February 2, 2001

LinuxWorld: Applied Data Systems not getting enough sleep, or having trouble waking up

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
The Applied Data Systems booth at the LinuxWorld Expo is a bit spare. Especially considering the recent press releases heralding ADS's new sleep mode for StrongARM platforms, one would expect to see some hands on demonstrations of this eagerly awaited advance in open embedded systems.

Sarah Pick, the director of marketing communications for ADS, clues us in. "Our booth is lost," says Pick. "All our demos and set ups are on a loading dock somewhere." The few displays of single-board systems and the GUI that ADS is known for were hurriedly sent in by train on Tuesday.

Developers and others who had been following ADS's news noted the absence of sleep mode demos at the booth, and there was evidently some kind of furor about it among the handheld developers community, according to Pick, who assured us that they did indeed have the power management features ready for demo at the show. ADS also says that it will release the sleep mode code as Open Source.

That's good, but some developers and users at handhelds.org's IRC channel on the openprojects network have issues. First, they don't necessarily believe that it was a simple case of misdelivery that has ADS's booth demo-less. There is some speculation that, although ADS has got the sleep mode working, the company doesn't quite have the wakeup part operating smoothly -- a detail that certainly would prevent full release.

"Oh, Christ no," says Bob Olsen, CEO of Applied Data Systems. He maintains that the technology only needs further testings with drivers before being released. "We developed this first in Windows CE," and while he admits that CE is not the most efficient power management platform, Olsen says ADS simply cloned CE's functionality in bringing the capabilities to Linux.

Another thing that bothers the developers is ADS's refusal to open up development of the power management features to the community. Pick says that the plan is to release the fully developed code as Open Source. But sources at handhelds.org say they would have preferred to have been included from the beginning. During an IRC conversation today, chatter "niko"' said, "It would have been better if they had developed [the power management capabilities] openly, IMHO."

Chatter "BBrox" added, "Yeah, that sucks for Familiar." Familiar, a Debian-based OS for use on Compaq handhelds, lists sleep mode as one of its higher priorities on a todo list. Some Familiar developers think ADS's keeping its power management closed may be detrimental to Familiar's progress as a fully developed project, although if ADS does release the source code, Familiar developers will be free to adapt it to their needs.

Olsen says that ADS opened the project up to all comers but had extremely limited response. Apparently it was Pick's assignment to investigate the possibilities of offering the project up to the community, and she worked on it for three months before ADS decided to take it in house.

Olsen says not to worry, the source will be released just as soon as testing is done. Exactly when is still up in the air. "I haven't even asked anyone," he says.

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