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Handhelds IBM Hardware

IBM Picks Qtopia Over PalmOS And PocketPC 285

Posted by timothy
from the please-send-a-sample dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "ZDNet, Geek.com and others are reporting IBM's decision to choose Trolltech's Qtopia (the embedded version of their Qt library, used by the Sharp Zaurus PDA) in their forthcoming devices. See the announcement at Trolltech's website, and an earlier press release at IBM.com." Here's an earlier post about the new IBM reference platform.
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IBM Picks Qtopia Over PalmOS And PocketPC

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  • Quite a shift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by creative_name (459764) <pauls&ou,edu> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:55PM (#5338782)
    I'd say IBM has made quite a shift since its inception. Moving from massive, room-filling mainframes to miniature gigabyte pocket drives and Qt-toting PDAs. It's nice to see that ol' Big Blue can still jump through the ever-moving hoops of technology.

    • quite a shift since its inception. Moving from massive, room-filling mainframes to miniature gigabyte pocket drives and Qt-toting PDAs.

      Yes and no.

      I would venture to guess that today's PDA's are almost comparable in performance with the mainframes from 3 decades ago.

      Not to understate the magnitude of their business refocus - the range of uses changes just as rapidly as the price, weight, power consumption change, even if there is little performance difference between a 360 and a PDA.

      • Current PDAs may be comparable to old mainframes in CPU performance, but that is never really what mainframes were meant for. Try hooking up 100+ terminals to a PDA and see what happens.

        I/O is the relevant performance metric for old IBM mainframes.
    • Re:Quite a shift (Score:3, Interesting)

      by binaryDigit (557647)
      I'd say IBM has made quite a shift since its inception

      Well that's assuming you don't count their long lived involvment in semiconductor development. You could say that they've been at both ends of the size spectrum for quite a while now. Notice that it is their semiconductor involvement that is pushing this decision (pushing their PPC405LP). They've also been making drives for a great long while now as well, the pocket drive is a natural evolution. So in many ways, things haven't changed at all :)
    • Re:Quite a shift (Score:3, Informative)

      by bluGill (862)

      IBM is a lot older than you think. The company was started sometime in the late 1800s, and they built things like punch cards and typewriters. (Good typewriters too, as my finger recall, but appearently difficult to repair)

  • Go Trolltech! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:56PM (#5338798)
    The trolls have given back a lot to the Linux community. KDE would be nowhere without Qt. Dual licensing seems to be one of the few open source business models that actually work (unfortunately, mostly for libraries). Plus, Qtopia is a great platform to work with, so good lock to Trolltech.
  • by sydlexic (563791) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:56PM (#5338804)
    IBM is all about Linux and Java these days. Choosing otherwise would have been a fatal mistake both in terms of marketing and technology. The Zaurus is good technology and a powerful proof point. With IBM's resources, they should be able to take the technology all the way.
  • Trolls? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThumbSuck (629952) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @04:58PM (#5338830)
    TrollTech?

    Trolls! They invade everything nowadays
  • linux just won (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindserfer (209937)
    There is lots of room at the bottom said - RF
    And we know what happened that last time ibm released a pc reference platform.

    I would say that linux just won the future.
    and the future is wareable -peace yall.

    - the final invention says that
    " we'll make great pets."
  • by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:01PM (#5338854) Homepage Journal
    Looking at the Qtopia website, Trolltech seems to be dedicated to making desktop software for all major OSes, even Linux :) This is certainly better than WinCE which probably does not sync nicely with MacOS or Linux. Even PalmOS officially leaves out Linux/UNIX (but pilot-link works great!).

    Also, Qtopia is open source... I think I want a Qtopia device now :-D (Although none really have the capabilities of my Clie NX70 :)
    • by zsazsa (141679) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:57PM (#5339810) Homepage
      Also, Qtopia is open source... I think I want a Qtopia device now :-D (Although none really have the capabilities of my Clie NX70 :)

      Go out and buy a Sharp Zaurus. It has a 206Mhz StrongArm, keyboard, SD slot, and a CF slot that accepts memory, cameras, ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth cards. What does the NX70 have over that, other than a built-in camera?

