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Right OS for an embedded product

 
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We are planning to develop a small embedded product, which will be touch-screen and loaded with few applications which we will develop. Those applications will be contacting a database through wi-fi, and displaying data, and also update the database sometimes. The available flash or ROM memory will be limited, around 256 MB or so, to bring down costs.

We were planning to use a linux OS for this, but any good open source OS will be fine. Imagine the device will look like a smartphone, but without call facility, browser, messaging, though we are planning to use camera and video facilities. It will not be a smartphone, just a device intended for a particular purpose.

Which OS do you think is more suited for us, that will support nice GUI apps? I considered HP's Palm OS, but that will look like a phone. Installing linux such as Ubuntu will make it look like a small desktop PC. We just want the users to be able to use only the applications which we develop. Any ideas/suggestions??

 
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Of course, for such a project, you will have to do significant changes to the OS anyways, and in that sense, will end up developing a new derivative or variant of an existing OS.

One good option seems to be MeeGo or one of its derivatives. There are a number of different user interfaces / derivatives, I'm sure one of them will fit the bill.

Another option is to take a desktop distro which has a tablet- or phone-friendly interface, like KDE-netbook / Plasma Active, or Ubuntu Phone. Then, you can strip down the OS by removing components / features you don't need or cannot support on your limited platform.

I would recommend a Qt-based GUI (such as KDE, or Qtopia), because they are really nice (nice looking and easy to program).

 
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Another possibility is TinyCore Linux (http://www.tinycorelinux.net) It can run a 12MB FLTK/FLWM desktop. Yes a graphical interface Linux in 12 MB. Of course to that you would need to add db access and wireless from their module system. Might add a few more MB. [grn]

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