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Embedded Linux Takes Big Strides Forward - page 2

MontaVista Linux Pro Hits 4.0

  • September 2, 2005
  • By Brian Proffitt

Right now, Matthews said, "the embedded market is a $900 million market. In two to three years, it should be up to $1.5 billion. Hopefully in five years, we'll see it make $3 billion." Clearly there is some potential growth in this market. MontaVista's primary competition are the older legacy RTOS systems, such as Wind River's VxWorks, and the newer RTOS systems like Microsoft's WinCE, he explained.

Because of its broad capabilities, MontaVista has been careful not to market its product to set vertical markets. Instead, the company has focused on the entire horizontal embedded market, letting the market drive the distribution of its product. With the Pro product series, the most active customers are those in the networking and consumer electronics spaces.

This makes sense, considering that overall 65 percent of all embedded Linux users are in networking and consumer electronics. While he would not cite specific numbers, Matthews did say that 75 percent of MontaVista Pro's customers were coming from these channels. Again, he added, this was not due to any planned marketing to these customers--it was how the market and MontaVista's partners steered the product sales.

Matthews sees this new version of Pro as something that's been waited for for quite some time, as more and more customers need a broad-platform RTOS.

"That's what people are waiting for Linux to do: real-time," he said. "The hype cycle for Linux is over. People want to use it if it can perform well as a real-time system."

Matthews sees no problem in selling Linux as a fast, stable embedded OS. And he and his team are looking ahead to get things even faster. There are a number of areas in the current Linux kernel that are not preemptible, he explained. Right now, those areas number in the thousands.

"We're working with the community to try to reduce that number by an order of magnitude... into the hundreds," Matthews said.

Another potential source for speed will be the extension of real-time capabilities out from the kernel processes to the application processes. The ability of apps to run in real-time mode on a RTOS will introduce huge real-time advantages.

MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 4.0 is available now.

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