MontaVista Moves Linux to the Living Room
MontaVista Software will release during the current quarter a version of its embedded Linux operating system aimed at use in consumer electronics devices including televisions, portable devices, and automobile telematics applications, the company said Wednesday.
The MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition is based on the company's existing embedded Linux product, which has already been used in several devices including Sony's Cocoon digital video recorder and NEC's home video server. On top of the base edition it adds several features the company says are important for consumer electronics functions, such as power management, enhanced file systems, and a fast boot-up.
With electronic devices in the home offering more complicated functions, the time is right to move to a higher-level operating system like Linux, said Scott Hedrick, senior product marketing manager for consumer electronics at MontaVista.
"Devices are going from a very traditional, low-cost, on-and-off fixed function to very complex network-connected digital devices and these new devices have a lot of additional requirements, including high-performance hardware," he said. "In order to take advantage of that hardware and run complex software they need a fully fledged OS like Linux."
With the announcement of the new operating system Wednesday, the company also unveiled the latest product to be based on
Matsushita, which owns a stake in MontaVista, announced in late December plans to jointly
The partnership, at least initially, does not include the Sunnyvale, California, company although perhaps not surprisingly Hedrick said the joint project did not represent a threat to MontaVista.
He said the project is more akin to what is going on today in the
"I don't think Sony and Matsushita want to get into the [Linux] distribution business. What they want to do is make pieces of their technology open source to invite enhancement and work with the community," he said.
At first MontaVista's consumer electronics edition software will support Texas Instrument's OMAP1510 and OMAP5910 applications processors and IBM's PowerPC 405LP processor. "We are focusing on supporting the most popular and most requested chips and boards and bundling very rich support for these," said Hedrick, adding that support for additional platforms will be available in the future.