Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Caldera pulls Motorola onto Linux Bandwagon 66

PowerPC writes "Motorola will be announcing their alliance with Caldera Systems and Lineo according to this article over at ZD-Net. " While I still mantain that "Lineo" is one of the dumbest names I've ever heard, Motorola will be working with both them and Caldera Systems. As would be expected from Motorla, the focus is going to be on embedded devices, and using Linux in that environment.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Caldera pulls Motorola onto Linux Bandwagon

Comments Filter:
  • I bet it would have survived if it was running a 366Mhz PowerPC 750 with Linux and PHP.. maybe Phorum []
  • From the sound of the situation you describe, the embedded market is *ripe* for a PORTABLE, OPEN SOURCE environment, complete with scalable kernel adaptable to "real-time" scheduling, runtime libraries, and development tools.

    There are thousands of penny-ante guys (like, for instance, myself) who would be in business making short-run embedded equipment if the entry fees were NOT SO HIGH. Linux ports will lower this wall, enabling a plethora of new developers to write code for and *buy* stuff like yer 8240 without having to shell out a raft of money for tools.

    Is it *that* tough to port gcc to another machine?
  • Don't be so hard on the MCG. The 8240 is pretty new. I don't even no if they have a product based on it yet. Remember, these guys are only sell boards and computers, not the chips (that's Motorola Semiconductor).

    I've used the "crappy" RTOS you mentioned, and was actually able to get working drivers for their boards from the MCG. You're right that they're in the business of selling hardware, but if in the process, they contribute to GNU/Linux, what's the problem. Adopting a wait and see attitude is fine, but hold back on the criticism til there's something to criticize.
  • > motorola isn't "officially supporting" anything.

    Well, maybe not offically, offically, but they are certainly contributing several patches to the Linux/PPC Kernel (to support their hardware better--they are the main reason why Linux/PPC Kernel started to support RS/6000 / CHRP / PREP Machines), gcc patches to support the unreleased (yet) Altivec PowerPC processor extentions (think MMX on steriods), and patches to better support embeded devices. So Motorola (well, at least Motorola employees, have been 'unoffically' supporting Linux on the PowerPC for almost 3 1/2 years).

    > Motorola had aboloutely no connection that i am aware of with the LinuxPPC project (

    Well if you are referring to the Linux/PPC Kernel project see above. If you are refering to LinuxPPC, Inc., LinuxPPC, Inc. used to resell Motorola StarMaxes with LinuxPPC preinstalled. Of course that ended with Apple ending cloning.

    > What is more, this is not the only linux distribution for PPC macs; there is also MkLinux.

    You are again confusing Linux/PPC Kernel Developers and Linux Indepent Developers with LinuxPPC, Inc.

    There are actually quite a few different distros that use the Linux/PPC Kernel -- Debian on PPC, Yellow Dog Linux, An unammed in development distro by the Linux am Mac people (for germans), TurboLinuxPPC and of course LinuxPPC Inc's LinuxPPC product.

    So LinuxPPC isn't the only distro using the Linux/PPC Kernel.

  • Assuming you're trashing VxWorks, I have to say that their kernel is rock solid. Unfortunately (for them) that's one of the few bright points (aside from GCC, which they add no value to) in an otherwise fairly mediocre (IMO) offering.
  • Of Course So. If you where on the Linux/PPC-developer's list (sponsered by LinuxPPC, Inc.) you would have recieved most of these patches as enclosers in your mail box.

    Of course, that caused a problem -- lots of people would lose or accidently discard these patches, or were not on Linux/PPC-developer so now Motorola has a website ( that has most of them avalible to patch various Linux/PPC kernels you might be running.
  • Isn't the 8240 just a 603r with a 106 on the same die? You cant see the PPC bus, just a memory bus and PCI bus with an I2O unit thrown in.
    The 8260 is the smae thing with the 860 /68332 CPM unit added (OK, an enhanced CPM)

    Re Windriver..
    Ugh... that code is soo nasty,layers and layers of cruft... Then there's their BSP scam, you write it, we (WR) approve it, and WR gets to sell it.

