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Why Cisco joined the Linaro Digital Home Group

May 30, 2014  |  Guest column
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Cisco CTO for Connected Devices, Ken Morse discusses the “unstoppable rise of ARM-based chips” and explains why Cisco joined the Linaro Digital Home Group.

 
 

Why We’re Joining the Linaro Digital Home Group
by Ken Morse, CTO, Connected Devices, Cisco

 
One of the unmistakable trends happening in consumer electronics is the steady and seemingly unstoppable rise of ARM-based chips as the norm in all kinds of gear, and particularly mobile devices such as tablets, and smart phones.

It follows that ARM-based silicon is favored in the mobile environment because it’s designed to work in smaller and smaller form factors, with keen attention to power conservation and heat mitigation. Similarly, we are now seeing a trend of ARM-based designs taking hold in Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) such as set-tops and gateways.

(And after all, what’s the difference between an IP set-top box and a tablet? One has a wire that goes to the TV, essentially.)

The “keeper,” if you will, of Linux distributions for ARM-based silicon is The Linaro Foundation. Which is why you might have seen news about us and several others, perhaps most notably Comcast and ST Microelectronics, joining as founding members of the freshly formed Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG).

The intent is to do for cable CPE what the Linaro Foundation already did for mobile gadgetry: reduce fragmentation and differentiation across the SoC (System on a Chip) landscape, using standard builds and distribution tools.

It’s no secret that Cisco is a company built upon, and passionate about, open source. Why? Because in an open source landscape, you have two choices: avoid it, and let it steamroll over you, or embrace it completely.

At the Cable Show in April, we joined the “embrace it completely” wave when we contributed our routing software to the RDK Management LLC, for use in forthcoming CPE with broadband-heavy personalities, like cable modems and gateways.

Joining the LHG furthers that intention. LHG furthers the tenets of the RDK — service velocity, code transparency, vendor independence.

From a vendor perspective, LHG establishes a clear path to the development and innovation going on across the entire OpenEmbedded and Yocto communities, which is considerable.

(The “Yocto Project” is the open source development environment for Linaro, and, by proxy, LHG.)

This model has already proven successful within the networking industry leaders in the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and Linaro Networking Group (LNG.) LHG extends those successes the digital home environment — where progress happens by sharing the engineering load, delivering software to open source and “upstream” projects.

So that’s why we’re joining the LHG. These are fast moving times. Best to stay at the front of things

 

About the author — During the more than 32 years Dr. Ken Morse has been involved in software and hardware development, he has co-founded four companies in the digital video and entertainment space. In his current role as CTO, Connected Devices at Cisco Systems, Dr. Morse is responsible for ensuring that the company maintains its digital video, data and voice leadership position by driving the embracement of new technologies, architectures, and product categories for in-home service provider devices.

 

(The contents of this guest column originally appeared in a Cisco blog post and has been reproduced by LinuxGizmos with the company’s permission.)
 

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