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Article: Guest editorial: Why you should participate in the ELC

May 29, 2001 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

This call for participation is addressed primarily to individuals, rather than companies — to readers, members of the Embedded Linux Community, students, faculty, and anyone interested in using Linux within Embedded Systems and smart devices. I want to call attention to the exciting opportunity to be actively involved in the important activities of the href=”” target=”_blank”>Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC).

First, let's consider the importance of the Embedded Market itself, in comparison with the higher profile Desktop PC Market. Take a moment to look around your current surroundings. How many PC's are there? On the other hand, how many “devices” can you find, that have some sort of software embedded inside them? Now, wander through the other rooms in your home or office, asking yourself the same question. If your environment is typical, you'll quickly realize that the Embedded Market dwarfs the PC Market in terms of sheer quantities of operating systems (OSes) in use.

Now, what is it that sets Linux apart from traditional Proprietary Operating Systems? Part of the answer is the widespread involvement by both individuals and companies. Involvement comes in many forms in the Linux Community, and this is one of the key factors that has resulted in Linux becoming such a highly robust and rapidly evolving platform. The ability for thousands of developers and users to have real input into the software environment and its applications is one huge difference between the Open Source and Proprietary software development models.

I have personally been involved for over a year in Embedded Linux, as an active member (and Director) of the ELC and want people to realize that it is possible for individuals — not just companies — to actively participate and meaningfully contribute to this market. Within the ELC there are opportunities to attend trade shows, meet with other people who work in the Embedded Linux market, provide input to the organization at its meetings and in its online discussions, etc. One such opportunity, the formation of an local ELC chapter, is taking place right now in Europe.

Any interested member of the Embedded Linux community can become a non-corporate (NC) member of the ELC, and thereby become an important part of what the ELC is doing globally, or in their local area as in the case of the new ELC Europe.

In particular, I very much want to convey this message to students and faculty in Academia. It's important that these important creators of the future of embedded technology realize that “the boat of Embedded Linux” has set sail, and begin to prepare themselves for what is to come. Students can often have an advantage here, as many have access to the resources that can help prepare them for what will be a huge opportunity as Embedded Linux moves forward.

In the traditional Server space, there has been a shortage of Linux developers due to the rapid proliferation of interest in running Linux on these systems. Because the Embedded Market is so huge compared with all other markets for microprocessors, I predict a severe shortage of Embedded Linux developers in the near future. In preparation for this expected demand, Embedded Linux educational opportunities need to be bolstered starting from the lowest levels. I urge the faculty and administration of Colleges and Universities to bolster their programs in preparation to meet this burgeoning demand for Embedded Linux developers.

As mentioned, anyone interested is welcome to become a non-corporate (NC) member of the ELC. There is a nominal NC membership fee of $150 per year. However, the ELC welcomes contributors to Linux and Open Source Software to apply for a fee waiver. This mechanism makes it possible for those who have donated their efforts and knowledge to the Linux/OSS cause to become NC members at no charge (subject to approval by a designated committee of the ELC).

Finally, I also want to urge ELC member companies to encourage their developers and other employees to join in the action. Get involved, join our mail lists, come along to meetings etc. It's important that we work together to create a proactive Embedded Linux community, and I believe it is the individual members (i.e. “NC” members) of the ELC that will ultimately form the foundation of that community.

Author's bio: Greg Wright (Greg-AT-AusIT-dot-com) is an IT Consultant in Sydney Australia and currently serves as Non-Corporate (NC) Director of the Embedded Linux Consortium and as International Coordinator of the Linux Professional Institute. Greg has been working with Linux since 1997.

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