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Behind The Coolest Gadgets - Linux or Windows? 178

An anonymous reader submits "Sister sites LinuxDevices and WindowsForDevices have kicked off what they're calling the Great Embedded Device Smack-Down, to see whether Linux or Windows Embedded powers the best and coolest devices. The Smackdown highlights more than 350 gadgets in nine categories, along with some entertaining "pre-game commentary" featuring the latest market share figures for the two OSes and a whacky clipart image of Stone Cold Bill Gates taking on The Tux."
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Behind The Coolest Gadgets - Linux or Windows?

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  • Popcorn (Score:4, Funny)

    by ParticleMan911 ( 688473 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#9822995) Homepage
    My Linux popcorn maker maximizes the popped to unpopped kernel ratio. Far superior to my older Windows model.
    • Re:Popcorn (Score:5, Funny)

      by wackysootroom ( 243310 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#9823063) Homepage
      Not Fair!!!

      The Linux version of the popcorn maker uses a much better kernel than the windows version.
      • Re:Popcorn (Score:4, Funny)

        by VistaBoy ( 570995 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#9823196)
        I thought the Linux popcorn maker put more kernels into a panic.
      • Re:Popcorn (Score:5, Funny)

        by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:37PM (#9823503) Homepage
        The Linux version of the popcorn maker uses a much better kernel than the windows version.

        The Linux popper does infact use a much more solid kernel than the Windows version. Microsoft tried to harden their kernels by popping modified microkernels instead.

        Unfortunately, over time, the unpopped pieces tend to accumulate at the bottom of the Windows popper, substantially slowing the popping process, and periodically requiring the user to completely wipe the machine and start over fresh with a new batch.

        The Windows popper also seems to be highly susceptible to contamination by foreign elements, affecting output performance and popcorn quality. Microsoft, in response to this problem, simply stated that "well-behaved butter would not damage the popper". Unfortunately, there's a wide selection of low-grade butter available for the Windows popper; some of it actually targets the weaker aspects of the Microsoft kernels and can cause substantial damage to the popper and anything connected to it.

        The Linux popper is much better adapted for mission-critical kitchens, though the Windows popper is extremely popular in the home.

        • Re:Popcorn (Score:3, Funny)

          by spacefrog ( 313816 )
          "The Linux popper is much better adapted for mission-critical kitchens, though the Windows popper is extremely popular in the home."

          Probably because home users don't like having to type:

          $ cat ~/corn > /dev/snack/popcorn/input
          $ pop_ctl --startup --device=/dev/snack/popcorn
          $ pop_ctl --status --device/dev/snack/popcorn

          popcorn status: popping 342/7873 kernels. .....20 minutes elapses....

          $ pop_ctl --status --device/dev/snack/popcorn

          popcorn status: complete, waiting in buffer.

          $ cat /dev/snack/popcorn/ou
      • The Linux version of the popcorn maker uses a much better kernel than the windows version.

        The Windows version is just a bunch of half-popped kernels with lots and lots of extra butter and salt on them to make them seem more appealing.

    • Re:Popcorn (Score:5, Funny)

      by fbrain ( 758421 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:05PM (#9823146)
      I thought the Windows kernel popped more ofter?
    • But surely you are worried about having to pay out SCO for each kernel you use...
    • Yeah, but my Windows popcorn maker's got a big, shiny on/off button instead of a command prompt.

      Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
      Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

      I am yelling.

  • At least (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hitch ( 1361 ) <[hitch] [at] [propheteer.org]> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#9822999) Homepage
    it seems like this is all in good fun...
    it's nice to see good-natured rivalry based on merits rather than name-calling and finger pointing.
  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:54PM (#9823009)
    Our old TS models are great, but the new ACS are even better. Darn easy to use, and rock solid.

    They run Linux, BTW...
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#9823018)
    In a recent study, 100% of all robots that reported chose Linux.
    • FR3D MB0G0 says "Linux? Not! Can't preserve Three Laws if anybody can modload a new kernel driver into their heads. You need something really secure like OpenBSD! Just look at this videocam mounted on PDP1 K3n0b3, who's running Linux 2.2 and wuFTPd. You can clearly see the shadow of the chainsaw on the back of your head there... That'd never happen if he were running OpenBSD."
  • Number of Devices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:56PM (#9823033) Homepage
    The table of how many devices of which type run which OS seems to only list which OS devices ship with. Linux has been ported to many Windows devices, so you cna flash them to Linux. While windows should work with many of the linux devices, I think it isn't trivial to buy a license to put it on your device that shipped with Linux & to then flash it to run windows.
    • Nope. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Blob Pet ( 86206 )
      It lists the iPaq under Linux devices.
      • Re:Nope. (Score:4, Informative)

        by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @03:23PM (#9824075) Homepage Journal
        Considering Compaq does support iPaqs with Linux (send a borked install to their Research Lab, and it comes back with Linux), I'd say that it's at least semi-official that Linux runs on iPaqs even if it's not a shipping option. Compaq even hosts handhelds.org and has paid engineers to work on the distros for the iPaq.