    They called us once, we wanted to know how much they wanted for their OS on a per unit license, they wouldnt tell us a figure until we told them how much our product was going to sell for...
    They got the quick hustle out of the office after that.

    Linux is no more suited for Realtime than NT, but I've had people who wanted one or the other in a RT application. Sure you could make Linux a RTOS, but by the time you had ripped enough out, why bother, there are much better RTOS's available that have some history and support for less than the cost of my time to patch Linux to be some sort of questionable RTOS.
  • Of course, "neo" meant "new" long before The Matrix, but let's not get bogged down by details... :-)
  • The only thing scarier than the name "Lineo" is probably the amount of money that went into coming up with it.

    Alas, the real reason I wanted to comment here is to tell all the folks at Motorola that I can't wait till my Toaster and Cell Phone both run Linux. Hrm. I could call my toaster from my car, load some bread, check on the status of my toast when I'm almost home, adjust the light/dark setting, and have it ready, perfectly golden-brown when I arrive home from work. The future is now! (Take that George Jetson.)

  • ZDNET story []
    Register Article []
    Clip 1 from yesterday at
    Motorola Computer Group [] is going to be at the Linux Expo [] August 9-12 in San Jose, CA, to talk about using Motorola hardware for embedded Linux solutions.
    Related Clip from Sunday on The PPTP Server [] is out, brought to you by Moreton Bay []. If you don't remember who they are, maybe I can remind you, in February we released the first Linux port [] to the Motorola Coldfire family of processors. The nice thing to note, is that coldfire hardware can be had from Motorola Digital DNA [] at a fairly reasonable price.
  • More Linux is good, but I'm not convinced that Caldera is. I hate press releases.

    For example, if they're bringing us a low-cost, Unixish solution, what do we have already? A *free* Unixish solution...

    If they're bringing us the ability to make embedded solutions, then what do all those car MP3 players already run on? Hmm... Linux, maybe?

    Maybe I'd believe them if "OpenLinux" was an Open version of Linux, instead of something more like what the Open Group would do if they got their hands on Linux.

    Now, I know that companies add enhancements into the OS, but do they have to *sell* them, without source? Hmm? That's why I like Red Hat. As well as funding development, they don't charge as much for what they also release for free, either...
  • Which is goofier: Lineo (easy to scrub) or Athlon (soothes your itchy feet)? These days with product names stooping to such lows as cars called the "Aspire" (to what?) and the "Charade" (it's not really a car...), a handheld operationg system called "Wince" ("You'll WinCE when you see the performance!!"), and AOL and Sun's new "iPlanet" (waaay too close to eIBM's enew ethinking), it's really hard to tell which marketing flub is worse.
  • [hobbex@toaster bread] mount -t white /dev/wonder /mnt/bread

    [hobbex@toaster bread] GNUToast --time 4 --heat 225

    [hobbex@toaster bread] umount /dev/bread

  • $>finger localtoast

    Motorola Lineo Toaster version 1.0

    2 slices loaded, 1 ready

  • Follow the link to the "Privacy Practices". After squinting for a while, I finally just did View -> Page source, and found the following tags --

    -- liberally scattered throughout.

    They also claim that "Personally identifiable information may include name, title, company,
    address, phone number, etc. We do not require this information to obtain access to any
    part of our public sites," yet accessing the MCG Linux Forum requires registration (Full Name and Email) in order to access.
  • The MCG Linux home page.
  • No, I haven't heard of "PPCLinux", what is it? The port of the kernel to PowerPC is referred to as Linux/PPC.
  • My guess is that the companies who make such ridiculous names spend too much time thinking up all the money they're going to get from the sale of their product to spend time thinking about a name worth using.

    Either that, or they're trying to make something goofy enough so that we'll remember it.

