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Embedded Linux vendor touts network processor support

Jun 19, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Weeks away from the full release of version 5.0 of its flagship embedded Linux distribution, MontaVista is touting support for an Intel hardware reference design aimed at multi-service residential gateway equipment. MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0 (Pro 5.0), expected to go gold this month, will support Intel's IXP435 platform, the Linux vendor said.

Intel's IXP435 platform is intended to help companies build devices based on the IXP435 network processor. The processor integrates an XScale core clocked to 667MHz, along with a pair of network processor engines (NPEs) — programmable processing elements with their own instruction and data memory. Other features include DDR1/2 memory controllers, dual hi-speed USB 2.0 (480Mbps) host ports, cryptographic accelerators, and a high-speed serial (HSS) interface.

Intel IXP435 network processor diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Intel's IXP435 reference design comprises a board based on the IXP435 chip, together with software needed to activate the chip's cryptographic acceleration, HSS, MII interfaces, and NPEs. Also available with the design are the RedBoot 2.04 bootloader, GNU toolchain, MontaVista 3.1 and 4.0 BSPs, “Coyote” DSP software from ADI, and VLAN/QoS add-ons.

Intel's IXP435 reference design
(Click to enlarge)

Pro 5.0

MontaVista announced Pro 5.0 in April, promising the commercial Linux distribution would “break all barriers” separating Linux from markets traditionally served by RTOSes (real-time RTOSes). Available now to “early access” customers, Pro 5.0 is said to offer footprint reduction through native support for uClinux extensions, and sub-30 microsecond response times through the use of a patched 2.6.18 kernel.

Additional touted Pro 5.0 features, when used with Intel's IXP435 reference design, are listed by MontaVista as follows:

  • Simplified migration from IXP425
  • Supported by Intel's IXP400 Software Access library for Linux
  • Advanced power management capabilities
  • Integrated Eclipse-based Dev Rocket 5.0 development tools

Jim Ready, CTO, said that combined with Intel's IXP435 design, Pro 5.0 especially suits networked media devices, wireless routers, and VoIP routers. He stated, “Engineers using [Pro 5.0] with the Intel IXP435 processor will have the distinct advantage of an off-the-shelf solution combined with the control of an in-house built Linux solution.”


MontaVista's Pro 5.0 BSP for Intel's IXP435 reference platform appears to be available now. MontaVista BSPs are free to download, but easiest to use with the company's tools. MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0, which includes the tools, will ship later this month, and is also available now to early access customers, the company said.

MontaVista also recently announced a Pro 5.0 BSP for Freescale's MPC8349E-mITXE, a mini-ITX development board aimed at pervasive computing applications. MontaVista competitor TimeSys also recently touted its IXP435 BSP.

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