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Wind River aims for open-source expansion

Firm wants to lead embedded computing effort for the Eclipse project, a group focused on open-source programming tools.

SAN FRANCISCO--Wind River has proposed an expansion to make the Eclipse project for open-source programming tools more useful in the domain of embedded computing, which includes devices such as elevators, video recorders and car navigation systems.

Eclipse currently has six top-level projects in the works. Alameda, Calif.-based Wind River has proposed adding a seventh for embedded tools, an attempt to unify tools rather than requiring different embedded-software companies to reinvent the wheel.


The effort was one of several in the open-source arena that Wind River Chief Executive Ken Klein and Chief Marketing Officer John Bruggeman described Monday at a news conference here in conjunction with the Embedded Systems Conference. The Eclipse move will require Wind River to lead a software project and devote at least eight programmers to the work.

Wind River has struggled in the embedded-software market but in its most recent fiscal year returned to profitability. The company is remaking itself as an open-source ally, moving from its proprietary products to cooperatively developed software such as Eclipse and the Linux operating system.

A week ago, Eclipse project organizers said they planned to expand Eclipse into the embedded-software arena. But Wind River's effort isn't a shoo-in.

The company has weeks of work ahead in navigating a complicated approval process for top-level projects, said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, adding that he expects Wind River's project eventually to be approved.

The project will work "hand in glove" with an effort by Wind River competitors, including QNX, to make Eclipse work better with the C and C++ programming languages, Milinkovich said. Eclipse today is chiefly used with Sun Microsystems' Java.

Wind River executives also said the company is becoming more active in the Open Source Development Labs, the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum and the Free Software Foundation.

Wind River also announced it has released an open-source version of software called the Transparent Inter Process Communication, or TIPC, protocol, which is designed to let different computers exchange messages quickly within a tightly bound group.

TIPC is used in telecommunications equipment, and having an open-source version available means Linux computers will be able to communicate with those running proprietary operating systems such as Wind River's VxWorks.

The TIPC project is released under dual open-source licenses, the General Public License, or GPL, and the Berkeley Software Design license that permits the software to be included in proprietary programs.