Austin, Texas Wind River Systems Inc. today will announce its fourth-generation release of Linux, aimed at networking equipment and handheld devices, including cell phones. The release, which is based on the 2.6.14 Linux kernel, incorporates dozens of patches to the previous Linux operating system, release 2.6.10, said Glenn Seiler, director of Linux products at Wind River (Alameda, Calif.).
Wind River embraced Linux several years ago after key customers pressured the company to support the open-source operating system, Seiler said. The Wind River approach, “born out of necessity,” has become a pillar of the company's strategy alongside its own VxWorks real-time OS, he continued. “This fourth-generation release of Linux [from Wind River] really establishes us as a mature Linux distributor,” said Seiler. Wind River has more than 200 customers using Linux.
Over the next few years, analysts expect that many handset vendors will come out with smart phones based on Linux. Some may use an integrated chip that combines the digital signal-processing function and the applications processor, running under Linux with real-time attributes. “Some companies are moving toward a single-processor solution, and as they do that they will consider this [Wind River] version of Linux,” Seiler said. “We have worked to get the interrupt latencies and response times way down compared with the typical Linux.”
Response time is in the sub-30-microsecond region, vs. 20 ms for a typical Linux-based system using an ARM core, Seiler said. The Linux release is aimed at portable systems, WiMax basestations, voice-over-Internet Protocol systems and other networking gear, he added.