Century Software Introduces Embedded Development Environment and Applications Toolkit for Red Hat Linux

Cross-development environment and runtime targets Compaq iPAQ.


Century Software Embedded Technologies, a leader in graphical applications technologies for embedded Linux, today announced an enhanced version of it's Microwindows-based applications toolkit and PDA operating environment for the new Compaq iPAQ handheld computer. The product, commercially supported for Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7, provides a fully functional screentop, web browser, terminal emulator, popup keyboard and handwriting recognition as the basis for development and execution of other customer-designed Linux-based applications for the iPAQ. In addition, the iPAQ's iRDA hardware is fully supported with provided file transfer software, allowing users to transfer files between iPAQs by merely pointing them at each other.

"We are seeing tremendous momentum for open source in the embedded space. First, there were GNUPro development tools, then Red Hat Linux, now Century's applications toolkit and operating environment make it possible to deliver complete open source applications for internet appliances. This is something many of our customers have been looking for, and we applaud Century Software for their contribution," said Michael Tiemann, CTO, Red Hat, Inc.

The PDA operating environment is available for evaluation as two freely redistributable binary distributions, one for the iPAQ, and another formatted for Red Hat Linux. Red Hat Linux hosting provides a complete graphical emulation of the 240x320 iPAQ display, allowing visual execution of most programs without requiring iPAQ hardware. This unique feature allows significant productivity gains by enabling developers to do most of their programming and testing efficiently on their Red Hat Linux workstations and then to migrate their applications onto the iPAQ platform. "The ability to completely emulate the iPAQ flatpanel display and all it's running applications within a single window on the desktop has saved our own programmers hundreds of man hours of time during development of this product itself," said Gregory Haerr, CEO of Century Software.

The PDA applications toolkit and operating environment includes the well-known Microwindows graphical windowing system for embedded Linux, along with the ViewML Embedded Internet Browser, and the new FLNX Fast Light Tool Kit applications framework ported directly to Microwindows. This architecture, along with many enhancements provided by Century Software, allows customers to build custom applications for the iPAQ while taking direct advantage of it's hardware features. Source code to all applications is provided in the commercial version, allowing extreme ease for customer enhancements to provided technology.

A specialized "ScreenTop" window manager, developed by Century Software, handles the look and feel of the operating environment for the PDA. The ScreenTop is customizable with a configuration file that allows various directories to be searched and displayed as icons, as well as specifying custom titles and icons for various applications. In addition, the ScreenTop handles the PDA taskbar and controls the appearance of the applications on the display. This architecture allows applications to be designed that run on the 240x320 iPAQ display, but also run unmodifed on larger 640x480 embedded flatpanel displays, for instance.

The ViewML Internet Browser is a small memory footprint, high-quality web browser targeting the needs of the rapidly growing embedded Linux market. Requiring only 800k ROM and 2Mb RAM, ViewML is the first open source, royalty free browser targeted for embedded Linux systems. The Microwindows Project, created in June 1999, is the leading open source graphical windowing environment designed for small embedded systems. Both projects were created by Century Software CEO Gregory Haerr.

The commercially supported applications toolkit and operating environment with full source code will be available November 22, 2000 for $5000 per developer workstation. The freely available binary distribution, evaluation downloads and screenshots are available now from http://embedded.centurysoftware.com. The full environment, including iPAQ runtime demonstrations as well as Red Hat Linux desktop hosting, will be shown during Comdex next week in Red Hat's booth #P601 at the Sands Convention Center. In addition, Gregory Haerr will be giving daily presentations on developing embedded graphical applications on Linux. The ViewML Project's source code, as well as screen shots and frequently asked questions are available now from www.viewml.com. Microwindows is available from www.microwindows.org.

About Century Software Embedded Technologies
Century Software Embedded Technologies, a newly created division of Century Software, Inc., is a leading developer of core applications technologies for the worldwide embedded Linux applications market. These technologies include: graphical windowing system development and runtime environments; customized Internet browsers and HTML viewers; embedded multimedia technologies, including MP3 audio and MPEG video players and recorders; and PDA runtime and development suites. These core technologies are designed specifically to allow chip manufacturers, hardware board vendors, and their customers to build embedded applications on x86, PowerPC, StrongARM, MIPS and other microprocessor architectures running on either the Microwindows or X Window System. Based in Salt Lake City, Century Software was founded in 1985 and is privately held. Century Software's CEO, Gregory Haerr, is the founder and chief maintainer of the Microwindows Project and founder of the ViewML Project.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. ViewML is a registered trademark of Century Software Inc. All other names mentioned are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of their respective companies.

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