The big news coming out of the 2006 Worldwide Newton Conference is that the NewtonOS runs on Linux PDA’s! You read that right, we’re one step closer to having a Newton running on non-Apple hardware.
At the 2004 WWNC, Paul demoed Einstein, an emulator running on Mac OS X. He’s improved it over the past year, making the emulator seven times faster. On my Quad PowerMac G5, it has a speed rating of 9400 iterations/second when running Frank Gruendel’s NewtTest. A stock 2100 has a rating of 11,000. An accelerated Newton clocks in at 13,000. So, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer to matching and breaking the speed barrier. The Linux version of the emulator is much, much slower. I don’t doubt, however, Paul’s ability to get the speed up to an acceptable number.
Apple has shown us that the soul of the Macintosh lies not in the choice of processor but in the software and user experience. At the 2006 Worldwide Newton Conference, we demonstrated that the soul of the Newton is not trapped within aging hardware. It’s ready to burst out and transfer its elegance and functionality into a new line of devices. The next year and a half are going to be exciting!
The Linux PDA port of Einstein has a ways to go before it is ready for primetime. Nevertheless, it’s available today! If you have a Linux-based PDA with X11 support, you can run NewtonOS!
The second day of the conference will be tomorrow. I’ll have more updates as they come!