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Embedded Linux Consortium comments on the CE Linux Forum

Jul 14, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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The Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) issued the following statement today, regarding the recently announced Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) and its relationship to the ELC . . .

Some Q&A regarding the CELF and its relationship to the ELC

Recently, a new consortium was launched to pursue enhancements to the Linux operating system for consumer electronic devices. The Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) is a separate entity from the ELC with a substantially different mission and organizational structure. However, the ELC and CELF have several members in common. To help the media understand how we differ, we are pleased to provide this brief explanation.

What are the key differences between the ELC and CELF?

The ELC has two missions: marketing (promotion and implementation) on behalf of Linux as an embedded OS, and standardization of application programming interfaces. The CELF website (, declares its mission is to “formalize requirements for extensions to Linux to meet the needs of CE products such as audio/visual products and cellular phones, etc.”

Tim Bird, CELF's Architecture Group co-chair (and Sony senior staff engineer, Linux Architecture and Standards), said “The forum will focus on improvements in Linux for use in Consumer Electronics products. The forum intends to use the GPL for its work, and to collaborate with the Linux community in creating extensions or enhancements to Linux for this specialized segment of the embedded market. The main purpose of the forum is to avoid duplication of effort by these many companies (each of which has Linux-based products either released or in development), and to help the collective group of Forum members coordinate with the Linux community on enhancements they are considering.

A former ELC Board Member, Bird continues: “There are some key differences between the mission of the ELC and the mission of the CE Linux Forum, which are important to note. The CE Linux Forum will focus exclusively on embedded Linux in consumer electronics, while the ELC's mission is much more broad, covering the entire spectrum of embedded markets. Also, the CE Linux Forum will not have a promotional mission comparable to that of the ELC.”

The CELF is thus narrowly focused on the consumer electronics market space. The ELC is broadly committed to the vast and complex embedded computing market. The CELF is working strictly on the GNU/Linux kernel. The ELC is working strictly on the application development environment. As the CELFs work matures, there is a reasonable expectation that our cross-memberships will assure compatibility of the ELCPS with any certified Linux distribution proffered by the CELF.

Your release lists power management, real time and user interface as roadmap targets. The CELF lists power management and real time as roadmap targets. This sounds like overlap and duplication of effort. Is it?

No. These areas are complex and technically difficult. Considerations for proper engineering of power management and deterministic performance span the entire development chain, from silicon to application. The CELF effort is focused very close to the silicon, while the ELC effort is concentrated on the application.

ELC board members and working group participants (including representatives from Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, IBM and other firms) identified numerous efforts to build standards in these interest areas. Other groups outside of the CELF and the ELC are working on specific issues and some of this work may benefit the ELCs API-centric interests or the CELFs kernel centric interests. The good news is that an increasing amount of professional effort is being expended to make Linux truly excellent as an embedded OS choice.

Together, the efforts of our two groups are unifying a fragmented marketplace. By adding the key APIs discussed in the foregoing press release, the maturing ELC specification will help put to rest uncertainties about Linux. When the CELF release its CE-centric distribution of Linux, the ELC standard will appeal even more broadly to the open source community, vendors of tools and middleware as well as developers of end products.

This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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