Renesas strengthens Linux in industrial environments

Renesas strengthens Linux in industrial environments

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Most Linux distributions today receive either no or only a few years of update support after delivery. This limitation contrasts sharply with the product life of industrial installations: equipment and systems in industrial environments are usually produced for many years, and after installation at the customer’s site their life span is often in the range of decades. The manufacturer’s update service has then already expired long ago; in some cases, there are no more updates available even during the product phase, explains Stefan Rank, Senior Staff Engineer, Industrial Solution Business Unit at Renesas Electronics Europe. However, under certain circumstances the support cessation may pose a security risk – remember the discussions about networked embedded systems under Windows XP.

Not least for this reason, Renesas offers a ten-year extended upgrade service for its new RZ/G platform. The company will cover the costs for the further development of the Board Support Package (BSP); the kernel will continue to be maintained by the Linux Foundation, Rank says.

A long way to industrial environments: Linux. 
(The illustration, by the way, contains a typo: Not up to 5,
but up to 15 years of support is what the CIP project is offering)

In addition to extended support, the RZ/G platform has other features that make it easier for developers to devise products with this operating system for the industrial market. The platform consists of five main components: the verified industry-grade Linux package with GUI framework, H. 264 codec for video presentation and OpenGL support; the processor; a board support package with verification and analysis tools in the cloud; design proposals for mass-produced boards and modules; and a selection of verified middleware add-ons.

At the processor side, four processors based on the ARM Cortex A7 or ARM Cortex A15 are available for the startup. Later variants based on the Cortex A7 and possibly further processor variants will be added.

At the middleware side, the platform supports both QT5 libraries and HTML5, the latest version of Hypertext Markup Language, which offers many new features such as video and audio support and dynamic 2D/3D graphics.

Renesas intends to present the new platform at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe and at the SPS IPC Drives automation trade fair.

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