Linux Foundation getting much more embedded
ECD: Tell us where MeeGo is in the smartphone/tablet race, what’s next on the near-term roadmap, and how the broader embedded device market can leverage the technology.
Zemlin: The mobile platform race is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be a variety of winners, and we’re in just the first five minutes of the race right now. It’s also not just about smartphones and tablets.
By using the collaborative development model and committing to an open platform, the MeeGo Project enables cross-device compatibility, application portability, and a user experience that opens up broad market opportunities for developers. MeeGo is built from the ground up to support devices we haven’t even imagined yet. There is a developer somewhere in the world right now who we will all know of someday because that person will build the next great device.
The broader embedded device market can leverage MeeGo technology because of the project’s “upstream first” philosophy. When MeeGo developers contribute upstream, all of the downstream players (embedded device makers, for example) benefit with lower support costs and faster time to market. Upstream components from a variety of open source projects provide a unified Linux base that embedded developers and device makers know will “just work.” Examples of where we’re already seeing this include MeeGo In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) devices and other key components that support hundreds of applications ranging from the smart grid to consumer electronics and much more.
As for the near-term roadmap, look for incremental updates between now and April 2011 when MeeGo 1.2 is expected for release. MeeGo 1.2 will be a handset UX release with a complete set of applications and support for other device usage models.
ECD: Yocto is your newest project, and it’s targeted specifically for embedded. Describe the project, who is behind it, and what the plans are.
Zemlin: The Yocto Project provides high-quality open source infrastructure and tools to help developers create custom Linux distributions for any hardware architecture. The Yocto Project is intended to provide a helpful starting point for developers and speed time to market for vendors by establishing a shared build infrastructure.
Until now, embedded vendors and their partners relied on deep customization, requiring developers to wrestle with rapidly changing software and difficult build and maintenance cycles. The Linux Foundation recognized that an umbrella project could bring together a variety of upstream sources and sources from local project repositories to ease embedded Linux development. The project includes the Poky Build System (Figure 2) as one of its components, which is a derivative of and compatible with the OpenEmbedded Build System.
Participation and support for the Yocto Project come from the open source software community. Version 0.9 was released at launch, and we’re inviting developers and contributors to explore and contribute to the Yocto Project at www.yoctoproject.org.
Jim Zemlin is executive director of The Linux Foundation. His career spans three of the largest technology trends to rise during the past decade: mobile computing, software as a service, and open source software. As executive director at The Linux Foundation, he works with the world’s largest technology companies, including IBM, Intel, Google, HP, Nokia, and others to help define the future of computing on the server, in the cloud, and on a variety of new mobile and embedded computing devices.
The Linux Foundation