        Iffy, sure, but not unreasonable to include iPaqs under both categories as a 'Windows' and 'Linux' device.


      • It lists the iPaq under Linux devices.
        So it does. It still misses many devices--most ARM-equipped windows devices such as the Axim will also run it.
  • DRM... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney ( 648748 )
    If it runs Microsoft's software, then it necessarily has some sort of DRM on it. Thus, I'd have to favor Linux.
    • "If it runs Microsoft's software, then it necessarily has some sort of DRM on it."

      Care to back that up with some sort of logic? Tell you what, explain what DRM is on my Windows Mobile PDA and mo, the ability to play back DRM files is NOT DRM in and of itself unless you think that Real Player for Linux makes Linux DRM as well.

      • Re:DRM... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anita Coney ( 648748 )
        If it can play back DRM files, then it necessarily has DRM on it. I hate to say it, but DUH!!!

        And of course SOME Linux devices will have DRM on them, but not all of them will. Microsoft is in the DRM business, then it will bundle DRM at every opportunity it gets. While the decision to include DRM in a Linux device will be made by the individual OEM.

        Thus, with a Microsoft derived product, you will get DRM. With a Linux derived product, you might get DRM. I'll take my chances with might.
    • You'd favor something that didn't let you play files with the DRM as opposed to something that did. Just because the device is DRM capable doesn't mean it's forced on you. Nobody makes you click the button to enable DRM on wma encoding.
  • Mars Rovers (Score:2, Informative)

    by kippy ( 416183 )
    Linux [linuxinsider.com]
  • by robespierremax ( 800417 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#9823052)
    If Microsoft wins the embedded device war, we can look forward to the following things:
    1) Self driving cars which when infested w/ the Sassar2030 worm will all drive us off a cliff
    2) All your personal information stored in a handheld device for your convience... and the convience of the 200+ Spyware programs that are automatically installed as you checkout at walmart
    3) We will finally reach Jupiter only to find out the computer is controlled by a very evil looking red eye "I'm sorry Dave, but you need to download security patches"
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But if a windows worm causes my car to kill me, I want it to be MyDoom. No offense, but if I'm going to die a horrible screaming death, I think it should at least be ironic.
    • 1) Self driving cars which when infested w/ the Sassar2030 worm will all drive us off a cliff

      Lemmings, Longhorn edition.
      • > 1) Self driving cars which when infested w/ the Sassar2030 worm will all drive us off a cliff
        > Lemmings, Longhorn edition.

        With this Lemmings virus, though, can I designate my car to be a blocker or a builder? Then I would have time to get out before it explodes or drives off the end of the stairs. I don't know where it would get the planks, but I don't know where regular Lemmings get them either.
      • Yo! Where you been?!
        • Long story... just happened to load it up and see, thought I'd post something. Doubt I'll really be coming back as a prolific poster.

          Got a new job as of today though, which will mean I'm even more busy. How are you doing?
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#9823054) Homepage Journal
    ... in whatever device that don't have a complex user interaction. The site have more windows devices in PDA, tablets and thin clients where the user could find comfortable using the same interface as in his desktop. But where that interface doesn't matter, Linux should win hands down.

    After all, linux don't have price by quantity (i.e. for devices where price matters is a big advantage), could be use with no x86 processors, could be tweaked for supporting better the surrounding hardware and could require a lot less hardware/memory/etc.

    Anyway, is weird that in the listing they don't put Linux thin clients and terminals, maybe is because almost anything that boots linux and X could work as one, so the market could not be so attractive.

    • After all, linux don't have price by quantity (i.e. for devices where price matters is a big advantage), could be use with no x86 processors, could be tweaked for supporting better the surrounding hardware and could require a lot less hardware/memory/etc.