      The Zaurus SL-5500 [sharp-usa.com] is a good PDA and an even better "handheld computer." The SL-5600M [sharp-usa.com] will be even more capable when it is released.
  • by bluegreenone (526698) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:03PM (#5338871) Homepage
    I am glad to see this since it should broaden the Qtopia user base significantly. You may or may not know that Qtopia is also used by the Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA (both the Sharp software and OpenZaurus distros use it). There is also the OPIE project [handhelds.org], which is basically a suite of PDA apps built on top of Qtopia. This bodes well for getting more Liunx PDA users on board, and provides some existing apps for those using Qtopia for the first time.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "You may or may not know that Qtopia is also used by the Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA (both the Sharp software and OpenZaurus distros use it). "

      In the post: "the embedded version of their Qt library, used by the Sharp Zaurus PDA"
  • Huge! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RealBeanDip (26604) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:04PM (#5338878)
    This is a HUGE win for the Trolls.

    They deserve this success too. They have given us QT, which IMO is THE BEST Application Framework for C++ ever developed.

    However I'm wondering if there isn't another faction inside IBM that we haven't heard about... waiting to kill off anything that isn't Windows based (sort of like what happened with the IBM PC Co and OS/2).
  • by fiiz (263633) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:05PM (#5338890) Homepage
    This has got to be a pretty good week for linux and opensource products on portable devices!
    It also goes a step further than motorola's annoucement earlier this week as here we have an opensource product in the middleware as well as the OS--and the middleware/interface makes a real difference in this type of device. Note that they will use a Montavista kernel, just as motorola:
    "Included in the software stack are the IBM Power Manager and the MontaVista Linux kernel. These two components will work together to lower the voltage and frequency of the device when they sense there is low requirement for processing power."
    I guess the palm market is becoming so saturated that differentiation from competitors is also crucial at this stage--this will allow them to offer different apps etc than palm/pocket PC.
    Goodie goodie, IBM is back on the handheld market with some fun stuff--we as consumers might see some great new apps.
  • X-less QT (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr. Spork (142693)
    I think TrollTech are onto a good thing. One thing that surprises me is that with all this QT running without X windows underneath is that it isn't giving people ideas about a better desktop GUI. I mean, a lot of effort has gone into a super-efficient X-less QT that requires minimal hardware to run well. Why not translate all that work to the desktop and start now on the plan of phasing out the X windowing system from unix GUIs. I'm not saying we take drastic steps now, but we'd be stupid to take no steps to transition the desktop to QT all the way down.

    X windows reminds me of the space shuttle. It's big and old and we know it won't last forever, but we hide our heads in the sand and we don't want to hear about it. Well, that's a really stupid attitude, especially since there is such an inviting alternative.

    • Re:X-less QT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BESTouff (531293) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:24PM (#5339088)
      Here we go ! I was wondering how long before the first clueless anti-X cluebie would post its rant. Guys, there have already been tons of arguments on this very subject, and many attempted X replacements (Fresco, GGI, ..), none of which are ready to takeover XFree86 in terms of functionnality/performance, much less number of ported applications/frameworks. Moreover, some bright people are working now on improving X protocol and implementation where it sucks (e.g. Keith on XRender, XRandR, Xft, etc.).

      But go on, just show us what you're up to and code something better. It will be adopted and enhanced if it's really good, the free software community is very good at joining well-thought projects.

      • by maynard (3337) <j.maynard.gelina ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:32PM (#5339593) Journal
        It was a combination of a kernel driver for the video card and a set graphics libraries, which working together would provide a common hardware abstraction layer for all applications which might need to paint to a display. This way all applications could use the same functions to paint the display no matter what the underlying hardware. They then created a GGI X Server as a proof of concept that X could work over GGI. The real intention was to replace SVGAlib and get X drivers out of userspace - for both performance and security reasons. Pretty much what we have today with frame buffer and DRI support in the kernel, but far advanced for its time. There was some kind of falling out between Linus and the project so it never got added to the baseline kernel, the politics of which I can't remember. This is going back to 1996 or so. Too bad, it was a good idea which didn't survive.

        You might be thinking of the Berlin Project, which I see has moved over to something called Fresco. Haven't followed up on that in some time so I can't speak to its current development activity.

        Cheers,
        --Maynard
    • Ummm... While certainly X can be improved quite a bit,QT is not the way to go (it's C++, for Pete's sake!). X provides a lot of important things and does a pretty good job. It's not terribly broken, so don't fix it terribly.
    • Re:X-less QT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xchino (591175) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:45PM (#5339269)
      How did parent get modded to +5?

      Yes, let's all move over to a windowing system with serious licensing issues that's designed from the ground up to be run on embedded devices. That sounds perfect.

