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LinuxWorld: Small is big - Embedded Linux poised for greatness

Jun 29, 2000, 21:29 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eileen Cohen)

"Linux exhibitions -- whether for hackers, suits, or gun nuts -- crop up as frequently as dandelions these days. However, the first Embedded Linux Expo & Conference (ELEC), held June 22 in San Jose, Calif., had a distinctly novel feeling to it. Attendees of the small but sold-out one-day event (240 at the conference and at least 500 at the expo) were clearly not the Linux faithful who wistfully wonder whether you can make money with open source. They were from a burgeoning industry sector, and were dead serious about learning how they could use open source to build products and make money...."

"Among the startling facts that Lehrbaum relates in his presentation is that less than 20 percent of the computer chips manufactured each year go into computers. Therefore, one to two billion CPUs each year are designed into embedded systems. This is an especially opportune time for Linux to become the OS of choice for many of the tens of thousands of new embedded designs that emerge each year...."

"After the presentations, it was time to head to the exhibit floor. On the way, I asked Warren Greving, part of a contingent from Hewlett-Packard's Advanced Technology Group, why they were at ELEC. "Linux is a very, very strong influence and force in the industry right now," replied Greving. "Understanding how it fits into the embedded world is very important at HP."

"Noting that half of HP's business comes from products -- printers -- that employ embedded systems, Greving said the value of the conference for his group was "to see who's here, and then maybe interact with people here who are involved in the same parts of their business as we are." The "see who's here" theme reverberated in conversations I had with other attendees and vendors."

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