Feeds

AOL, Sony opt for Linux

Open source OS to power Internet access appliances, consumer electronics goods

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Linux looks set to make major moves outside its traditional server role and into the set-top box and consumer electronics arenas. According to a report on CNet, AOL has lined up the open source OS to power an upcoming Internet access appliance. Meanwhile, Sony is talking to Linux distributor Caldera about embedding the OS into TVs, hi-fi and videos. The AOL project derives from the company's 'AOL anywhere' strategy -- to provide access to its online service through as many channels as possible, rather than rely on PCs. As competition tightens, not least through the increasing number of free Internet access services, AOL needs to look at alternative Internet audiences, and households that don't own a PC must surely rank highly on its list. Linux is attractive because not only is the kernel fairly compact and free, but there's now plenty of Linux programming expertise out there. It's also not owned by Microsoft, which, in the light of the two companies' opposite stances at the DoJ antitrust trial, may be appealing to AOL right now. That said, Linux isn't the only option open to AOL. In addition to Be's moves to push its BeOS as an information appliance operating system (see Be IPO based on set-top box role for BeOS), there is of course Sun's JavaOS. And since Sun is fairly close to AOL at the moment, thanks to their deal over Netscape, AOL could be persuaded to take that route. However, CNet's sources reckon Compaq is in the running to produce AOL's box, and since it's already believed to be working on a Linux-based set-top, AOL is as likely to accept Compaq's choice of hardware and OS. At the same time, Linux distributor Caldera confirmed it has begun talks with Sony on the possibility of embedding the Linux kernel and user interface software into a variety of consumer electronics devices. Sony has been interested in the Internet as a content delivery system, either on a 'pay per view' basis or as a download mechanism, an interest that combines its consumer electronics business with its music and video publishing arms. The company clearly doesn't want the PC to remain the only way of connecting consumer electronics devices not only to the Net but to each other. Linux offers a powerful basis for that kind of Internet standards-based connectivity. At the same time, Sony is believed to have selected Linux as the basis for its upcoming PlayStation II console -- it's already the company's software development platform of choice -- which itself is likely to be offered as an Internet access and consumer electronics connectivity system as a games machines. PlayStation II is due to ship before the year is out, probably with a full-scale launch early September. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.