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Linux and Open Source Solutions for Embedded Systems

Linux and Open Source Solutions for Embedded Systems

Mind Quarterly Newsletter - Q1 2009


1. Mind plans new Embedded Linux trainings
2. FOSDEM / Embedded World
3. Mind's development team grows
4. Technology Focus: Qt, the cross-platform UI and application framework
5. Case Study: VLC media player port to BuildRoot

1. Mind plans new Embedded Linux trainings

Further to the success of the previous Embedded Linux Trainings organised by Mind and one of its partners, three new sessions have been planned for this year, in June, September and December, in Brussels (Belgium).

These 5 days long Embedded Linux trainings are intended for developers who want to build an Embedded Linux system from scratch or from commercial Embedded Linux solutions. The training covers the various components of an embedded Linux target, the development choices and debugging possibilities, as well as the Linux kernel architecture. During this course all participants get the opportunity to build and experiment with a small-footprint embedded target that can be kept after the training.

Other places and dates for the training are possible upon request, and we can also provide onsite customized trainings. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details.

For additional information regarding our trainings, you can also visit our Training page.

2. FOSDEM / Embedded World

During the recent weeks, Mind has participated in two major exhibitions in Europe:
  • FOSDEM '09 which took place on February 7th and 8th in Brussels. FOSDEM is a free and non-commercial event organized by the Free and Open Source community, for the community. Its goal is to provide Free and Open Source developers a place to meet and exchange ideas.
  • Embedded World 2009, which took place from March 3rd to March 5th in Nuremberg, Germany. Embedded World is the world's biggest exhibition of its kind with more than 600 exhibitors from 29 countries and 14,000 trade visitors.
These exhibitions allowed us to meet existing and potential customers and partners, present our technical expertise in Linux and Open Source Software for Embedded Systems and monitor the latest trends in embedded technologies. We're looking forward to meeting you again at these exhibitions next year.

For more details about these exhibitions, please visit the Events page on our website.

3. Mind's development team grows

In order to match the growing demands from our customers, Mind has recruited recently several new Embedded Software Developers with significant experience in the field of Open Source Software for Embedded Systems.

Apart from the expertise in Linux (and other Open Source Operating Systems for Embedded Systems like RTEMS, eCos, etc...), these developers are also bringing a lot of additional knowledge in device driver development, communication and networking protocol stacks, audio and video libraries, as well as user interface frameworks.

These new recruitments will not only increase further the accumulated number of man-years of experience in Mind's software development team, but it will also allow improved reactivity towards new customer requests, and increased available bandwidth for larger projects.

Mind's development team

4. Technology Focus: Qt, the cross-platform UI and application framework

Qt is a cross-platform application and User Interface framework which provides all the functionality needed to develop advanced GUI applications on desktop and embedded platforms. Qt uses the native graphics APIs of each platform it supports, taking full advantage of system resources and ensuring that applications have native look and feel. One of the main features of Qt is that it allows to write applications once and to deploy them across many desktop and embedded operating systems without rewriting the source code.

Qt Software, the Nokia unit formally known as Trolltech, has just released a new version 4.5 of Qt which is now also available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). The introduction of the LGPL will allow closed source applications to be linked to the Qt libraries without having to conform to the same license requirements. Up until this move, building proprietary applications with Qt was only possible by acquiring a commercial license. Of course, for companies who can not adhere to the conditions of the LGPL, Qt 4.5 will still be available under the commercial licensing terms available via Qt Software. Several companies have already confirmed to be deploying Qt in the near future and news sources speculate on a 20-fold increase in Qt adoption within the year, increasing the demand for skilled developers and specific training.

To address this market demand, and to participate to a larger adoption of Qt, Mind provides specific consultancy, development and training for Qt and embedded Qt. If you want to know more about Qt, or if you are looking for support to develop your Qt application, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Technology Focus: Qt

5. Case Study: VLC media player port to BuildRoot

In this project, Mind added the VLC media player to BuildRoot for one customer. VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. BuildRoot is a set of Makefiles and patches that makes it easy generate a cross-compilation toolchain and root filesystem for a target Linux system.

One of the main tasks to perform this port, was to find the appropriate configuration options and to provide the tool with the correct paths. Since all configuration options in VLC were required, we had to port many audio and video libraries which were not already available in BuildRoot.

The project was completed successfully and the changes have been submitted to BuildRoot waiting to be accepted. In conclusion, porting additional software to BuildRoot is possible, given a good understanding of Makefiles, patches and configure, and the result is a streamlined compact system that targets specifically your needs.

More details about this project and about other customer projects can be found on our Case Studies page.
Case Study

ESSENSIUM nv - Mind Embedded Software Division
Gaston Geenslaan 9 - B-3001 Leuven - Belgium
Tel.: +32-16-28.65.00, Fax.: +32-16-28.65.01
Web: www.mind.be, Email: contact@mind.be

We hope that you will find the information in this newsletter interesting and useful.
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