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CIP Launches B@D v1.0

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The Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, announces the publication of a new version of Board At Desk v1.0, a customized and easy to deploy instance of the kernelci and LAVA projects that should allow developers to test Linux kernels on boards connected to their own development machines using the tooling provided by one of the most successful Open Source testing projects.

Board at Desk (B@D) v1.0 is provided in two forms:

  • As a vagrant VM recipe.
  • As a VM image, widely called a B@D box.

Please visit the CIP Testing project Download page to download the latest Board At Desk (B@D v1.0) box.

With this effort, the CIP project is moving towards a “shared and trusted testing” targeting not just those directly involved in maintaining the CIP kernel but any kernel developer that has physical access to a board. This reduces deployment, configuration and maintenance costs. B@D introduces a “local” approach to which is a distributed service centrally managed. In addition, CIP intends to increase the number of developers and organizations willing to participate in upstream kernel testing by providing a simple mechanism to evaluate the technologies developed by that community (LAVA and kernelci) which CIP considers upstream.

Some of the most important new features shipped with this B@D release include:

  • LAVA has been updated to 2017.7 version.
  • B@D now works on Windows 10 systems.
  • B@D now works behind a webproxy.
  • initramfs is now built locally, increasing reliability.

Newer version of LAVA

The LAVA community releases a new LAVA version every month. CIP testing team have updated Board at Desk LAVA version to 2017.7, released this past July. It comes with many new features, enhancements and bug fixes that allow the CIP testing project to introduce more verbose reports, prevents issues related with partitions being filled with system logs, etc..

B@D supports Linux and Windows as host OS

The previous version only supported Linux based systems as host OS. This new version of B@D also supports Windows 10 expanding the potential targets to those engineers who use this proprietary operating system in their development machines.

B@D now works behind a webproxy

Many organizations works behind a webproxy. B@D needed to give an answer to this use case, popular among CIP Members. Thanks to some contributions from Daniel Sangorrin, a Toshiba developer, Board at Desk now works behind a webproxy.

initramfs is now built locally

Previously Board At Desk was using the initiramfs provided by Linaro in their infrastructure. This created in B@D a dependency on the network connection latency that, under certain circumstances led to errors due to timeouts. Now initramfs is built locally which improves the speed of the tests, removing that need to access to internet.

In addition to the above, other features have been added and several bugs has been fixed, making Board at Desk more robust and reliable than before. Further information about this new Board At Desk (B@D v1.0) release can be found at the B@D Feature Page.

If you are interested in testing kernels using Board at Desk, meet the developers at the cip-dev mailing list. If you find bugs in KernelCI or LAVAv2 themselves, please report them upstream. If you find them in the configuration or any of the previously described topics, please report them in the CIP-testing bug tracker. More general information about the CIP testing project can be found in the CIP wiki.

Join CIP at Embedded Linux Conference Europe

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Are you planning on going to the Embedded Linux Conference Europe? ELCE, located in Prague, Czech Republic from October 23-25, 2017, is the premier technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products. Traditionally, ELCE has had one the largest collection of sessions dedicated exclusively to embedded Linux and embedded Linux developers.

This year is no different. Vendors and kernel and systems developers will collaborate with the maintainers and experts building the applications running on embedded Linux platforms. This year, developers will have the opportunity to learn about the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) and how to get involved with industry leaders such as Codethink, Hitachi, Plat’Home, Renesas, Siemens and Toshiba.

The Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) is creating a super long-term supported (SLTS) open source “base layer” for industrial grade software, components, tools and methods that will help key systems have a more sustainable workflow and less outdated software. The base-layer consists of an SLTS kernel, a basic set of open source software and standardization concepts that enable long-term management of technical systems such as electric power, transportation, water and waste management, healthcare and communication.

CIP Members Yoshitake Kobayashi, Senior Manager of Open Source Technology Department at Toshiba, and Urs Gleim, head of the Research Group, Smart Embedded Systems at Siemens Corporate Technology, will provide an update CIP on Wednesday, October 25 from 9:50–10:10 a.m. in Congress Hall 1.

They will introduce attendees to the project’s strategy, use cases, technical roadmap, policies and milestones. Participants will also get a look into technical details, development tools, testing and more for the CIP SLTS kernel. Add this to your ELCE schedule here.

CIP also invites Linux developers and maintainers to open workshops in the Athens room at the Hilton Prague that takes place before the conference begins. On Sunday, October 22, CIP members will lead three workshops for testing, collaboration and Q&A sessions. The workshop schedule is below. For more information or to register for a session, visit the CIP wiki page.

