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Linux dev platform takes on embedded multimedia UIs

Oct 6, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Timesys has expanded its LinuxLink development platform for embedded Linux devices to offer a subscription for higher-level multimedia and interface functions. The LinuxLink Rich Multimedia User Interfaces (Rich MUI) subscription incorporates the Qt framework, GStreamer, and many other components, initially targeting Texas Instruments' DaVinci, OMAP, and Sitara system-on-chips, as well as Freescale's i.MX51, says the company.

The Rich MUI offering builds upon Timesys' mainstream LinuxLink service, which is billed as a low-cost, automated set of development tools and services for embedded Linux developers. LinuxLink combines online and desktop tools, including an automated "Factory" build system, with repositories of updated, open source components.

The LinuxLink Rich MUI solution includes all the software components and tools required to build 2D, 3D, audio-, and video-accelerated embedded systems, says Timesys. Components include 2D/3D graphics software development kits (SDKs), Nokia's Qt development framework, drivers for hardware-accelerated components, and GStreamer plugins for audio and video, says the company.

LinuxLink Rich MUI architecture
(Click to enlarge)

The Rich MUI software and service offers a drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG tool for GUI design, as well as tools for cross-building the code to run on a particular target, says Timesys. Also supplied is a library of documented, working demos covering OpenGL ES and GStreamer, as well as "many Qt Widget and API calls," says the company.

A platform developer can select from one of many Rich MUI templates, with all components already cross-built and linked. As part of the Rich MUI subscription, users receive all necessary drivers, codecs, and API libraries, says Timeys. These components are said to be pre-integrated and tested, with version compatibility already reconciled. The LinuxLink Rich MUI software then generates a bootable platform and complete toolchain, says the company.

In addition, the Rich MUI solution includes the company's Eclipse-based TimeStorm IDE (integrated development environment), which is said to include Timesys plug-ins for debug and deployment. Other Rich MUI features are said to include Qt Designer plug-ins for WYSIWYG GUI design. In addition, unmetered Linux support is included in every subscription.

Timesys CEO Atul Bansal told LinuxDevices several weeks ago that the LinuxLink Rich MUI was developed in response to the increasing frustration embedded developers were showing with multimedia-related open source tools. The complex and time consuming task of writing an embedded multimedia application is exacerbated by finding all the different components required and ensuring they work together, he noted.

"Platforms like Android and MeeGo have lots of multimedia and graphics capabilities, and board vendors have various multimedia related stacks, and there are many other useful open source tools available, but it's a big challenge getting them all together," said Bansal. "Rich MUI can significantly reduce the time and complexity of the process."

Last month, Timesys announced the availability of the LinuxLink Free Edition, a free "cloud" version of its Linux development platform. The Free Edition is aimed at rapid prototyping, and includes LinuxLink features such as kernels, toolchains, debuggers, TimeStorm, and the Web Factory build system.

The company also announced a LinuxLink subscription for running MeeGo on the new Intel Atom E6xx processor. Like the MeeGo subscription, the Rich MUI tools are available only with the paid desktop version of LinuxLink.

Rich MUI SoC platforms and testimonials

LinuxLink Rich MUI will initially be available for LinuxLink subscriptions addressing high-end, ARM-based multimedia SoCs, including the following Texas Instruments (TI) and Freescale platforms:

Stated Jithu Niruthambath, ARM MPU software and tools marketing manager, TI, "Timesys has worked diligently to provide an easy-to-use solution for developing Rich MUI applications for customers utilizing Texas Instruments' (TI) Sitara ARM microprocessors and DaVinci video processors."

Stated Eric Harnisch, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Logic PD, "Our longstanding relationship with Timesys has resulted in satisfied customers building graphics-based products on our System on Modules. The new Rich MUI offering from Timesys will allow our customers to easily create new multimedia-capable products and get to market faster."

Stated Bernd Lienhard, vice president and general manager of Freescale Semiconductor's Multimedia Applications Division, "The LinuxLink edition for Rich MUI gives our i.MX customers an easy-to-use Linux development environment that provides the commercial quality tools and support they need to speed and simplify development."

Availability

The LinuxLink Rich MUI subscription will be available this month, says Timesys, which did not list pricing. More information may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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