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Transmeta Releases Midori Linux 89

_Upsilon_ writes "Transmeta announced today that they have released under the GPL their mobile linux as "Midori Linux". It is an x86 compatible version of Linux for internet appliances, residential gateway appliances, wireless web pads, and home audio components." They've got SourceForge project setup for discussion and usage. As well, the download page is ready - the current version is 1.0.0-beta1. And be careful not to drink too much of the distro.
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Transmeta Releases Midori Linux

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  • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:16AM (#366636) Homepage Journal
    Unless a lot has changed since I saw their marketing material, they either are offering, or are planning to offer a "native" version with a RISC instruction set as well. However, that may be old scrapped marketing "truths"... :-)
  • Transmeta CPU's are X86 compatible. If this distro increases the market for low-power devices, then it's helping Transmeta's business.
  • In their FAQ they state this abouit puting midori on a standard PC:
    "It's theoretically possible... but it wouldn't be a practical use of your computer. "
    To me it seems like the perfect choice if you have an old PC with a slow processor.
    Anyone know anyting about if this might be good, easy or how to do it and such things?
  • The Transmeta CPUs are all x86 compatible. Making a compact distro of x86 linux is a FAR easier task than porting linux to a completely new architecture.

    You want to know what Linus is doing for Transmeta? I can assure you that he isnt re-naming tarballed applications to make them look cute. He's most likely re-writing kernel code to make it run natively on the Cruesoe.

  • Following the link to Gateway's Touch Pad, it doesn't even say anything about Midori Linux on the thing...Someone do this privately or something?

    It also says that the Touch Pad uses AOL. Does that mean there's an AOL program available for the Linux OS? Maybe AOL now stands for AOL On Linux

  • $1 ~= 120.5 Yen, so

    55,000 yen ~= $456.43
  • ..I don't think lack of "big iron" support in the mainstream Linux kernel is due to Linus rejecting patches. I think it's more due to the lack of "big iron" hardware in the hands of the programmers who have the ability and the drive to support it.

    I believe all this will change in the next few months due to the regional Open Source labs being sponsored by the computer companies who produce the big iron. These guys are hardware vendors. Not having to put R&D into their own OS makes a lot of sense to them.

  • There's alsoa Midori that's a porn star (she happens to be Jodi Watley's sister). Do a search for "Midori porn" and remember to turn JavaScript off when checking the links :).
  • Linus is kept in a glass display case in the corproate lobby. He's occasionally let out when a key investor visits.

    They copied the concept from Netscape's pioneering use of Marc Andreesen in the same fashion.
  • Well, it isn't like this distro is in any way in competition with the other distros. If Transmeta ever becomes successful enough to make RH and others do a Transmeta-centric distro, I'd expect he might reconsider things. But as it is, doing this doesn't seem to create much conflict for him- it doesn't look like it is reducing the time he spends on the mainstream kernel, and it isn't going to reduce revenue or opportunities for RH and others. So... I still don't think that he's in much trouble with the conflicts he was worried about at the time he joined Transmeta.
    That said, I'd like to see a little more Big Iron development work... but that is (as other folks have pointed out) as much a factor of hardware availability as anything else, I think. We'll see, I s'pose...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They hired Linux Torvaldes, the cheap Mexican equivalent.
  • Looking at the FAQs, Midori is tuned to be runnable in a small environment like a flash rom, though it needs a development system with a couple hundred meg of storage (i.e. probably not the target system, unless you've got a target with LOTS of memfs ram or a USB disk or you're running it on a real PC.) But what's missing that would be in a normal Linux configuration? Presumably lots of development tools, but is the kernel all there, or is it rabidly stripped of any device drivers you don't explicitly configure in? Would it be easy to add something like the FreeSWAN [] IPSEC system (which is mostly kernel plus a few user-space daemons and utilities, and tends to also want some firewalling tools)? Is building a small linuxrouter configuration relatively easy in Midori?
  • ...the name of a porn actress here in the States. I had drinks with her once; she's smart, pretty, well-spoken, and possessed of an infectious sense of fun.

    But why on earth would anyone name a distribution after her?
  • Actually, I find it more soothing to watch the Absynthe cloud as I pour in water through a strainer filled with sugar cubes. Come to think of it, midori is Japanese for green. Absynthe is green. Japan is one of the few countries where Absynthe is legaly consumed. I do believe you've revealed the genuine meaning behind this name.
  • You mean on the very first day they announced Crusoe.
  • l.gif

  • "It is an x86 compatible version..."