Workshops on Sunday, October 22:

2 p.m.: AGL Testing & B@D Collaboration Discussion

4 p.m.: B@D 101

5:30 p.m.: CIP Kernel Maintenance Q&A

Additionally, CIP members will host a Developer’s Meeting on Tuesday, October 24 at 1 p.m. The meeting is open to any and all developers interested in CIP, LTS, Linux maintenance and Debian. For more information, visit the CIP wiki.

Live demonstrations will be on display at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe taking place on October 23-25, 2017. The CIP booth (Booth M17) will be filled with innovative member solutions from Codethink, Plat’Home, Renesas, Siemens and Toshiba.

Please see below for the demo descriptions:

  • Renesas will be showcasing the CIP kernel in action with real-time capabilities of the RZ/G1M SoC with an iWave iwg20m board. The demo will display the benefit of low and stable latency, and the value of RT-PREEMPT patch set.
  • Siemens will link traditional industrial computing with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies based on IOT2000 devices, which are part of CIP’s long-term support commitment. The demo shows how to combine state-of-the-art sensor technology with proven, solid industrial approaches, and uses novel software mechanisms to describe automation processes.
  • Codethink Ltd will showcase at the event Board At Desk v1.0, released a few days earlier, the CIP testing environment based on KernelCI, so any developer can test a kernel or a simple system locally in a board connected to her machine and share the results and logs. During the demo, the latest CIP kernel will be tested on the Beaglebone Black and  Renesas RZ/G1M boards.
  • Plat’Home will show the demonstration with IoT. It runs on original product, “OpenBlocks IoT VX1” with CIP kernel. OpenBlocks IoT VX1 is the compact server for IoT gateway. It uses Environment Sensor made by OMRON.  It shows environment values at venue, such as temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, sound pressure, illuminance and ultraviolet radiation.

If you’re attending ELC Europe, we look forward to seeing you there. If you’re not, stay tuned. We’ll add pictures and updates on the our blog post and @CIP_Project.


CIP Member Spotlight: Toshiba

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Civil infrastructure systems are the core of our daily lives. These technical systems deliver essential services such as electric power generation, transportation, water and waste management, healthcare and communication. The Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, aims to establish a base layer of industrial grade open source software components, tools and methods to enable long-term management of these systems. CIP is driven by some of the world’s leading manufacturers of civil infrastructure systems and industry leaders including Codethink, Hitachi, Plat’Home, Renesas, Siemens and Toshiba.

Photo by Creative Commons Zero

Launching today, this blog series will highlight CIP members and how they are contributing to open source software solutions that will benefit the world’s technical systems. Please read on for the first member spotlight – Yoshitake Kobayashi, Chief Specialist of Software Engineering and Technology Center for Toshiba Corporation.

What does your company do?

Toshiba is a company that channels world-class capabilities in advanced electronic and electrical product and systems into four focus business fields: Energy that sustains everyday life, that is cleaner and safer; Infrastructure that sustains quality of life; Storage that sustains the advanced information society; and Digitalization that sustains optimized and secure society. Guided by the principles of “Committed to People, Committed to the Future,” Toshiba promotes global operations and is contributing to the realization of a world where generations to come can live better lives.

What is your role in CIP?

I am the chairman of the CIP Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and also a member of the Governing Board as Toshiba’s representative. As a part of my activity as TSC chairman, I have given presentations in various conferences such as the Embedded Linux Conference and the Open Source Summit.

Toshiba is also contributing to several projects inside CIP, such as the reference implementation of the base-layer (CIP Project-X) and the testing effort (Board@desk). Outside of CIP, Toshiba is also contributing to the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, whose source code is used within the CIP Project-X.

Why is your company investing in an open source “base layer” of industrial grade software?

Toshiba wants to contribute to a sustainable society on business domains such as civil infrastructure systems. In recent years, civil infrastructure systems are changing towards more connected architectures and using open source software. Toshiba products, which have rather long life time spans, need to guarantee high levels of reliability and security. To achieve our goals, we are committed to the creation of a secure, reliable and maintainable software platform for infrastructure systems.

Why did your company join CIP? Can you provide a use case scenario?

As one of the founding members the CIP project, we believe that collaborating with other leading companies that have similar requirements, will help us develop a common base layer more quickly and efficiently. By sharing the cost of developing this base layer, Toshiba will be able to focus more on the added value in our products.

