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Linux SDK outsourcer seeks silicon partners

Apr 8, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Embedded Alley (EA) hopes silicon vendors will hire it to develop and maintain their Linux software development kits (SDKs). The professional services and consulting firm's new Silicon Vendor Partner Program (SVPP) offers customized SDKs that vendors can freely distribute, and includes mainline kernel maintenance and regression testing.

The SVPP provides a customized embedded Linux development and runtime environment that is updated twice per year. It also includes a customer portal, regular regression testing for hardware platforms, and maintenance of vendor-optimized components, kernel, and tools in community source trees. Involvement in the silicon design process is also available, though not included in the SVPP.

To date, EA says it has signed up three SVPP partners:

  • SigmaTel — EA has developed ALSA drivers for SigmaTel in the past. Sigmatel's audio codec chipsets are used in x86 Linux desktops shipped by Dell.
  • NXP Semiconductors — NXP has been active in the embedded Linux space lately, announcing a set-top box (STB) reference design, as well as a low-cost GPS chip. It has also announced two separate phone stack partnerships to create mobile-phone reference designs based on its Nexperia Cellular Solution 7210 reference design: one with Azingo and the other with Purple Labs.
  • Raza Microelectronics Inc. (RMI) — In August, RMI announced that its XLR and XLS multi-core, multi-threaded MIPS-based processor families were being supported by Wind River's Carrier Grade Linux distribution.

The SVPP program is a response to the growing importance of the quality of SDKs and board support packages (BSPs) as part of the semiconductor customer purchase decision, said EA VP of Business Development Matthew Locke, in an interview. “We had more and more silicon vendor customers that were looking for something more than a standard embedded Linux distro,” said Locke. “With our program, they get a nice customized platform that they can hand out, and we also maintain their kernel. We pull down the latest kernel, compile it and test it. We support their BSP, their drivers, their core support — it's all maintained in the mainline.”

Known for its expertise in Linux kernel ports for the PowerPC architecture, EA has been busy acquiring other services firms in recent years. The company maintains development centers in Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia.


EA's Silicon Vendor Partner Program is accepting new members now, says the company. More information on the program may be found here.

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