BMW wants to pimp your ride with open source

BMW is jumping into the open-source fray by seeking to build an open-source community around automobile software systems.

Open-source software is being used just about everywhere to power everything from ERP systems to email. BMW, however, has even better plans for open source:

It wants The Ultimate Driving Machine to be powered by The Ultimate Software Development Methodology. In other words, we may have the chance to drive open source in the near future:

...BMW [recently] revealed it is looking for partners as it pursues an open-source car computing platform. The German company is enthusiastic about the potential for such an open-source system's potential to keep up with the rapid advances in technology and features in the multimedia and digital entertainment areas.

Though no other car makers are yet officially on board, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Honda have previously participated in a panel on the subject, reports Automotive News. BMW said it wants to have an open-source system in a vehicle selling 200,000 or more units over the next five to seven years.

Did BMW just become the official car for open-source developers everywhere?

BMW, of course, isn't in this for religion. It needs open source because "the speed in the infotainment and entertainment industry requires us to be on a much faster track," said Gunter Reichart, BMW vice president of driver assistance, body electronics and electrical networks. In other words, proprietary software doesn't innovate fast enough, and it makes no sense for each individual car company to reinvent the wheel, as it were.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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