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Board vendor aims real-time Linux at mil/aero apps

May 15, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Following its acquisition of real-time Linux technology from FSMLabs last month, Wind River has announced a “strategic partnership” with former FSMLabs partner Curtiss-Wright. Curtiss-Wright will use Wind River's “General Purpose Platform” and “Real-time Core” as the standard Linux operating environment for its x86-based board-level computers targeting aerospace and defense applications.

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Curtiss-Wright specializes in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) processor and peripheral interface boards for applications in the aerospace & defense (A&D) market, including boards based on VME, VPX (photo at right), and CompactPCI standards. The company supports Wind River's proprietary VxWorks as its “standard out-of-the-box RTOS solution;” however, it also maintains a Linux Center of Excellence in San Diego, where Linux demand is rising, according to Mike Hornsby, Curtiss-Wright's marketing director.

Hornsby said, “Frankly, very few of our customers right now are using Linux. But, there are a couple of significant opportunities where integrators have asked us about our Linux strategy. Having a hard real-time solution under the Linux banner that our customers can consider makes Linux more of a possibility in this rugged board market that is our sweet spot.”

Hornsby said recent Linux-based design wins for Curtiss-Wright customers have included “high-capacity storage above reconnaissance aircraft, wide-body aircraft radar consoles, and vehicle management systems that keep track of cargo.”

Additionally, Curtiss-Wright and FSMLabs previously ported FSMLabs's RTCore real-time Linux add-on to Curtiss-Wright's Manta Quad PowerPC VME board. That board and BSP were subsequently used by Harris Systems, a major military systems integrator, in a software-defined radio application. Wind River acquired RTCore from FSMLabs earlier this year.

Wind River's “Real-time Core” product, formerly RTCore, is a nanokernel with a real-time POSIX API, so that it can run applications with hard real-time scheduling. It can also run a slightly modified Linux kernel as its idle task. The aim is to offer both hard, real-time performance and the rich application diversity of Linux and open source software.

Vincent Rerolle, director of business development at Wind River, said his company's acquisition of RTCore reflects the need in today's world for “a co-existence model, and virtualization.” He said, “I have a shopping list, and it's less about the targets and more about what customers really need. The co-existence of multiple operating environments creates a set of pretty big challenges.”

Lynn Patterson, GM of modular solutions at Curtiss-Wright, stated, “We chose to expand our partnership with Wind River because, in addition to their market-leading VxWorks platform, the company offers best-of-breed guaranteed real-time Linux device software.”

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