Red Hat Inc. will make a Linux operating system for embedded devices through a partnership with Wind River Systems Inc., which specializes in software for this type of device, the companies announced Monday.
The operating system, to be called Red Hat Embedded Linux, will be integrated with Wind River development tools and middleware to allow Wind River users to create embedded Linux applications, the companies said.
The Red Hat deal thus extends Wind River's application development platform into Linux, giving developers who use Wind River another operating system option to develop their applications for. Previously, users of Wind River development tools could only create applications that ran on Wind River's proprietary VxWorks operating system.
"This is significant for users of Wind River's products. It will let their customers make choices in terms of supporting either VxWorks or Linux. They recognize that users want more choice and that some users will be happy with a proprietary solution and others will want a more open solution," said Paul Zorfass, a senior analyst at IDC/First Technology Inc.
There is a rising interest in the market for developing embedded applications running on Linux because the open source operating system offers quicker deployment and lower costs when compared with proprietary embedded operating systems, Zorfass said.
This is the first time Red Hat is developing an embedded Linux operating system, said Red Hat spokeswoman Leigh Day. In the past, the Raleigh, North Carolina, company worked with individual clients to customize existing Red Hat software to run on embedded devices, she said. Red Hat Embedded Linux should be ready by early 2005, Day said.
Red Hat Embedded Linux will initially be targeted for carrier grade network equipment such as high-end routers and switches, the companies said.
In addition to serving providers of telecommunications and data transmission services, Wind River also focuses on makers of digital consumer devices, such as PDAs (personal digital assistants) and cell phones, of aerospace and defense products and of cars.
Also on Monday, Wind River announced an upgrade to its proprietary operating system, VxWorks. Improvements in version 6.0 include a new suite of memory protection features and a scalable message passing architecture. Another change in VxWorks 6.0 is its integration with the company's new application development environment, Wind Power IDE 2.0, which was also announced Monday. Wind Power IDE 2.0 will be available in May and will support the open source Eclipse application development framework and Red Hat Embedded Linux.