Lynx Real Time Systems is another contender in the embedded Linux arena. LWN talked for a little while with Chairman Inder Singh and President/CEO William Hogan about Lynx's plans for embedded Linux. They think they have the experience and the organization to be highly successful in this market.
Lynx has been in the embedded systems business for ten years. For most of that time, Lynx's product line has been centered around the "LynxOS" kernel - posix-compatible, deterministic, hard real-time system. Surrounding the kernel has been the usual array of GNU tools and such. LynxOS has been a successful product for them, but Lynx has also not been unaware of the rise of Linux, and Linux's potential in embedded systems.
So Lynx is introducing "Blue Cat Linux" this week at LinuxWorld. Blue Cat is yet another distribution, oriented toward embedded tasks. It's fully GPL, and thus can be used royalty-free in embedded applications. LynxOS remains as a separate product, proprietary, which is aimed at the harder real time tasks.
Along with Blue Cat, Lynx is rolling out its Linux support operation. Lynx has been in the support business for most of its history, and has a global, 24x7 operation in place for a long time. This is the key piece that Lynx sees as assuring its success - a large-scale support and sales operation that is already in place.
Lynx claims to understand the sort of support that customers of embedded systems need. Each release, for example, will be supported, guaranteed, for at least fifteen years. Embedded systems remain in use for long times, and vendors should feel better knowing that the support will not be going away anytime soon.
Future plans include the implementation of full Linux applications binary support for LynxOS.
Lynx also plans to announce its first big code release soon, in the form of a real-time backplane messaging system. It's a low-level messaging system which provides a whole set of features around process naming, dynamic failover, heartbeat monitoring, and so on. The actually announcement should come on the week of February 7, with code sometime shortly thereafter.
When asked if Lynx was a public company, they would answer only "not yet."
Quite a few companies seek to make their fortunes in embedded Linux. But the embedded world is different from the markets Linux has operated in until now. It may well turn out that knowledge of this market is more important than many years in the Linux world. If so, companies like Lynx should do well.
The photo above shows William Hogan, President and CEO, on the left and Inder Singh, chairman, on the right.