Access Linux Platform

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The Access Linux Platform (ALP), once referred to as a "next-generation version of the Palm OS," was an open source-based operating system for mobile devices developed and marketed by Access Co., of Tokyo, Japan. The platform included execution environments for Java, classic Palm OS, and GTK+-based native Linux applications. ALP was demonstrated in devices[1] at a variety of conferences, including 3GSM,[2] LinuxWorld,[3] GUADEC, and Open Source in Mobile.

The Access Linux Platform was first announced in February 2006.[4] The initial versions of the platform and software development kits for the Access Linux Platform were officially released in February 2007.[5] There was an 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 was to be the Edelweiss device by Emblaze Mobile that was scheduled for mid-2009.[6][7] It was shelved, however, prior to release.[8] The First Else (renamed from Monolith [9]) 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.[10][11]

The platform never launched on devices, and is no longer referenced on Access's web site.[12]

Look and feel[edit]

The user interface was designed with similar general goals to earlier Palm OS releases, with an aim of preserving the Zen of Palm, a design philosophy that revolved around making the applications as simple as they can be.[13] Other aspects of the interface included a task-based orientation rather than a file/document orientation as is commonly found on desktop systems.

The appearance of the platform[14] was intended to be extremely customizable to provide differentiation for specific devices and contexts.

In the last releases, they went for a much more modern look with gesture support, and were no longer close to the Palm OS.

Base frameworks[edit]

Similarly to maemo (Nokia's internet tablet framework), ALP was based on components drawn from the GNOME project, including the GTK+ and GStreamer frameworks. A variety of other core components were drawn from mainstream open source projects, including BlueZ, matchbox, cramfs, and others. These components were licensed under the GPL, LGPL, and other open source licenses, meaning that ALP was a "free" or "open" environment on the software level.

A number of components from ALP were themselves released under the Mozilla Public License as The Hiker Project.[15][16] These components addressed 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.

Application development[edit]

The Access Linux Platform presented 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 were a number of additional frameworks and APIs defined by Access for these areas.

Applications for ALP could 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 were supported via the development of a "launchpad" utilized by the Application Manager (part of the Hiker framework).

The ALP SDK used an Eclipse-based IDE, with additional plug-ins, as did its predecessor Palm OS development environment. The compilers used were EABI-enabled ARM versions of the standard gcc tool chain.


The Access Linux Platform utilized 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 were based on signatures and certificates; unsigned applications can be allowed access to a pre-defined set of "safe" APIs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reference design targets Linux mobile phones". Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. ,, August 7, 2007.
  2. ^ Access Linux Platform on Display at 3GSM, Engadget, February 12, 2007. Archived December 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Access Linux Platform at LinuxWorld SF,, August 20, 2006. Archived February 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Access and PalmSource Announce the Access Linux Platform, Access/PalmSource press release, February 14, 2006.
  5. ^ Access Releases Access Linux Platform PDK and SDK to Licensees and Developers, Access press release, February 12, 2007.
  6. ^ "Edelweiss (official web site)". Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ Kairer, Ryan (October 13, 2008). "Review of the Edelweiss mobile phone at Palm Infocenter". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ Keilhack, Kris (September 19, 2009). "ALP-powered Emblaze Edelweiss shelved in favor of Monolith?". PalmInfocenter. 
  9. ^ "The First Else (aka The Monolith)". Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Monolith Project". Emblaze Mobile. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  11. ^ Ricker, Thomas. "RIP: Emblaze kills First Else". Engadget. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. 
  12. ^ "ACCESS". 
  13. ^ "Zen of Palm". June 13, 2003. Archived from the original on March 10, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  14. ^ New Access Linux Platform Screenshots,, August 9, 2007. Archived January 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Framework aims to commercialize mobile Linux apps". Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. ,, December 22, 2006.
  16. ^ Access Releases Hiker Application Framework to Open Source Community, Access press release, December 12, 2006. Archived February 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]