Are Penguins Ready to Fly?

By Nithya Ruff

Nithya RuffThis year, Vancouver, British Columbia was the site for LinuxCon North America 2011, where Linux celebrated its 20th anniversary.  Vancouver is normally known for its rainy and gray weather, but the Linux gods must have been shining on the Linux celebrations because the weather was spectacular!  In the same year that Wind River celebrates its 30 anniversary, it got me thinking about if this was a forecast of things to come.  

Turning 20 is a coming of age milestone and that can truly be said of Linux.   I see a well-established ecosystem of upstream open source projects, successful commercial companies based on open source and an increasing number of industries that are adopting Linux.   Business models are maturing and there is a good understanding of the value that commercial vendors bring to creating adoption and making it safe to use Linux.  There seems to increasingly be a process for working across and within groups.  Look at what the Linux Foundation does. It provides an umbrella organization for collaboration projects like the kernel, Meego and Yocto to organize and move things forward and advocate for the Linux community very effectively.  It also provides a physical venue for people to gather and meet face to face and create vision and directions. 

Wind River’s own entrance into embedded Linux came in response to our customers’ requirement for us to support Linux.  To meet the needs of our customers, Wind River Linux 1.0 was introduced in 2004 to help companies get commercial level support and roadmaps for embedded devices.  This was very well received and in the short 7 years since, Wind River Linux is a player in all major verticals such as Networking, Aerospace and Defense, Industrial, Medical and Consumer, and has been ranked the #1 embedded Linux by VDC for three consecutive years. In fact, in the last three months, we have launched two game-changing Linux platforms: Wind River Linux Secure, the first commercial embedded Linux platform to achieve EAL4+ certification and Wind River Linux 4 Update Pack 2, the first commercial embedded Linux to provide a pre-integrated hardware-through-middleware graphics stack for multiple hardware platforms.  

The prediction from many keynote speakers at LinuxCon was the coming ‘Internet of things.’ This is the next phase of the Internet where not millions, but billions and even trillions, of smart devices and sensors will be connected to the Internet and deliver intelligent and instrumented services.  The underpinnings of many of these devices is embedded Linux.  The pace of change and the scale of things that this disruption needs, will require us to make this connected open source eco-system across upstream projects, commercial companies and consumers work like it has never before.  Whether it is better collaboration or common standards and business models, we need to be ready to tackle many new users, new industries and just the sheer volume. 

Glad we had the last 20 years to get mature and ready for this exciting journey.  There is nothing more beautiful than penguins in flight!