    But wait, what business line is Transmeta in? Software or Hardware? Or is this a sign that they are having a hard time with their CPU (hardware) line of business?

    I want to know what such a project that takes away valuable resources from the company has to do with their bottom line when it is not aimed directly at their core business line and product.

    They better stay focused on their key business line, otherwise they could be history pretty soon.

  • Hey- watch it! That's "Mistress Fetish Diva Midori" to you!

    Amusingly enough, her home page [] shows an anime picture of her.

    I wonder if the good folks at Transmeta... nah, never mind.


  • Cool. Looks like another sucess story for BusyBox [] too. BusyBox is going to take over the world. Muhahahahahaha!
  • What with the APCI power management and other stuff, I think getting midori's kernel enhancements into the main kernel is going to benefit a lot more people than the big iron patches
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Get an IDE compact flash adapter, or a PCI based solid state storage device. Aim for 32 to 64MB. Put in computer. Install from hard drive, then remove hard drive. Ensure that you have 128MB of RAM or so, if possible.
  • I was wondering who else would point this out. Green also might mean growth or money ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1/ Linus is part of the team working on their code-morphing software.

    2/ Linus certainly isn't much interrested in user-space stuffs. (kernel is like 1% of the distro)

  • "a vodka martini linux.... shaken, not stirred"
  • Why should it make you skittish? Midori appears to be a fork as well - or so the FAQ indicates at least. There are tons of forks of Linux, including lots of ports to weird hardware, like uCLinux and Elks, and there are stuff like RTLinux, and many more.

    Forks are good when it makes needed functionality that wouldn't be appropriate to put in the mainstream kernel available to those that need it.

    Forks are bad when the people forking doesn't try to keep their fork as closely synced with the official kernel, and/or doesn't try to get as much as possible reintegrated back into the official kernel when/if it makes sense.

  • Getting drunk off of Linux. Who'dathunkit?

    I wonder how this distro will run when sour, hmmm...

  • It's actually the name of Sushi restaurant the developers frequent....
  • by PD ( 9577 ) <> on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @09:07AM (#366663) Homepage Journal
    >infectious sense of fun.

    Don't all porn actresses have an infection from their sense of fun?
  • Or in another tangent it could be the name of the violinist... Maybe next we'll have Casals and Horowitz distros. I could get into that.
  • Maybe that's why AOL's supporting the Gecko/XUL project...
  • This is not a distribution. This is a fork of the kernel.
  • Speeking of solid state. Shouldn't this puppy be able to be loaded into the ram and run from there?
  • I wonder if it isn't really named after the popular San Francisco fetish model and dominatrix [].
  • Well...with all the the miniaturized laptops in niche markets in the US and more common in Japan, they very easily exist. A Sony Vaio GT1 (with a crusoe processor BTW) has a 6.4" (diagonally measured) XGA TFT with a 1024x768 resolution. I really don't think it would be a cheapo device, but the parts are out there in mass production now. I am still hard pressed to think of a reason why they can't bring them to market in the price range of a good entry level laptop at least....if not less. They'd run linux (free) and you wouldn't even need much (if any) harddrive space on one.
  • Guys.. Midori means green in Japanese. The girl on the page with green hair is further evidence as this. Maybe they are using green to represent the lower power consumption?
  • Wow, this would make an excellent firewall machine!

  • Two points. The Crusoe uses a VLIW instruction set, not RISC. Also, Torvalds himself has said that things do not run much faster in 'native mode,' and not releasing anything in 'native mode' allows them to change the chip's internal structure without breaking compatability, which is something I'll bet Intel and/or AMD would love to be able to do freely.
  • Don't feel bad...I thought of the pr0n star.

    --Just Another Pimp A$$ Perl Hacker with an extensive pr0n archive
  • by RareHeintz ( 244414 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:53AM (#366674) Homepage Journal
    Actually, when I saw that, I didn't think of the liquor, but of the famous professional dominatrix in the SF Bay area.

    Am I sharing too much?


