Amigo brings open source to home networking

For many years I've laughed these top-down, European consortia approaches, but the open source model may provide a framework for gaining traction, and Amigo insists this will be open source software.

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One of the biggest unmet challenges of this decade has been linking computing, entertainment, mobile, and and home automation systems in a single network.

Many people wonder whether it should be done at all.

It should be done, because many functions cross these product borders. Wouldn't you like your home alarms to reach your mobile phone? Aren't you tired of duplication in your mobile and desktop workspaces? A common system will lead to new applications.

Philips is trying to meet this through an open source project called Amigo. There are 15 European companies on-board, a budget of 24 million Euros (about $34 million) and now (finally) the release of software.

As part of the process the group has launched what it calls an Amigo Challenge, a contest to find new applications. It's part of the chicken-or-egg question, the search for a "killer app" which will justify the underlying work.

For many years I've laughed these top-down, European consortia approaches, but the open source model may provide a framework for gaining traction, and Amigo insists this will be open source software.

Can the group avoid giving members a proprietary advantage, really walking the open source walk? If they can, companies like Microsoft, Apple and Sony, which have been trying to crack the nut of home integration for a long, long time, will be the ones in dutch.

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