Yocto Project: Intel’s best bet to IoT?

opensource_compThe Linux Foundation’s collaborative Yocto Project is not about a single board, it’s about creating a custom embedded Linux package for a board of your choice (and of any architecture). It is a open source embedded Linux build system, package metadata and SDK generator.

Here’s the quick start guide to get started with the Yocto Project. The Poky build system is at the core of the project. In Poky’s default configuration, it can provide a starting image footprint that ranges from a shell-accessible minimal image all the way up to a Linux Standard Base-compliant image with a GNOME Mobile and Embedded (GMAE) based reference user interface called Sato. From these base image types, metadata layers can be added to extend functionality; layers can provide an additional software stack for an image type, add a board support package (BSP) for additional hardware or even represent a new image type. In case you are curious, GNOME Mobile is a subset of the GNOME platform targeted at mobile and embedded devices. The main difference between GNOME Mobile and standard GNOME is that desktop-orientated libraries have been removed, along with deprecated libraries, creating a much smaller footprint. The final output of the Poky build system is usually an image that you can flash on your device.

At the time of writing the Yocto Project has BSPs for several boards like YP Core’s Daisy, Dora and Dylan. Example products include Enea Linux, Mentor Embedded Linux, Wind River Linux 5 and more. Vendors include ARM, Wind River and Texas Instruments among others.

The point where it becomes interesting is the involvement of IntelĀ in the project. ARM is beyond doubt the current emperor in embedded hardware and Intel has to go a long way to beat them. ARM has solidified its presence mostly by powering Android devices, which is open source. Why not Intel then? Yocto Linux product showcase includes Intel’s meta-intel BSP layer.

But wait! There’s more to it than meets the eye! Intel’s latest devices targeting IoT (Internet of Things or connected wearables), the Galileo and Edison show close affinity to the Yocto Project in several of Intel’s official pages like this and this.

I think it’s just a matter of time that Intel would start using the flexibility of the Yocto project to its full advantage. And probably challenge ARM when it comes to capturing the open market of IoT.

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