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April 18, 2015

Hot Chipped Penguin Raodster

In Dash PC

The mere mention of Linux can cause average computer users to run out of the room screaming. Perhaps it's the history of being a hackers OS, something only installed by those with CS degrees who enjoy writing obscure device drivers. Others may asy that command line junkies are the only ones keeping it afloat. The truth is Linux powers a lot of things we take for granted. I wont scare you with a list but you may want to look a little closer at the next touch screen something you have to interface with. My bet is it aint XP.

The idea of an embedded linux (actually its on a memory card the PC sees as a hard drive) powering a single DIN in-dash computer is rather advanced. It has all the trappings of a kiosk without the bad graphical UI. No spinning HD to fail, less heat, less space needed, you see where this is going.

Is it windows or XP? No, its not. Then again, we must always ask ourselves what we want out of an in-car computer. Net everyone needs to read a PDF on the way to a dentist appointment, and for that matter it cant be that hard to get a PDF reader installed in the PyCar interface, can it?

What I do like is that it plays DivX, XviD, DVD right out of the box. Mp3 and all that noise is standard too, natch. What else do you need? Well, you're not limited to Linux, you could install 98SE which can fit into 150MB. I'm not sure running 98 would make for a truly modern in-car computer but I'll assume you could get a much larger memory card and load some trimmed down version of XP or even embedded windows?

The options are pretty limitless. The single DIN barrier for modern porcessors has been broken (Xenarc had one but its a MMX266 al-la 1996). I expect to see more micro-ITX boards stuffed into even smaller spaces. Where is IBM's little dime size HD already?

I swear, I need to go down the road to big blue and kick some ass.

Posted by Lionel Felix at April 18, 2015 11:15 PM

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