Roadmap Planning: Choose the Right Linux Building Blocks

Roadmap Planning: Choose the Right Linux Building Blocks


The year is drawing to a close, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to book conference rooms. Everyone is planning, estimating, strategizing, agreeing to disagree, etc. The result? A golden document, which, made right, it will make or break your product goals in 2017 – the strategic product roadmap.

Whether you are a system integrator selling industrial development kits, or system-on-modules (SOMs), you are ultimately solving a customer problem. From saving time, ensuring seamless functionality, cost savings, or performance and security improvements, your roadmap should be able to address all of these concerns. In most cases, finding the features that answer the problems often comes down to two key decisions – choosing the most appropriate processor and the best system peripherals for it.

This year, Wind River released a Linux distribution tailored to specific partner boards, like a software peripheral, aiming to deliver an optimal hardware and software combination. We designed Pulsar Linux as a modular OS, allowing it to be tailored according to each specific board — fast, optimized and ready for developers to write their applications quickly without the complexity of creating a ground up, customized Linux distribution. Functionality blocks can be added or switched, but looking at the bigger picture so far, we’ve solved the need for a secure, easy-to-use, cloud connected and container-enabling operating system for our partners with our on-going security monitoring and patching service that provides updates for the Pulsar Linux distributions already certified on these partner boards.

The hardware plus software affair is never easy though, especial for embedded devices, so here are some lessons learned from building Linux for our partner boards:

  • Choose: The key themes to consider with Pulsar are these: small, secure, easy to use, always updated, container-enabling, manageability (extensible through packages, kernel loadable modules), cloud-connected. The building blocks for delivering all these themes can vary from board to board; some are even hardware specific. For instance, secure features can span across a wide range of development features. From secure updates, to secure partitions and containers, to IMA and OpenSCAP configuration guidance, everything can be created just according to partner specifications
  • Prioritize: This is crucial when deciding what building blocks to include. Depending on the complexity level a building block adds, the broader business value of enabling a board can change. The hardware and software combinations that have the highest value and the lowest effort will be the easier to get buy-in for and build. We will be here to help you through the entire selection process.
  • Beware of feature creep: Go back to your golden document created from the beginning. Use only the building blocks that fit your overall strategy, and not all of them just because it’s technically possible

Lastly, referencing overarching themes will help  when trying to convince key stakeholders of your 2017 roadmap planning. You have the themes, you have the building blocks. It is up to you as a system integrator or ODM to decide how to mix and match them with your kits. We’ll be back with a series of blog posts focusing on each of these building blocks.

Check out the latest Pulsar Linux offerings from our partners here and if you’re interested in adding Pulsar Linux to your hardware, contact us at 1-800-545-WIND.