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Wearable Linux: Notes from the Field - page 3

Business Now Embracing Wearable Linux

  • May 22, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

Dr. Ed Vogt is Xybernaut's General Manager in Europe. He's an impressive figure by credentials alone (one bystander quietly explained to me, "He has, like, ten degrees or something"), and a few minutes of speaking to him reveal someone who's spent a lot of time thinking about making things small, useful, and better. He's also the sort of person you don't want to ask about your favorite OS, because it seems like he might use the word "quaint" or "cute."

There wasn't much to do for it, though. I'd been introduced as someone "interested in Linux," so I plunged in: if Xybernaut sees Linux as something on the horizon in the United States, where's it fit in in Europe?

According to Dr. Vogt, it's already there.

Technicians, he explained, like Linux. Technicians working on wearable computers, he went on, love Linux. After a few minutes of listening, it was clear where Linux's strengths lie in the community of developers working under Dr. Vogt:

Linux's stability is all-important to the wearable world. Having access to the source code of a kernel that just doesn't go down unless abused or housed in flaky hardware makes it that much easier to design systems people can use daily without worry. If an engineer loves that stability out of an engineer's sense of aesthetics, a business person loves it just as much because it means a reliable product line.

Microsoft also came up over the course of our brief talk and is, according to Dr. Vogt, losing ground to Linux at a rapid clip. In the server market, "Linux will kill NT over time," he predicted, on its way to capturing an easy quarter of the wearable market. Why? It doesn't hurt that engineers have an aversion to Microsoft's product line for being "too closed" and really just prefer to develop on other platforms, where things are stable and speedy enough to handle speech recognition, for instance, with overhead room to spare.

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