      And what is this "plan" to start phasing out X windows? Was there a meeting I missed? Last I checked X was still being heavily developed.

      "I'm not saying we take drastic steps now, but we'd be stupid to take no steps to transition the desktop to QT all the way down."

      This is ridiculous. We'd be stupid TO take steps to transition "the desktop" to Qt all the way down. You're the only one who wants this. Not everyone loves KDE, and even less people love Qt. The seperation of the windowing system and the actual desktop is what gives *nix users the configurability to give their desktops personality. If you want a one-size-fits-all desktop, get windows.

      As for you're space shuttle comparison, X windows is not inherently big (at least is doesn't have to be). It's not old. As I said, it is still under development, and there have been recent releases. Having history doesn't make software old.

      As far as I can see, you're the only one with your head in the sand. It sounds like you're regurgitating all the inaccurate FUD-based trolling that goes on any time an article related to X is posted.

      Qt is in no way a replacement for X, and it never will be, in it's current form.
    • Re:X-less QT (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Squarewav (241189)
      I dont think X needs to be replaced just improved, a lot. for one it needs a native codac server so that when someone writes a video app they dont need to write ther own codac server. It also needs a much better way of cut&paste for exmple you cant highlite one piece of text and then select copy then highlite another and select paste, that whole middle click paste thing sucks ass. It also needs a way to change res on the fly but I hear thats going to be in 4.3 . kde adds much of these things but they only work within kde not to mention kde is too much of a mem hog on slow systems
      • A codec (with an 'e') server is not a logical part of X. aRts, however, already does that. As for cut and paste, again, middle click paste isn't required anymore. Cutting and pasting (CTRL-C, CTRL-V) works just fine, as does (Edit->Cut, Edit->Paste)
        • The day someone takes away my middle click paste, is the day they pry the related X server code from my cold dead fingers. This is also the reason why I will never switch to a certain computer vendor who's products only have one mouse button.
      • It also needs a much better way of cut&paste for exmple you cant highlite one piece of text and then select copy then highlite another and select paste, that whole middle click paste thing sucks ass.

        Actually, that method of cut-and-paste is a "bonus" on top of the clipboard functionality provided by the applications (GTK and Qt use essentially the same methods, which I believe is based on the XDND protocol). You should really only use the middle mouse button for simple text and for swapping text between terminals and such. For anything more complex (such as graphics, spreadsheet cells, etc) use CTRL-X/C/V or the edit menus.

        As a power user, I love the convenience of the middle-button clipboard, and I get frustrated at apps that don't honor it (kdevelop, for one).

        It also needs a way to change res on the fly but I hear thats going to be in 4.3.

        Honestly, I haven't missed this feature, but early on I set up a user called "gamer" running a small window manager at 800x600 and I log into that user when I want to play games. I don't know why else I'd want to change the res on-the-fly, but as you said, they're working on it so I'll take it.

        kde adds much of these things but they only work within kde not to mention kde is too much of a mem hog on slow systems

        You may not realize that you can run all the KDE apps you want from any window manager. I run kdevelop, kmail, and konqueror all the time, but I don't run the KDE desktop (too slow for me). I use WindowMaker. I also use Gnome apps alongside the KDE apps... these desktop systems are not mutually exclusive! You may realize this, but a lot of new users coming from Windows don't realize that you can run Gnome apps within KDE and vice-versa because the "desktop environments" are pretty much veneers over the standard X protocol and are not incompatible.
      • What do you mean you can't switch resolutions on the fly? I just setup the resolutions I want in X config, and then use (CTRL ALT +) or (CTRL ALT -) to cycle through them. (You probably already have a bunch defined and you don't know it.) I use it all the time when I want to switch from my normal resolution (1280x1024) down to something bigger (800x600) to show somebody something without them having to squint.

        I do think we need some kind of propertie page type of thing like Windows, Mac, etc have that can control resolutions with a GUI. (There may already be one, but I just don't know about it...)
        • RandR is a new extension that supports this feature. I think that Gnome CVS even has code for it, but you need to have a newer version of XF86. Nobody ever anticipated the need to adjust resolution and resizing for the X11 protocol, which is why we still don't see it. But rest assured that it will happen soon.

          Take a look at this page for more info:

          http://www.xfree86.org/~keithp/talks/randr/randr /
    • Why not translate all that work to the desktop and start now on the plan of phasing out the X windowing system from unix GUIs. I'm not saying we take drastic steps now, but we'd be stupid to take no steps to transition the desktop to QT all the way down.

