Nokia calls on Linux coders for set-top box apps

Help compete with Xbox


Nokia has reiterated that it is turning to the Linux community to ensure that its Media Terminal set-top box, due to be launched later this year, has plenty of applications from the word go.

In particular, it wants games developers to get coding for MT, based around what Nokia is now calling its Open Source Terminal platform.

Now, when the cellphone company announced Media Terminal way back last September it said the machine would be based on the open source OS. Two things appear to have prompted this latest message to the software development world. First, there's the company's deal with US consultancy CollabNet to set up a Web site, ostdev.net, as a kind of SourceForge for MT-oriented projects.

Then there's major games industry expo E3, opening on Wednesday, at which not only will Nokia show off MT, but Microsoft will tell the world just how it hopes to win over console buyers to Xbox.

To date, third-party collaborative development for Media Terminal has centred on the box's multimedia capabilities, specifically MPEG 2 decoding and DVD playback, video streaming and Tivo-style digital TV recording. However, it broadly mentioned the box's 3D capabilities at launch, and it's likely to stress MT's power for casual gaming later this week at E3.

Nokia's drive in this direction follows the collapse of Linux games console company Indrema last month. Indrema was forced to shut down through lack of funding, but a lack of Linux games wasn't going to help any.

"We want to have a lot of applications ready when we launch the Media Terminal and this is the quickest way," said Rickard Nelger, head of product management at Nokia's Home Communications group, the division behind the development of MT.

"We are convinced that openness is the way forward," he added. "With the OST platform Nokia aims at initiating the creation of an open standard for IP-based home entertainment. By making source code and other tools available to these developers all over the world we want to give maximum support to developers and stimulate a widespread creation of applications."

Says Nokia of MT and the open source platform it's based on: "[MT is] a platform for home entertainment applications. It is based on open source technologies such as, Linux, Xfree86 and Mozilla, and provides a platform for developing applications for a variety of electronic devices including: broadcast and digital TV, digital video recording, web browsing, gaming etc."

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