LINUXWORLD: Sony announces Linux for PlayStation 2

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI) announced Wednesday it plans to release a Linux developers' kit for its PlayStation 2 console in Japan, North America and Europe.

The development kit, 'Linux (for PlayStation 2) release 1.0', is geared towards the Linux development community and will allow full access to the PlayStation 2 runtime environment and systems manuals. The kit includes an internal 40G-byte hard disk drive for the console, Ethernet adapter, Linux kernel 2.2.1, computer monitor adapter, USB keyboard and mouse and other software, said SCEI in a statement.

A beta version of the development kit was made available in Japan in the middle of 2001 and is currently being used by 7,900 domestic developers, said Yoshiko Furusawa, a spokeswoman for SCEI. The kit went on sale as a result of pressure from the Japan Linux Association, which compiled a petition of 7,000 to demonstrate support for the concept of Linux on the PlayStation 2.

"Since we released the beta version we have been receiving feedback and many requests for the kit so we decided to make it more widely available," she said. Since the beta kit went on sale in Japan, the company has received inquiries regarding getting the kit from 28,000 users.

On top of running computer applications written for Linux, PlayStation 2 owners who are Linux enthusiasts can also create original Linux programs and applications designed to run on version 1.0 of Linux for PlayStation 2, the company said.

Because it is targeted at games developers, the kit won't be available in stores. SCEI will be selling it via the Web and has dedicated Web sites (http://www.playstation2-linux.com and http://www.ps2linux.com) for Linux for PlayStation 2 to handle customer queries and to support the development community.

Orders will be accepted via the Web sites from February with delivery scheduled for April in Japan and May in North America where the kit will cost ¥25,000 (US$188) and $199 respectively.

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