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Sony, IBM pledge to open-source Cell

The partner companies behind the new Cell microprocessor - Sony, IBM and Toshiba - have committed to providing full specifications to the chip and libraries for open source developers for free.

Speaking to technology publication EE Times, IBM confirmed that the partners will be promoting the platform to the open source community - which is yet another hint at how wide-reaching the company's plans for the high performance new architecture are.

However, a decision has yet to be reached about the licensing terms for the programming libraries required to develop for Cell, according to IBM's Cell chief, Jim Kahle, who commented that "we're not yet sure about the right licensing terms for the libraries... It can be hard to give stuff away for free."

IBM's commitment to open source development is well documented, with the company being one of the key supporters of the free Linux operating system - a technology in which Sony is also known to have an active interest.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.