Open Source’s New Frontier

Cars

Software is rampant in autos these days, and companies like MontaVista and Wind River Systems are increasingly selling Linux to handle mundane but important tasks, like making sure antilock brakes work. DaimlerChrysler's diagnostic system called "StarScan" is based on Linux, although its higher-end Mercedes version is based on proprietary technology from Microsoft.

Several open-source sites and trade publications have reported that BMW plans to replace Windows with Linux as the core of its controversial iDrive, an information and entertainment system that has been plagued with glitches. BMW representatives decline to comment on the scuttlebutt, but if true, the switch would mean big bragging rights for the penguin.

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