How are you going to use the software? What benefits have you seen or what do you expect to achieve?

Toshiba will use the CIP base layer as the core for creating the operating system for our products. Since CIP aims to provide a super long term support (SLTS) for its base layer, we believe this is one of the most critical concepts for us. Additionally, we want to solve other common problems that affect our systems such as real-time support or the Y2038 issue, an issue due to a limitation of the maximum number of seconds (relative to Jan 1, 1970) that can be represented in a 32-bit signed integer.

Where do you see civil infrastructure systems in 20 years?

Linux will be the master of the world and everyone will be using it.

To learn more about CIP, please see the below resources:


Debian developers from all over the world attended DebConf 2017 to collaborate, learn and showcase projects

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Stick a fork in it – DebConf 2017 is officially done!

The 18th annual conference, which was located in Montreal on August 6-12, had more than 400 Debian contributors and users from all over the world collaborate, learn and showcase projects. Several meetups popped up during the conference and was a welcome addition to the 165 planned events including 89 talks, 61 discussion sessions or BoFs, 6 workshops and 13 other activities.

Members of the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) attended and presented key Debian sessions that offered tips and shared how CIP uses the Debian systems.

All photos taken by Aigars Mahinovs and licensed by Creative Commons

Jan Kiszka, a member of CIP and senior software engineer in the Competence Center for Embedded Linux at Siemens Corporate Technology, presented with Baurzhan Ismagulov, a developer with Ilbers, about building embedded Debian images with Isar. The Buzz room was filled with attendees who wanted to learn how to use Yocto-like layers for an industrial application and how to use Debian as a foundation.

Yoshitake Kobayashi, the Technical Steering Committee Chair of CIP and leader of an embedded Linux development team at the Toshiba Corporation, gave a presentation to a packed Buzz room of how CIP started the creation of an open source “base layer” of industrial grade software to enable the use and implementation of software building blocks in civil infrastructure projects. He shared why Debian is one of the integral parts of this “base layer,” how CIP adapts Debian for each use case and how CIP can contribute and collaborate with Debian.

For those who weren’t on-site, many of the sessions were live streamed so interested collaborators could still benefit from the knowledge sharing. These videos are also available at the Debian meetings archive website.

CIP spoke with many developers with a passion for Debian and the knowledge to improve the system. In fact, during the entire conference, the CIP team engaged with almost 60 developers to discuss Debian and how to improve support, especially for the Debian-Long Term Support (LTS) project. The LTS support is currently for 5 years but CIP has a goal of 10 or more years, which makes LTS one of the most important aspects of CIP. The gap in between projects is one of the issues and reasons CIP is collaborating with Debian.

Next year, DebConf18 will be held in Hsinchu, Taiwan, from July 29, 2018 to August 5, 2018. It will be the first DebConf held in Asia and CIP members will definitely be there to meet with Debian developers!

The CIP Project will be at DebConf 2017 in August!

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Members of the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) will be attending and presenting at the 18th annual DebConf on August 6-12 in Montreal, Canada. DebConf is the annual conference for Debian contributors and users interested in improving Debian. Previous Debian conferences have featured speakers and attendees from all around the world. Last year’s conference took place in Cape Town, South Africa and was attended by 280 participants from 30 countries.

CIP is a Silver Sponsor this year and will participate in the job fair and host a booth at the conference. Additionally, two CIP members will be giving presentations.

Jan Kiszka, a member of CIP and senior software engineer in the Competence Center for Embedded Linux at Siemens Corporate Technology, will present with Baurzhan Ismagulov, a developer with Ilbers, about building embedded Debian images with Isar. Debian has a long history in embedded usage but many developers don’t know how to use the pre-built, well tested, long maintained Debian packages with the flexibility and reusability of image descriptions via bitbake and Yocto-like layers. This presentation will provide an introduction to this approach, how to use it for “big picture” industrial application scenarios and how to use Debian as a foundation. Jan and Baurzhan’s presentation is on Saturday, August 12 at 10 a.m. in the Buzz room. Click here for more information.

Yoshitake Kobayashi, the Technical Steering Committee Chair of CIP and leader of an embedded Linux development team at the Toshiba Corporation, will give a presentation about how CIP has started the creation of an open source “base layer” of industrial grade software to enable the use and implementation of software building blocks in civil infrastructure projects. Debian is one of the integral parts of this “base layer” and Yoshitake will share why CIP members use Debian, how they adapt Debian for each use case and how CIP can contribute and collaborate with Debian. Yoshitake’s presentation is on Saturday, August 12 at 10:45 a.m. in the Buzz room. Click here for more information.

