Is Linux Ready for the Living Room?

Japan's two largest consumer electronics companies, Matsush1ta Electric Industrial, better known as Panasonic, and Sony have begun joint development of a version of the Linux operating system for digital consumer electronics devices, they said Wednesday.

The announcement stands to speed the entry of Linux into the consumer electronics space, where it already has begun to make inroads--not just because Japan's top two players will be jointly working on the system but also because they have secured basic support from a number of other major consumer electronics makers.

"Linux itself is very good and a well accepted operating system but it has some points that need to be overcome for it to be applied to digital consumer electronics products such as the start-up time or real time performance," said Shinji Obana, a spokesperson for Tokyo's Sony. "These examples could be said to be short-comings of Linux so we are going to develop [the OS] further."

From the Ground Up The two companies plan to develop a new version of the Linux operating system for consumer electronics products from the kernel level up, said Akira Kadota, a spokesperson for Osaka-based Matsush1ta. Their initial goal is to complete the first step of development work before the middle of 2003.

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