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Embedded Linux set for European push

With big-name companies such as Sharp deciding to use Linux in their devices, a leading trade organisation wants to promote the cause of embedded Linux throughout Europe

The Embedded Linux Corporation (ELC), has begun an initiative to boost its presence in Europe after a successful meeting with many of the continent's leading open source players on Wednesday.

The ELC is a trade association made up of companies that promote or implement Linux in embedded computing, in devices such as handheld computers, set-top boxes and household appliances. In a meeting held in Augsburg in Germany, and attended by over 30 companies, the ELC vowed to increase its activities in Europe.

ELC-Europe is a new body whose purpose is to "accelerate the ELC's European presence via promotion, marketing and standardisation-related activities". The ELC plans to open an office in Belgium, Holland or Luxembourg soon.

Recognising that Linux began in Europe, the ELC is also creating a new board-level post called the "European Ambassador". The ambassador's role will be to drive the marketing of embedded Linux in Europe, and an appointment is expected within 30 days.

Michael Tiemann, chief technical officer of Red Hat hopes that the new initiatives will provide better opportunities for Linux developers to work with the leading players in the embedded Linux scene. "A concentration of European interests eases the integration of regional members in ELC's embedded Linux platform standardisation initiative, which Red Hat strongly supports," he said.

Many mainstream manufacturers are already using Linux in their products.

Earlier this month Sharp announced that it would use Embedix, an embedded version of the open source operating system created by Lineo, in its forthcoming Zaurus palmtop computer -- as earlier reported by ZDNet back in March.

Back in April, Sony released a version of Linux for its PlayStation2 console.

The ELC hopes that Linux will become a powerful player in the embedded operating system market. "Scaleable, portable and standard, Linux is quickly becoming the favorite operating system choice in a crowded field of proprietary solutions," the company claims. It suggests that Linux would be suitable for systems that automatically reorder household food, or for in-car systems.

Companies that attended Wednesday's meeting include Fujitsu Siemens, Volvo Technological Development, Intel and Trolltech.

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