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19 September 2012, 15:58

Automotive manufacturers gear up for open source push

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Both the Linux Foundation and the Genivi Alliance have announced new open source initiatives at the Automotive Linux Summit, which is currently under way in Warwickshire, England. The Linux Foundation has founded the Automotive Grade Linux Workgroup with the goal of streamlining the development of software for automobiles, while the Genivi Alliance has said that it will concentrate all of its development on open source projects going forward.

Launched in 2009, the Genivi Alliance is an industry group comprised of over 100 vehicle manufacturers and consumer electronics companies that was founded to standardise around Linux-based car infotainment software. Its founding members include BMW, Delphi, GM, Intel, Magneti-Marelli, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Visteon and Wind River. The consortium does not directly create products, but rather it works on a collection of components that are certified by the group and can be used by manufacturers to implement their own solutions.

Currently, approximately 95 per cent of the software components needed to comply with the group's specifications are based on upstream open source projects. The remaining percentage is made up of in-house components that include proprietary components in places. According to the announcement, Genivi is now looking to replace these parts with open source components developed in newly created upstream projects. The Linux Foundation will provide hosting for the four projects; these comprise an audio framework, a logging component, a startup and shutdown manager for embedded applications, and, a service that unifies other running applications for displaying the resulting information on the car's displays.

In its announcement, the Linux Foundation explained that its newly created Automotive Grade Linux Workgroup will create its own community reference platform which is aimed at helping manufacturers implement Linux-based systems in their cars. Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) is concerned with cockpit control elements and infotainment systems and its implementation will be developed based on code from the Tizen project. Members of the new workgroup include Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota, Denso Corporation, Feuerlabs, Fujitsu, Harman, Intel, Nvidia, Samsung and Texas Instruments.

It is not clear if and how the AGL group will cooperate with Genivi at all, but the Linux Foundation has said that it supports Genivi's efforts, and that improvements and patches from its efforts will first be made available to upstream projects.


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