Embedding open source

Summary:Linux is a big player in the embedded systems market. But is open source?

Linux is a big player in the embedded systems market. But is open source?

There are several ways to implement Linux on devices. Montavista is one of several companies with Linux distros aimed at the embedded market. They count Motorola among their customers.

But the truest open source Linux out there, an Italy-based effort called the Real-Time Application Interface (RTAI), remains a laggard. >

RTAI is a hard real-time extension to the Linux kernel, contributed in accordance with the Free Software guidelines, providing the features of an industrial-grade Real Time Operating System (RTOS), seamlessly accessible from the GNU/Linux environment.

While RTAI is out there, efforts are underway to stick Linux in a box, as a feature, while stripping it of anything resembling its open source roots.

That's what I think Wind River, makers of the popular VxWorks RTOS, aims to do. VxWorks will have a Linux software interface, but inside it will remain the same consumer electronics operating system it has always been, with the same proprietary license scheme.

Your Clue here is that Linux and open source are not always synonomous. I know y'all understand that, but not everyone does, and sometimes folks need a reminder.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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