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Embedded Linux market growing significantly, research firm says

Dec 13, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

The embedded Linux market will top $100 million this year, and grow “significantly” by 2007, says Venture Development Corp. (VDC). Embedded Linux is best-established in America, but will grow most quickly in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia), with especially high growth in consumer electronics and telecom, according to VDC.

These key findings are from a VDC whitepaper entitled, “Linux in the Embedded Systems Market.” The whitepaper is based on VDC's 2005 study of embedded distributions, tools, maintenance, support, and professional services.

Additional key findings include:

  • Linux is embraced by large companies, including Sony, Motorola, Philips, Panasonic, and Siemens
  • Significant markets for embedded Linux currently include consumer electronics, datacom/datacom, military/aerospace, and industrial automation
  • MontaVista led the embedded Linux market in 2004, but VDC expects “explosive growth” from Wind River
  • Although not uniquely designed for embedded use, Linux's technical advantages and open source value proposition are driving adoption. These include:
    • Existing device drivers
    • Support for latest communication protocols
    • Robust, easy-to-use windowing and GUI toolkits
    • Royalty free production licensing
    • Developer demand for source code access
    • Growing commercial support
    • Increasing tools availability
    • Chip and board vendor interest in bundling a software value-add
    • Growing population of Linux hackers
    • Adoption in vertical markets
      • Automotive
      • Military and aerospace
      • Industry
      • Medical
      • Retail
      • Office automation

  • On the other hand, several factors hinder embedded Linux market growth, including:
    • Kernel limitations, such as footprint and real-time performance
    • Developers often don't need commercial Linux support
    • Developer inertia
    • Resistance to subscription-based licensing
    • Intellectual property protection concerns
    • Strong competition from Microsoft

Additional findings can be found in the complete whitepaper, here (PDF download). Further information on VDC's research report, “The 2005 Embedded Software Strategic Market Intelligence Program — Volume V: Linux in the Embedded Systems Market,” is available here.

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