    ("What about those.. oh, what's that name again ['it was really whacky']? oh yeah, the iToaster/iMac/etc, etc, etc...")
  • While I have nothing against Tux or penguins in general, I once borrowed someone's Slackware CD set (3.0 I think), and it had a really cool platypus where the penguin is nowadays, and I must say that I like the platypus a lot better.
  • you sure that isn't GNU/LINUX/PPC ?

    no offense to the dude with long hair who's
    views may differ from mine, and to whom I
    owe much for the FREE software.

  • lineo is good. bugs can't hide in lineolum the
    way they do in carpets.
  • Motorola Semiconductor makes PowerPC processors. Motorola Computer makes boards using PowerPC processors (from both Motorola Semiconductor and IBM) and Intel processors.

    Do not confuse the two Motorola companies. Don't even assume that there is any communication between them.

    Motorola Computer is supporting Linux. And despite all these Caldera announcements, they're using Debian on PowerPC internally.
  • First let me state that It's not Caldera that made the MCG [] jump onto the linux BangWagon. It's been some time now that they speak and send patches to the linuxppc-dev list. They have openend a specific linux site one week ago or so (see the above link).

    Too bad they are pushing the embedded market
    I whish some linux hardware vendors would get in touch with the Motorola MCG to get Quantities of MB (603e, 604e, dual 604e's and 750 based ones) so Linuxppc users yould have the oportunitie to by non Apple branded hardware.

    Bad thing is the price of a single board that why we need a Big partner( like VA) to have them in quantities.
    There a discussion now on the debian PPC list on how to get PPC boards ( beginning of the thread on PPC boards [])- It was said that IBM would licence the desing of its longtrail MB and that they could be easely manufactured [ if someone is listening there a Market for PPC based motherboard - With Linux as the OS - If enough boards are sold then I'm sure you could interest the QNX/Amiga people and the BeOS people too - You just need to launch the market using Linux, ...]

  • You don't have to publish your enhancements if you release binary-only kernel modules, and I wouldn't put it past Caldera to do so. If they had a spotless track record, I wouldn't fuss about it.

    I agree that Linux wasn't designed for embedded work, but since it has such massive driver support, such a decent programming environment, can run on a 386 (which is very cheap...) and gives out the source, it's an immediate candidate for a high-end embedded machine.

    I'm not convinced that anyone would want to use it for a smart toaster. For trying to put a "real" OS on anything less than a 386, you might as well use DOS, or Minix, or fund development in ELKS... However, I fail to see why most people would want to do this in the first place.

    The other consideration is that the Linux kernel has gotten a little memory hungry compared to previous incarnations. I don't know how stripped down you could make it, but there's a lot of code that could be left out in your average embedded system. (only use romfs for a filesystem, don't need a terminal or any extraneous peripherals, etc., etc.) However, I'd still want to have 8MB of RAM, or something to swap to, failing that.

    I'd hope that a properly written application could only use a fixed amount of memory, but of course it depends on what you're doing. Any memory leaks in the system will always have to be fixed...
  • No, I haven't heard of "PPCLinux", what is it? The port of the kernel to PowerPC is referred to as Linux/PPC.

    Actually, it's "LinuxPPC" (without the slash).

    Ethelred []

  • is this helping the rtLinux port ?

    as I understand it this is for embedible procs and such like so you can do real time sound stuff as well as fly your plane well

    airbus use 5 machines running BSD they calculate then argue who is right the majority wins

    what we need is stuff like this done with linux as you get smart people sorting things out !

    ah well

    I have no faith in wings

    a poor student @ bournemouth uni in the UK (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Believe me this whole thing is a crock of shit.

    Embedded Motorola is NOT Motorola. These guys are still living in the stone age. I just talked to our FAE, and he doesn't know jack shit about embedded linux/egcs/gcc (or even care). They pass Diab all the appropriate stuff and wash their hands of it. They don't want to be in the compiler business, and they don't want to be in the OS business.

    Open source embedded design has a LONG way to go. There are so few developer/end users compared to desktop systems. To make matters worse, most of the embedded engineers I know (and no, they aren't stupid) dont know JACK about OS design. We buy a crappy RTOS from ISI/Greenhills/Windriver, pay them a TON of money for software we get 0 source code to, PLUS fork over per unit royalty fees, and get on our knees and thank the Lord that somebody sees fit to write an OS for our particular target.

