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Embedded Linux takes off, Part 1

Opinion
Mar 01, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* Red Hat, Wind River embeds Linux into smaller devices

Red Hat and embedded real-time operating system (RTOS) vendor Wind River Systems made waves in the embedded Linux market last week, announcing a deal whereby Wind River would port Red Hat for deployment as a platform for smaller devices.

Also last week, rival embedded Linux vendor MontaVista Software announced a new consumer electronics version of its embedded Linux distribution, as well as a development environment for equipment providers.

The Red Hat/Wind River deal will have engineers from the two companies working to port Red Hat code to embedded computer and networking products, such as industrial devices, handhelds, and data networking equipment. The deal follows lukewarm results of Red Hat’s venture into the embedded market in 1999 with the acquisition of Cygnus Solutions, a maker of embedded Linux development tools.

Red Hat gains a powerful ally in the embedded RTOS market with Wind River, a 23-year-old RTOS vendor, which has systems running everywhere from the Mars Rover Spirit to air bag deployment systems on cars. But the joint venture also shows that Wind River has read the writing on the wall; embedded systems vendors want open source software. While VxWorks, Wind River’s premier RTOS product, has been a standard in the industry for years, makers of equipment such as automotive computing systems, telecommunications equipment and even slot machines are realizing that Linux, free from licensing and development environment fees, is a better platform choice for their products.

Next: MontaVista answers.