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Wind River launches its first embedded Linux, aimed at telecom

Nov 1, 2004 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Thirteen months after taking the “first step” of a strategic shift toward Linux, the world's largest embedded software company is set to ship its inaugural Linux product. “Linux Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition” targets makers of telecommunications equipment who use Linux on the control plane along with Wind River's proprietary VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS) on the data plane, and it includes middleware that lets Linux and VxWorks processes intercommunicate. Additionally, the company has updated its Eclipse-based Workbench development suite to work with 2.6-series kernels and has upgraded the tool to Eclipse 3.0, among other advances.

Platform for Network Equipment (PNE), Linux Edition

PNE is part of Wind River's “platform strategy,” first unveiled in November, 2002. The company's platforms comprise operating systems, middleware, application stacks, tools, and service contracts that broadly target very general vertical markets, such as consumer electronics, industrial devices, telecom, and others. Wind River has selected its Network Equipment platform as the first to be offered with a Linux operating system.

PNE Linux Edition includes an embedded Linux distribution that Wind River developed in-house, according to Chief Marketing Officer John Bruggeman. What of Wind River's highly publicized partnership with Red Hat (which recently made a few embedded announcements of its own)?

“Our goal is to work with Red Hat toward a single distribution that meets requirements across the board. Where we're at today, that's just not the case,” explains Bruggeman. “We have a huge base in the network equipment space, and we have to serve those customers.”

“We will absolutely embrace and support the Red Hat Enterprise Linux. We remain tremendously upbeat about the partnership,” Bruggeman adds.

PNE Linux Edition targets telecommunications equipment manufacturers (TEMs), and Bruggeman expects it to have been CGL-Registered for compliance with version two of the OSDL's Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) specification by the time it begins shipping in early 2005. Wind River joined the OSDL in December, 2003. Competitor TimeSys shipped the first CGL-Registered distribution last week, and MontaVista Software launched the first Carrier Grade Linux product in April, 2002.

According to Bruggeman, as AdvancedTCA penetrates the telecommunications equipment market, management PMCs (PCI mezzanine cards) running proprietary UNIX OSes are being replaced with AMCs (advanced mezzanine cards) running Linux. Meanwhile, on the data plane, line cards are migrating from PMCs to AMCs, but are still primarily running VxWorks and other RTOSes, Bruggeman says. Thus, to improve performance on telecom equipment that increasingly runs Linux alongside VxWorks, Wind River has finally delivered its inter-OS compatibility layer.

Message-passing infrastructure

When Wind River announced VxWorks 6.0 in February of 2004, it said the heavily revised OS would feature a message passing infrastructure that would enable VxWorks to communicate with Linux through IPC (inter-process communications), and vice versa. VxWorks 6.0 shipped this summer without such functionality, however.

Meanwhile, world number two telecom OS supplier Enea shipped a Linux compatibility layer for OSE, its real-time operating system, in late April, at the same time announcing that it would distribute and support embedded Linux, sourced from partner Metrowerks.

Now, Wind River has made good on its compatibility layer commitment, Bruggeman says, and is ready to help TEM customers create deeply integrated, distributed Linux/VxWorks application environments.

Workbench 2.2

Additionally, Wind River is shipping a dot-revision to its Eclipse-based Workbench toolsuite. Workbench 2.2 is based on Eclipse 3.0, and among other new features includes support for 2.6-series Linux kernels. Workbench 2.0 shipped in June, and has been marketed as a single, unified development environment that supports not only any Linux distribution, but also VxWorks as well as proprietary, in-house-developed embedded OSes. Thus, Workbench enables companies that support multiple embedded OSes (including Wind River's offerings) to standardize on a single development environment.

Additionally, the 2.2 Workbench release adds support for new Freescale, Intel, and IBM chips, with MIPS and ARM target support due to arrive soon.

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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