    - B

  • How about a native Cruseo Linux ?
    That would be a lot faster, and a lot geekier =)
  • ... it must be cool then, eh ? ;) []
  • by OdinHuntr ( 109972 ) <ebourg@po-box.mR ... .ca minus distro> on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @06:59AM (#366677)
    You know, the release name probably isn't based off of the alcoholic syrup Midori, rather the meaning of the Japanese word midori, which means 'green' ... apart from sounding cool, they're probably trying to point out the low-power-consumption-appliance aim of the distro.

    Just my ni-en.
  • Hey yet another great platform for this vaporware... where the heck are the webpads? I guess the things are just too expensive to make. Anyone *purchase* a webpad yet?


  • I like "FillIn" as the name of the Midori network upgrade system [].
  • Somebody please tell Linus what this "transmeta" company is up to so he can stop it!!!!!!!
  • by TheOutlawTorn ( 192318 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:02AM (#366681)
    ...would be pretty simple. A picture of Linus against a black background, with the caption "He works for us, you know." and a logo. Heck, they're paying him, why not?

  • Sorry but this has been dicussed it the past.
    You can't make a native Cruseo Linux the Cruseo does
    code morphing for the x86 you defeat the Cruseo design
    by attempting to make a native OS I don't undestand the details
    but it just don't work that way

  • What Linus wants, he gets. Too bad for the rest of you.

    - - - - -
  • I bet this would run great on the 3com Audrey internet appliance. .html?cat=product []
  • I thought the same thing until I saw Audrey [] the last time I was in Best Buy. Five hundred bucks. I couldn't see myself using one, but at least it's pretty. :-)

    Now you TOO can have banner ads streamed to you...even in the bathroom!

    --Just Another Pimp A$$ Perl Hacker who turns his computer off every now and again.
  • Try the preview button next time []...


    Don't touch my .sig there!

  • I would count the iPaq from Compaq as well as a few others.
  • reflect the environmentally friendly aspects of an energy efficient Linux operating system" which is not a bad thing.
    linux and such are already doing a lot in the economical and political aspects of our societies.
    why stopping there?
    i easily imagine myself choosing a computer and its os if it respects environment also.
    noise also matters. and eyes friendly screens.
    I want a nature, society and to-myself friendly computers.
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:35AM (#366689) Journal
    Now that we have this, you might want to start making your own Transmeta based computer? No room for one? Stick it in a spare 5.25" bay.

    In Japanese, but has pictures []
    Manufacturers page, with english specs []

    Now what is 55,000 Yen in decent currencies? Is it around $500? This board also has two Intel network chips, which would cost about $200 for a dual network PCI card. Also has 64MB of memory installed. One PCI slot and one micro-PCI. Two parallel, 2 USB, 2 IDE, 1 floppy and audio. No graphics, you will have to use a PCI card, like a Voodoo5500, if you want graphics.

  • It's understandable why it might make one skittish, however keep in mind that Mr. Torvalds is not the ruling hand in open source software. Yes he wrote the Linux kernel and has contributed as much as any one person (maybe 10 people) can, but that does not mean that whatever he says goes. Same with SGI, IBM, Transmeta, etc...
  • ...for use in low-power consuming electronic music devices. :)

  • Yea, ppl have bought linux based web pads. I work for a company that sells them. I'm just glad I don't have to support it, b/c it's an AOL only connection via the web pad.

    Scary, but it's there, and ppl do buy them.
  • Well, lets say I didnt include Instaling gimp with tuchscreen support in my first plans :-) I'll get right on it... just waiting for my none existing spare time to show up.
  • the crusoe is 86 compatible... x86 is the most common chip, this provides greatest compatablilty, largest user & developer bases... makes perfect sense.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wrong. He does choose what to pot into the main kernel tree. Remember tha big deal a bit ago about PPC stuff not getting intergrated. LO! Behold, intelligence!
  • Judging by the size of Slashdot pasted onto that webslate image, I'm guessing they are proposing to have a ~1024x768 screen in a unit ~7"x5". That's a pretty high density screen, which would be expensive if it's even available.

    More realistic in the short term are devices like the Clio [], which has a (more realistic) 640x480 screen. But developers could replace the 200Mhz MIPS cpu with a 700Mhz Intel-compatible one, which would probably be not only faster but also have wider software compatiblity (if you go the Windows route).
  • Why not simply Linus' Linux?
  • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @11:18AM (#366698) Homepage
    Check out the list of developers [].

