Leaders in digital home solutions collaborate with Linaro on ARM Linux platforms

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 
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Industry leaders Allwinner, ARM, Cisco, Comcast, Fujitsu, Hisilicon, STMicroelectronics and ZTE have joined Linaro’s new Segment Group focused on accelerating open source development for ARM processors in digital home applications

CAMBRIDGE, UK — Linaro, the not-for-profit engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM® (LSE: ARM; Nasdaq: ARMH) architecture, today announced the formation of the Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG) with founding member companies Allwinner Technology, ARM, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Fujitsu Semiconductor, Hisilicon Technologies, STMicroelectronics and ZTE.

Building on its collaboration model used by server and networking industry leaders in the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and the Linaro Networking Group (LNG), Linaro has brought leaders in the digital home market together in the Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG), sharing engineering effort and delivering software to relevant upstream open source projects. These leaders include SoC vendors, OEMs and operators and they will work together in the group on digital home applications, including set-top boxes, televisions, media players, gaming and home gateway devices.

Consumers can already instantly view streaming video content on a massive diversity of digital home devices capable of receiving broadcast, on-demand, and time shifted content. These devices function as home gateways and IP clients to access broadband and Pay TV services and are capable of managing content rights throughout the connected home. Viewers expect these devices to deliver rich 3D graphical user interfaces, access to their favorite applications, and the ability to watch and record programs all while operating on lower standby and active power. Many standards exist, but these are not implemented consistently across all platforms and devices, leading to significant fragmentation, a multitude of point solutions and subsequently significant amounts of duplicated, non-differentiating engineering effort.

“Linaro has been collaborating with ARM, Comcast, Hisilicon and STMicroelectronics on the RDK (Reference Design Kit) for the last year,” said George Grey, CEO of Linaro. “The Linaro Digital Home Group will build on this effort and expand scope to working on different Linux-based platforms used in the Digital Home segment. We look forward to continuing our work with SoC vendors, equipment manufacturers and members of the software ecosystem in building and maintaining world-class open source foundation software for this market.”

Members of LHG will collaborate on fundamental software platforms to enable rapid deployment of new services across a range of digital home platforms. Developing the base platform for diverse and complex multimedia applications requires a significant amount of software that addresses common challenges. LHG will deliver this as an enhanced core Linux platform for digital home devices. Linaro has been providing common core software for ARM-Powered®, Linux-based mobile devices since June 2010 with recognized success, and it has built on the collaborative working model that it has created to form special groups focusing on the particular industry segments.

The LHG steering committee has selected the following key initiatives for the software engineering effort:

  1. A common core Linux platform. The Linaro Stable Kernel (LSK) is based on the kernel.org long-term supported (LTS) kernel. LHG will leverage this with a Group-focused baseline and add features such as DRM (digital rights management), DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and CVP-2 (Commercial Video Profile 2). LHG will provide a core Linux platform build with versions to support the base layer of the Comcast RDK (Reference Design Kit), Android-based products, and manufacturer-specific Linux-based products. The LHG platform will support different vendor applications and user interfaces.
  2. Development of improved media framework APIs. LHG will work to establish standardized APIs to different media hardware, codecs, accelerators, and other peripheral functions across multiple members’ SoCs to improve middleware portability
  3. Development of a standard media security platform based on ARM Trustzone® technology. This will deliver an open source implementation of the W3C Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) standard for TrustZone-based ARM SoCs.
  4. Integration of key open source standards-based software. The LHG steering committee will identify key open sourced standards to be integrated by the group’s engineering team. Items already under discussion include optimized HTML5 support and DLNA CVP-2.

As with LEG and LNG, LHG will utilize output from Linaro’s core engineering group and will have a representative on the Linaro Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Key shared areas include the Linaro Automated Validation Architecture (LAVA) test and continuous integration (CI) farm for member SoC enablement and validation, multicore power management, virtualization and ARMv8 64-bit development.