-7645-7373-X
This is the forum to discuss the Wrox book Professional Palm OS Programming by Lonnon R. Foster, Glenn Bachmann; ISBN: 9780764573736
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Old March 31st, 2006, 04:03 AM
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Default “OS Survivor Mission" by Victor Ronin

There is little introduction before going on to describe PalmOS development problems and ways which I see of solving them.

I have over 6 years of programming experience for PalmOS under my belt, and during this time I could see the very fast growth of PalmOS, its evolution and its decline. I cannot say that I was delighted with everything in Palms and PalmOS, but I liked the idea itself very much. Simplicity, convenience, expansibility, and Zen of Palm as PalmOS idea concentrate.

Now, after reading about the Access Linux platform (http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/8...inux-platform/), I understand that as “Game Over”. PalmOS was announced as a legacy platform, which will be supported only to get more applications and developers into ALP. To be honest, I feel myself cheated.
Just two years ago, this was successful platform, and now it is already gone legacy. This is definitely strange…

Actually, I think this is a shock for many thousands of developers. As I remember, there were something like hundreds of thousands PalmOS developers. And now, all of them need to just throw it all out, their experience, which they learned over the years, and learn some other platform (WinCE, Symbian or Blackberry or something else). Many of us are upset, but all we can say is, “there is no other way”.

I think there is yet another way to keep PalmOS alive.

Idea is both difficult and simple at the same time. It is the rewriting of PalmOS as an open source platform. Just reverse-engineer it, and create a binary compatible operation system. Looking at ReactOS (http://www.reactos.org/xhtml/en/), which did this for the Win32 platform, I understand that it is both possible and legal.

And taking into account, that PalmOS is hundreds times smaller than Windows, I think, this can be easily achieved with such a large PalmOS developer community.

What will developers get from this? Just the ability to write for OS, which they like. ISV companies can continue their product lines, which they did for PalmOS. Entrepreneurs – continue to sell their small PalmOS products. Consumers can still use the easy to use and very friendly PalmOS, and manufacturers, I think, will be pleased to have free licenses (and that means, that a lot of new devices will appear).

I am not sure how many people want to do this, but I hope that I am not alone in liking this PalmOS. Please, anyone who wants to participate in this and has knowledge about moving forward with this open source project – take part in this mission. And if you know how to generate more interest in this Free Software Foundation or investors or any other institution, which can help with this mission, it will be nice if you will contact with them.

I think that for many developers there will be the question, “Why PalmOS and not Linux for Palm device?” I think that Linux is not the sole answer on any open source products. PalmOS had a great market already and has proven itself on the handhelds/smartphone market, and has very large developer community. So I think it is not worse than Linux and can be very competitive.

Actually, the concerns which I hear about PalmOS are:
a) There is no multithreading
b) There are some out date restrictions about memory usage

Ok. That means – let’s add a) and remove b). This is not such a big challenge to say that the operation system is totally out-date and legacy. Many PalmOS developers know that internally PalmOS 5 is multithreaded. So, there is just a question of providing interfaces to this in the SDK.

I am looking forward to hearing your opinions about this idea. Let’s do this! If PalmSource management prefers to be sold than to develop PalmOS, I think, this can be done even without them. Anyway, looking in the future, I think, in several years, PalmSource will be devoted to developing ALP, not PalmOS (Meaning they just won’t support further PalmOS API). So, if you want to do some programming for PalmOS, it is right time to do PalmOS by itself.

Please feel free to contact me, about this on email: vronin@palmosters.com and on our discussion forum:
http://palmosters.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25
Victor Ronin, PalmOS Certified Developer,
CTO of Palmosters DevTeam
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