Ken Morse HeadshotWritten By Ken Morse, CTO, Connected Devices, Cisco

One of the unmistakable trends happening in consumer electronics is the steady and seemingly unstoppable rise of ARM-based chips as the norm in all kinds of gear, and particularly mobile devices such as tablets, and smart phones.

It follows that ARM-based silicon is favored in the mobile environment because it’s designed to work in smaller and smaller form factors, with keen attention to power conservation and heat mitigation. Similarly, we are now seeing a trend of ARM-based designs taking hold in Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) such as set-tops and gateways.

(And after all, what’s the difference between an IP set-top box and a tablet? One has a wire that goes to the TV, essentially.)

The “keeper,” if you will, of Linux distributions for ARM-based silicon is The Linaro Foundation. Which is why you might have seen news (if not, click here) about us and several others, perhaps most notably Comcast and ST Microelectronics, joining as founding members the freshly formed Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG).

The intent is to do for cable CPE what the Linaro Foundation already did for mobile gadgetry: reduce fragmentation and differentiation across the SoC (System on a Chip) landscape, using standard builds and distribution tools.

It’s no secret that Cisco is a company built upon, and passionate about, open source. Why? Because in an open source landscape, you have two choices: avoid it, and let it steamroll over you, or embrace it completely.

At the Cable Show in April, we joined the “embrace it completely” wave when we contributed our routing software to the RDK Management LLC, for use in forthcoming CPE with broadband-heavy personalities, like cable modems and gateways.

Joining the LHG furthers that intention. LHG furthers the tenets of the RDK – service velocity, code transparency, vendor independence.

From a vendor perspective, LHG establishes a clear path to the development and innovation going on across the entire OpenEmbedded and Yocto communities, which is considerable.

(The “Yocto Project” is the open source development environment for Linaro, and, by proxy, LHG.)

This model has already proven successful within the networking industry leaders in the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and Linaro Networking Group (LNG.) LHG extends those successes the digital home environment — where progress happens by sharing the engineering load, delivering software to open source and “upstream” projects.

So that’s why we’re joining the LHG. These are fast moving times. Best to stay at the front of things.




David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco