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MontaVista upgrades Linux for telecoms

The sofware maker announces its third-generation operating system for telecommunications equipment, scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter.

MontaVista Software, a Linux specialist that avoids PCs and general-purpose servers in favor of "embedded" devices such as DVD players, announced its third-generation operating system for telecommunications equipment on Monday.

The new MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition 3.1, scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter, runs on new types of equipment and includes features designed to make telecommunications servers more reliable. The company announced the new version at the Telecom World 2003 show in Geneva.

Telecommunications companies have been Unix server loyalists when buying equipment for services such as phone-call switching or voice mail, but Linux, often running on systems with Intel processors, is arriving in the market. MontaVista is among several companies trying to help equipment makers that sell wares to telecoms for services such as video streaming or voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Alcatel, Iskratel and NEC are customers that use MontaVista's Linux in servers for telecommunication companies.

Other Linux companies angling for the telecom market include TimeSys, SuSE Linux, Red Hat and LynuxWorks.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MontaVista is among the Linux companies that has joined telecommunications equipment makers to form a working group at the Open Source Development Lab to improve Linux for the market. That group just expanded its carrier-grade Linux specification.

MontaVista will support the expanded carrier-grade requirements with its next edition, due in 2004, a company representative said.

Meanwhile, version 3.1 supports several new technologies, including IBM's PowerPC chip architecture, the Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture from the PICMG industry consortium, and the Service Availability Forum's specification for linking computers so that one in a cluster can take over if another fails. The new version also supports the Native Posix Thread Library, a means of handling several tasks simultaneously. It makes threading in Linux more similar to threading in Unix, making it easier to migrate software from Unix to Linux.