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Wind River Donates Code to Open Source

UPDATED: In a move to keep pace with applications that interoperate on different embedded platforms, Wind River is open sourcing the VxWorks implementation of Transparent Interprocess Communications (TIPC).

At the same time, the embedded software player said it has joined the ranks of "Strategic Developer" within the open source tools group Eclipse Foundation; already, Wind River is steaming ahead with a project proposal.

TIPC is a protocol cluster communication service originally developed by Ericsson. The TIPC project is a SourceForge.net hosted open source project that was started in 2000 by Jon Maloy at Ericsson Research. It offers a port of the protocol for Linux licensed under the BSD open source license.

Wind River's contribution to open source extends TIPC to support the VxWorks operating system. It also comes just over a year after the company abandoned its open source resistence and joined two open source groups, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and the Eclipse Consortium. The latest move helps keep Wind River's VxWorks operating system in play and within reach of developers writing applications for embedded systems in smaller devices.

"What we're seeing in our customer base is that they are really looking at a lightweight interprocess protocol to be able to bring to their devices," Warren Kurisu, Wind River's director of product management, told internetnews.com. "Wind River's contribution to the TIPC project is that we're initially contributing the VxWorks adaptation layer to TIPC which was never there before. What we're doing is extending it to support device software development."

Jon Maloy, senior researcher at Ericsson Research and founder of the TIPC sourceforge.net product, said VxWorks' support for TIPC shows that Wind River is serious about supporting interoperability with Linux and other operating systems. "They clearly understand the need for a standard IPC mechanism for device software."

Wind River's Kurisu said the contribution was driven by customer demand.

"We know that our customers are developing devices on a variety of different platforms and what they are asking for us to do is to provide a mechanism by which they can allow these devices to all work together or to be able to leverage code across devices," Kurisu explained.

"Even though we are contributing our R&D dollars, our intellectual property back to the community, it's really in the name of customers to allow them to use this technology as they need to and of course with very tight integration with Wind River products, as well."

With Wind River's elevation to becoming a "Strategic Developer" with the Eclipse Foundation (previously, it was an "add-in provider"), the company now proposes to lead a new Device Software Development Platform project through the foundation. (The company's Workbench development application is already based on the Eclipse 3.0 Framework.)

"What was missing in our view was a focal point for the device developer," Kurisu explained. "Our decision at this point to become a strategic developer with Eclipse was really toward that end, to drive Eclipse, extend it and optimize it for device development."

Last November, Wind River announced its first Linux platform and its latest workbench release version 2.2. In February of 2005, it said it had licensed more than 1,000 developer seats for its Linux platform.