Access Linux Platform
|This article is outdated. (November 2010)|
The Access Linux Platform (ALP), once referred to as a "next-generation version of the Palm OS" is an open source-based operating system for mobile devices developed and marketed by Access Co., of Tokyo, Japan. The platform includes execution environments for Java, classic Palm OS, and GTK+-based native Linux applications. ALP has been demonstrated in devices at a variety of conferences, including 3GSM, LinuxWorld, GUADEC, and Open Source in Mobile.
The Access Linux Platform was first announced in February 2006. The initial versions of the platform and software development kits for the Access Linux Platform were officially released in February 2007. As of February 2009, the Access Linux Platform has yet to ship on devices, however development kits exist and public demonstrations have been showcased. There is a current effort between Access, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, NEC, and Esteemo to use the platform as a basis for a "shared platform" implementing a revised version of the i.mode MOAP(L) APIs, as well as conforming to the specifications of the LiMo Foundation. The first smartphone to use the Access Linux Platform is the Edelweiss device by Emblaze Mobile that is scheduled for mid-2009 The First Else (renamed from Monolith ) smartphone that was being developed by Sharp Corporation in cooperation with Emblaze Mobile and seven additional partners was scheduled for 2009 but was never released and officially cancelled in June 2010 
Look and feel
The user interface is designed with similar general goals to earlier Palm OS releases, with an aim of preserving the Zen of Palm, a design philosophy that revolves around making the applications as simple as they can be. Other aspects of the interface include a task-based orientation rather than a file/document orientation as is commonly found on desktop systems.
The appearance of the platform is intended to be extremely customizable to provide differentiation for specific devices and contexts.
In the newest releases, they have gone for a much more modern look with gesture support, and are no longer close to the Palm OS.
Similarly to maemo (Nokia's internet tablet framework), ALP is based on components drawn from the GNOME project, including the GTK+ and GStreamer frameworks. A variety of other core components are drawn from mainstream open source projects, including BlueZ, matchbox, cramfs, and others. These components are licensed under the GPL, LGPL, and other open source licenses, meaning that ALP is a "free" or "open" environment on the software level.
A number of components from ALP have been themselves released under the Mozilla Public License as The Hiker Project. These components address issues of application life-cycle, intertask communication, exchange and use of structured data, security, time and event-based notifications, and other areas common to the development of applications for mobile devices.
The Access Linux Platform presents standard APIs for most common operations (as defined by the POSIX and LSB standards). Since neither POSIX nor LSB address areas such as telephony, device customization, messaging, etc., there are a number of additional frameworks and APIs defined by Access for these areas.
Applications for ALP can be developed as Linux-native code in C or C++, as legacy Palm OS applications (which run in the Garnet VM emulation environment), or in Java. Additional execution environments can be supported via the development of a "launchpad" utilized by the Application Manager (part of the Hiker framework).
The ALP SDK uses an Eclipse-based IDE, with additional plug-ins, as did its predecessor Palm OS development environment. The compilers used are EABI-enabled ARM versions of the standard gcc tool chain.
The Access Linux Platform utilizes a combination of a user-space policy-based security framework and a kernel-space Linux security module to implement fine-grained access controls. The components for ALP's security implementation have been released as part of the Hiker framework. Controls are based on signatures and certificates; unsigned applications can be allowed access to a pre-defined set of "safe" APIs.
- Reference design targets Linux mobile phones, Linuxdevices.com, August 7, 2007.
- Access Linux Platform on Display at 3GSM, Engadget, February 12, 2007.
- Access Linux Platform at LinuxWorld SF, Palminfocenter.com, August 20, 2006.
- Access and PalmSource Announce the Access Linux Platform, Access/PalmSource press release, February 14, 2006.
- Access Releases Access Linux Platform PDK and SDK to Licensees and Developers, Access press release, February 12, 2007.
- "Edelweiss (official web site)". Edelweiss-mobile.com. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- Kairer, Ryan (2008-10-13). "Review of the Edelweiss mobile phone at Palm Infocenter". Palminfocenter.com. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- "The First Else (aka The Monolith)".
- "The Monolith Project". Emblaze Mobile. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- Ricker, Thomas. "http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/30/rip-emblaze-kills-first-else/". Engadget.
- "Zen of Palm". Accessdevnet.com. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- New Access Linux Platform Screenshots, Mobilelinuxinfo.com, August 9, 2007.
- Framework aims to commercialize mobile Linux apps, Linuxdevices.com, December 22, 2006.
- Access Releases Hiker Application Framework to Open Source Community, Access press release, December 12, 2006.