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Last Tuesday, Palm announced that they're developing a new operating system. Not surprising, especially since the current one that they've got needs a revamp. The huge news here is that this new operating system is going to use the Linux kernel as the base of the operating system, freeing them from other licenses that they had to keep when using the Garnet OS. It'll be released on Treos by the end of this year, says Palm.

The outside user interface of this new operating system will remain nearly identical to Garnet, although everything underneath this will be completely changed by using the Linux kernel to handle tasks that would have normally been handled by Garnet core.

Smart move by Palm. Not so much that their existing operating system needed change, but that it is always a burden having to deal with licenses, as was the case when using the Garnet OS, which had been developed by Access Systems Americas. True, they did have a deal which no longer required them to keep paying royalties and gave them the ability to modify the source code, however, it's still not theirs. Although Linux won't be either, the usage of an open-source operating system will give them more opportunities to make profits which have been steadily decreasing with the falling price of handheld mobiles.

Moving to Linux also gives a far larger application database than anything that Palm could conjure up. Web browsers, media programs, games, utilities, and other useless applications all have possibility of running on Palm. Just look what Linux can do for the iPod.

This seems to be a pretty good decision. A few concerns would be the fact that most of the applications written for Linux would require a separate project to port them to the Palm OS, and it's also quite likely that currently-existing applications for the Palm OS would also require a port to this new operating system, thereby cutting down the initial application database when the OS is first released. However, with time, this will grow, and will eventually allow the Palm OS to expand to frontiers never possible before with Garnet OS.

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