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Linux arrives for original PlayStation

Czech firm aims to turn ubiquitous gaming consoles into low-cost PCs, and has an alpha version of its Linux port available for download to prove it

Following high demand for Sony's Japanese release of Linux for the PlayStation2 game console, another company has leapt into the fray: the Czech firm Blokman Trading, which has released an alpha version of the Linux 2.4 kernel for the original PlayStation console.

Sony has strictly controlled its release of PlayStation2 Linux, building only 1,000 of the kits, which are to go on sale next month and will only work on the Japanese version of the console. The PlayStation2 LinuxKit includes a DVD with software, 40GB hard drive, keyboard and mouse.

In response, Blokman says it will make its Linux port, called Runix, available for free and open it up on the GNU Public Licence. The aim, according to Blokman co-founder and chief executive Vadim V Veshchezerov, is to "transform [the] Sony PlayStation and Sony PlayStation2 into a low-priced desktop computer".

Blokman says it will provide a beta version of Runix in July and a stable distribution in October. By the end of the year it plans to release a software development kit and office software for Linux on PlayStation. A port for PlayStation2 is also planned, though Blokman announced no dates.

Sony released its PlayStation2 Linux following high consumer demand, including a petition with thousands of names.

The Runix kernel is available in a 26MB download on www.runix.ru.

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