      You're ignoring the fact that Qt is only GPLd when using X11. You're ignoring a lot of facts actually.

      X windows reminds me of the space shuttle. It's big and old and we know it won't last forever, but we hide our heads in the sand and we don't want to hear about it. Well, that's a really stupid attitude, especially since there is such an inviting alternative.

      If you're going to compare X to the space shuttle. then the Linux framebuffer would be a light Cessna aircraft. X has features, it has hardware support, it has apps. DirectFB (presumably what you are talking about) does not.

      Finally, remember that it's actually GTK that works on the Linux framebuffer - not Qt. See for yourself [directfb.org]. Qt is only GPLd when running on X, the code to make it work on the framebuffer isn't under the GPL afaik.

      • Qt is only GPLd when running on X, the code to make it work on the framebuffer isn't under the GPL afaik.

        Just to correct you, Qt/Embedded is available as GPL. Not that this helps the parent poster at all, though. If I wanted to use Qt in an X replacement, I would probably port from Qt/X11, since it is closer to home.
    • Re:X-less QT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:07PM (#5339411) Homepage Journal

      X windows reminds me of the space shuttle. It's big and old and we know it won't last forever

      One thing I consistently don't see in posts critical of X is an explanation of *why* it won't last forever. Seriously, what's wrong with it? The only specific points I hear are not only vague, but wrong. Just to get the crap arguments out of the way, I'll list the most obvious ones and then maybe someone can give me some *real* reasons.

      • It's too big. For what? X servers of every size exist, including some that are small enough to run on a PDA.
      • It's too old. Assuming a piece of software has adequate features and performance, age is a *good* thing. Not only does a long life tend to shake out the bugs, but software designs and implementations that really suck tend not to get old, in a competitive environment. And many wannabe X replacements have come and gone.
      • It's too slow. No, it's not. Run some benchmarks against your favorite competing windowing system (Windows?) on a variety of graphics cards and you'll see that X is very competitive performance-wise.
      • It lacks features Compared to what? Compared to Windows, yes, there are some things X can't do, but compared to all of the wannabe X replacements (which Qt really isn't), it's X's massive feature set that keeps it firmly in the lead. And the design has proven over the decades that it can easily be extended to support additional features as necessary.
      • The API is too ugly. Who cares? The only people who use it are toolkit authors. We have very nice toolkits that hide all of that "nastiness" away.
      • There are too many incompatible toolkits And just how is producing yet another even less compatible programmer's API going to solve this? You're better off trying to invent and push the One True Toolkit, because at least then the transition can be gradual.
      • The whole client/server thing is weird. Umm, then don't think about it.
      • Remote displays are useless. Then don't use them! Also, you're wrong, they're very useful.

      That's a good sample. What I'd like to see is some really good, technical arguments that point out significant deficiencies in X that cannot be addressed without a clean start. I won't even demand that the deficiencies be good enough to justify all of the effort that will be required to reimplement everything for the replacement, although a *really* good answer would cover that as well.

      Any takers?

      • Re:X-less QT (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Otter (3800)
        Well, most of the "X sucks" people really mean that XFree sucks, and have never used a commercial X server. On the other hand, they've come by that mentality for a reason -- as far as Linux is concerned, XFree is X.

        I'm not qualified to hold forth on the pros and cons of X but will point out this: when using MacOS X, it is such a relief to have a display system that just works. Want antialiasing? Just turn it on! Most users wouldn't even know it's something to which thought might be given, as opposed to desktop Linux use, where fighting XFree becomes an activity in its own right.

        (And I still have XFree available on OS X for GIMP and remote Matlab sessions...)

        • Well, most of the "X sucks" people really mean that XFree sucks, and have never used a commercial X server.

          Good point.

          Most users wouldn't even know it's something to which thought might be given, as opposed to desktop Linux use, where fighting XFree becomes an activity in its own right.

          This is true but really just indicates that the configuration and management of XFree86 needs to be improved and, in fact, that is happening. For example, I'm typing this on a Linux box using anti-aliased fonts and I did *nothing* to enable them. XFree86 4.2 and KDE quietly conspired to turn anti-aliasing on by default and it just works. I know where I could go into the control panel to turn them off, or to tweak the settings, but the defaults are great by me.

          I'll certainly admit that OSX is looking pretty tempting, though...

