Linux server fits in your pocket

A new device squeezes a networked Linux device into a three-inch aluminium cube
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Some Linux device makers may be thinking big, but Intrinsyc Software is going in the opposite direction: it has come up with a Linux-based computer that is only 3in on a side.

The CerfCube sells for £379, and comes with a Linux kernel and the Apache Web server. It can also come with Windows CE pre-installed. The device is so small that it comes with a wrist strap for carrying it around.

Intrinsyc's device is a reference platform for developers looking to bring Linux into so-called "embedded" devices, basically anything but a PC: peripherals, television set-top boxes, telephones, refrigerators and the like. It can, however, be set up as a complete networked Linux system.

The cube contains Intrinsyc's CerfBoard, a single-board computer (SBC) based on a 192MHz StrongARM 1110 embedded processor from Intel. This fits into the bottom of the cube, leaving most of the housing hollow. It includes 32MB of RAM and 16MB of non-volatile flash memory.

The device also includes a 10MB Ethernet controller, a CompactFlash (type II) interface, three serial ports, 16 general purpose I/O lines and a USB port.

The CompactFlash interface allows capabilities to be added to the unit, including a Bluetooth card, though this only works with the Windows CE version.

Linux is gaining popularity in the embedded market because of its flexibility and low cost. It competes with a number of other embedded operating systems including Microsoft's Windows CE.

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