      While I can't get to the product listings on the site at the moment, I assume that they're talking about "Windows Embedded" as the latest version of Windows CE, and not Windows XP Embedded. In that context, not all of your arguments stand up. For exa

  • by YetAnotherName ( 168064 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#9823067) Homepage
    MacSense [macsense.com] makes the "iPod for the home", in the form of their HomePod. It doesn't run MacOS; it runs Linux and Java (J9).

    More info at GlooLabs [gloolabs.com].
  • Palm? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:00PM (#9823080) Homepage Journal
    I find it interesting that PalmOS is not even mentioned in the "PDA" category. Is it truly dead?
    • Re:Palm? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by solive1 ( 799249 )
      Well, I do believe this is a Linux gadget vs. Windows gadget article. PalmOS doesn't fit into either of those two categories, therefore its exclusion. (I tried checking the article again to make sure it didn't say something to the contrary, but it seems that it has already been /.ed.)
    • PalmOS is far from dead. Hell, even though it is brain dead (in a Mac OS 0.53 kind of way), it beats out Linux PDAs in the area of "usefulness" (as if any other category mattered) 9 out of 10 times.

      But, I point you to the title. "Linux or Windows." There are other PDA/gadget OSes beyond Linux and Windows, but they were only interested in them for this article. I suppose Linux and WinCE capabilities are more alike than the POS.
  • by airjrdn ( 681898 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:00PM (#9823085) Homepage
    Tivo runs Linux....nuff said.
  • if the sites are hosted on the corrosponding OS then they are both showing a lot of hurt right now.

    fucking slashdotters :)

  • I want the the Ponto digital juke box (or the exclusive placement rights):

    "Digipop can store up to 20,000 tunes (compressed in Ogg Vorbis or MP3) and soon will deliver video-clips, according to Ponto-i owner Andre Dias. Sound and video ports enable venues to connect Digipop to existing sound and TV systems.

    The jukebox includes a wired, remote serial pinpad that can control the machine remotely. For example, a bartender could use the pin pad to add credits to user accounts, which are identified by cards wi
  • I am sure that linuxdevices.com will be really fair and impartial in a debate over Linux devices. How much credibility would we all be giving it if it came from Microsoft?
  • by MrBoombasticfantasti ( 593721 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:08PM (#9823178)
    I recently got a Tomtom GO [tomtom.nl] navigation system and it is absolutely awesome. Link may be a bit flash heavy.

    It runs Linux and it's miles better (pun intended) than the Windows CE counterpart Tomtom Navigator 3 [tomtom.nl] which has occasional glitches.

    If only it could run *BSD... ;-)

    • Link may be a bit flash heavy.

      Link may be a bit flash heavy? That's like saying high fructose corn syrup may be a bit sweet!

      4MB too big.

      • Especially in a discussion talking about embedded systems. Though people who use flash seem to have no sense of the tightness needed for small bandwidth systems.

        For example: (and I am an embedded programmer, who see functionality, speed, and algorithms as more important then flash) I help run a website for a set of international martial arts games. The webserver sits on an ADSL link, that charges $25/gig over the first gig upstream.

        One of the (new) website developers said: I can make a nice fancy flash
  • My fav (Score:3, Funny)

    by doombob ( 717921 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:09PM (#9823186) Homepage
    My favorite embedded device has always been the Windows CE gas station pumps [pcworld.com]. Because something like pumping gas, ordering Big Macs, and asking for directions all at the same time was just too vital a service for people not to utilize.
  • Sharp Zaurus? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spyro VII ( 666885 ) <spyro@spyri[ ]com ['us.' in gap]> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:10PM (#9823197)
    Well, I haven't read the article yet (and by the looks of things I won't be doing it either), but offhand the only thing that I have to say is that I've never seen a Pocket PC that can stack up to the Zaurus line of handhelds made by Sharp, on either the coolness factor or the gadget factor.

    It will be interesting seeing how they weighed the Pocket PC PDAs against the Linux ones, and how the fact that a number of iPaqs can be ran with either PPC or some kind of Linux.
    • Re:Sharp Zaurus? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TrevorDoom ( 228025 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:35PM (#9823473)
      As I've owned a Zaurus 5500 [sharp.co.uk], Tungsten T3 [palmone.com], and currently own a HP iPAQ 4155 [hp.com], I definately have to give the "coolness," "gadget," and "power" to the iPAQ hands down.

      User replaceable battery (one of the issues with the Tungsten), 400 MHz XScale processor (whole lot more powerful than the 5500), integrated Bluetooth (more than the Zaurus has) and WiFi (more than the T3 has) and with a couple of third-party apps to "fix" the annoying things about the Pocket PC operating system I'm most definately in love with this iPAQ...