      • The back up the performance thing:

        Do a simple bitblit benchmark. The GDI doesn't perform anywhere near as well as X (4.1, in my tests). It isn't until you start writing DirectX code that you can get blit performance as good as X. Then, you've got 3D. 3D in Linux (through GLX) is just as fast as 3D in Windows (assuming a good driver like NVIDIA's).

        On the client server bit -- Windows is more client-server than X! For example, when you create a process in windows, Win32 calls a thread-create function in the NT kernel, then sends a message to the Win32 server to set things up. The server runs in kernel space, but it still communicates via IPC mechanisms.
      • There are too many incompatible toolkits And just how is producing yet another even less compatible programmer's API going to solve this? You're better off trying to invent and push the One True Toolkit, because at least then the transition can be gradual.

        I'll throw my $0.02 in with your rant, as well. People who claim that Windows apps all use the same widgets have obviously not used many Windows apps... many of them use their own custom widget sets as well.

        Here's a test... load Office XP [shudder]. Note that regardless of the Windows settings, Office uses its own XP-style menus. How could this be if it wasn't implementing its own menus? Next, load Windows XP [double shudder]. Note that the drag behaviour of the standard combo box has changed... you can't click, hold, drag, and release. You must click, release, then click to select an item using the standard combo box (in say, a control panel app). Now, go to Office XP and open an Office dialog box (Tools | Options). The combo box works in the old way -- you can click-drag-release. It's implementing its own controls, or altering the standard ones.

        Standard toolkits.... pfft.
    • One thing that surprises me is that with all this QT running without X windows underneath is that it isn't giving people ideas about a better desktop GUI.

      In what regard is running Qt without X windows a "better desktop GUI"? Qt/Embedded doesn't run 99% of the UNIX GUI applications, it can't be used for remote access to compute servers, there is only a single implementation of it (from Troll Tech), it requires more memory and CPU, it only gives me a single toolkit, and every commercial software vendor has to spend $2000+ per developer.

      I mean, a lot of effort has gone into a super-efficient X-less QT that requires minimal hardware to run well.

      Qt/Embedded on the Zaurus uses a 200MHz ARM with 64Mbytes of RAM; that is not "minimal". If you look at its memory usage, it's upwards of a dozen megabytes. X11 clients run on 8bit microprocessors with 64kbytes of RAM, and X11 servers run on machines with less than 1Mbyte of RAM. The notion that Qt/Embedded is "super efficient" is some marketing fiction not grounded in reality.

      Let me put it this way: if Qt/Embedded is so "super efficient", where are those savings supposed to come from concretely and specifically?

      X windows reminds me of the space shuttle. It's big and old and we know it won't last forever, but we hide our heads in the sand and we don't want to hear about it. Well, that's a really stupid attitude, especially since there is such an inviting alternative.

      You are confusing XFree86 and the X11 protocol. At some point, we should probably throw out XFree86, which has become a pretty messy and big codebase (even though you can compile it into very compact and efficient servers), but there is no reason to get rid of the X11 protocol--nobody has yet come up with anything better.

    • What in the hell is wrong with X? It's fast, reliable, and has tons of features.

      I can't quite figure out what the problem is. People harp on X all of the time because they are too stupid to stop running Enlightenment in framebuffer mode. It's not X!

      Why don't you anit-X trolls start posting some legitimate remarks about X problems. We'll be waiting.
  • How (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gearheadsmp (569823) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:05PM (#5338899)
    is this suprising? IBM's a big supporter of Linux in pretty much every area that it can be. Embedded, desktop, server, mainframe, etc.
  • by mrklin (608689)
    Apple, Sharp, and Trolltech do not offer any syncing solution for Mac OS X. It's... like... beep beep beep.. a bummer.
  • by AnonymousCowheard (239159) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:07PM (#5338917) Homepage
    Entrepreneur: QuickTime is the latest business machine that lets you go back in time and correct all the bad business decisions you made.

    Boss Hog: We need to go back and dump sugar in them Duke Brothers' gas tank. Get onto it, Rosco!

    IBM HINT: There is no QuickTime...
  • by euxneks (516538) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:09PM (#5338929)
    But I didn't know and that means there is probably a bunch of others out there too..:

    Qt is a multiplatform, C++ application development framework. One source runs natively on Windows, Unix/Linux, Mac 0S X, and embedded systems.

    Go here [trolltech.com] for a brief overview from Trolltech.

