SAN JOSE, Calif. Freescale Semiconductor will announce at the Embedded Systems Conference partnerships with embedded software companies Enea Systems, Green Hills Software and Mentor Graphics. The announcement comes just one day before Wind River Systems, software supplier to the lion's share of Freescale's customers, is expected to release at ESC the first of a family of embedded software packages, initially for the Intel x86.
The Freescale partnerships are aimed at cultivating an independent group of software vendors at a time when chip and system companies have been snapping up developers of Linux and real-time operating systems (RTOSes). In the past year, Intel Corp. acquired Wind River, Cavium Networks bought Montavista and Research in Motion bid to buy QNX Software Systems.
All the moves represent efforts to craft simpler, more integrated embedded software packages in the face of the growing complexity of multicore processors and the versions of Linux, RTOSes and tools they need.
"There's been a lot of discussion whether it's better for one company to own the software tool chain or have a rich ecosystem of partners--our answer is you need both," said Lisa Su, general manager of Freescale's networking and multimedia group, noting that after several acquisition the company now has about 1,000 internal software developers.
Freescale will share intellectual property and conduct technical and market development programs with Enea, Green Hills and Mentor to deliver software for Freescale's QorIQ, PowerQuicc and StarCore processors. The chip maker said it will announce more alliances with software partners in the future.
Specifically, Freescale will adopt Mentor's System Builder version of Linux in place of the in-house Linux variant LTIB Freescale currently uses for PowerQuicc and QorIQ. Mentor will release in June versions of its Linux variant and tools to support the P1, P2 and P4 versions of the QorIQ family and MPC857x versions of PowerQuicc.
The chip maker will work with Enea to optimize versions of OSE, OSEck, Optima Tools and related software for PowerQuicc, QorIQ and StarCore chips. Enea will introduce by June versions of OSE and its tools for the P2 and P4.
Freescale will work with Green Hills to optimize versions of its Integrity RTOS, C/C++ compilers, debugging tools and probes for PowerQuicc and QorIQ. Green Hills will ship late this year or in early 2011 versions of its runtime software and tools for the P3, P4 and P5 QorIQ chips.
For its part, Freescale will share some of its software with select partners, including code for Long Term Evolution cellular basebands and packet processing acceleration, said Raja Tabet, vice president of software for the Freescale networking and multimedia group.