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Wind River to power wind farm

Embedded software provider Wind River Systems, announces that its operating system will control a new fleet of Danish wind-powered electricity generators.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
Wind River Systems, the dominant provider of software for non-PC, or "embedded," computing devices, will announce Monday that its operating system is controlling a new fleet of Danish wind-powered electricity generators.

The Horns Rev wind farm, built on a reef about 12 miles west of the Danish mainland, consists of 80 wind turbines, power-generating windmills 360 feet tall. Each turbine has five processors, which run Wind River's VxWorks operating system to control the windmill's gearbox; to measure vibrations; to adjust the orientation of the windmill blades; and to handle communications to the outside world using an Ethernet network.

The farm is expected to supply 2 percent of Denmark's energy and can produce enough power for 150,000 households, Wind River said.

Wind River competes with a number of embedded software specialists, with Linux companies such as Red Hat and MontaVista Software, and with Microsoft.

While Linux started as a hobbyists' project, it's grown to be a commercial product of late. Verano, a company that specializes in software for power plants, water distribution systems, factory floors and other critical industrial tasks, has begun backing Linux.

Although Wind River has flirted with open-source software, it has never got involved with Linux. Jerry Fiddler, Wind River's chairman and co-founder, argues in a white paper that there are legal concerns about mixing proprietary software with a Linux foundation.

Wind River's software runs computers in everything from nerve gas detectors to Formula One race cars.