After years of railing against the inadequacies of the Linux operating system, embedded software powerhouse Wind River Systems
on Monday did an about-face, joining two big-name open source groups — the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Eclipse Consortium.
Wind River will participate in the OSDL’s Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) Working Group, a move that could lead to a Wind River CG Linux distribution and put the Alameda, Calif., company in direct competition with Red Hat
and Novell-owned SuSE.
The move to embrace Linux comes just a year after Wind River’s chairman and co-founder Jerry Fiddler insisted in a white paper that the disadvantages of using the open-source OS “clearly outweigh[ed] its attractions.”
In the paper examining the benefits of Linux In Embedded Systems, Fiddler wrote: “If GPL issues are somehow manageable, device makers might still figure they can reduce software costs with Linux by relying on the Linux community for support. Unfortunately, that appears unlikely at this point. This is not due to a lack of interest or passion on the part of the Linux community, but because there is no common platform to rally around.”
Since then, the company’s stance softened and the about-face was driven primarily by market demands, a senior Wind River executive said Monday.
“Wind River’s VxWorks operating system has traditionally had a very strong presence in the data plane functions of sophisticated telecom and service provider equipment. At the same time, UNIX has often been used in the control and management functions for these systems,” said Tony Tryba, a Wind River vice president. “Recently, Wind River has seen many of its telecom equipment customers begin migrating from a world of fragmented UNIX offerings to Linux influenced by the CGL specification.”
Tryba said many network infrastructure customers use Wind River’s VxWorks operating system along with Linux, adding that the company would work with the OSDL to develop the Carrier Grade Linux spec for the telecom sector.
Wind River, which markets the proprietary VxWorks product alongside a BSD/OS implementation, does the majority of its business in the telecom and networking sectors. The company has made its living in the embedded software market, which is hailed as one of the “fastest-growing and most vibrant markets for Linux,” according to OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen.
“As Linux becomes more widely deployed in the telecom market, Wind River’s support and contributions will be important in accelerating customer adoption of CGL,” Cohen added in a statement.
Separately, Wind River announced it would join the Eclipse Consortium and help push the
adoption of open standards-based technology.
Wind River said its work with Eclipse would focus on the creation of embedded tools and products that are integrated and compatible with the Eclipse open framework and platform.
The Eclipse Consortium is styled as an open source ecosystem of royalty-free technology and a universal platform for tools integration. Eclipse-based tools give developers tools in a multi-language, multi-platform, multi-vendor supported environment.