Red Hat, 3G Lab link on wireless OS

Linux company Red Hat and UK-based 3G Lab say they will jointly develop an open-source operating system for cell phones that will be able to tap into high-speed wireless networks.

Red Hat, the leading seller of the Linux operating system, has signed a partnership with 3G Lab to build an operating system for cell phones and other devices that can tap into high-speed wireless networks.

The companies will jointly develop an open-source operating system, but Linux won't be part of the deal, Red Hat and 3G Lab plan to announce Tuesday. Instead, the companies will use Red Hat's eCos operating system, which is designed to work in smaller devices that don't have the computing horsepower Linux requires.

In open-source software such as Linux or eCos, programming code may be freely viewed and modified by anyone, in contrast to the more constrained world of Red Hat competitor Microsoft, which also hopes to sell software for cell phones.

3G Lab and Red Hat will work to create an operating system for mobile devices using third-generation ("3G") wireless networks as well as 2.5G networks that are expected to offer higher-speed data transfer rates than current networks. The Red Hat-3G Lab product also will enable multimedia features, the companies said.

The companies plan to sell device manufacturers software, hardware, test equipment, support and services as part of the initiative. Red Hat will offer support using its Red Hat Network, a for-fee service that can be used to send software updates automatically.

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