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Linaro takes up Internet of Things challenge

Posted: 14 Nov 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Linaro Enterprise Group? Internet of Things? Linux? Applied Micro Circuits Corp.?

One of the news bullets from the recently held ARM TechCon exhibition and conference was that the non-profit Linaro organisation is bringing together 13 companies to develop open-source, low-level software for ARM-based servers.

Linaro, a not-for-profit engineering organisation, has plans that extend beyond software for mobile devices. It has also announced the Linaro Enterprise Group, which has been set up to address servers. Its ambitions extend beyond Linux.

George Grey, chief executive of Linaro, said that networking equipment is an adjacent space to enterprise servers for cloud computing and datacenters. This is an area where ARM has not played too strongly to date but an area in which ARM architectural licenses Applied Micro Circuits Corp. and Cavium Networks Inc. do operate. Both AMCC and Cavium are part of LEG.

ARM TechCon painted a picture of ARM architectures running from the Data Centre through the mobile client to the billions of devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). Following the logic of this I asked Grey if Linaro will also have role to play in IoT.

Grey answered "Yes!"

He continued: "There are a number of machine-to-machine applications where it is necessary to deliver optimised software; micro Linux to run the device. At the same time the character of the cloud needed to support IoT is changing. It impacts both [server and client] ends."

Grey did not provide a timetable for when IoT work would begin indicating that for now Linaro has follow through on its promise to support the server market but with the caveat that increasingly cloud-based service providers are interested in end-to-end solutions.

Not-for-profit Linaro
Grey concluded by saying the Linaro charter is broad: "The charter of Linaro is Linux on ARM but not just Linux it is really open-source software on ARM. Linaro is successful at bringing companies together who have common software engineering interests."

Linaro has about 120 engineers of which about half are employed directly and about half are assignees from the sponsoring companies. That number is set to double C or go even higher C over the next 12 months as Grey ramps up activities.

This casts Linaro in an interesting light and as a significant parallel organisation to ARM.

ARM is an out-source organisation that develops common CPU and GPU architectures for scores of chip companies to license, allowing them to focus on other pieces of hardware and software for differentiation. ARM saves duplicated effort and is a for-profit organisation that is paid for its intellectual property.

Linaro is an out-source organisation that develops open-source software for other companies to use allowing them to focus on other pieces of differentiating software, applications and use cases. Linaro saves duplicated effort and is non-profit organisation.

Did ARM miss a trick here?

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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