Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said this week that the open source operating system was poised to movebeyond business applications to be embedded into single function gadgets.
These include Web surfing screens, set-top television digital devices and home appliances such as intelligent fridges and microwaves.
Speaking at the Linuxworld conference in New York, Torvalds said the open Linux model was "perfect for any kind of specialised device".
Montavista also demonstrated its Hard Hat Linux hybrid toolkit for Motorola's PowerPC chipset at the show. The software will be used in conjunction with the microprocessors to develop Web-enabled gadgets, mobile phones and consumer electronics.
There are a few Linux based consumer products already on the market. Tivo and Philips have produced a personal video recorder that runs on Linux, for example, and other companies plan to release Linux based gadgets later this year.
At the Consumer Electronics show this spring, Sun Microsystems unveiled a Webpad running Linux in a digital living room. At the same event, chip giant Intel said that it plans to sell web connected information appliances under its own brand name running Linux.
S3 is also working on a Web pad for under $1,000. This uses the Transmeta chip that has been optimised for Linux.
Red Hat, which has just bought Cygnus Solutions, a specialist in software for embedded devices, has likewise confirmed that it will develop the firm's software to run on Linux.
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