The problems with QTopia
Feb 18, 2007
1:57 PM EDT
|QTopia's not an ideal environment for embedded GNU/Linux devices. It controls the framebuffer (Qt Embedded) which means you can't run standard X applications - you'll likely be needing to rewrite a lot of whatever it is you want to run to use Qt Embedded. This takes away one of the HUGE advantages of embedded GNU/Linux: 'porting' = recompile. It's even a better situation than with Java at the moment due to embedded devices usually only having J2ME. It's why for non-GUI use, GNU/Linux wipes the floor with Windows CE (it can be painful 'porting' Windows code to Windows CE, and damn near impossible to 'port' .NET to .NET CF). There's also the licensing issue - your software's either GPL compatible, or you have to buy an exception. That poses problems both for GPL-incompatible Free Software / Open Source and proprietary software that they don't face on other devices.
A much better option that the cellphone companies seem to be headed towards is the OpenEmbedded/Familiar/GPE path - standard GNU/Linux stack with TinyX. All that usually needs done in that case is to ensure your application will look good at small screen sizes (if your window's min size is like 800x600, no one will be all that happy about having to scroll across the window to use it), and make sure you're not depending on mouse hover for anything critical (since small stylus displays usually don't support it).
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