While reading the current edition of the carnival of mobilists, I stumbled upon this very interesting post by David Beers:

Top 10 things to love about ALP

I can agree to ebverything except the point he makes about how you need to have Linux to develop ALP apps. Many developers currently run Windows machines, and switching OS is not easy. Actually; this is a deal breaker for me – no Windows development environment, no ALP apps from Tamoggemon.

I had Linux more than once and never liked it – sorry, bu Windows simply is easier to use!

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13 Responses to “12 things to love about ALP”

  1. I agree. (No, that’s not spam, but man is it funny. And work-safe, if you don’t work in a Linux shop. ;)

  2. I’d still rather hold off judgement of ALP until we know for sure what Palm is doing. I’m also amazed by how little has been leaked. To date, all we really have is palm’s obscure little hints and our own speculation.

  3. I’m mostly a Windows guy, too. No worries. If you don’t want to boot your host PC to Linux you could always run your development environment virtualized inside Windows. These days virtualization solutions like VMWare (http://www.vmware.com/products/ws/) and Parallels (http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/) are so good that you can flip back and forth between your host Windows and virtual Linux environments with a keystroke and experience very little performance penalty. Running a development box with only one OS has become so passé! ;-)

    Still, I expect I’ll be doing a lot more with Linux from here on out anyway–everyone seems to be looking for *nix experience these days. So I’ll probably build a dedicated Ubuntu Linux box some time in the next couple months and see if I can live with it as my main PC or if it will be reserved for development.

  4. Making linux the development platform of choice is an incredibly shrewd move in my opinon.

    I doubt Palm will admit this, but I suspect that what they are doing is to try to raise the mystique level of Palm OS. You have to be a linux geek to do development!

    That’s a big advantage in PR in my opinion although it means nothing realistically. It changes the whole Palm image by moving away from the stodgy conservative Microsoft image.

  5. Need I really do this? http://www.cygwin.com

    Come on, Tam, you know better than that. They wouldn’t dump the platform that the vast majority of their developers are working with. They may be stupid, but they aren’t suicidal.

  6. Edit of the above (It helps to actually read the article):

    He doesn’t say that you CAN’T use cygwin.

    “But you’ll also be using a cross-compilation tool called Scratchbox that enables you to have one build environment configured for ARM Linux and ALP while your host environment is set up the way you need it for your x86 box. No more interference.”

    Funny, I can do that too, with just environment variables.

  7. I’m not so sure, Nitron. While PalmSource didn’t say there would never be Windows tools for ALP it seemed pretty clear that the ALP Simulator (to take one example) would need real Linux, not just Cygwin, since it leverages User Mode Linux. UML for Win32 is still at an early stage.

    Let’s put it this way: I think it would take a lot of work to get tools that all work on Windows–work that PalmSource might rather put into making the platform better (or delivering it on time!). Since a lot of developers really prefer Linux for development anyway (especially Linux developers!) it wouldn’t surprise me at all if setting up a Linux box (or running a virtualized Linux OS) turns out to be the price of admission for ALP. And I’m almost sure it’s the only way to go for devs who want to get started with ALP when it’s right out of the gate.

  8. Hi Nitron,
    to be honest: for me, developer tools means an application that comes as a single exe file and installs onto my Acer Aspire notebook.

    Look at Microsoft’s Visual Studio for a good example – if PalmSource doesnt manage to get the IDE comfortable, they will have a hard time convincing developers to switch(especially now that we know that their Garnet emu is very good)..

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

    P.s. I admit that my Linux expertise is rather – um – low.

  9. What I find strange is that they use UML as the emulator, AFAIK, UML has no emulation at all, just virtualization (and, BTW, it’s one of the slowest virtualizers over there).

    For using native GNU/Linux apps on Win32 you have CoLinux, I find it way better than using VMware. Throw in a native Win32 X server and a good GTK+ 2 theme and you have binary GNU/Linux apps running indistinguishable from native Win32 apps.

  10. They’re not using the word “emulator”: it’s the ALP Simulator (and really, as you point out, it’s just a virtualized instance of ALP running inside a Linux host).

    Who really cares about performance of the simulator–particularly when it’s running on a machine that’s orders of magnitude faster than the target devices? CoLinux is another good option to VMWare and Parallels for getting a full Linux environment running on a Windows host. I haven’t tried it but have a colleague who swears by it.

    And lest I forget to mention: PalmSource promises to continue supporting PODS which, of course, is a Windows IDE.

  11. Hi,
    now thats an elementary bit of information you forgot =)!!!!

    WIl post it right now..

    Best regards
    Tam Hanna

  12. Not to mention, PODS is based off of the Eclipse IDE, which, I believe is a multi-platform IDE based off of Java(?). So, since the ALP development environment will use Eclipse, that means in theory, it should work on Windows.

  13. The Eclipse IDE framework will run on Windows, of course. But I’m not sure if the Win32 version of Glade (GTK visual UI editor) will produce ALP-compatible GUI resources. Also I’m quite pretty sure the simulator will not work without a Linux OS to host UML.

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