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Linux distro boasts CGL 4.0 compliance for MIPS

Sep 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Wind River announced that Wind River Linux 3.0 for MIPS now complies with the Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 4.0 networking equipment specification maintained by the Linux Foundation (LF). The CGL 4.0 support extends to MIPS64-based multi-core processors from Cavium Networks and RMI Corp., says the Intel-owned company.

In February 2008, Wind River announced it was the first commercial embedded Linux distribution vendor to meet the LF's CGL 4.0 requirements. Wind River Platform for Network Equipment (PNE), Linux Edition 2.0 was said to have met all 135 priority-one mandatory requirements outlined by the specification.

When Wind River Linux 3.0 shipped in March, the distribution included CGL 4.0 compliance for PowerPC and x86 architecture-based processors from Freescale and Intel, says Wind River. (With version 3.0, Wind River rolled in all its vertical distributions, including PNE, into a single platform.) As shown on the LF's CGL registration page, these have now been joined by registrations for the RMI (Raza Microelectronics, Inc.) XLR MIPS64 and Cavium Octeon MIPS64 architectures.

Wind River rival MontaVista is also registered for x86 and PowerPC architectures under CGL 4.0, as well as for Octeon MIPS64, but not yet RMI's XLR. The only other member of the CGL 4.0 club is Performance Technologies (PT), whose homegrown networking distro, NexusWare Core 12.0 supports x86 and PowerPC processors. Unlike Wind River, MontaVista and PT also support the older i386 platform on CGL 4.0.

Carrier Grade Linux background

Carrier Grade Linux is the standard choice for network equipment based on Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) standards. The more rigorous CGL 4.0 spec, introduced in February 2007, spells out 250 requirements divided into seven categories: availability, clustering, serviceability, performance, standards, hardware, and security. Each category is separated into mandatory, desired, and roadmap priority levels.

According to Wind River, CGL has become a key requirement in networking equipment, 3G and 4G wireless infrastructures, and "other markets where stringent availability, scalability, and service response characteristics are mission-critical requirements."

Cavium's Octeon and RMI's XLR

In April, Cavium announced its MIPS64-based Octeon II system-on-chip (SoC) family, touted for providing up to four times the performance of its earlier Octeon Plus processors. Whereas Octeon Plus topped out at 16 cores with the top-of-the line CN5860, the Octeon II offers versions that combine up to 32 MIPS64 cores.

Cavium further claims that the Octeon II offers more than twice the performance per Watt and performance per dollar than the Octeon Plus. The Octeon II also offers dozens of application accelerator engines, Cavium says.

RMI's XLR processors were announced in August, 2007. They integrate four or eight MIPS64 cores clocked up to 1.5GHz. Each core is said to implement fine-grained, four-way multi-threading, for the equivalent performance of 16 or 32 separate cores. A low-cost XLS version of the XLR is similarly based on a MIPS64 core.

Earlier this year, RMI announced a superscalar, 40nm-fabricated XLP processor family. The XLP can support both data- and control-plane processing, with the initial XLP832 model mixing eight "EC4400" cores clocked at 500MHz to over 2GHz, says RMI.

Stated YJ Kim, senior director, Networking and Communications Division, Cavium Networks, "Adding the carrier-grade functionality for MIPS will help our joint customers develop highly reliable products contributing to the always-on requirement of today's network."

Stated Mark Litvack, director of business development, RMI Corp., "The use of RMI's XLR and XLS processors in combination with Wind River's software, provides a unique solution that exceeds the demands of next-generation wireless network."

Stated Art Swift, VP of marketing, MIPS Technologies, "Supporting the carrier-grade specification on Wind River Linux is another important milestone."


Wind River Linux 3.0, registered as CGL 4.0 compliant for MIPS architectures, is now available, says Wind River. Additional details should be here. The Linux Foundation's CGL 4.0 registration page should be here.

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