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“Virtual platform” targets Linux device developers

Oct 2, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

CoWare and MontaVista Software are shipping a joint “virtual platform” development product for Linux device developers. The product is based on CoWare's electronic system-level (ESL) virtual platform technology, runs MontaVista Linux, and offers the Eclipse-based DevRocket integrated development environment (IDE),… according to the companies.

(Click for larger view of a CoWare Virtual Platform screen)

Virtual development platforms are intended to allow embedded software teams explore new architectures and begin exercising code prior to availability of custom microprocessors, SoCs (system-on-chips), or single-board computers. They are also touted for their faster execution and debug cycles, greater flexibility, non-intrusive debugging, and ease of long-distance collaboration.

CoWare, which counts ARM and Cadence among its investors, offers a variety of Linux-ready ESL tools, services, and virtual platforms under the “ESL” moniker. In February, the company released ESL 2.0, claiming compatibility with Google's Android mobile device development platform.

The new MontaVista Linux version of CoWare Virtual Platform will “accelerate Linux education and the development of Linux support packages and Linux-based electronic devices,” says CoWare. Specific goals include educating R&D teams on Linux and multicore-based software development, accelerating the development of Linux support packages, and developing, integrating, and testing Linux-based devices. The company lists mobile devices, consumer electronics, and networking equipment as possible design targets.

The joint solution is made available on a virtual ARM Versatile board that was developed using CoWare Virtual Platform technology. Running MontaVista Linux, the virtual platform extends the Versatile board to accommodate up to four ARM9 processor cores, says the company.

Multi-core debugging on CoWare Virtual Platform

Specific touted features of the CoWare Virtual Platform include:

  • Faster edit-compile-debug cycles through more controllability, observability, and determinism
  • Near or faster than real time execution
  • Non-intrusive multi-core debugging and analysis environment
  • Integration of existing commercial, open source, or proprietary software development tools
  • Integration of external applications such as realistic user interfaces and environment models
  • Platform can be transmitted as email attachment

Hardware-based development cycles (top) vs. virtual cycles (bottom)
(Click to enlarge)

Stated Joerg Bertholdt, VP of marketing at MontaVista, “The CoWare Virtual Platform established a solid track record in providing embedded development teams with a fast, more productive alternative to development boards. We have enabled device engineers to combine all the advantages of MontaVista Linux with the development acceleration and cost reduction provided by CoWare.”

Stated Marc Serughetti, VP of marketing at CoWare, “With the strong momentum of MontaVista Linux as well as the growth of multicore and multiprocessor hardware platforms, development teams are searching for integrated solutions that will enable them to deliver better products faster.”


The integrated CoWare Virtual Platform and MontaVista Linux solution is available now from CoWare and MontaVista, says the companies. It is being demonstrated at the Vision 2008 Embedded Linux Developers Conference this week in San Francisco. More information may be found here.

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