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SearchEnterpriseLinux.com: Tiny computer runs on Linux

Jan 17, 2001, 13:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Edward Hurley)

"Imagine stumbling into the laundry mat with a load of clothes and only having to swipe a card to use the washer. Then you walk over to the soda machine and buy a drink with another swipe of a card. All the while, several cigarette pack-sized digital cameras are keeping track of what you are doing. This scene is not science fiction but potentially very real thanks to a new personal computer-on-a-chip made by ZF Linux Devices of Palo Alto, Calif. More than 100 potential products are being developed using the MachZ chip including smart card readers for laundry and soft drink machines and security systems that harness the intelligence of the tiny computers to analyze digital images. The 35-millimeter square chips are actual 133-megahertz PCs when power is added. The chip features all the basic functions of a PC motherboard such as CPU core, serial ports and controllers. Processing power is between a 486 and a Pentium. Recently, searchEnterpriseLinux spoke with David Feldman, ZF Linux's founder and CEO, about the MachZ chip."

"searchEnterpriseLinux: So at what market is the MachZ chip aimed?"

"Feldman: This chip is really aimed for the embedded market, in which power use is a major issue. The chips are not aimed at the desktop though they would make for nice thin clients. For someone who needs a terminal for word processing and spreadsheets the chip would be more than enough. We run PowerPoint demonstrations using one."

"Linux allows you to strip things out because you have the source code."

"searchEnterpriseLinux: How does your chip differ from the low-powered Crusoe chip from Transmeta, incidentally where Linus Torvalds works?"

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