Wind River Auto Newsletter

Connected Vehicles Journal - Sept 2016

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Open Source Accelerates Automotive Innovation Auto OEMs: If you want to get to market sooner with features that wow consumers, it's time to get serious about open source software. By Dan Noal, Senior Director for Products and Strategy, Connected Vehicles Solutions For General Electric, the "aha!" moment came in 2009. The 124-year-old manufacturing giant saw that its differentiation and competitiveness—its future—depended on software. "We needed to be in the software business," said GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt. GE made a massive investment in software competency and committed to becoming a top 10 soft- ware company by 2020. "It was this or bust," said Immelt. Since then, many automakers have had similar aha moments—and realized with horror that they were already late to the game. Today their primary competitors are no longer other auto OEMs, they are software and new-media networking giants such as Apple ® , Google ® , Uber, and Microsoft ® . The question is no longer whether to become a software company. The question is how to accelerate the use of software in creating innovative new features that consumers want, that the supply chain can deliver, and that meet stringent safety and security requirements, at the lowest possible cost. Open source software provides a compelling answer—but in a way that many auto executives have not fully considered. The adoption of open source software products and platforms does far more than provide cost-effective access to reusable software compo- nents that have been created and refined by software gurus. Open source accelerates the entire development cycle. In the process, it accelerates the creation of highly differ- entiated products and features that fuel new competitive advantages, and it quantifiably reduces time-to-market. OPEN SOURCE IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY The open source concept was introduced more than 25 years ago, and adoption of open source software has been accelerating ever since. Open source simply means the source code is freely available to developers (free as in "freedom," not as in "free beer"). Under most open source licenses developers have the right to modify and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Thus development is a collaborative, community effort, open to everyone. In the proprietary model, by constrast, the software is typically copy- righted or patented by a single person or entity, which imposes limits and restrictions on who can use it and how it is used. The Linux operating system is the premier example of the power of open source. Originally developed in 1991 to circumvent the expense and limitations of commercial operating systems, Linux now has the largest installed base of any operating system in the world. Many different distributions or "flavors" of Linux have been created over the years to meet specific needs, including Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a Linux Foundation Connected Vehicles Journal / September 2016 | 03

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