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MontaVista rev’s embedded Linux — adds Eclipse tool, Windows hosting, more

Nov 11, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

MontaVista Software today announced MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 3.1 (“Pro”), the next generation of the company's embedded operating system and development platform. Key new features include: DevRocket, an Eclipse-based graphical integrated development environment (IDE); new Windows-based hosting, in addition to Linux and Solaris; and, core system component updates.

MontaVista product marketing manager Jacob Lehrbaum says “device manufacturers will benefit from the enhanced development environment and improvements in real-time and networking technologies.”


MontaVista calls DevRocket 1.0 a “comprehensive” IDE built on “industry standard” Eclipse technology. Eclipse is a Java-based open development environment that aims to enable tools to be used together in a vendor-neutral way. Eclipse 2.1-based DevRocket runs on Linux, Windows, or Solaris — probably on any Java-supported platform, according to Lehrbaum. It can be used to target any of the 30 processor architecture/toolchain variations that Pro supports.

DevRocket “New Project” wizard

DevRocket integrates and streamlines compilation, editing, debugging, and revision control, according to MontaVista, as well as enabling MontaVista tools to interoperate with Eclipse-based tools from other vendors. DevRocket lets developers configure and build ready-to-deploy platform images, with easy-to-use project “wizards,” the company claims.

For those familiar with MontaVista's tools, DevRocket replaces the “target configuration system,” according to Lehrbaum, offering project wizards that automate key project tasks such as:

  • generating flash, ext2/3, JFFS2, or Reiser filesystems in “ready to play” platform images
  • right-sizing applications and de-crufting libraries
  • prelinking applications to enhance execution performance
  • stripping binaries
  • trace and analyze system events
  • identify and remedy memory leaks

Additionally, a C Development Toolkit (CDT) plugin provides core IDE features, such as edit/compile/debug/CVS integration.

Debugging with DevRocket
(Click for larger view)

Lehrbaum says MontaVista sees Eclipse as an elemental force in the embedded industry, with an influence not unlike that of Linux itself in terms of de-coupling technology from vendors. “Some companies have taken the approach of developing a whole environment on their own,” notes Lehrbaum. “But with Eclipse, you get thousands of users, testing, and many other benefits.”

MontaVista engineering vice president Kevin Morgan says “Eclipse technology is now the industry standard for integrated development environment (IDE) solutions.”

Eclipse has been embraced by scores of enterprise and embedded developers, and Timesys, QNX, Rational, Borland, IBM, and others have released Eclipse-based tools. MontaVista CEO James Ready has served on the board of directors for more than a year.

Lehrbaum expects MontaVista customers to use DevRocket to build everything from the kernel up to middleware and applications. He claims that half a dozen third party development tools vendors are at work on tools that will integrate with Eclipse and with DevRocket.

Windows hosting

Also new with Pro 3.1 is the ability to host development on workstations running Windows XP and Windows 2000. Previously, only Linux and Solaris hosts were supported, other than through VMware. This new capability represents a significant investment, according to MontaVista, which says Windows hosts support MontaVista's full networked cross-development model, including the creation of embedded Linux file systems, device nodes, and target images.

Other new features

The Pro 3.1 release comprises about 250 software packages, including both host- and target-based packages. The latest GNU tool chains based on GDB 6.0 and GCC 3.3 and included.

Pro 3.1 is based on the 2.4.20 Linux kernel, and includes numerous MontaVista technology enhancements and components that will become standard with the upcoming 2.6 kernel. According to Lehrbaum, MontaVista intends to wait until the 2.6 kernel has received more testing before incorporating it in its products. “We expect two or three spins of the kernel before it gets to the point where [there is] a truly embedded level of quality.”

Other new features include enhanced support for IPv6 built on USAGI Project technology, and support for VLAN (Virtual Local Area Networks) configuration. Pro 3.1 also incorporates enhanced real-time capabilities including high-resolution POSIX timers, the O(1) real-time scheduler, and the fully preemptible kernel.

Extensive target support

MontaVista says Pro 3.1 can target more than 30 “platforms” based on eight processor architectures, which it claims to be the most of any embedded Linux vendor. Note that MontaVista defines “platforms” as instances requiring a unique toolchain build, not simply as systems entailing a slightly different peripheral interface makeup due to minor processor or board variations.

“Essentially,” says Lehrbaum, “there are 30 different versions of Pro, because everything is built specifically for the processor.” Pro 3.1 explicitly supports more than 100 boards, including 20 new ones with the 3.1 release.

“MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 3.1 is built from a single integrated source code base, with support for the industry's broadest set of target hardware,” adds MontaVista director of engineering Mark Orvek. “Pro comprises a comprehensive embedded OS platform with pre-built and fully-tested binaries for every system supported. Cross and native development tools are included along with complete source code to facilitate customization.”


MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 3.1, incorporating MontaVista DevRocket, will be available in the 4th quarter of 2003. It is offered as a product subscription that includes the MontaVista Linux kernel, utilities, development tools, software updates, deployment components, access to the MontaVista Zone (customer resource portal), technical support and hands-on Linux training classes. Current subscribers of MontaVista Linux Professional Edition will have access to version 3.1 at no additional cost as part of their product subscription, the company says.

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