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Linux Set to Break Through in Consumer Electronics

last modified 2006-02-22 03:47 PM

Linux, the fast growing and freely available operating system, is set to be the software of choice for future televisions, set top boxes and DVD recorders.

I recently had a discussion with my 16 year old son who had used a Linux desktop for a year (until I moved him onto a Mac, so he could do DV editing). He saw all the advantages of Linux, and liked all the open source alternatives. In fact he continues to use alot of these app on the Mac, via Fink.

Nonetheless, he said that Linux doesn't have a chance of replacing the Windows desktop for teens. Not because the apps aren't available, but because you need to know how to support your desktop OS. While that's true of Windows as well, most kids know Windows or know someone who knows what to do when they run into problems. Not many have a dad who can serve as the sysadmin on a Linux box. So the installed monopolistic base of Windows PC creates a chicken-and-egg problem for Linux adoption.

I responded, that while this argument is true for personal computers, the fact is, personal computers are going to go away. Most people want computing power for specific tasks. They don't want a computer precisely because they hate being a sysadmin. I asked him what teens use computers for? The answer: games, multimedia, word-processing, IM, browsing and email. Well someday soon there will be consumer electronic devices that allow you to do exactly that. And the underlying OS will be irrelevant. In fact, CE manufacturers will prefer Linux over Windows, not only because they save on the licensing fees, but also because it is more efficient and safe - factors that are critical for a CE device.

And that's exactly what the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) is about, as explained in this article.

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