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December 18, 2002

Matsushita and Sony to Collaborate on Development of Linux Platform for Digital Home Electronic Devices

    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and Sony Corporation today announced their agreement to work in partnership on the development of an enhanced Linux®*1 platform for digital home electronic devices. The companies will aim to apply the fruits of their collaboration to their AV (audio visual) products and to make the source code*2 available to the public for free in order to encourage its broader use throughout the industry.

    While Linux is well known as an operating system for personal computers and servers, today it is also finding applications in the area of digital home devices. Therefore, users expect even shorter start-up times and improved response. The two companies plan to study the functions and performance required for digital home electronic devices, and develop a Linux platform that meets those requirements.

    Matsushita and Sony will evaluate the suitability of the newly developed version of Linux as one of the platforms for digital home electronic devices such as portable and home AV products.

    As with earlier versions of Linux, the newly developed source code will be publicized freely under the General Public License (GPL)*3, which permits free usage and modification. This co-development program can further promote technological advancement and wider application of Linux through free exchange of ideas within the open source community,

    The two companies are considering the establishment of a forum group based on the results of this co-development with other electronics companies in order to expand these activities. Further details will be discussed with the companies supporting this idea such as Hitachi, Ltd., IBM Corporation, NEC Electronics Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Sharp Corporation.

    • *1Linux: a Unix compatible open source operating system created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, then a graduate student at the University of Helsinki. Under the General Public License, the source code is freely distributed and available to the general public, with engineers around the world extending and maintaining it on a voluntary basis.
    • *2Source Code: a computer program describing software algorithm written in source language
    • *3GPL (General Public License): a written license scheme based upon the principles established by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), a non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman to promote free distribution of software.
    • Linux® is a registered trademark owned by Linus Torvalds.

    About Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic, National, Technics, and Quasar brand names, is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronics products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated sales of US$51.70 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002. In addition to the Tokyo and other Japanese stock exchanges, Matsushita's shares are also listed on the Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, New York, Pacific, and Paris stock exchanges. For more information, please visit Matsushita web site

    About Sony Corporation

    Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be a leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of nearly $57 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002. Sony's Home Page

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