TOKYO Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Sony Corp. have agreed to jointly develop a version of the Linux operating system for use in digital consumer electronic devices.
The companies intend to make the result of their collaboration public around next spring and are considering the formation of a Linux forum for digital consumer electronics with several supporters, including Hitachi, IBM, NEC Electronics, Philips Electronics, Samsung and Sharp.
The Linux developed by Sony and Matsushita will join a slate of operating systems the companies use in their respective digital electronics, including Sony's proprietary Aperios and Matsushita's proprietary Pie OS, as well as the iTron real-time operating system and Microsoft's Windows CE.
"Linux will be one of those operating systems. We will use the most adequate OS for each product," a Matsushita spokesman said. "Linux will be suitable for digital consumer products which connect to networks."
Sony said it will also use the most appropriate OS for each of its products. "We've already adopted Linux for our Cocoon TV series," a Sony spokesman said. "Software development requires more and more time and labor. We expect that [our] Linux platform will make software development easier."
The two companies intend to make their Linux source code available free-of-charge under terms of the General Public License (GPL) in order to propagate the OS and invite free modification and improvement.