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|Originally Published: Monday, 15 May 2000||Author: Brian Richardson|
|Published to: enhance_articles_hardware/Hardware Articles||Page: 1/1 - [Std View]|
Indrema ... The LinuX-Box?
A few months ago, Microsoft announced the X-Box. It's not a crate for extreme sports equipment, it's Microsoft's answer to the gaming console. Microsoft was hoping to compete with PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast. Now Indrema wants Microsoft to compete with good old Tux.
A quick visit to indrema.com proudly shows their slim-line case. This is the box that houses their yet-to-be-released L600, a LINUX-basex home entertainment console. The machine is advertised as a 600 MHz gaming/entertainment console. Watch TV, play 3D games, surf the net on a high-speed connection and listen to MP3 music ... all out of the box. Their aim is to make LINUX a living room operating system.
Indrema recently announced their upcoming L600 product will use NVidia's graphics chip. The benefits are obvious ... a LINUX-compatible machine with major corporate support, no cost for the OS, and an excuse to publish LINUX games in a timely manner.
Looking at the specs, one can't help but think of Microsoft's X-Box. The Register's Indrema article draws a lot of parallels between the two platforms, but also accents their differences. The L600 seems to have some expantion capabilities, like a video graphics daughter-card. The expandability of the X-Box is still under question.
Of course, the open-source argument comes up (it always does when LINUX works its way into conversation). However, Indrema's contributions to the GPL are in question. Their own press describes the fact that their applications may not be GPL'ed, and nobody has mentioned those three dreaded letters ... DVD. Fat chance a LINUX DVD player will be GPL'ed in the current climate of software litigation. But the L600 is a step in the right direction.
Indrema requires a lot of help before their product is a household staple. Aside from marketing against hardware produced by Intel, they have to fight Microsoft ... the 300-pound gorilla of marketing. Besides a marketing budget the size of Don King's annual hair spray bill, Microsoft has the ability to ... er ... persuade software companies to port the latest games to X-Box (which isn't to hard since it will use something similar to Windows 2000 as an OS). LINUX fans have to wait a while to see cutting-edge games on their OS, and making companies spend time & resources on the LINUX market is a tough sell.
So will LINUX win a place in the American living room, faced with the MTV "style-over-substance" marketing Microsoft is using to push yesterday's computer as tomorrow's game machine? Will the lack of gaming APIs or DVD playback on LINUX kill the Indrema L600? Hey, they might both loose to PlayStation 2 ... but it should be fun to watch.
While Brian Richardson plays games on an AMD Athlon 700 with four-speaker sound, his stereo rack still has a twelve year old CD player and Radio Shack speakers. Perhaps the convergence of computing and entertainment will have to wait until the next Hi-Fi Buys clearance sale.