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Linux 2.5.2 out; USB 2.0 in

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The latest installment in the Linux development tree came out yesterday with support for USB 2.0, which allows for data transfer rates of up to 480 mbps, making it a bit fatter than Apple's more popular Firewire.

Unlike USB 1, Version 2 is a realistic interface for high-performance storage devices and for bandwidth-hungry consumer gizmos like digital VCRs and the like.

The question now is whether there's going to be a market for it. On the plus side, it should be possible to make the hardware interface available on PCs for less money than a Firewire card. And if Microsoft follows through on its promise to support 2.0 early this year, then it's reasonable to expect growing interest.

If not, then it's hard to imagine mass producers of populist consumer devices creating separate lines of products just for Linux users. And certainly the next 'latest, greatest' Firewire with gobs more bandwidth is going to be released before USB 2 gets off the ground in any case.

Still, I note that the Intel 850 mobo I'm currently using to evaluate the latest P4 CPU comes equipped with 2.0 support and female connectors. And I'm sure Intel knows more than I do about what mass marketers of consumer software are likely to do.

And of course there's no harm in having the interface supported by your OS, just in case. And there's certainly nothing wrong with Linux developers planning ahead, just in case. ®

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