      I'm sorry, the handwriting recognition on the Zaurus sucks (Decuma OnSpot for PocketPC, OTOH is able to decypher my hardly intelligable chicken-scratch) and my fingers are fat enough that trying to use the thumb keyboard is annoying at best. WiFi, while not essential in a PDA, is damn nice (access to the fileshares on the Windows network at work while doing things where a laptop isn't readily accessable but I'm in WiFi range is schweet) and gives me the ability to use Pocket Putty to ssh into my fileserver at home while sitting on the couch.

      The Zaurus has a cool "geek" factor, but really, I got tired of the shitty quality of the PIM apps and fighting with the device to try and get it to sync got old after about 3 weeks.
      • I gather if you put the Zaurus SL-6000W against the other two though, that it wouldn't be quite so screwed by the other two. That way you get the 400MHz XScale processor, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the only real problem is the batteries are stupidly hard to find (harder to find than the unit itself, and that is really something!) :-)
        • I can't imagine the SL-6000x would make much of a difference. Sure, you can get a wifi card for any other Z. And, if you're willing to have a big ass dongle and software that doesn't work very well, you can have bluetooth too.

          But in the end, the software sucks. Yeah, you can brag all you want about being able to run bash, but I've got a unix shell and a boatload of gnu/unix apps on my CE device. The sigmarion 3, and it has a real keyboard.

          It's really a shame- the Zaurus line could've really been somethi
          • Actually, all the reviews I've read (and it's been a lot in the past week, because I need to buy a PDA and I'm doing heavy research) say that software was the main improvement on the 6000* compared to the 5x00*.

            That being said, the 6000* _is_ way overpriced. And the Japanese seem to be paying more for the same model as the US, which is bad when the model I want isn't released anywhere but Japan.

            The only real requirements I have for a device are... PIM features, preferably Qtopia/OPIE support, so that I d

          • > if you're willing to have a big ass dongle

            Must... resist... Satan.... Make it up... to him... later...
    • I've owned an SL-5500 and one of the "ueber k-rad" SL-C760s. The latter wins in the "coolness factor," if you're talking about bringing it to a LUG meeting. But past that? I'd rather use a WinCE (not PocketPC, but real WinCE 3.0 or 4.x) or PalmOS device. At least for now. Sure, the hardware is neat, but when the apps really blow- and the battery life sucks- how cool is it really?

      The VGA screens on the C-series is badass. But then again, you can't really read them in bright sun-light. The hardware is fa
  • Garmin GPS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:12PM (#9823216) Homepage
    I so seriously want one of these [garmin.com] that I had to let my fiancee by both a new pair of shoes and a new watch.

    No idea what OS it runs, tho, but I'd be interested if anybody knows.

  • Seems like a bit of a waste since the two very best OS's are excluded. But we alternate OS'ers are a smug lot and will refrain from comment, (only grunts of contempt). M
    • by solive1 ( 799249 )
      Well, I can't comment on what other devices use MacOS, but, as far as I know PalmOS is just on PDAs and isn't really a desktop OS ported to other devices. Also, iPod (as I've been reading) doesn't even use an OS designed by Apple. Maybe that's why they were excluded.
      • as far as I know PalmOS is just on PDAs and isn't really a desktop OS ported to other devices

        Windows CE is neither a port of Windows 9x nor NT. Microsoft created it from the beginning as a mobile OS. Windows CE does, however, power a wider range of devices than Palm OS. Your confusion is understandable. There's more overlap now than ever before between Windows Embedded (desktop/server based) and Windows CE.

  • Bad Joke (Score:3, Funny)

    by prichardson ( 603676 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:15PM (#9823245) Journal
    Since the two quick reference guides aren't loading, I think it's time for Slashdotting jokes to commence. I'll start.

    Too bad their webserver was running on one of those linux phones!
  • Looks like Slashdot put the smack down on linuxdevices.com

    Any mirrors?
  • by carlmenezes ( 204187 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:25PM (#9823354) Homepage
    Looking at the direction mobile phones are moving, I think it's a pretty good possibility that the the PDA, handhelds and Audio/Video Devices of the future will essentially be mobiles phones with these features.

    Adding up the counts in those categories we have :

    Linux : 38+17+36 = 91
    Windows: 74+24+8 = 106

    If you add in the "other" category, you have :

    Linux : 91+38=134

    Either way, it's really close, except for one thing - the future trend and the contributions made back to the OSS community as a result of the devices that use Linux.

