The Linux operating system is on a stealth mission to
find its way into the palm of your hand and the heart of your home.
Embedded Linux, the stripped-down version of the OS for
consumer-electronics devices, is trying to needle its way into
set-top boxes, PDAs, wireless access points and voice-over-IP
phones. It is a natural downstream extension of Linux's presence in
"But so far there are few such devices available in the U.S.
market, and even those that run Linux do not have a logo or a
public-relations machine to trumpet the fact. The depth to which
Linux has penetrated this market, therefore, is something of a
mystery. However, the evidence that does exist suggests
consumer-electronics companies are taking advantage of the
open-source platform to change some fundamental dynamics of their
"Asia, particularly Japan, is where gadgets sporting Linux
appeared first. Some of the most recent entries into the
marketplace include video recorders, such as the Sony Cocoon and
the NEC AX10, and the Philips iPronto home remote control. Motorola
is scheduled to ship a GPRS smartphone in Asia Pacific in the third
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