    Pretty cool with the customization aspect.. Is there any programmers out there who have some real experience? This is pretty interesting to me, and I wouldn't mind hearing some feedback and maybe links or something. =)
    • by Balinares (316703) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @07:31PM (#5340011)
      > Is there any programmers out there who have some real experience?

      I have no experience of the embedded version of Qt, so keep in mind I'm talking about the X11/Windows library here.

      In three words: it fucking rocks.

      Qt is simply the single best designed piece of software I have -ever- seen. While it sets out for a huge task, being a completely self-sufficient C++ framework, a multiplatform one at that (and it can indeed easily replace the entire MFC), the class hierarchy [trolltech.com] is extremely clean, and it's very easy to get the hang of it. Actually, the entire documentation [trolltech.com] is absolutely excellent, clear and very well cross-referenced. I've never stayed stuck while looking for some info in there (quite unlike the MSDN documentation!). Go take a peek, someday.

      One of the nice things with Qt is, if you need to do some basic task, Qt makes it trivial. Reading a file line by line is an example I was confronted to just today: using the MFC's idea of files, it's tedious at best -- gotta do the nitty gritty job manually. Wasted time. Using Qt, it's, well, trivial [trolltech.com].

      The other thing about Qt is, if you need to do something complex, Qt makes it very straightforward. For instance, yesterday, our VB programmer was trying to make a custom widget that lets you stack frames vertically, each under its own tab, and showing only one at a time. After hours of work, he got to work a simple version of it that couldn't resize, among other shortcomings. Well, it took me much less time to rapidly put together the same thing in Qt, only it worked right away without those shortcomings, could accept any kind of subwidget, and, oh, of course, could resize at will and would work right away on any platform. Keep in mind that this guy is very experienced with his tools, while I'm a relative beginner with Qt.

      There are countless useful features in Qt. For instance, it doesn't duplicate data when duplication is not either required or specifically requested by the programmer. Copy a QString or a QPixmap ten times, and Qt will keep only one copy of the data in memory for all the instances. Modify one of the ten instances, and Qt will then replicate its data to modify it without touching the nine other instances.

      And those guys actually license their boon of a tool under the GPL. That's almost too good to be true.

      Anyway, enough rambling. If you're a programmer, do yourself a favor, and check out Qt. Even if you don't end up using it, you will likely learn quite a lot about how powerful object orientation can be when used by people who know what they are doing.
      • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @09:08PM (#5340492) Homepage
        While I'm a big fan of Qt, I'm also a fan of wxWindows, and I'd like to point out that wxWindows does all of the things you mentioned.

        Qt is simply the single best designed piece of software I have -ever- seen. While it sets out for a huge task, being a completely self-sufficient C++ framework, a multiplatform one at that (and it can indeed easily replace the entire MFC), the class hierarchy [trolltech.com] is extremely clean, and it's very easy to get the hang of it. Actually, the entire documentation [trolltech.com] is absolutely excellent, clear and very well cross-referenced. I've never stayed stuck while looking for some info in there (quite unlike the MSDN documentation!). Go take a peek, someday.

        The wxWindows documentation is online here [jussieu.fr]. Go take a peek - it's remarkably complete and detailed.

        One of the nice things with Qt is, if you need to do some basic task, Qt makes it trivial. Reading a file line by line is an example I was confronted to just today: using the MFC's idea of files, it's tedious at best -- gotta do the nitty gritty job manually. Wasted time. Using Qt, it's, well, trivial [trolltech.com].

        wxWindows provides a few ways of doing this:
        you can either use a wxTextFile [jussieu.fr] or a wxTextInputStream [jussieu.fr].
        Both give you a ReadLine method or equivalent.

        The other thing about Qt is, if you need to do something complex, Qt makes it very straightforward. For instance, yesterday, our VB programmer was trying to make a custom widget that lets you stack frames vertically, each under its own tab, and showing only one at a time. After hours of work, he got to work a simple version of it that couldn't resize, among other shortcomings. Well, it took me much less time to rapidly put together the same thing in Qt, only it worked right away without those shortcomings, could accept any kind of subwidget, and, oh, of course, could resize at will and would work right away on any platform. Keep in mind that this guy is very experienced with his tools, while I'm a relative beginner with Qt.

        Also easy with wxWindows. Their Sizer classes are by far the best method I've ever seen for laying out automatically resizable dialogs.

