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Collaborative Software Engineering for the IOT

Linaro - Author

Cambridge, UK; 26 September 2016

Linaro Ltd, the collaborative engineering organization developing open source software for the Arm® architecture, today announced the launch of the Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Segment Group. Working in collaboration with industry leaders, LITE will focus on delivering end to end open source reference software for more secure connected products, ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and gateways, for the industrial and consumer markets.

Industry interoperability of diverse, connected and secure IoT devices is a critical need to deliver on the promise of the IoT market. Today, product vendors are faced with a proliferation of choices for IoT device operating systems, security infrastructure, identification, communication, device management and cloud interfaces. Vendors in every part of the ecosystem are offering multiple choices and promoting competing standards. Linaro and the LITE members will work to reduce fragmentation in operating systems, middleware and cloud connectivity solutions, and will deliver open source device reference platforms to enable faster time to market, improved security and lower maintenance costs for connected products.

Initial technical work will be focused on delivering an end to end, cross-vendor solution for secure IoT devices using the Arm Cortex®-M architecture. This will include a bootloader, RTOS platform, security, communications, middleware and a choice of application programming tools. LITE will also work on Cortex-A based smart device and gateway solutions for IoT using Linux.

“Linaro has been very successful in hosting collaboration within the Arm ecosystem to reduce fragmentation and deliver new open source technology into multiple markets, from mobile and digital home to networking and the enterprise data center,” said George Grey, Linaro CEO. “We see an opportunity to apply the same skills to the rapidly emerging IoT software market, and we intend to work with our members to deliver reference open source software platforms that implement non-differentiating but critical features such as end to end security from the device to the cloud, over the air software updates, emerging IoT standards and protocols, and interfaces to global cloud service providers. This will enable product vendors to focus on their differentiation and value add.”

Linaro has recently joined the Linux Foundation Zephyr Project as a Platinum member, alongside Intel, NXP® and Synopsys. LITE plans to use both Zephyr and Linux as neutral industry platforms for delivery of its collaborative engineering output. Under the direction of its Steering Committee, LITE will also work with Arm to extend and expand the Arm mbed™ IoT Device Platform and ecosystem. In addition, LITE will evaluate integration of other open source RTOS solutions and platforms from global Cloud service and device management providers.

Founding members of LITE are Arm, Canonical, Huawei, NXP, RDA, Red Hat, Spreadtrum, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and ZTE. Additional ecosystem semiconductor vendors, software companies, service providers and product manufacturers are expected to join LITE over the coming months.

LITE is today releasing a preview of technology that will be delivered in the initial LITE IoT Reference Platform release to be made in December 2016. An end to end open source sensor solution running on multiple vendor SoCs will be demonstrated at the opening keynote of the Linaro Connect conference in Las Vegas, USA, and made available to the developer community at

“The success of the Arm ecosystem is built on choice and the work of our many partners,” said Charlene Marini, vice president of segment marketing, Arm. “Linaro has a proven track record in fostering collaboration on developing, optimizing and maintaining software solutions across a diverse range of applications. Linaro will apply those same successful principles to LITE to help rapidly mature the IoT software ecosystem in support of the Arm architecture.”

“The Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation across devices and the cloud,” said Oliver Ries, Director of Engineering at Canonical. “Snap packages, the universal app packaging format for Linux, allow developers to distribute the same application on any device irrespective of operating system, from IoT gateways all the way to cloud server. Canonical will work with LITE to enable Snap-based Ubuntu Core support in the Linaro Reference Platforms, leading the way in reducing fragmentation and accelerating time to market for secure Arm devices.”

“Having an end-to-end secure and open source software stack is critical to realizing the full potential of IoT integration between sensor, client devices and the cloud,” said Zhong Youping, Huawei LiteOS OSDT Director. “Linaro has demonstrated its ability to bring together partners to solve large engineering challenges.”

“As leading providers of MCUs for the growing IoT market and as founding members of Zephyr, we are very pleased to see LITE adopt Zephyr as an open source development platform. This Linaro-led open source collaboration will help accelerate Zephyr on Arm to become one of the leading, easy-to-use IoT platforms, designed specifically with security in mind for the connected world” said Robert Oshana, NXP’s Senior Director & Head of Microcontrollers Software R&D.

“Red Hat has long advocated the need for open collaboration and innovation around IoT, driven by open source communities that have the agility to respond to the emerging needs of large-scale, industrial IoT,” said Karen Farmer, Global IoT initiative leader, Red Hat. “We believe that the path to scalability is through standardization and we are extending our efforts within Linaro from Enterprise Group to become a founding member of LITE, helping to drive standards for the development of Linux-based, commercial IoT platforms running on Armv8-A processors. Additionally, Red Hat’s expertise in platform development, middleware and security features will help to extend the Arm-based IoT ecosystem and enable IoT developers to deliver their open source-based solutions more rapidly.”

“IoT is all about disruption and we expect to see not only a plethora of new hardware solutions, but also new approaches to software,” said Dr. Leo Li, Chairman and CEO of Spreadtrum Communications. “In working closely with Linaro we have learnt the value of collaboration with our competitors and partners on non-differentiating technology and we feel that LITE membership will not only help our existing strategies, but also help us be prepared to benefit from the potential disruption in the industry.”

“As a long-time Linaro partner, ST sees this new initiative as a strong step in achieving our joint effort with Linaro to define and deliver a reference open-source software platform that can run over the multiple RTOSes used by our customers as well as Arm mbed,” said Laurent Desseignes, Ecosystem Marketing Manager, STMicroelectronics. “The wide choices of products available within all the STM32 families will facilitate the wide adoption of the LITE software reference platform and speed-up innovation for IoT applications.”

“Fragmentation has been a feature of the embedded landscape since the beginning as many applications have been specialized and relatively low volume,” said Huang Yihua , ZTE Director of strategy planning department. “As smarter embedded technology is used across a broader range of high volume applications, software portability, connectivity and maintenance becomes more and more important. We see Linaro and LITE as a neutral environment in which we can collaborate with our competitors and partners to develop non-differentiating open source software building blocks that will reduce fragmentation,deploy software quickly and accelerate innovation.”

About Linaro

Linaro is leading collaboration on open source development in the Arm ecosystem. The company has over 250 engineers working on consolidating and optimizing open source software for the Arm architecture, including developer tools, the Linux kernel, Arm power management, and other software infrastructure. Linaro is distribution neutral: it wants to provide the best software foundations to everyone by working upstream, and to reduce non-differentiating and costly low level fragmentation. The effectiveness of the Linaro approach has been demonstrated by Linaro’s growing membership, and by Linaro consistently being listed as one of the top five company contributors, worldwide, to Linux kernels since 3.10.

To ensure commercial quality software, Linaro’s work includes comprehensive test and validation on member hardware platforms. The full scope of Linaro engineering work is open to all online. To find out more, please visit and