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Update on the Embedded Linux Market (Oct. 2001)

Oct 31, 2001 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

A message from founder, Rick Lehrbaum, on the occasion of the second birthday of . . .

Today marks the second anniversary of the launch of (“the Embedded Linux Portal”). I launched the site on Halloween, 1999, in symbolic celebration of the infamous “Halloween Documents”, which exposed Microsoft's growing fears of Linux.

At the time when was launched, the use of Linux as an embedded operating system was virtually unheard of. Lineo, MontaVista, and Zentropix (who all participated in the announcement of the site's launch) had barely announced themselves as sources of embeddable versions of Linux, and Embedded Linux hadn't yet arrived on the radar screens of embedded market analysts like VDC, IDC, and EDC.

In short, two years ago the “Embedded Linux Market” simply didn't exist.

Much has changed since then. Numerous companies have jumped on — and off — the fast-moving Embedded Linux bandwagon, which seemed more like a rocketship much of the time. The technology and Linux stock “market bubbles” offered plentiful investment capital and fueled unnaturally rapid growth of Linux companies (including a handful of Embedded Linux companies) beyond their ability to sustain themselves from actual revenues. For some, the bursting of the bubble left them either out of business or in search of different businesses. For others, it meant tightening the belt and settling down to a more traditional business model.

Throughout all of this, though, the benefits of using Linux in smart devices and embedded systems have not only persisted, but grown exponentially. The newly established Embedded Linux vendors have provided new tools, OS extensions, middleware, and support to enhance the value of using Linux in embedded applications. In parallel, “ordinary” Linux itself has evolved at a rapid pace.

And the result has not been missed by those who make the design decisions. The following recent market studies and overviews testify to the growing prominence of Embedded Linux as the embedded OS of choice . . .

As another indication of the vitality of this new market, consider the number of Embedded Linux related pages of content currently available at . . .

  • 2120 news items
  • 347 articles
  • 274 product listings
  • 355 link listings

A Google search for “” currently turns up over 50,000 references!

Reflecting on the past two years, I can say that it's been a really exciting ride so far — and I honestly believe the best is still yet to come! After all, keep in mind that Embedded Linux is not itself a consumer product. It is a component used in the design of products and devices, a process which typically takes 12-24 months to come to fruition. Given that Embedded Linux — like — was born just two years ago, the vast majority of what must be thousands of different kinds of devices and systems that have had an Embedded Linux operating system designed into them are probably just getting ready to be supplied to their customers.

In just two years, Embedded Linux has risen from relative obscurity to recognition as one of top two or three OS choices for new designs of smart devices and embedded systems. Imagine where it'll be in another year!

Best regards,
Rick Lehrbaum
Founder and Executive Editor,

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