Embedded market: More Linux adoption creates suppler, developer challenges


Recently published research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) indicates increasing adoption of Linux in embedded-system development projects. However, suppliers of branded commercial embedded Linux solutions will need to differentiate their Linux solutions from what is publicly available and demonstrate real value to maintain a premium for their products and support, according to Stephen Balacco, VDC director, embedded software practice. While some OEMs have chosen to use a commercial Linux solution, more are using and/or expect to use a publicly available Linux solution in future project development. This trend will continue to put pressure on commercial Linux suppliers to provide value above and beyond the growing sophistication of publicly available Linux solutions, he says.

Linux developers can enjoy royalty-free production licensing with a wide range of publicly available design systems leveraged from the enterprise Linux domain. As internal development teams gain more Linux experience, the threat of OEMs choosing "roll-your-own" (RYO) open-source solutions is expected to increase faster than adoption of commercial Linux solutions, Balacco suggests, especially among larger OEMs who can afford to fund the up-front engineering, maintenance and support of an internal Linux solution. Similarly, smaller OEMs with limited budgets look to open-source Linux as a more sophisticated RYO solution with support from the open source community.

information control; embedded control

Use of publicly available Linux distributions in embedded systems is expected to grow faster than use of commercial distributions. Source: Venture Development Corporation


VDC believes commercial Linux suppliers need to move up the value chain from just supplying a Linux OS distribution to offering high-quality development tools, middleware, Linux platforms and application level solutions, and other resources that support Linux-based engineering. In this way, OEMs can focus on their core competencies, the competition, profitability, and bringing new products to market faster and within development budgets, Balacco advises

Venture Development Corp. is an independent technology market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in a number of datacom/telecom, component, industrial, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, embedded, and defense markets.

For further information about Volume VII: Linux in the Embedded Systems Market, visit www.vdc-corp.com .

C.G. Masi , senior editor ,
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