Linux, once thought of as just a server play, is poised to reap $100
million this year as an embedded operating system, according to a new
Venture Development Corp. (VDC) has forecast that the market for embedded
software services for Linux-based devices is on an upward trend and will
“grow significantly” by 2007. In 2005, the strongest embedded Linux market
was in the Americas, while EMEA is expected to be the fastest growing region
VDC notes a number of factors that are helping to drive demand for Linux
in the embedded space.
Among those is demand from developers for
access to and control of source code as permitted by the open source
software model. VDC also notes that there is developer demand for run-time
software that is royalty free.
The increasing number of experienced Linux programmers is also helping to
fuel the growth curve of Linux in the embedded space.
Wind River’s entry into the Linux
market in late 2004 is also cited as a driver for embedded Linux growth by
MontaVista Linux is noted by VDC to have been the leading embedded Linux
OS provider in 2004, though the entry of Wind River is expected to
“considerably impact the competitive landscape.”
In one of the largest and most public embedded Linux consumer electronics
deployments to date, MontaVista and Texas Instruments (TI) recently announced that MontaVista Linux is powering TI’s new DaVinci digital signal processor
MontaVista is also a founding member of the Linux Phone Standards Forum, which aims to drive adoption of Linux in wired and wireless phones.
Earlier this year, MontaVista launched its Mobilinux framework to advance the
penetration of Linux into the cell-phone market.
Embedded Linux has also found its way into the defense industry in 2005. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is using Concurrent’s real-time RedHawk Linux operating system for the U.S.
Army’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, a strategic
missile defense subsystem simulation testing program.
But VDC also cites a number of barriers to adoption of embedded Linux. Among
the barriers are concerns over intellectual property protection, as well as competition from Microsoft.
A little over a year ago, VDC named Microsoft as the leading embedded OS overall in 2003 ahead of Wind River, Palm and Symbian.