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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rodney Gedda

Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?