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Unix Dweeb

Linux for the Industry 4.0 era: New distro for factory automation

News Analysis
Nov 28, 20172 mins

NXP Semiconductors announced OpenIL, a Linux distribution meant for smart factory automation.

NXP Semiconductors, a world leader in secure connectivity solutions, just announced a Linux distribution that is intended to support factory automation. It’s called Open Industrial Linux (OpenIL), and it’s promising true industrial-grade security based on trusted computing, hardened software, cryptographic operations and end-to-end security.

The fact that factory managers and industrial equipment manufacturers are turning to Linux is not surprising considering its operational stability, professional approach to system security, and its obvious low cost of ownership. The importance of the security and reliability of manufacturing security to the well being of any industrial nation is clear from the focus that DHS places on this sector.

OpenIL is helping to usher in a new trend in smart factory automation referred to as Industry 4.0. This “smart factory” vision was initiated in Germany and provides features such as high flexibility, self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, and intelligent worker support.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 provides a focus on:

  • Interoperability — communicating through the Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of People (IoP)
  • Information transparency — enriching digital plant models with sensor data
  • Technical assistance — helping people by aggregating and providing visualization of information and supporting their decisions
  • Decentralized decisions — the ability of cyber systems to make some decisions on their own and to perform tasks autonomously

OpenIL includes real-time OS extensions and TSL (time-sensitive networking) support. It also makes it easy for OEMs to add their own software through the Linux file system.

OpenIL features

OpenIL includes the following:

  • Xenomai — a real-time framework for Linux
  • XML and NETCONF network configuration utilities
  • Precision time synchronization using gPTP
  • Ethernet drivers for time-sensitive networking
  • Support for edge computing services

You can read more about OpenIL by clicking on the link provided and even download source to get started as a contributor.

Check out NXP Semiconductors™ N.V. (NASDAQ:NXPI) for more information on that company’s activities and its support for this critical step forward in factory automation and security.

Unix Dweeb

Sandra Henry-Stocker has been administering Unix systems for more than 30 years. She describes herself as "USL" (Unix as a second language) but remembers enough English to write books and buy groceries. She lives in the mountains in Virginia where, when not working with or writing about Unix, she's chasing the bears away from her bird feeders.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Sandra Henry-Stocker and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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