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Lineo gets set-top box software license deal

The developer of Linux software for computing devices smaller than PCs licenses its software to Elitegroup Consulting and a company called Bast for use in set-top boxes in hotels and apartments.

Lineo, a developer of Linux software for computing devices smaller than PCs, has licensed its software to Elitegroup Consulting and a company called Bast for use in set-top boxes in hotels and apartments.

The deal calls for use of Lineo's Embedix, a stripped-down version of Linux, and Embedix Browser, a Web server, the companies said. Bast, based in Sonoma, Calif., builds network-connected set-top boxes that display on televisions. Elitegroup, based in Taiwan, builds electronics components.

Under the deal, Bast is licensed to build 50,000 set-top boxes with the Lineo software, Lineo said.

Bast sells the set-top boxes for $285. They're intended for use in hotel rooms and apartment complexes where people want high-speed connections to the Internet.

Linux, a clone of the Unix operating system, grew up powering servers, but several companies are working on making it work on smaller gadgets where the capabilities of the operating system are stripped down to a much more limited set of features. Microsoft also is targeting this market with a bare-bones version of its Windows software. Though one advantage Linux has over Windows is that it may be obtained for free, Lineo has said it will charge royalties for its software.

Lineo released the first version of Embedix today.