H-P Eyeing Linux Set-Top Software


Almost one decade after Hewlett-Packard Co.'s unsuccessful foray into
digital-cable set-top-box production, the technology firm has developed
operating-system software with set-tops in mind.

H-P CEO Carly Fiorina, during her keynote speech at Linux World 2002 in New
York Jan. 30, disclosed that the company is producing 'ChaiLX,' a software
program with Linux and Java features that runs inside digital cable set-tops, as
well as cellular phones and various hand-held communication devices.

H-P's booth at the Linux convention demonstrated ChaiLX's workability in both
hand-helds and digital stereo-music players.

Fiorina mentioned ChaiLX in passing, as most of her remarks focused on the
dramatic progress of Linux in the corporate world and H-P's proposed merger deal
with Compaq Computer Corp.

But H-P official Greg Tom acknowledged that the software format is attracting
interest from cable set-top vendors and consumer-electronics-device

'It has set-top potential,' Tom said. 'If there's demand [from cable
operators or equipment suppliers], we'll look at that.'

H-P's cable efforts have been scattershot since the disbanding of Kayak, its
digital set-top-box project, in the early 1990s.

Late in 2000, the company announced an alliance with AT&T Broadband to
tie its 'LaserJet' line of printers with then-developing interactive-TV plans,
where subscribers could print out coupons or other documents linked to various
shows by clicking on-screen icons with their remote.

The alliance was tabled seven months ago when AT&T Broadband postponed
its rollout of Motorola Broadband Communications Sector 'DCT-5000' advanced
set-tops functioning with Microsoft Corp.-provided operating