Toshiba ramps up local Linux-based R&D

Despite all the talk of offshoring software development to developing nations, computer and electronics giant Toshiba is expanding its Sydney research and development centre, which uses Linux as its platform of choice.

Toshiba Australia's research and development centre, located in the North West Sydney suburb of North Ryde, houses some 40 software engineers who develop the company's colour management software, which goes into every printer and copier Toshiba sells worldwide.

The same software is also on-sold to other device manufacturers, including Panasonic.

Research and development division general manager Martin Corr said the group is now beginning to branch out into scanning software and device driver development.

"It's cheaper to do development here than the US, Europe and even Japan," Corr said.

Corr said development is cheaper in India and China but when productivity and quality are factored into the overall cost, the local centre comes out "about even".

The engineers develop with the open source Linux operating system. The software is deployed in Toshiba's multifunction devices, which run the proprietary VxWorks Real-Time operating system from Wind River, also a Linux vendor.

Corr said since all development is done with Linux he would be happy to see it used to run Toshiba's devices but "that's not my decision".

Toshiba has not disclosed its investment in the Sydney R&D centre, but says it's "in the millions" compared with a global R&D spend of billions.

With Toshiba's multifunction devices running on Power processors, the centre also uses PowerPC-based Apple Macs - including Mac Mini and PowerMac G5 machines - for development and testing. Corr said Toshiba is unlikely to follow Apple and move its devices from the Power architecture to Intel "for various reasons".

The R&D centre also develops software to ensure printing from enterprise applications like Oracle and SAP works with its devices, and the team has started developing device drivers for Windows Vista.

Internally, Toshiba uses Linux and BSD Unix for file serving and other infrastructure.

When asked how well Toshiba supports Linux on its notebooks, Corr said while it is generally good and the centre uses it internally, market demand means we shouldn't expect Linux to replace Windows anytime soon.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?