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Consumer Linux confab turns one, releases spec

Jun 29, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) celebrated its one-year anniversary today by releasing its first Specification and Reference Implementation. The Specification is a 67-page document aimed at guiding system developers interested in creating or extending individual technologies in Linux for use in consumer electronic (CE) devices. The Reference Implementation is a fully patched source tree supporting nine target boards. CELF is an industry consortium chartered with steering the development of a version of Linux for use in embedded CE products.

What is CELF?

CELF is an industry consortium founded in July of 2003 by Matsushita, Sony and six other Asian CE giants in order to promote improvements to Linux that would make it better suited for use in CE devices. Since its founding, the organization has gained considerable momentum, with many other consumer electronic giants and embedded Linux companies joining and contributing. CELF currently has some 50 member companies and organizations.

The CELF is often compared with the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), as a “center of gravity” for Linux that aims to steer Linux development in ways that mutually benefit its constituents. Although still a relatively young organization, CELF appears well positioned to achieve the kind of success with Consumer Electronics Linux that has been attained by the OSDL with Carrier Grade Linux and other projects.

Like the OSDL, CELF is comprised of a number of working groups. Each group contributed to the initial Specification and Reference Implementation releases, which were developing by consensus, according to CELF. The CELF working groups focus on six primary areas where barriers to the successful use of Linux in CE devices have been identified:

  • Reduction of device startup and shutdown times
  • Energy-saving features (low power consumption)
  • Audio Visual and graphics functions
  • Improvement of real-time characteristics
  • Reduction of memory requirements
  • Security enhancements

The Specification

The first CELF Specification is a 67-page document defining technologies and features that CELF working group members believe will make Linux a better base on which to build CE products. By clearly defining what is needed to move Linux forward in the CE market, the specification aims to enable collaboration between Linux developers working for CELF member companies. The open, public document also aims to invite participation and involvement from members of the open source community at large.

Some of the features outlined in the Specification have already been implemented, and even integrated into the mainstream 2.6 Linux kernel tree. Others are forward-looking features not available with current technology. As a whole, the document aims to guide Linux developers in the creation or augmentation of features that will meet CE device vendors' needs and priorities.

The Reference Implementation

The CELF Reference Implementation comprises a full Linux 2.4.20 kernel source tree, to which a number of patches have been applied. It supports nine reference hardware platforms, including:

  • i386 generic
  • VIA Eden board
  • TI OMAP Innovator
  • Renesas SH7751 board
  • Toshiba RBXTX4927 board
  • Kyoto Microcomputer KZP SH board
  • Renesas Solution Engine (SH7600) board
  • Samsung S3C2440 board
  • Toshiba JMR3927 board

The CE Linux patches are also available as a patchset, for developers wishing to apply them selectively. The patchset comprises 28 patches contributed by Lineo Solutions (8 patches), Mitsubishi (7 patches), Sony (4-1/2 patches), Toshiba (4 patches), Samsung (1 patch), Intel (1 patch), ARM (1 patch), Metrowerks (1 patch), and Panasonic (half a patch).

CELF has accomplished four major source tree releases since announcing availability of the first CELF source tree a few days before Christmas of last year.

“With the first year anniversary of the CE Linux Forum comes a reaffirmation of the strong desire of major CE vendors to promote and use Linux as a major technology component of digital CE products,” said Scott Smyers, CELF Steering Committee Chair.

The initial CELF Specification is available online in HTML, or as a 500KB PDF file. You may also wish to check the main CELF Wiki page for any future revised versions.

The CELF Linux Source Tree, Reference Implementation, and Patchset are available at the CELF Developer Site.

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