    I'm sure he had input, but I guess he's not the only programmer at Transmeta. Maybe he finds the low-level x86 translation code more interesting, who knows?

    Jon Acheson

  • Like ABit's Gentus? Red Hat with patches?... Na, best if they just work on actually submitting the patches for thier hardware IMHO.
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @08:46AM (#366700)
    I'd like to see a lot of hardware vendors with their own distribution. A lot of the problems with installs and "user-friendliness" in current distributions is the need to include support for every piece of hardware in existence. This often causes complex error scenarios when trying to autodetect hardware.

    However, if Dell, for example, were to do a distribution for Dell computers, they would only include support for the chipsets that they were currently shipping. There would be no need to include code that would make sure that there wasn't a SuperCollosalXX00 Video Controller installed before checking for a VIA 200KX Romtroller (just to make up a bogus example).

    People keep saying that 'Linux' can't do everything, but then they don't define 'Linux'. KDE/Gnome may not go everywhere, but there is no reason that the kernel can't be used in most computers, be they server, destop or appliance. And with that basic foundation, computing in general is simplified because all the systems will start behaving similarly. Where we need to differeniate is at the DISTRIBUTION level. Red Hat Linux isn't the solution to all problems. Maybe Mandrake is better for your home destop, Red Hat fits the corporate desktop and Suse is best for the server. (No flame wars please. All examples are contrived.) Currently Red Hat, Mandrake,, have tried to be all things to all people, leading to the idea that Linux is complicated. Linux is not ocmplicated and can do everything if the distributers would catch a clue, define a market, and then design their distribution as a solution for that market.

    The point is that all distributions should take the parts of what's being developed out there and package them in an appropriate way for the appropriate application. It will still be Linux, it will just be the parts that apply to the problem space.

    So here's KUDOs to Transmeta and any other hardware vendor building a problem space specific distribution. May you live long and prosper.

  • "TRANSMETA MIDORI. Australian for "LINUS."" :)
  • When I hear the term "webpad", I think of a bigger verson of a Palm or Handspring device running Mozilla and verious other software with a beefed up verson of X that allows for direct input via stylus or maybe even voice recognition. This thing Gateway is pushing (I hear they are dropping it) is just an AOL terminal from what I can see.

    I am a Visor owner and love it. It's replaced my newspaper or magazine on my morning treks to the restroom thanks to Avantgo. As soon as someone develops a wireless ethernet Springboard module I will evolve into a super cyber being as I will be able to roam freely and access anything whenever I want.

    I was kind of hoping for a nice magazine size "pad" that would allow me to surf, send mail, read news, and everything else internet related without needing to use a keyboard or mouse for input. I remember seeing them when Crusoe first came out. What happened? Is this AOL terminal it? I am depressed.

  • That first link (with the pictures) has some extra crap at the end of the URL.. Here is a fixed on: 310/etc_ib750.html []

  • I may just be an idiot, but isn't Transmeta required by the GPL (Linus on payroll or no) to release their changes? Their releasing Midori Linux didn't come as a surprise to me b/c I was under the impression that they are required to do so. Do I have the details of the license wrong?
  • transmeta webpad i saw @ comdex []

    it did not feel like vapor when i was holding it in my hands =)

    test my linux powered robotic camera streaming video chat thingy []

    -mind different...


  • by NevDull ( 170554 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:10AM (#366706) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable about this? At the same time as we've got vendors complaining about support for "big iron" not getting into the mainstream kernel, we've got the guy who decides what makes it in being paid make Linux run on small devices.

    Makes me a little skittish, that's all.

  • On the Midori [] page, there is a "Midori in Use" [] section...
    Following the link to Gateway's Touch Pad [], it doesn't even say anything about Midori Linux on the thing...Someone do this privately or something?
    As for Hitachi's Flora-ie 55mi []...well, I'm an ignorant American and can't Japanese...but I did notice it's being billed as a "mobile linux" device.
    It just doesn't look to portable to me ;oP


    Don't touch my .sig there!

  • by _Upsilon_ ( 97438 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:12AM (#366708) Homepage
    This is true... at least Transmeta claims it to be.

    From BusinessWire:

    The name Midori Linux is based on the Japanese word for the color green -- midori -- and was chosen to reflect the environmentally friendly aspects of an energy efficient Linux operating system.
    The story []
  • by mholve ( 1101 )
    Ahhh, the soothing green color... Almost like Absynthe.

