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MontaVista adds continuous integration support

Jun 29, 2020 — by Eric Brown 282 views

MontaVista announced v3.1 of its Carrier Grade eXpress 3.1 embedded Linux distro based on Linux 5.4 LTS and Yocto 3.1 LTS. CGX 3.1 improves support for CI/CD and is more closely aligned with the Yocto Project.

MontaVista Software has upgraded its Yocto Project based Carrier Grade eXpress to version 3.1 with a focus on Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) support. The pioneering embedded Linux firm also announced greater alignment with the Yocto Project development model and vowed increased support for MontaVista’s free, completely open source OpenCGX version.

CGX is a commercial embedded distro based on open source Yocto Project code and aimed at industrial and networking customers. The same could be said for Wind River Linux and the original Mentor Embedded Linux (MEL), as opposed to the alternative binary Debian version of MEL launched by new owner Siemens.

Carrier Grade eXpress 3.1 simplified architecture diagram
(click image to enlarge)

CGX was announced in 2015 as a more general purpose IoT version of its commercial-grade MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) for networking and server applications. Yet, CGX appears to have replaced CGE, as we no longer see mention of it on the website.


The CGX 3.1 release builds on earlier versions such as last year’s CGX 2.6, which was based on Linux kernel 4.19 and Yocto 2.6. Prior to that release, which emphasized improved security features such as OpenSSL FIPS, OPTEE/Trustzone, Secure Boot, and SWUpdate, MontaVista released CGX 2.2 in 2017 with features aimed at 5G, NFV, and IoT.

CGX 3.1 includes the baseline of components from Yocto 3.1, “commercialized by MontaVista’s Carrier-Grade build and test infrastructure,” and offers 10-year lifecycle support. The new release is touted for its Trusted Boot and integrity management security features, as well as field-debugging, logging and tracing solutions. There is also improved Linux hard real-time support for “very low-latency processing for latency intensive applications.”

The improved CI/CD support enables customers with continuous integration platforms to gain “multi-tiered access to software artifacts at different stages of development,” says MontaVista. CI/CD offers the advantage of being able to conduct tests at a much earlier stage in the development cycle to more quickly find and correct defects, says the company. Earlier this year, Wind River announced that CI/CD was available to Wind River Linux customers, providing access to updated releases every few weeks as an alternative to standard releases.

MontaVista also announced it has begun offering collaborative development services for customer-specific BSP development “allowing customers to use MontaVista test harnesses and expertise.” The closer alignment with the Yocto Project appears to refer to the fact that when CGX 3.1 launches in the fall it will follow Yocto 3.1 by only a few months.


The announcement also mentioned that “MontaVista is focusing efforts to work through the community OpenCGX project.” The company offered no further details.

Announced in early 2018, the GitHub hosted OpenCGX is a stripped-down version of CGX based on older source code that is free and fully open source. The distribution is based on Yocto 2.4 with Linux 4.14 (or latest LTS kernel) and offers GNU 7.2 toolchain. OpenCGX provides Carrier Grade Linux features for high uptime, field diagnostics and resiliency capabilities, as well as real-time extensions.

OpenCGX is available for x86-64, QEMU, and the Arm-based Cavium Octeon TX. For several years, MontaVista was owned by Cavium before being spun back out as an independent company when Marvell acquired Cavium. More details on OpenCGX may be found on MontaVista’s About Us page

Further information

MontaVista’s Carrier Grade eXpress 3.1 will be available at an undisclosed price in Q3 2020 for x86, Arm, and QEMU. More information may be found in MontaVista’s announcement and the CGX product page.


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