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MontaVista’s market-specific distros support Android, Atom

Oct 28, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

MontaVista Software announced more Market Specific Distributions (MSDs) for its MontaVista Linux 6 commercial embedded development distribution. The MSDs are separated into industrial automation, multi-core networking, Android, automotive and portable multimedia, and multifunction-printer versions, and support processors from Cavium, Freescale, Intel, and Texas Instruments, says the company.

In early September, MontaVista shipped version 6 of its MontaVista Linux embedded Linux distribution, which dominates the embedded Linux marketplace along with Wind River Linux from Intel subsidiary Wind River. MontaVista Linux 6 (MVL6) is something of a radical departure for the decade-old development framework, adding a new build engine (MontaVista Integration Platform) and content server (MontaVista Zone), among other additions.

The biggest change, however, is the structural relaunch of the product in the form of specific Market Specific Distributions tailored for different architectures, specific processors, and targeted usage scenarios. Built on a common framework, but optimized for different platforms, the MSDs are said to be feature compatible with the semiconductor vendors' Linux technology. Each MSD is comprised of an embedded Linux kernel, appropriate device drivers, and "userland necessary to support the breadth of functionality provided by the hardware platform," says MontaVista.

MontaVista 's initial list of MSDs supported ARM1176 and ARM926, Freescale MPC8xxx (PowerPC), Intel x86 (Pentium/Xeon), MIPS32, and Xilinx Virtex 5. These have now been joined by Cavium's MIPS-based Octeon, Freescale's ARM-based i.MX35 and i.MX51, and Freescale's PowerPC-based MPC5xxx models, as well as additional MPC8xxx processors. MDEs are also available for Intel's "Greencity" (Core 2 Quad/Nehalem) and Atom Z530 (Moblin) platforms, as well as Texas Instruments' ARM-based OMAPL128/L127, OMAP3430 (Zoom2), and OMAP3530 (Beagleboard).

According to MontaVista, the new MPC5121e and OMAPL128/L127 distributions are the first commercial embedded Linux packages supporting industrial automation, providing features such as RT Preempt real-time Linux support and Ethernet enablement for PROFINET.

The new MSDs also represent MVL6's first Intel Atom support packages, with a Moblin v2.1 solution targeting the Atom Z530. In addition, MontaVista introduces an Android-specific platform in the form of a Texas Instruments (TI) Zoom2 board that incorporates TI's OMAP3430 processor, which is showing up on an increasing number of high-end smartphones, such as the Palm Pre (pictured).

The following list details the new MSD platforms from MontaVista:

  • Networking — The new MSDs are said to support some of the latest multi-core processors from Intel, Cavium, and Freescale, offering features like semiconductor-optimized library support for multi-core management, as well as network features such as SCTP, OpenSwan, libpcap, and IPsec tools:
    • Cavium's MIPS-based, multi-core Octeon CN52xx, CN56xx, and CN58xx, which are listed as being "all on SDK 1.9"
    • Freescale MPC8349 (previously supported in a non-networking specific MSD) and MPC8569 PowerPC-based PowerQUICC processors
    • Freescale's multi-core, PowerPC-based "QorIQ" P2020RDB and P4080 SoCs
    • Intel "Greencity," powered by Core2Quad/Nehalem (Listed on MontaVista's Linux board support package page, Greencity appears to be an x86 Intel board that can incorporate either a Core 2 Quad, also known as the Core i5 or Core i7, or the newer Nehalem processors.)

  • Industrial automation — Features are said to include CAN (controller-area network) support, Ethernet enabled for PROFINET, advanced power management, and RT preempt support:
    • Freescale MPC5121e, a telematics focused, PowerPC-based SoC, which is being incorporated in various equipment, including a new automotive gauge cluster from Yazaki (pictured at right)
    • Texas Instruments (TI) OMAPL128/L127 (PDF link here) — low power, ARM-based processors that appear to be related to the L137/L138 chips
  • Android — The Android MSD offers advanced power management, advanced 2D/3D graphics, and semiconductor advanced codec enablement, as well as Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity for devices running the Linux-based, Google-sponsored mobile operating system, says MontaVista:
    • Texas Instruments OMAP3430 (Zoom2) — ARM Cortex-A8-based smartphone powerhouse, apparently supported in the form of one of Logic Product Development's Zoom boards

  • Portable Multimedia Device and Automotive — Like the Android MSD, these platforms offer power management, 2D/3D graphics, codec enablement, Bluetooth, and WiFi support, and they also provide CAN bus support:
    • Freescale i.MX35 (new ARM11-based SoC focused on automotive telematics)
    • Freescale i.MX51 (new ARM Cortex-A8 processor targeting netbooks, automotive devices, and other general-purpose high-end embedded devices)
    • Intel Atom Z530 running Moblin v2.1 stack (Moblin generally runs on Atom N270-based netbooks instead of this original general-purpose embedded Z530 Atom, so if this is an automotive product, MontaVista may instead be referring to the thermally enhanced, automotive-focused Z530P. Then again, Moblin v2.1, available now in an early preview release, supposedly targets handhelds, including smartphones. Interesting.)

    • Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 based OMAP3530 (which is similar to the OMAP3430, but with a broader focus than smartphones), offering support for the OMAP3530-based Beagleboard open source hobbyist board (pictured at right), and TI's more fully featured OMAP3530EVM development board.
  • Multifunction Printers (MFP) — The MFP MSDs offer advanced power management, connectivity, mass storage for larger hard disk drives, and memory management features (including "bigphysarea") for MFP devices:
    • Freescale MPC8536 (the recipient this week of the first Android PowerPC port, courtesy of Mentor Graphics) and MPC8315RDB

Stated Patrick MacCartee, Director Product Management and Hardware Enablement Strategies, MontaVista, "We continue to deliver on the promise of MontaVista Linux 6, delivering multiple high value, commercial quality MSDs for different target markets every quarter."


The new MSDs are available now or will ship by the end of the year, says MontaVista. More information may eventually appear on the MVL6 MSD page, here.

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