    Kinda low on the alcohol though. ;>

  • Linus has often stated that he didn't want to join one of the various Linux distro vendors in order not to endores one of the distro's over another. Which is laudable IMAO. However, the fact that hardware design studio Transmeta apparantly is diversifying into a Linux distro vendor makes me wonder how Linux will be able to maintain his position being perceived as that of a distro-agnostic architect of Linux.
  • BusyBox rocks. It just rocks.
  • by Biolo ( 25082 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @07:52AM (#366712)
    Am I the only one who remembers one of Linus's original reasons for joining Transmeta? Namely that they did not do a Linux distro, and he could therefore not be accused of favouritism towards one distro in his kernel work. I wonder what his stance now is on this.
  • I read the documentation for the distribution on the Transmeta Web Site. It is a development environment to easily make an appliance-type device from a Linux kernel. While it has direct support for the features of the Transmeta chip it looks like it will build for a variety of embedded devices. This is a useful tool for anyone looking at a custom embedded device for an end user.
  • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @02:53PM (#366714) Journal
    In Japanese, but has pictures []

    Apparantly "HTTP fGf[ 404" is Japanese for "Slashdotted."

  • When I first saw it, I knew it meant green but `enviromentally friendly' was not the thing that popped into my mind. When I think of green, the first thing besides the color itself that comes into my head is the green from Metal Gear Solid on playstation. In that context, green is used to represent someone that is new to fighting and is basically a newbie. It's probably a stretch, but I guess you could argue that this is a "new" linux distribution.
  • by Marticus ( 128290 )
  • ok so here's what we've got so far: red hat deep blue yellowdog asci white ... and now... midori {green} linux can the technology world lay off the colors for a while and be a little more creative with the naming schemes. p.s. i've got dibs on orange
  • by knarf ( 34928 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2001 @04:48PM (#366718) Homepage
    ...the ruggedized Webplayer [] I'm designing for a canoe trip down the Yukon [] river this summer. The plan is to take a solar-powered Webplayer with me, connected to which is a USB camera and a microphone. The camera will be fitted to a headband, it will see what I see. The mike will be somewhere where it hears what I say. I'll use this gear to make a report of this two-month trip from Whitehorse (Canada) to Emmonak (somewhere near the Bering sea). Pity there is no affordable, reliable wireless datacom coverage yet, or I would be able to beam this data right to my website... Hm, reminds me of the 'gargoyles' from Snow Crash...
  • Roughly speaking, it's 100 yen to the dollar.

  • It seems Transmeta wants a familiar development OS for their product. Since Linux IS free, it aids in the recognition of their platform.

    I don't think Transmeta is trying to become a Linux Distro per se, since that would remove the focus from their hardware manufacturing operations.

    IBM uses a version of Linux for their mainframes, but no one accuses THEM of trying to be a Linux Distro.

    Linux, as it stands, is the cheapest, most complete, stable, recognizable, cross-platform OS out there. I think it's going to become the IBM AT of the software industry...
  • Just from browsing that site briefly, I noticed a few things. Obviously "Midori" is the japanese word for green. Then the logo for the product is a typical techno-anime-girl. The looks very similar to the main character from the Bungee/Microsoft game "Oni".

    Who exactly are they marketing this new distro to? Anime fans?.

  • I don't see anything wrong with that, if IBM et. al. want to fork the code, that's allowed under the GPL. There can always be a re-merge later down the road (or just code sharing).
  • When I was working for ePods, inc. [] we marketed the Ezex EzOne []

    Yes, it's a WinCe device, but it works for general web browsing. Before ePods tanked in August 2000, we had been testing and running the "Little Fella" for about a year.

    The devices are coming, but flat-panel touch screens need to come down in price first before they really hit big. The Ezex machine costs far more to manufacture (Right now) then most folks are willing to pay for the conveninence of a web pad.

  • Yeah...but that thing looks like garbage compared to the Transmeta Webslate [] concept. That thing looks like it's right out of startrek. I would gladly pay what a basic laptop would cost for one...and they can't cost THAT much to make.

    If only these companies would get off their asses and actually MAKE some of the good stuff...all these demo/prototype units are good for is a good corporate prick waving contest in my mind. They sure aren't doing me any good other than showing me the cool stuff they aren't going to sell me for years to come.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!