I facilitate an open source project called SIMPL (http://www.icanprogram.com/simpl
). SIMPL produces an ultra lightweight toolkit which can be used to join modules together into a seamless application using Send/Receive/Reply messaging first pioneered by QNX. SIMPL modules are a great way to encapsulate complexity. In fact we call those containers softwareICs in analogy to the hardware counterparts. SIMPL modules can be written in any number of supported languages (C, C++, Python, JAVA or Tcl/Tk). SIMPL modules can be run in their local sandbox or distributed across a network where at least one node runs Linux (often times without recompile or code changes). There is an example of this in this article:http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/apr06/articles/appliance/part2.htm
I have been facinated with another technology called Phidgets (http://phidgets.com
). Since the Sheevaplug supports USB it would seem a natural fit. Encapsulate the Phidgets library in a SIMPL softwareIC, expose a SIMPL message interface to the rest of the network and you'd have a very compelling platform in my opinion.
If there is sufficient interest I'd love to kickstart an open source project dedicated to bringing these three elements (Sheevaplug + SIMPL + Phidgets) together. I have an underused project on Sourceforge which we could usurp for this purpose. If interested contact me at icanbob [AT] gmail DOT com.