The next time you're playing the slots in Vegas, you may actually be operating a Linux-based, networked computer.\n\u00a0\nLinux is becoming as ubiquitous a technology in gadgets as LCDs and transistors. Now slot machine and electronic gaming makers are another class of manufactures that is moving toward open source software.The next time you're playing the slots in Vegas, you may actually be operating a Linux-based, networked computer.\u00a0Linux is becoming as ubiquitous a technology in gadgets as LCDs and transistors. Now slot machine and electronic gaming makers are another class of manufactures that is moving toward open source software.Sigma Games, a maker of electronic gaming machines, video poker and slots, recently made a move to standardize on an embedded real-time version of Linux produced by the vendor TimeSys. The reason for the move was cost and performance."Traditional real time operating systems will nickel and dime you to death," says Victor Arambula, an engineer with Sigma Games who's responsible for managing game development. He says previous real time operating system [RTOS] products Sigma used had very high start-up costs - from $200,000 to $400,000 for a few development seat licenses, plus licensing costs for each of the machines produced.Getting developers started on TimeSys' Linux platform has cost a fraction of what Sigma was paying for proprietary RTOS development, Arambual says. Plus, there are no licensing fees for the machines the company produces, since the software is open source.In addition to saving money, Arambula says Linux is providing technical benefits as well."Stability is a big issue," Arambula says. "The nice thing about Linux is that you can do post-mortem analysis of any piece of code. If you have an application process running that dies, a core dump is generated that allows you to go and debug that code."He says that the openness of Linux also helps due to the strict regulation in the gaming industry."Gaming [commissions] are always concerned about the verification process," Arambula says. Gaming commissions require makers of electronic slots and poker machines to provide detailed documentation outlining how their technology works, and how it can be can be audited. Having access to Linux source has helped make that easier, he says.