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BlueCat Linux 3.0 broadens support for embedded processors

Aug 18, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

San Jose, CA — (press release) — LynuxWorks, Inc. today announced the release of BlueCat Linux version 3.0, which adds features and expands support of embedded microprocessor architectures. BlueCat Linux now supports the ARM (including the Thumb extensions), StrongARM, and Hitachi SuperH microprocessor architectures. BlueCat Linux also supports the Motorola PPC750 and MPC8260 PowerQUICCII CPUs on cards from Motorola, Force, Ampro, Radstone, and others.

“The Super H, ARM7, and StrongARM families of embedded processors now supported in BlueCat 3.0 were designed specifically for key segments of the embedded end-equipment market,” stated Inder Singh, CEO and Chairman of LynuxWorks, Inc. “As LynuxWorks advances its unique strategy for the embedded market, the Linux community can expect continued expansion in the types of embedded processors supported in BlueCat Linux.”

This latest version of BlueCat Linux is based on a common code base for consistent and tested performance and functionality across all embedded CPU families. With BlueCat Linux 3.0, embedded developers are free to select the architecture that is appropriate for the cost, performance and functionality of their intended architecture. Applications developed on one BlueCat Linux CPU platform can be immediately migrated to a different platform for follow-on, or 'cost-down' projects. BlueCat Linux 3.0 offers common Linux APIs, development tools, booting options, functionality, and tested performance and stability across the different processors.

ARM microprocessor core support

The current release of BlueCat Linux, version 3.0 supports the ARM710T, ARM720T and StrongARM microprocessor solutions. ARM processors share a common object code format and similar bus and peripheral interfaces. ARM technology is widely used in highly integrated system-on-chip designs to provide high performance and long battery life in handheld products. The ARM710T and ARM720T solutions are high performance, low power 32-bit RISC processor cores incorporating the Thumb extensions. The 16-bit compressed instruction set and code density reduces memory and power requirements — achieving 32-bit system performance at 16-bit system costs.

The StrongARM family of processors deliver the high performance that advanced convergence applications need for routing, high level protocol management and to provide enhanced levels of performance and throughput for Java applications, multimedia devices and intensive applications like speech and handwriting recognition.
Next-generation ARM processor cores will be supported as they are released. The rapid support of these new ARM CPUs is facilitated by the unique BlueCat Linux software architecture. Intel's next generation of StrongARM technology is expected to deliver two to three times the performance of current StrongARM solutions while keeping power consumption below one half watt.

“BlueCat Linux for the ARM architecture will provide a strong open source development platform for the creation of low-cost, low-power ARM Powered consumer devices,” said Rod Crawford, director of Third Party Software products for ARM. “BlueCat Linux provides an open software platform for leading embedded processor families,” said Art Swift president and COO of LynuxWorks, Inc. “Our new release will accelerate development of new applications, including audio and digital imaging, video appliances and kiosks, web-enabled cell phones, highly intelligent point-of-sale (POS) terminals, residential gateways, navigation systems and others.”

Hitachi SuperH processor support

BlueCat Linux 3.0 also supports Hitachi's SuperH processors. “The BlueCat Linux support of Hitachi is yet another demonstration of LynuxWorks' ability to support top-tier embedded processor suppliers and their customers,” commented Inder Singh, CEO and Chairman of LynuxWorks. “Hitachi processors are widely used in a variety of embedded systems such as multimedia and consumer products — including hand held personal digital assistants, digital still cameras, and game machines. Coupling the performance and low power of Hitachi's processors with the features and support of BlueCat Linux should help embedded customers to quickly bring exciting new products to market.”

The SH-3 is the high end of Hitachi's SuperH family. The SH-3 — a high-end 32-bit processor — is appropriate for portable information-processing and multimedia equipment. The SH7729 processors — part of the SH3-DSP line — provide high-performance (133 MHz operation), with low power consumption and include 16kB of on-chip RAM for storage of the data required for DSP processing such as JPEG and ADPCM.

Unique BlueCat Features

The open-source LynuxWorks Messenger provides a messaging API and backplane communications technology to further facilitate complex multi-CPU designs. The BlueCat Linux 3.0 memory sizing tools and testing characteristics data offer the embedded developer immediate assistance in meeting design criteria.

BlueCat Linux also offers a freedom of choice for boot options, which are floppy, hard disk, compact flash, ROM/flash, network using firmware, parallel, or bios extension. It also features tools for creating kernel image and root file system images, a large number of BSPs, a flash file system, advanced power management, software RAID, kernel porting guide and example kernel configurations.


BlueCat Linux, licensed for a single development system, sells for $299 US.

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