Qualcomm's Atheros division is already using OpenWRT as the basis for the software on its WiFi routers, encouraging the development of third-party apps running on top of it. The promise of a more standard stack and a broader developer community is what drove Qualcomm to join prpl, said Dan Rabinovitsj, a senior vice president of the division.
Ikanos, Lantiq, and Qualcomm share similar motives. They want to ease the process of delivering standard open-source code to their customers that make cable set-top boxes and home gateways, and fuel the promise of value-added apps on those systems.
"I spend a lot of time with developers, and when they have to code the same functions 40 times for 40 platforms, they get frustrated -- we have to address that," Rohatgi said.
The group only recently agreed to forge an alliance. It could take six months before its first working code is available.
Oracle is not a founding member but is clearly one of many targets. Imagination announced it is working with Oracle to develop optimized versions of Java software for MIPS and its PowerVR graphics cores. The work includes the Java Developer Kit, Java SE Embedded, and 32- and 64-bit versions of MIPS cores.
Imagination's chief executive, Hossein Yassaie, said the company is shipping about 800 million MIPS cores a year and has nearly 70 new licenses since it bought MIPS. Its ecosystem efforts include engagements with embedded operating systems from Green Hills and Mentor Graphics.
Imagination has added as many as 20 new cores to the product family from the high to the low end. It is revitalizing work on 64-bit MIPS cores, too.
"There's a new 64-bit Android coming, and it will work on MIPS64," said Yassaie.
The chief software architect for Comcast, Sree Kotay, was on hand for the event.
"One of the reasons we are interested in prpl is for the ecosystem" in areas such as security and connectivity, he said. As the largest broadband provider in the US and the third largest phone service provider, it can no longer "afford to buy our way out, nor could we build all we needed," he said, explaining the company's increasing use of open-source code.
Imagination plans to unveil initial details of prpl on May 22 at its first annual summit event in Silicon Valley.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times