        There are countless useful features in Qt. For instance, it doesn't duplicate data when duplication is not either required or specifically requested by the programmer. Copy a QString or a QPixmap ten times, and Qt will keep only one copy of the data in memory for all the instances. Modify one of the ten instances, and Qt will then replicate its data to modify it without touching the nine other instances.


        wxWindows also reference-counts strings, bitmaps, and many other common data types.

        And those guys actually license their boon of a tool under the GPL. That's almost too good to be true.

        Unless you want the Windows version - that costs an arm and a leg. wxWindows is GPL for all platforms (and it currently supports more platforms than Qt).

        Anyway, enough rambling. If you're a programmer, do yourself a favor, and check out Qt. Even if you don't end up using it, you will likely learn quite a lot about how powerful object orientation can be when used by people who know what they are doing.

        Agreed. Check out both, though. Honestly, if I had a large budget to create a commercial cross-platform application, there's a good chance I'd choose Qt. But wxWindows has its advantages. For a free cross-platform software project, there's no contest: wxWindows is free on all platforms, with a very comparable feature set.
    • For some good examples of crossplatform apps that use Qt, see Opera [opera.com] and Psi [affinix.com]. I'm the author of the latter (yes, shameless plug).
  • correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by scm (21828) <scm&despammed,com> on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:13PM (#5338975) Homepage
    QT/Embeded is the embedded version of the QT library. Qtopia (formerly QPE) is a PDA operating environment based on QT/Embedded.

    After Sharp decided to use Qtopia on the Zarus, TrollTech seemed to lose interest in the Qtopia version for Familiar on the iPaq, so an open source fork was started called Opie http://opie.handhelds.org/

    One of their goals is binary compatabilty with Qtopia though.
  • Lets ignore all the security issues for a moment. Let's just imagine that MS finally makes something truly secure, and no one is going to be hacking your phone or PDA.

    The primary issues then become functionality and memory footprint. In terms of low cost buying power, you can't beat linux. In terms of memory scalability, you can't beat linux.

    Add in stability, and the reality of security, and it seems wierd that anyone would go another direction.

    • No, the primary issue is as ever, interoperability, as in:
      • "can it read word and power point files?"
      • "can it sync with my Outlook/Exchange system?"
      • "Can it read IE-specific websites (incl stuff like client-side scripting and NTLM auth)?"
      • "can I use it to connect to my LAN through my windows-based VPN?"

      I'm not saying that these IBM/QTopia devices won't be able to do all of the above, but I'm pretty sure that the Pocket PC devices will make it a lot easier.
  • Nice that they are putting out a reference platform for others, but will they take the risk of putting one out themselves?
  • I hope IBM has what is takes to fix the major flaw in the Sharp unit, which is battery time with wireless. That's where this OS will really shine, but currently get a black-eye due to the power requirements.

    Wireless devices like this I would think would be right up IBM's alley, it's the next logical step.

    -Pete
    • Then use Bluetooth for your wireless networking. There's the CF modules you can use and Pellico Systems has a module that plugs into the serial port.

      It won't be blazingly fast but could be good enough while Intel fixes it's XScale problems.

      try:
      http://www.zaurus.com
      http://www.pellicos ystems.com

      LoB
  • by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:38PM (#5339218)
    I don't think so. How do they benefit by coming out with a pda that does not support the two major pda os's out there (PalmOS, WinCE)? How could they hope to ever be something other than a niche player? How many other companies that don't currently have pda's are going to come out with a pda that currently has little market support. Will any existing pda manuf. hop on the IBM bandwagon (e.g. Compaq/HP, Sony, etc).

    Nope, this looks like IBM pushing their PPC405 into the embedded market, any resemblence to a pda is purely incidental.
    • I don't think so. How do they benefit by coming out with a pda that does not support the two major pda os's out there (PalmOS, WinCE)?

      PDA's do not synch to each other. Period. I know that IR port on your Palm is ever so useful, neh? What does PDA OS compatibility mean? To the PDA user, not much. As long as the requisite apps exist, and the price is right, and the PDA can synch to the REAL computer (ie, desktop/laptop running Win/MacOS/Linux), in many people's eyes it is a serious PDA. Add in a standard memory card (Flash/Smart/SD), and ability to export/save as some standard file format, and you have a PDA that's as good as any PocketPC/Palm out there.

