In response to demand from Linux users, Sony has announced plans to sell a kit which enables the Linux operating system to run on the PlayStation 2 game console.

The kit will allow developers to write software for a Linux environment on the PS2 console.

It will be available from June, in Japan only, according to Yuko Takano, a spokeswoman for Sony. But she did not rule out the possibility of developing the kit for international users in the future.

The beta version of the PS2 Linux Kit consists of a software DVD-ROM, a hard disk drive unit, a USB keyboard and mouse, and VGA adapter. At first, 1,000 kits will be distributed through Sony's PlayStation.com website. That number could be increased according to the demand, the company reported.

The price of the kit is expected to be around £140. The PS2 has been attractive to the Linux community as a platform since its appearance in March 2000.

A petition started in February, which called for Linux support on the PS2, had more than 7,000 signatures worldwide by 4 May.