Red Hat will make a Linux operating system for embedded devices through a partnership with embedded systems maker Wind River Systems.
Red Hat Embedded Linux will be integrated with Wind River development tools and middleware to allow Wind River users to create embedded Linux applications.
The Red Hat deal will extends Wind River's application development platform into Linux, giving developers who use Wind River another operating system option to develop their applications for. Previously, users of Wind River development tools could only create applications that ran on Wind River's proprietary VxWorks operating system.
"This is significant for users of Wind River's products. It will let their customers make choices in terms of supporting either VxWorks or Linux. They recognise that users want more choice and that some users will be happy with a proprietary solution and others will want a more open solution," said Paul Zorfass, a senior analyst at IDC/First Technology.
There is a rising interest in the market for developing embedded applications running on Linux because the open-source operating system offers quicker deployment and lower costs compared with proprietary embedded operating systems, Zorfass said.
This is the first time Red Hat has developed an embedded Linux operating system, said Red Hat spokeswoman Leigh Day.
In the past, the company worked with individual clients to customise existing Red Hat software to run on embedded devices. Red Hat Embedded Linux should be ready by early 2005.
Red Hat Embedded Linux will, initially, be targeted for carrier grade network equipment such as high-end routers and switches.
In addition to serving providers of telecommunications and data transmission services, Wind River also focuses on makers of digital consumer devices, such as PDAs and mobile phones, of aerospace and defence products and cars.
Wind River also announced an upgrade to its proprietary operating system, VxWorks. Improvements in version 6.0 include a new suite of memory protection features and a scalable message passing architecture.
VxWorks 6.0 also integrates with the company's application development environment, Wind Power IDE 2.0.
Wind Power IDE 2.0 will be available in May and will support the open source Eclipse application development framework and Red Hat Embedded Linux.
Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service