Intel has invested in a Linux company that's helping to bring the
open-source operating system to Intel's XScale chips.
Intel's investment in Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MontaVista Software will help advance
Linux technology and products for embedded computing devices that use the
XScale chip, Intel spokesman Robert Manetta said today. XScale is the successor to Intel's StrongARM
Intel's funding is part of $23 million in investments that MontaVista announced today. Other investors include W.R. Hambrecht & Co., RRE Ventures, US Venture Partners and Alloy Ventures.
Embedded devices span a broad range of non-PC products, everything from car
antilock braking systems to network routers.
"Obviously, we want to see a lot of popular software ported to our
architectures, and XScale is a good focus for us," Manetta said. He wouldn't
disclose the size of the investment but said Intel typically invests between
$1 million and $10 million in a company.
The StrongARM and XScale chips are lauded for their low electricity usage
that is combined with comparatively high processing power. StrongARM chips
are used in Compaq Computer's iPaq handheld,
and XScale is expected to be
used in future Palm devices.
Compaq and others are working on a version of
Linux for the iPaq.
This is Intel's second Linux-related embedded computing investment--the first being in LynuxWorks--and it
is Intel's eighth Linux investment overall. LynuxWorks, formerly known as Lynx Real-Time
Systems, already sells an embedded operating system called Lynx but is
gradually moving its product line to Linux.
The embedded Linux market is booming. Red Hat, perhaps the best-known Linux
software company and another recipient of Intel's investment money, has an
embedded effort afoot, and Lineo
has filed to go public. TimeSys
also hopes to make a splash in the embedded Linux market.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel already has an investment in TurboLinux,
which is the leader of a
Japanese embedded Linux consortium called Emblix that includes Asian electronics
giants Sony, NEC, Fujitsu, Canon and Toshiba.
Intel's other Linux-related investments have been in VA Linux Systems, SuSE,
eSoft and Japanese company 10art-ni.