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Renesas taps new 10-year SLTS kernel from the Civil Infrastructure Platform

Oct 16, 2017 — by Eric Brown 719 views

Renesas upgraded the Linux stack for its RZ/G SoCs to use CIP’s 10-year SLTS kernel. Meanwhile, the standard LTS kernel will expand from 2 to 6 years.

The Linux Foundation launched the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project a year ago with the intention of developing base layer, open source industrial-grade software starting with a 10-year Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) kernel. The SLTS kernel is now ready to go, and is being incorporated by Renesas in its RZ/G Linux Platform stack for its ARM-based RZ/G system-on-chips.

The Renesas news comes several weeks after Google announced at Linaro Connect that Greg Kroah-Hartman and the Linux kernel project would extend the standard LTS kernel from two to six years, starting with kernel 4.4. The longer LTS maintenance cycle is being implemented to align with Google’s Project Treble update scheme. Project Treble aims to encourage mobile SoC chipmakers and device vendors to keep their phones updated to modern Linux kernels and Android releases. For example, Google has dictated that all Android 8.0 devices with new SoCs must run Linux 4.4 or later.


While the new 6-year LTS kernel should make it easier for Android phones to stay current, that’s not enough for most embedded industrial equipment, which often require 10-year support. The CIP project aims to standardize that support, and plans to add other base layer software needed in civil infrastructure such as real-time and functional safety support.

Block diagrams for the RZ/G1-E (left) and RZ/G1-M
(click images to enlarge)

The updated RZ/G Linux Platform is initially available for the dual-core, Cortex-A15 RZ/G1M, which clocks to 1.5GHz and includes a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. Updated BSPs will then be extended to other RZ-G1 models, presumably including the dual-core, Cortex-A7 RZ/G1E, which was announced with the M model. There’s also the the octa-core, Cortex-A15 and -A7 RZ/G1H.

Although Renesas was not a founding member of CIP, the Japanese chipmaker appears to be the first company to publicly announce a Linux stack based on SLTS. Other Platinum members include Hitachi, Siemens, and Toshiba. The Silver members are Codethink and Plat’Home.

“Long-term maintenance and support is essential for the safety, security, and reliability required by embedded systems operating in industrial and infrastructure environments,” stated Shigeki Kato, Vice President, Office Business Division, Renesas Electronics Corp. “With the CIP SLTS kernel, the Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform offers an unprecedented maintenance period, significantly easing the challenge of long-term Linux maintenance and reducing design risks for embedded Linux developers.”

The pre-validated RZ/G Linux Platform includes the CIP SLTS Linux kernel, a board support package (BSP), and multimedia functionality, including the H.264 codec and PowerVR SGX 3D graphics support. The stack also includes a GUI framework based on Qt and HTML5, and security code. In addition, there’s a cloud development environment within Renesas’ Eclipse CDT based e2 studio IDE, as well as code validation and analysis tools.

Renesas provides a Renesas Marketplace hub where RZ/G Linux developers can buy and download security tools, embedded vision libraries, and other software. The chipmaker offers maintenance and version management of the Linux distribution, “significantly reducing the cost and user efforts of implementing long-term Linux solutions for industrial applications,” says the company.

More details on the CIP project will be revealed at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, to be held Oct. 23-25 in Prague with the Open Source Summit Europe.

Further information

The CIP SLTS version of the Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform is initially available for the RZ/G1M, with BSPs for more models to be announced in the near future. More information may be found on the Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform page.

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