  • Good for Zaurus? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by connsmythe96 (576445)
    I hope this means that the Qtopia will get a lot more commercial support. Other than tK, there aren't many commercial programs out there. Not that I WANT to have to pay for software, but a lot of specialty programs aren't going to be developed by freelance open-source programmers. Hardware support has also been a problem for me with the Zaurus. Maybe another linux PDA (or another person in charge or the Zaurus) will help create more interest in developing hardware drivers for it. I sure hope so.
  • by tom_conte (108067) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @05:44PM (#5339267) Homepage
    Yeah, well, is IBM really going to be able to compete with Symbian and Microsoft? Sure, it's nice to see a dinosaur company like IBM making bold moves, but they're just one step behind the other guys. I would say IBM is an outsider in the new battle for the "pervasive OS". Today, the big contenders are Nokia/Sony Ericsson + Symbian and (as usual) Microsoft. Sure the Zaurus is nice, but check out the 3GSM news and all you will see is Symbian and M$.
  • Do they get to pick what story their ads get tied to?????

  • instead of having a black Palm Pilot with an IBM logo on it and calling it a "Workpad"- they are going to have a black Zaurus with an IBM logo on it and call it the Z-Pad?

    or are they just going to put the Qtopia on the palm pilot?

  • by treyb (9452) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @06:24PM (#5339543)
    I don't see how IBM could have chosen Qtopia over PalmOS or PocketPC since those operating systems don't run on PowerPC hardware. Rather, it appears to me that IBM Microelectronics wants another market to sell PowerPC chips into and chose just about the only viable solution that wouldn't take years to deliver.
  • IBM had a sharp display where they had all makes and models of the Zaurus. I guess it's no surprise that they're adopting Qtopia as their OS of choice for handheld devices.

    On an unrelated(ish) note - they had the Japanese Zaurus there, and i got a chance to play with it a bit. I was about to trade in my iPaq right then and there. Really neat piece of tech.
  • PDA or Other? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MSTCrow5429 (642744)
    Either this isn't a PDA but some other product whose true purpose is being hidden, IBM doesn't know what it is yet, it is a PDA but is light years ahead of Palm OS and PPC, or someone made a huge mistake. Palm OS and PPC dominate the PDA OS market, with Palm in the lead. A sliver represents Linux etc. If IBM's product is not at least three times as good as Palm/PPC or significantly underpriced, it will fail. If it has blazing performance, excellent hand writing recongnition, and advanced AI (maybe similiar to the Newton but enhanced), it won't sell, especially in a depressed economy. It will need several killer features that no one else has to succeed. It is also possible that it is just a tool for the IBM server market. Although why anyone couldn't use a Palm/PPC device instead is an open question. Or IBM is tossing out a hardware ref and seeing what happens, who bites, what develops.
    • Very true MSTC... IBM & Trolltech need to show something quite different/good to beat the Palm/PocketPC bandwagon. And don't forget, Symbian seems to be making it on the new phones, if the SE P800 was a bit cheaper (And if I had a job) I would buy one in a heartbeat and probably park my Palm for good.
      Nobody has come up with a sales pitch for a connected phone/pda. The web is too 'fat', you need fairly recent computer to be able to enjoy it with all the flashy graphics and stupid <table> and 1px gif based layouts. Perhaps XHTML/XML will be the next step? (Get a clue, web "designers")
      J.
  • Will this (Score:3, Funny)

    by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @07:37PM (#5340052) Journal
    sync with my lotus suite applications running os/2 on my ps/2? And please tell me that it will cost a good 25-30% more than the competition....go big blue.
  • Qtopia/Zaurus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just a fine coincidence. Bought a Zaurus Open-Box yesterday for 200 bucks at staples.I have had 2 palms and I was more than presently suprised at qtopia. I like it better than the palmos pda's that I have used. It just seems to work, it's reliable and easy to use so far. I already think that qtopia blows palmos and CE off the map. And if desktop linux was this usable for the normal 'Joe' we would be much better off.
    Just my 2 units of currency..
  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday February 19, 2003 @09:40PM (#5340650) Homepage Journal
    They couldn't even make a go of rebranded Palm units. They killed off their own z50 WinCe micro laptop. They don't have a credible minilaptop in the US (Japan only thank you very much). They can barely get their own Lotus Easysync to work with Lotus Notes desktop applications. Their machines are getting bigger and bigger, not the other way around.

    If anything this is a test bed for some kind of embedded technology subproject.

    Their heart isn't in it. This is a throwaway project - some bright execuweenie in training has been given a bag of burnable cash to show what he can do for the benefit of Sam Palmisano and Co.

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