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EE Times: Embedded Linux Quandary: What Price for a Free OS?

Jul 01, 2002, 20:30 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Charles J. Murray)

"The law of supply and demand will face a curious test over the next few years, as embedded Linux vendors search for a way to make engineers pay for an operating system that appeals to users largely because it's free.

"The upstart OS, which has ridden a tidal wave of developer devotion in recent years, may be at a crossroads, according to industry analysts. As popular as it is among certain devotees, Linux can't flourish in the embedded market unless its suppliers can find ways to make money from it. At issue, they say, is whether Linux's most prominent advantage — its royalty-free status — will still be compelling if suppliers find other ways to charge for Linux-based products.

"'Without a doubt, embedded Linux is of real interest to developers in multiple market sectors,' said Paul Zorfass, senior analyst for International Data Corp./FTI (Framingham, Mass.). 'Whether that will translate to big business isn't clear yet...'"

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