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ZF Linux offers PC design licence free to ISPs

Chip maker ZF Linux Devices has developed an ultra-cheap PC and has promised to license the design to interested ISPs for free.

Chip maker ZF Linux Devices has developed an ultra-cheap PC and has promised to license the design to interested ISPs for free.

Daniel Thomas.

ZF Linux produces a low-cost microprocessor called the MachZ and said that, by using this chip along with the Z-Port blueprints, ISPs can manufacture a PC for $250 (£170). It said the cost is low enough to re-ignite the "free PC" schemes piloted by US ISPs last year. The value of the PC was meant to be recouped through online charges but the high cost of PCs made the schemes too expensive to run.

ZF Linux said it has developed more methods to simplify PC design than other companies and believes it will succeed for three reasons: the Z-Port can be configured with a free version of Linux, rather than Windows; it is licensing the PC design for free; and the MachZ processor is an integrated "system on a chip" that cuts costs by combining input and output controllers on the same piece of silicon as the microprocessor.

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