Collaborative foundation aims to boost MIPS adoption
The foundation will offer open-source OS distributions for MIPS, including Android, CentOS and Ubuntu
IDG News Service - A collaborative, nonprofit foundation has been started by a group of technology companies to boost the adoption of the MIPS processor architecture.
Imagination Technologies, Broadcom, Cavium, Ikanos, Ineda Systems, Ingenic Semiconductor, Lantiq, Nevales Networks, PMC and Qualcomm have founded "prpl," an open-source, community-driven foundation, Imagination Technologies said Thursday.
The company also separately announced that it will collaborate with Oracle to enhance Java for embedded and Internet of Things applications, and to optimize Java for the MIPS CPU architecture.
MIPS implementations are mostly used in embedded systems such as routers and video game consoles, which could make them particularly useful for the burgeoning Internet of Things market.
Imagination has been pushing to expand the use of MIPS chips since it bought the financially struggling MIPS Technologies in 2012. More than 3 billion MIPS units have shipped, according to the company.
Each member company will provide its particular expertise to the foundation's engineering groups. For instance, Qualcomm will focus on networking and build a community around OpenWrt, an operating system based on the Linux kernel that is often used to route network traffic.
"Instead of every company doing the work individually, they all come together in prpl. They do the work and every company benefits from that work," Imagination spokesman Alexandru Voica said.
Prpl will offer open-source OS distributions for MIPS, including Android, CentOS, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu, essentially creating a repository for developers and others.
Working together in this way makes sense, said Richard Fichera, vice president and principal analyst of infrastructure and operations at Forrester Research. "As far as I can see, it is an intelligent strategy and program to boost MIPS, which has been under immense pressure from ARM for mobile device market share," he said.
Another focus of the foundation will be on enabling next-generation "data-center-to-device" portable software and virtualized architectures, Imagination said.
That strategy, however, is less to Fichera's liking. "MIPS lost its chance at the core data-center server market," he said, adding that he seriously doubts that anyone will invest in either silicon or systems to have another run at it.
"Any significant investment in a non-x86 server will be centered on ARM or possibly OpenPOWER rather than MIPS. However, MIPS is a perfectly good embedded compute resource, and is appearing in network-edge devices as programmable cores for both embedded network functions and as a user-programmable device," he added.
As for Imagination's collaboration with Oracle, the companies will work to bring broad Java support to 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS architectures for use in a broad range of applications including routers, other networking equipment, mobile devices and the Internet of Things, they said.
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets Today's trends like BYOD and SaaS are new and exciting in terms of how they will help make our jobs more productive but...
- Trends Shaping Software Management: 2014 Most IT executives recognize the relationship between mobile computing and worker productivity, and have long issued notebook computers and other mobile devices to...
- Software Asset Management: Pay Attention or Pay Up There is a wide range of options for managing software assets, from in-house solutions to the cloud to managed services providers. Read this...
- Are You Prepared for a Software Audit? Just the word "audit" is enough to make anyone shiver, and when it comes to a software audit, the reaction is no different....
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the... All Processors White Papers | Webcasts