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Cygnus Moves to Pre-empt Embedded Linux Fragmentation

Sep 27, 1999 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

EMBEDDED SYSTEMS CONFERENCE, San Jose, CA — Cygnus Solutions, a leader in open source software, today announced a major step to pre-empt the fragmentation of embedded Linux in the embedded computing segment. Cygnus introduced the EL/IX(tm) Application Programming Interface (API), an open source, configurable API and development environment for all pervasive computing platforms such as net-centric… appliances and infrastructure systems. EL/IX allows developers to develop Linux software or embedded software on a desktop PC, and then deploy this software across embedded devices running Linux or Cygnus' eCos(tm), a small, configurable open source operating system.

As Internet connectivity fuels the demand for embedded Linux in new computing devices such as personal digital assistants, set-top boxes, routers and telecom switches, Cygnus is taking a leadership role in establishing standards to enable application scalability and portability. Establishing this software layer in a standard fashion is critical to improving the efficiency of software development as applications are deployed into today's pervasive, net-centric devices. As has been validated by the desktop PC environment, portability and standardization are essential for the proliferation of applications on a common platform.

“Standards are extremely important for a community-developed operating environment such as Linux,” said Dan Kusnetzky, director, Operating Environments and Serverware, International Data Corporation. “This is doubly true for software for personal productivity and Internet appliances being developed by a number of companies today. By establishing a common, open API and working with members of the Linux community, Cygnus is making it possible for embedded software companies to build applications, which can serve a broader array of customer requirements without resorting to special, one-off techniques. This would lower their overall development costs and improve their time to market.”

Cygnus will offer the EL/IX API with a software development environment based on Cygnus GNUPro that makes it possible to produce and validate software for any Linux based computing appliance. EL/IX is designed to extend across Linux, from today's desktop solution into embedded Linux environments ranging from Internet appliances to network routers and telecom switches. The EL/IX API supports the needs of real-time (1) developers, who will be able to develop embedded applications that run on Linux (without real-time guarantees) or EL/IX compliant RTOSs (Real Time Operating Systems), such as eCos, with real-time response and/or reduced hardware requirements.

“Pervasive computing continues to drive powerful microprocessors into an increasing number of non-PC centric devices. This shift is amplified by the adoption of the Internet and by the momentum behind open source software,” said Alex Daly, president and CEO, Cygnus Solutions. “With the EL/IX API, companies delivering products to this heterogeneous computing environment can now develop to an open standard and take advantage of the growing base of Linux software.”

“An embedded Linux solution requires a (software tools) perspective that focuses on the right configuration and development tools to enable Linux to become embedded Linux,” said Dr. Jerry Krasner, Research Editor, Electronic Market Forecasters. “Cygnus' role in embedded computing, with its emerging real-time operating system, eCos, and the widely used GNU tools for both embedded and Linux development qualifies it to deliver an API that will work both for Linuxas an embedded operating system as well as other real-time operating systems.”

Scalable Embedded Software

Unlike current, customized versions of embedded Linux that target specific vertical markets and run the risk of fragmentation (as happened to Unix), Cygnus is offering an open source, POSIX-based approach that supports all Linux distributions. The EL/IX API is supported by an open development environment that meets the requirements of desktop, embedded Linux, and real-time developers alike. By providing developers a common set of development tools, a critical element for successful embedded development, Cygnus makes it possible to use the EL/IX API with any major Linux distribution to build properly configured versions of Linux that are small enough to meet high end embedded requirements. For deeply embedded requirements, developers can also use the EL/IX API for eCos, the open source, high configurable, royalty free, embedded Cygnus operating system.

Meeting the Needs of the Embedded Industry with EL/IX

“Linux is becoming an established operating system for Internet-connected appliances,” said Dave Dannenberg, director of platform software and architecture within Intel's Applied Computing Products Division. “We are pleased with Cygnus' level of commitment to leading Linux into the embedded community as they demonstrate development tools that maximize the performance of Intel's processors while creating an API that enables a common embedded development platform.”

“Cygnus further demonstrates its leadership in providing an open source POSIX API framework, EL/IX, to help structure the diverse Linux code base onto a common foundation for the development of commercial embedded applications,” said Greg Stoner, manager of applications at MIPS Technologies, Inc. “EL/IX shows Cygnus' strong role in providing predictable tools and enabling an application base to help embedded developers promote the rapid development of new projects onto the MIPS architecture.”

“Cygnus has consistently delivered innovative, open source technologies that are embraced by many development teams, including many Toshiba customers,” said Dr. Kiichiro Tamaru, chief specialist, Technology Planning Division, Toshiba Corporation. “Toshiba, who already offers GNUPro tools on our TX-MIPS line of microprocessors, also welcomes Cygnus' introduction of EL/IX because we recognize the power of open source software running on more and more embedded devices.”

“Pacific Softworks has already ported Fusion, a fully portable suite of Internet protocols and applications, to eCos” said Glenn Russell, President and CEO, Pacific Softworks. “EL/IX API is an exciting development in embedded software and a big step forward for our customers who are looking for an industry standard operating system and support for embedded applications and networking. For users of Linux, using EL/IX with the Fusion suite will provide a total solution.”

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