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Linux gains free telecom-oriented IPC stack

Aug 2, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

A year later than expected, Enea has released an open source Linux version of its flagship IPC (interprocess communication) stack. The GPL/BSD-licensed Linx stack could allow for tighter control- and data-plane integration in mobile phones and telecom infrastructure equipment combining Linux with Enea's OSE/OSEck RTOS (real-time operating system).

Enea claims to be the second-largest RTOS (real-time operating system) supplier in the telecom market, after Wind River Systems. Enea's OSE RTOS and tiny OSEck operating environment for DSPs (digital signal processors) are typically used in data-plane applications at both ends of the virtual wire, and the company claims to have supplied software to “between 40 and 60 percent” of all 3G phones that have shipped to date.

The newly available open source version of Linx for Linux is said to implement the same IPC stack used natively in OSE and OSEck. This should free TEMs (telecommunications equipment manufacturers) from the onus of using multiple IPC mechanisms in distributed, heterogenous equipment that combines Linux with OSE/OSEck.

Perhaps more interestingly, it seems possible that an open source Linx stack could enable Linux-based mobile phones to have a richer telephony interface than the multiplexed serial interface typically used today to enforce license segregation between Linux and mobile phone software-defined radio stacks. Conceivably, Linx-enabled Linux phone stacks could access OSE/OSEck baseband processes directly, through a richer API than the AT-style modem interface supported on today's serial interface, given adequate security measures.

Touted features of Linx include:

  • Uses a “high-performance, lightweight direct messaging-passing technology”
  • Media and protocol independent
  • Can satisfy both local and remote IPC requirements
  • Said to work across “all CPU, OS, and interconnect boundaries”
  • Run natively over “any interconnect,” or uses standard protocols such as TCP and UDP as “bearer protocols”
  • Supports “any” system topology (multiple hops, gateways, etc.)
  • Efficient connection-based algorithms allow scaling to “very large” systems

John Smoluch, VP of business development at Enea, stated, “Offering this fundamental communications framework freely will increase access to this superior technology, and enable system designers to get higher quality products to market more rapidly.”

Availability

Linx for Linux is available now, under the GNU GPL, according to its SourceForge-hosted project website. BSD is also an option, Enea said. Linx will continue to be licensed commercially for OSE/OSEck.

Enea first announced plans to release Linx for Linux under an open source license in March of 2006. At that time, a June, 2006 release date was announced. No explanation for the delay was provided prior to publication time.

Lots more technical details about Linx can be found in our earlier coverage, here.


 
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