    The thing is, as more of these devices are released, more code and/or documentation and bugfixes will be released by companies back to the OSS community because they will be using many OSS tools in the development of these products, improving them if necessary in the process and finally releasing some of the improvements to the OSS community.

    This will make it easier for more companies to re-use OSS tools and software and we have a potential cascade effect that could create a very wide development base for embedded Linux devices.

    On the windows side, the situation is not the same - companies usually don't release their any portion of their code into a "public pool" for use by the community.

    This essentially means, that while the numbers are an even split now, it looks like the Linux numbers will grow faster than the Windows numbers.

    Now, also remember that with the devices comes whatever the devices are connected to - namely PCs, Macs and the like. Therefore, at the very minimum, this could lead to a much better awareness of the Linux OS. What follows awareness is usually curiosity - and since Linux is a quality product, curiosity can only be a good thing.

    Therefore, I'd just say that although the numbers are an even split now, they actually represent the success of Linux in the embedded devices market and given time, this will seep into the desktop and that will be a good thing. Competition always is.
  • by Heem ( 448667 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:26PM (#9823365) Homepage Journal
    Well, considering at this time that the windows site is completely slashdotted, while the linux site is up, just a little slow from the slashdotting........
  • by Wateshay ( 122749 ) <bill@nagel.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:37PM (#9823512) Homepage Journal
    Game over. Next contest...
  • by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @02:43PM (#9823586)
    We've rounded up 150 of the COOLEST Linux devices from all over the far east! (And...uh..the 1 or 2 available in the U.S.)
  • For embedded systems, you want simplicity, reliability, and understandability. Neither Linux nor Windows give you these. Sure, Linux is more reliable in certain ways, but we're still talking about a hulking system that's not needed in 99% of embedded devices. And, yes, Linux is "understandable" in that you can get the source code for the hundreds out thousands of lines of code in the kernel, but that makes very little difference. In the typical embedded device, you need an "OS" that's about 4K in size,
    • 4K? really? If you are talking about CORE O/S functions like preemptive multi-level tasking, memory and queue management,interrupts, clocks, timers, and thats going to be hard to fit in 4K of memory. Add a file system, device interfaces for I/O like serial or USB and a user interface and you are hitting probably 32K. VxWorks Minimum Kernal Size in something like 500K, a full up OS with a Board Suppor Package can be 32MB. You can cut out what you dont use but its still going to be much bigger than 4K!
  • 19 windows Thin Clients and No Linux models? Very odd!

    Wait.. VIA-EPIA series boards... never mind... they're just only counting the pre-installed ones.

    • Re:Weird... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by woobieman29 ( 593880 )
      Very odd indeed.... Especially since at least three of the vendors listed on the Windows side (Wyse, Neoware and Maxspeed) all have Linux products that are almost identical hardware-wise to the Windows offerings. Maxspeed's 3xxx series Linux TC's are built with the exact same VIA EPIA board, and supporting hardware as the 5xxx series Windows CE and 8xxx series Windows XP boxes - the *only* difference is the OS image on the bootable Compact Flash media. You can change OS's on these TC's by simply shutting th
  • The Linux Gateways, servers, AP link is the same link for Tablets and Webpads. This [linuxdevices.com] should be the proper link.
  • Just look at the statistics in the table, Windows is in more PDA's and Cell Phones, Linux is in more Robots. What's cooler, a PDA or a Robot? A PDA keeps track of your phone numbers, a robot will push you down the stairs. Linux wins again!

  • Seeming as http://windowsfordevices.com/ runs Apache on *nix, they might just be biased. They may be inclined to spoil a good story with the truth.
  • Tag-team? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday July 28, 2004 @04:24PM (#9824826) Homepage Journal
    Sure, Andre the Giant might have fended off a horde of midget wrestlers. But in the embedded arena, where do PalmOS and Symbian fit into the market share? As a developer, I'm targetting the market that I can best reach. Microsoft's platforms have heavy prices in incompatibility and anticompetitive actions of Microsoft itself. But among its competitors, while Linux might lead, it's not alone. I don't expect "LinuxDevices.com" to cover that dimension of this story, but where are the numbers we can use to get the real big picture for these little platforms?
  • I didn't have licenses for any other software so to stay legit I installed Windows Me. Oh.. what's that?.. ..! Oh god! AH!!--

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup