Siemens’ New Linux Distribution Provides Solution for Embedded Systems Development
Goran Radanovic posted on February 27, 2019 |

Linux, the family of free and open-source operating systems, may not be as popular as Microsoft Windows when it comes to personal computing, but distributions based on the Linux kernel has widespread use on servers, mainframe computers, supercomputers, and other systems, including in embedded systems for industrial control and automation. Siemens has recently announced Mentor Embedded Linux (MEL), a commercial distribution based on Debian and designed for embedded systems with the help of Mentor Graphics.

In embedded systems, the operating system is typically built into the firmware and tailored to the system. Chris Rommel, VDC Research vice-president, said, “As more engineering organizations recognize the value of open source solutions, next-generation embedded systems are also redefining software development needs. Although many developers have gained experience with enterprise Linux, those traditional solutions cannot meet the performance requirements of most embedded systems. The new Mentor Embedded Linux addresses this issue, providing an enterprise-class solution for those developers looking for a Linux development experience beyond that for the platforms based on Yocto commonly used in the embedded market.”

Siemens MEL includes a large number of pre-built binary packages in order to provide general features and parameters for installation and use, making standard implementation across organizations more efficient and easier. MEL includes a robust toolchain, stable kernel and broad community support, as well as commercial support from Siemens.

Simon George, director of system software SoC Solution Marketing, said, “By combining the capabilities of an embedded Linux distribution with those from the Debian binary desktop Linux distribution, today's developers – many of whom have honed their skills in the Linux desktop development – can easily extend those same skills into fully featured embedded systems. We expect that Mentor's binary Linux solution will simplify many tasks for those who are developing with advanced system-on-chip(SoCs) such as Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ multi-processor SoC devices.”

The new Linux distribution provides support for application isolation and secure field updates. According to the company, users may find cost benefits when it comes to remote maintenance and updating of the software. The solution consolidates multiple heterogenous runtime environments using advances processor architectures, enabling embedded developers to build systems that integrate the Siemens binary Linux and the Mentor Nucleus real-time operating system on complex system-on-chip processors.

MEL supports industry-standard cloud and IoT technologies such as MQTT, XMPP, AMQP, RESTful API Support and CoAP. The development and analysis tools allow users to analyze the state and operation of the embedded system.

To find out more about Linux in the world of industrial IoT, read How Linux’s IoT Zephyr Operating System Works.


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