    Then, we call up Diab, and they charge us another ton of cash for their compiler, again, who's source we have no access to, and who's portability is restricted to the platforms Diab decides is the most profitable for them.

    I don't see (embedded) Motorola helping egcs. I don't see Motorola helping linux developers. They are in the hardware business. Hopefully, Caldera will bridge the gap...

    But I'll believe it when i see it.

    Yes, this is a hole that needs to be filled, but so far there is no incentive for anybody to start the dump trucks.
  • I like that Moreton VPN router family -- I can think of various useful roles that could play in my systems as it stands, even without customizing its Linux. It has a lot of potential.

    Did anyone find pricing info on the site?
  • How about the "Catarra" (or whatever it is). Sounds and looks WAY to much like "catarrh".
    • A cold in the head. The word means a down-running; from the Greek katarrheo (to flow down).
    • A cold or similar malady.

    Put Hemos through English 101!
  • Think about it: Linux + Neo = Lineo. They are just trying to cram as much geek culture into the name as possible.
  • LinuxPPC is the distribution. Linux/PPC is the general project. :)
  • Just click here []. Motorola Computing Group (MCG) has an entire Linux discussion base. Just register (it's free) and hop right on in.
    -RISCy Business | Rabid System Administrator and BOFH
  • > But we don't make toasters. Yet. :-) We do make some pretty cool phones, though. :-)

    Well, someone could and use a Moterola-born embedded os? Thats kinda what I was thinking of ...

  • Hrm, MCG is already making cellphones as small as StarTACs, how about doing toasters or Linux servers in that size? Call it the ServeTAC. :P
  • My bad, I meant GSS/CSG (Cellular Subscriber Group) instead of MCG.
  • uhh

    motorola isn't "officially supporting" anything. Motorola had aboloutely no connection that i am aware of with the LinuxPPC project (, which was an independant group of people developing a linux that would run on Apple-created power macintoshes. What is more, this is not the only linux distribution for PPC macs; there is also MkLinux.

    Motorola does coproduce the PPC chip, but that doesn't change the fact that what you just said makes no sense.
  • Oh, I don't work on coldfire. check out [] if you think those links are cool. It's sorta slashdot like, but focused on this kind of news specificly...
  • It sounds cheesy, but I would not be a bit surprised if you were right. This reminds me a lot of the unfortunate name given to Motorola's short-lived Mac clones, StarMax. It was supposed to be star="stellar performance" + max="maximum and or Mac" according to the ad agency who sold them the name.

    The company was Master-McNeil for the curious. They were also responsible for FirePower's name, another unfortunate PPC clone maker as well as a long list of other lame monikers which I don't doubt cost their clients a fortune. Is it just me, or does that job look way too easy?
  • I say the more the merrier ! Even if MOT isn't really interested in Linux and they just want to hedge their bets, this is good. Everytime a large company jumps on the bandwagon it gives Linux a little more legitimacy.

    There are still a lot of suits who chuckle when the hear the word Linux, I know because I work with some of them. When a large co. comes out of the closet and proclaims their love for the penguin it continues to chip away at these guys. Gee, who knows..maybe we could see Linux running on a PCS phone sometime...hmmmm Linux on a StarTac...:)

    Even if MCG is running on IIS, at least Motorola is running Apache on Solaris.
  • While I agree the content in this press realease is lacking, Linux has significant problems in an embedded environment. For example, its memory usage is highly nondeterministic. If they're gonna create a version that can be embedded without running out of memory, that would be nice. Since MP3 players have big fat hard drives, they can run virtual memory. Other embedded applications don't have that luxury.

    Remember, if they make extensions to the kernel and glibc, they (at least legally) have to publish their enhancements. Then the guys at Hard Hat Linux can distribute them too. So why not welcome another embedded player to Linux space, instead of crapping all over them. I've dealt with the guys at the MCG for years, and they understand embedded computing.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde