Core Working Group Formed to build an Embedded Linux Platform Standard; European meeting scheduled with the help of TOG

ELC's "Destiny" Event Attracts 130

Santa Rosa, Calif., March 25, 2002 - An international working group (WG) has been formed to pursue an API-centric approach to standardization of a computing platform for the Linux operating system, specifically for embedded applications. The group consists of technologists from companies who are members of the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC). IBM Corporation's Mark Brown will act as temporary chair pending election of officers at the WG's first meeting.

The WG plans to meet during April to elect officers, build a timetable, discover special interests and commence work. Members of the ELC are invited to send delegates (contact Founding WG members are:

With the cooperation of The Open Group (TOG), the ELC will also conduct the European version of its kickoff event, on April 11, 2002, at Disneyland Europe (Paris). Several more participants are expected to join the WG at this meeting.

Both announcements follow excellent turnout at the Embedded Linux Consortium's Platform Standardization kickoff event in San Francisco earlier this month, an event "which validates strong industry support for our expanded mission to pursue embedded operating system standardization," said Dr. Inder Singh, ELC Chairman and CEO of LynuxWorks. Over 90 companies -- including a majority of the planet's consumer electronics leaders -- sent about 130 delegates - a robust turnout.

"Two years ago, our founding members tabled the pursuit of Linux-centric standards," said Murry Shohat, ELC executive director. "In only a year, the tide changed as competitors grew fearful of Linux. A majority of members pressed our Board to begin building a unified platform standard that could help combat the rising tide of FUD and disinformation about Linux in the embedded world."

"Taking on a standards mission is a daunting task," said Shohat. "With the concerns of our members in mind, our Board took measured steps to expand the ELC's mission into specification and test development." Complete openness and clarity regarding the rules by which Intellectual Property (IP) would be created and shared from this effort was paramount. A new Intellectual Property Agreement (IPA) captures these new rules. It was unanimously approved just this March following iterative rounds of intense Board review.

The ELC presented the document to the board of the Open Source Initiative to get a verdict from a pure open source perspective. OSI board member and IP attorney Larry Rosen declared the IPA to be "Open Source friendly." Rosen came to the kickoff meeting and explained the benefits of the ELC's IPA to the audience.

At the meeting, Dr. Singh provided a review of embedded Linux history, and described possible outcomes of the initiative. Singh believes that the core specifications -- services needed in any embedded Linux distribution -- can be completed together with conformance test suite development -- before 2003.

Rick Lehrbaum, generally credited with founding the ELC, delivered a keynote centered on an interpretation of marketing trends drawn from research. Lehrbaum underscored the meeting's "Destiny" theme, stating that an embedded Linux platform specification would have historic significance inasmuch as the embedded community has never been able to achieve a single unified platform in spite of many attempts over the years. The ELC effort offers the embedded software market the potential of achieving a unified platform that is a totally open, multi-vendor industry standard. Such a standard would mirror the legacy of efforts like those of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the Internet - rather than through the emergence of a single dominant, proprietary, monopolistic platform.

Representatives of the Free Standards Group (FSG) and The Open Group (TOG) provided a memory refresh on each group's respective proposal to the ELC to outsource some or all of the planned standardization activities. Dan Quinlan, FSG Chair, presented an argument pointing to the group's recent achievement of LSB 1 (Linux Standard Base version 1) as an obvious choice as a base for an embedded Linux specification. Graham Bird, TOG's marketing chief, offered highly pragmatic guidance on the realities of specification writing and conformance test suite development.

EMBLIX chairman Dr. Tatsuo Nakajima, a professor of Computer Science at Waseda University, reviewed activities in Japan, which are centered on migration of iTRON applications to embedded Linux. In addition to technical specification work, EMBLIX participants are keenly interested in building durable business programs around the GPL.

Red Hat's Michael Tiemann, acting in the role of facilitator of working group interests, explained how proposals should be prepared in a first round that ends May 31. Several audience members stated interests including real-time Linux, security, wireless API's, high availability, device drivers and several others.

About the Embedded Linux Consortium
Responding to the rising tide of interest in Linux for embedded applications, representatives from dozens of technology firms formed the ELC, a vendor-neutral trade association dedicated to advancing the depth, breadth and speed of Linux adoption in the enormous embedded computer market. The ELC offers free membership to individual developers who demonstrate their participation in the Open Source code base of the Linux operating system. The ELC's headquarters are in Santa Rosa, Calif. Mary Ann Laverty of Metrowerks currently represents the ELC in Europe. More details about the ELC are available at WWW.EMBEDDED-LINUX.ORG .