AUGUST 7, 2008--There was much to celebrate at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo this week in San Francisco's Moscone Center, particularly if you're a developer building applications on or for the platform.

Remember when gOS debuted as the operating system inside Wal-Mart's US$199 PC? The company yesterday introduced gOS 3 Gadgets, a version of its Ubuntu-based distribution that launches Google Gadgets at start-up. Gadgets are miniature, targeted applications that can be placed on the desktop of a Web page; tens of thousands are already available for free. gOS 3 Gadgets also preloads the WINE Windows API implementation for X, and LXDE, the Lightweight X Desktop Environment. The company was demonstrating gOS 3 Gadgets--now in beta--on a number of laptops at the show.

Open-source mobile device maker Openmoko said yesterday it will publish schematics for its Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner Linux-based mobile phones. You might recall that on July 4, the company liberated its FreeRunner Linux phone design. It sold out in a week, according to claims. At that time, Openmoko also published CAD files for the design, saying it would enable device designers to "alter the look and feel" to suit medical, industrial, science and other vertical markets, or make it more rugged or aesthetically pleasing. By publishing schematics, customizations are now possible to all aspects of the design, including hardware interfaces and functionality. Both specifications will be available under the Creative Commons license; schematics will be available "in due course."

Motorola on Wednesday unveiled the ROKR EM30, the latest of 22 devices that now comply with the LiMo Platform for Linux-based mobile devices. The EM30, Motorola's eighth to be based on LiMo, is a quad-band GSM phone to be available initially in Taiwan. The launch follows news on Tuesday of the release of seven other LiMo-compliant devices from Motorola, NEC and Panasonic.

That's just a peek at the news. There were lots of other announcements, including a serverless computing technology from Pivot3, a unified e-mail, IM, telecom, calendar and contact management solution from Unison, and the winners of GroundWork's Open Source Idol competition.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].