Home Business IT Open Source Hacking the TomTom ONE through Open Source
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Gadget geeks worldwide are collaborating to make the ubiquitous TomTom GO portable satellite navigation system more useful. In contrast to other models of SatNav devices, particularly those bundled with PDAs, the GO is especially known for its simplicity: turn it on, set routes via touchscreen, and away you go (and go you do, quite literally!)

This protective layer is deliberately restrictive, which is good for consumers. After all, who wants to buy a device, with a dedicated purpose in mind, but have it crash or be cumbersome to use? Yet, for hardware hackers, eking out versatility is an extra sweet result due to the effort needed to circumvent the layer protecting its hardware.

Many may ask why would you want to do something like this anyway. For most the question is moot; simply being able to prove you can is sufficient motivation. Others put forth practical applications - for instance, outputting GPS locations via Bluetooth to a WiFi-enabled laptop, thus pinpointing precisely where open WiFi networks are located. And others imagined how nifty a tiny touchscreen media player could be, particularly with its built-in SD slot and loudspeaker.

The key to it all is Linux. The TomTom GO runs Linux, specifically a custom distro called TomTomLinux or TTL, with an ARM processor. So, logic dictates, if you can compile a program for Linux on the ARM then you can run it on the TomTom.

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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