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Wind River hires new manager for embedded Linux dev tools

Oct 12, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Embedded software specialist Wind River has hired Sven Dummer to manage its line of Eclipse-based Workbench tools for embedded Linux developers. Dummer joins Wind River from Novell, where he formerly led product management efforts for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Dummer also previously worked for Microsoft, Germany, but says he believes strongly in the open source model. “Eclipse, Linux, and GNU is a kind of dream team for me, and Workbench combines all this, with a focus more on the commercial side.”

Dummer also believes that with its enormous code contributions to the Device Software Development project that it helped start, Wind River has the right ideas about open source. “Wind River may not have been the first to offer open source embedded tools, but it seems to me it was the first to understand the dynamics of the market, and care about the open source software community. They understood that it's a give and take.”

As for Wind River's commercial products, Dummer believes the company is well-positioned in a growth market. He said, “Many device manufacturers started with homebrewed, homegrown, whatever you want to call it. They've tried that, and now they want a platform and a development solution that runs out of the box.”

He adds, “Applications are what matter, in the future, and that's where Workbench comes into the game. It's not about selling runtimes, but rather a complete platform, including the toolchain. Our customers love Linux, but they don't want to maintain their own distro and toolchain.”

Dummer notes that Workbench supports a choice of toolchains, including GNU tools, as well as compilers from Wind River and its partners. However, as of the latest release, customers using exotic Linux distributions are no longer supported.

He explains, “When it comes to enterprise-level support, as a company you have to decide between increasing your efforts — and your prices — or just focusing on one distribution. We determined that we could only deliver a truly integrated stack by focusing on one Linux platform — our own.”

“This is not about adding proprietary features that you can then only use with WR tools. It's all about the integration work we are doing. We are making sure the platform you get runs out of the box on your device,” he adds.

Asked about porting applications from other Linux distributions or custom stacks, to Wind River's Linux implementation, Dummer said, “We are very careful that our customers are able to clearly see what we modify in, say, the kernel, or what we integrate into the kernel. People can really see how our Linux differs from their homebrew, so it's easy for them to port applications.”

According to Dummer, the next Workbench release is slated for mid-winter. It will include features aimed at further integrating the tools and OS into a complete “solution,” rather than a mere platform, he said.

Dummer said Workbench tools are priced to reflect their universal appeal to developers of all project sizes and budgets. The runtime is royalty free, while the tools are licensed according to per-seat, per-year subscriptions, with basic support included.

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