23 February 2004 Open-source software distributor Red Hat and embedded systems developer Wind River have announced a partnership intended to drive Linux more deeply into the market for embedded operating systems.
Embedded operating systems are typically used in small, specialised devices such as telecoms equipment, mobile phones or domestic appliances, which require simpler, lighter software than PCs.
Wind River is a veteran of the embedded software market, but the position of its VxWorks system is threatened by Linux’s highly componentised architecture, which enables it to be stripped down for use in embedded operating systems.
Linux’s popularity also means that there is a large pool of competent programmers that can develop embedded applications on it, further reducing cost and time to market.
Wind River has also been facing Linux-based competition from companies such as MontaVista and MetroWerks and has seen its royalty-based revenues undercut by Linux’s one-off, upfront payments. Nevertheless, it has resisted adopting Linux until recently.
Terms of the agreement are yet to be unveiled in detail, but it is understood that engineers from both companies will develop a variant of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux operating system, while Wind River will head-up sales and support.
Wind River insists that Linux and VxWorks will be complementary, with its existing proprietary system better suited to smaller devices and Linux more appropriate for high-end consumer electronics.