Zuarus! - Journal of Omnifarious
Feb. 16th, 2003
11:07 pm - Zuarus!
I bought a Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 recently. It's a PDA that runs Linux.. I also own a Palm V, but it was getting long in the tooth, and I was also disappointed in how painful it was to program. Since the Zaurus runs Linux, and KDE/Qt, I can just write programs on my Linux box and compile and test them, then compile them for the Zaurus and ship them over.
Whether or not I write any programs for it remains to be seen. :-)
Another neat thing, is that since the platform has a culture of GPL software surrounding it, a lot of the software is GPL. This means it comes with source. Much of it is also free as in beer. Some of it is both GPLed, and sold. I think this is kind of neat, and I hope it's a trend that spreads. The GPL, and making money from software are not incompatible, as many would have you believe.
Having source is nice, because if there's a program out there that does almost what I want, but not quite, I can fix it. :-)
In fact, since the Zaurus runs Linux, the source code for the entire OS is available for download. I could, theoretically, use this to run FreeBSD, or some other OS completely on the Zaurus. Sharp wouldn't support it much, but I could do it. This is the way software should be. No licensing based lockin at all.
For those of you of a lawyerly bent, the GPL (GNU Public License) makes excellent reading. As legal documents go, it is small and beautiful, and uses the law in a very clever way. Not only that, but it's the shared contract that makes the Open Source world possible. It's an impressive document on all accounts.