PalmSource To Develop Linux Version Of Palm OS

The company announced it is acquiring China MobileSoft Limited (CMS), which has been developing a version of the Linux operating system for mobile devices. In a statement, PalmSource said the acquisition indicates the direction in which it is moving.

"This is the next stage in our growth and a major milestone for the mobile phone industry," PalmSource CEO David Nagel said in a statement. "We plan to offer the ease-of-use and flexibility that Palm OS is known for to all mobile phones. We believe the combination of PalmSource, CMS and Linux gives us the technological and market critical mass to compete with even the biggest proprietary operating system companies."

PalmSource said in its statement that it "plans to implement Palm OS on top of Linux, bringing the benefits of Palm OS to the Linux community." It said it will continue to offer its two versions of the Palm OS -- version 5.x, known as Garnet, and version 6.x, known as Cobalt.

PalmSource's statement also included statements of strong support from the Linux community.

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"It may not be clear to everyone just how great a potential is being unveiled today," Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, said in a statement. "Because Linux standards will be exposed on Palm OS devices, much of our existing desktop and server software can be moved to the mobile platform just by typing 'make' and waiting for the sources to compile. That brings a power to the platform that lacks only a good user-interface, PalmSource's forte, to bring incredible capability to the mobile user."

PalmSource provided no timetable for the release of the Linux version of the Palm OS. Besides developing a version of Linux for mobile devices, CMS also has developed a number of applications for mobile phones and smartphones, according to PalmSource.

The agreement calls for PalmSource to issue about 1.57 million shares of its common stock to fund the transaction. The company said it expected the transaction to close by the end of February 28.