Tokyo’s Turbolinux Upgrades OS for Home PC Users

Tokyo-based Turbolinux this week disclosed that it has developed a new Linux operating system for home PC users — the Turbolinux 10F.

Turbolinux is said to be the best-selling Linux distributor in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Japanese consumers are moving in large numbers to Linux,” said Koichi Yano, president of Turbolinux.

According to the market research firm BCN, Turbolinux 10 Desktop, the company’s earlier offering, was ranked as one of the top-10 best-selling system software packages in Japan in the first quarter of 2004, nudging aside the offerings of proprietary vendors like Microsoft and Apple.

Media Player

With this new offering, Turbolinux emerges as the first major Linux distributor to ship a media player capable of streaming pure Windows Media format audio and video. 10F is based on Turbolinux 10 Desktop.

The OS enables home users to watch DVD movies and Windows Media streaming video via their PC. The OS supports Content Scramble System (CSS), an encryption system required by most Hollywood studios to protect popular films.

The company said new features in Turbolinux 10F include the following:

  • Streaming audio and video support for RealVideo, RealAudio and MP3;
  • PowerDVD for Linux, which enables completely legal playback of DVD movies and supports Dolby stereo sound and simultaneous display of subtitles; and
  • Java applet and Macromedia Flash support.

Turbolinux engineers developed a new software technology called the Turbo Media Player that works with xine, a widely used Linux media engine. The Turbo Media Player makes it possible for customers to watch streaming video in Windows Media format.

CyberLink Relationship

Turbolinux is also the first Linux company to form a relationship with CyberLink to allow viewing of encrypted movies in different international DVD regions established by the major studios.

“Turbolinux Desktop has long had the best Asian language support, and with 10F we now have the best multimedia system for consumers,” claimed Yano.

Last month, Turbolinux reached an OEM agreement with Hewlett-Packard to distribute Turbolinux Desktop in 12 Asian markets on new HP business desktop computers.

The company said the software has established features that have propelled Turbolinux Desktop to a spot as the leading OS in Asia, including:

  • Japanese TrueType fonts from Ricoh.
  • ATOK X for Linux, the world’s most popular system for entering Japanese characters on computers.
  • Instant-messaging software compatible with Yahoo Messenger, MSN, ICQ and AOL.
  • Apple iPod support.

Although the product was announced this week, it won’t be available for some time — at least until May 28th. The product is priced at US$149 per copy, but customers upgrading from the previous version of Turbolinux Desktop can purchase 10F for $64. Customers outside Japan can purchase Turbolinux 10F beginning June 30, 2004, the company said.

Government Computing News

In addition to making strides in the home PC market, Turbolinux is penetrating the government market in Asia too.

Recently, the company won two government contracts in Shanghai, China. The contracts were placed by the Internal Official Business Information System (IOBIS) of the Shanghai Jing’an District and the Information Management System (IMS) of the Bureau of Finance of Jing’an District.

“They both adopted Turbolinux to automate government affairs, thus improving governments work efficiency and promoting the government’s image,” said the company in a statement.

IOBIS is an important component of the party and government official business network, the company said. The IOBIS gathers, interchanges and shares official business information for the entire Communist Party of China and the government, the company said.

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