Motorola/Lineo Announcement

by Marjorie Richardson

Our upcoming October issue will focus on Linux and embedded systems, and much excitement currently surrounds this arena. Notably, the rumors concerning a partnership between Motorola and the newly named Lineo (formerly, Caldera Thin Clients). On August 5, I participated in a conference call with Noel Lesniak, the Business Manager of Linux Telecom Platforms for the Motorola Computer Group; Brian Sparks, the CEO of Lineo; and Ransom Love, the CEO of Caldera Systems. Here's what they had to say.

Noel Lesniak, Motorola

On Monday, August 9, the Motorola Computer Group is announcing a unified Linux strategy that provides our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) customers with a broad selection of Linux based platforms, open source software, service and support, training and integration services. In support of this broad initiative, we're collaborating with two leaders in the Linux community, Lineo and Caldera Systems. As always, MCG is committed to providing our customers with the solutions they need to help them succeed in today's global marketplace. We believe that combined with the right hardware and support, the Linux operating environment is ready for embedded design-ins and deployments in the markets we serve: telecommunications, imaging and industrial automatons. We believe that the reliability, performance and flexibility of Linux as well as an open availability of source code will speed time to market and help reduce development costs for our OEM customers.

When deciding to enter the Linux game, we looked for companies who knew Linux and its environment and whose strategies complemented our own. Lineo, for example, has focused on embedded software products and the OEM markets for many years. They have experience with Linux and the Open Source community and they have an embedded Linux strategy that is complementary to MCG's embedded focus and our Linux strategy. Lineo's focus on customized embedded Linux also fits with our traditional focus of partnering with independent software vendors who develop technology for our embedded market. In addition to embedded Linux, we see a need for a full systems distribution of Linux for our system customers. Caldera Systems has focused on Linux business solutions and has significant experience with the Open Source community and the Linux market.

Caldera Systems has a strong strategy to further develop Linux along with the Open Source community for the mission-critical segment of the high-availability server market. MCG and Caldera Systems are collaborating in bringing high-availability features to the Linux solutions set on Motorola's compact PCI-based systems. On Monday, we are also introducing a network appliance product, the SLX Series, aimed at Internet, intranet and extranet networking applications and the EMS Series for telecommunications and industrial networking applications. The network appliance product is a new family of Linux-based embedded platforms for Internet networking applications such as web access, web security, web caching and virtual private networks. It is aimed at a telecom OEM, which is building network solutions for the growing number of Internet service providers, government and business organizations, work groups and telecommuters requiring cost-effective access to the Internet.

SLX enables these OEMs to deliver low-cost, easy-to-use, reliable and secure Internet connectivity quickly. With the configuration flexibility of the SLX, MCG will provide OEM-specific configurations of the platform to meet each of our OEMs' unique product and marketing needs. The SLX Series will be showcased next week at Linux World Expo. In one demonstration, it will run a live satellite Internet link using satellite access software from Helius. Satellites are ideal for applications such as IP Multicast and remote Internet access. The SLX Series with high performance and low cost is ideal for these demanding satellite services. The other SLX demonstration will feature the instant network out-of-the-box capability of software from Network Concierge. When used with a standard browser and configuration wizard, such as that provided by Network Concierge, the SLX Series eliminates the complexity of integrating a stack of networking and server equipment from multiple vendors.

Also to be announced next week is MCG's EMS Series for Linux. This product is the first in MCG's new line of Intel-based embedded system platforms integrating the Linux operating system. This product can be used to power a variety of telecommunications, Internet and industrial automation applications. This highly scalable and customizable platform helps enable OEMs to deliver cost-effective systems designed to meet an end user's specifications.

OpenLinux from Caldera and Lineo is obviously a large part of these product announcements in our Linux strategy. Working with these companies, we plan to take the lead and expand the reach of Linux into embedded and high-availability markets that require rugged, reliable and scalable products.

Brian Sparks, Lineo

I'd like to give you a bit of context, as Lineo may be a name you haven't heard before. Lineo was formerly running under the name Caldera Thin Clients, which on July 20 was renamed Lineo to reflect an emphasis on embedded Linux. Lineo's core focus is in defining the embedded systems Linux market segment and maintaining a market leader position in that market. Lineo is a wholly owned subsidiary of Caldera Inc., which I helped found five years ago to advance Linux software acceptance in the market. For the past several years, Lineo and Caldera Thin Clients has given rebirth to DR DOS in the embedded market and developed relationships with key OEMs and other market vendors in the embedded space. Embedding Linux, we feel, is a natural evolution for our company with a successful history in the embedded market and with several years' knowledge in Linux. Lineo creates an embedded Linux product under the name Embedix; we license OpenLinux from Caldera Systems, which Ransom is going to describe and I'm sure many of you already know. We target OpenLinux into the embedded market. We feel the new relationship with Motorola is significant. The Motorola Computer Group, of which we are a part, has a large emphasis not only in telecom but in other embedded devices. They are a large system board vendor, both Power PC-based and X86-based, both of which we'll be targeting with our embedded Linux solution.

How are we going to sell this product? Why is it unique? We are actually developing two products. We are developing a developer platform on which the OEM developer will sit at as he targets embedded Linux solutions. We are adding appropriate capabilities and functionalities so that the developer can choose the functionality suite he or she wants on the target board. We are targeting both Power PC and X86, as I mentioned. Our competitors in this space are the traditional real-time operating systems. Thus, we have to be cognizant of the features they offer to their customer base as we are encroaching in their space. We think we offer a very competitive product and a well-positioned one. It will take a significant part of that market share quickly, partly because of the popularity of Linux, and secondly, the natural evolution we feel that Linux offers in the embedded market. We will be adding real-time extensions to the kernel as appropriate for our customers. We will offer products competitive with other vendors in the real-time OS space. We feel we are well-positioned, and with OpenLinux, we have a stable platform on which to encroach this new market.

Ransom Love, Caldera Systems

Caldera Systems has been a leader in providing Linux for business solutions that enable the development and deployment of Linux-based Internet devices and appliances that range from embedded solutions all the way to high-end servers. We market those products through a worldwide channel of OEMs, VARs and integrators. We feel it's critical to productize Linux to provide these types of business solutions, and thus, we have partnered with Lineo because of their expertise in the embedded side to deliver the exclusive OpenLinux offering to their embedded customers. So we are excited about that component, and now many of those VARs and Integrators we work with are looking for and are already deploying high-availability, mission-critical applications and thus the announcement with Motorola is key. They show a great deal of leadership in integrating OpenLinux and Embedix into their high-availability hardware solutions, which I think meet a very real market need. We are very excited about the complete relationship.

Caldera also focuses on providing a full range of service and educational courses, where they are partnering with authorized training centers. Motorola wants to provide a full set of services to their OEM customers, and we are looking ahead to working with Motorola in providing these types of solutions in order to move forward.

Caldera Systems, as I mentioned, is Linux for business. We are focused on delivering all solutions needed by those wanting to deploy these types of Internet applications and the Internet appliance solution which need to be effective in deploying them in an actual business setting. Therefore, we think this announcement of a combination of expertise and focuses in key markets is a very significant announcement in the industry. Obviously, Motorola brings their leadership in providing both embedded and high-availability solutions, and Lineo and Caldera Systems bring their Linux expertise. We are looking forward to seeing the result—the actual business solutions—this partnership will bring to the industry as it moves forward.

Load Disqus comments