If you’re going to the conference, stop by the CIP booth to chat with other members about all things Linux, Debian and open source industrial grade software. If you’re not going to be at the conference, stay tuned to this blog and @CIP_Project for event updates.

Event Report: Open Source Summit Japan 2017

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Last week, the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) Project participated in Open Source Summit Japan hosted by The Linux Foundation (LF) as a Silver level sponsor.

The following article is a short recap about what we learned and accomplished during these 3 days of the conference.

Open Source Summit Japan?

Before going into the CIP specifics, let me briefly touch upon the event we participated in. I assume that many of you have heard the events called “LinuxCon”, “CloudOpen” and “ContainerCon”. These were events the LF had been hosting up to the last year. These 3 events were separately branded, but typically, hosted on the same day at the same venue. This year, the LF decided to bring all three event together and re-brand it  “Open Source Summit.”

Open Source Summit (OSS) Japan is actually the first-ever LF event under the Open Source Summit brand and it was co-located with Automotive Linux Summit (ALS)

The event was packed!  More than  1,000 people participated to the event. All sessions were delivered in English, even the Japanese developers delivered their talks in English. There weren’t any translators (except for the keynote) and this gave the event a very international flavor with  many non-Japanese participants.

CIP’s first ever open workshop

A day before Open Source Summit started, CIP members had meetings for the  Governing Board and Technical Steering Committee. Most notably, however, we had the first-ever open workshop, which was made available for anyone who is interested in the work we are doing at CIP.

There, we discussed, along with the non-member participants, Real Time (PREEMPT_RT) and CIP testing.

We only had a short period of time  and a  limited number of non-member participants but we thought it was successful and are considering doing it again at Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) in October. We will let you know once we finalize the plan. 😉

First Ever CIP Open Workshop

Demos at the CIP Booth:

It has been a year since the inception of the project and we’ve been making a lot of progress. But, CIP is NOT the  kind of project to innovate some fancy, cutting edge, newest technology.

Instead, CIP is one of the most conservative projects among the 60+ projects the LF currently hosts, and we DO take pride in it.

We take pride in maintaining a software that will become the backbone of our civil society infrastructures such as energy, transportation with the robustness and security level industry requires. To do that, our work needs to focus on “making the system industrial grade.” Choosing one or very few kernel versions and keep re-painting and duct taping them, as well as investing to Real-time capability, security and safety etc.

As such, we did have  demos that entertained the audience. Here are a few details about the CIP member demonstrations at the booth. These products are all running on the CIP 4.4 Kernel.

TOSHIBA: Power Plant Controller with CIP kernel

Hitachi: Industrial controller with CIP kernel

Plat’Home: Simple IoT Demo.

Renesas: CIP test framework on RZ/G reference platform

Siemens was also planning to demonstrate the IoT2040 device that runs CIP kernel, but it did not arrive to Japan on time. We hope to see it at our next conference. 

CIP Sessions:

There were 2 CIP-related sessions during Open Source Summit Japan.

Civil Infrastructure Platform: Industrial Grade SLTS Kernel and the Base-Layer development – Yoshitake Kobayashi, Toshiba & Chair of TSC at CIP.

Yoshi Kobayashi provided the basic status update of the CIP project in general.  The session was well attended with more than 50 participants from different industries who actively participated in the conversation as to how CIP may solve the issues facing their companies today.

Yoshi Kobayashi, Toshiba


The Many Approaches to Real-Time and Safety Critical Linux Systems – Wolfgang Mauerer, Siemens.

While Yoshi provided the general status update about the project, Wolfgang gave an overview of architectural options for two of CIP’s  focus areas, Real-Time and Functional Safety. With no seats left in the room, the topic seems to be of great interest to the community, and will likely continue to grow in importance in the future when we see more and more industrial devices based on Linux.

All in all, the 3+ days in Tokyo was extremely fruitful for the CIP Project and our member companies. If you missed Open Source Summit Japan this year, I strongly urge you to try to come over to Japan to join next year.

Also, the CIP Project is planning to sponsor the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE)  this coming October.  If you are planning to come to Prague, please stop by  our booth!!

CIP Team Photo

CIP Booth

Scene from Keynote

Tokyo night view

Board At Desk (B@D) and forthcoming challenges

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B@D released on May 31st


During ELC 2017, CIP project members introduced the beta version of what is being called Board At Desk – Single Developer (B@D), an effort by the CIP testing team to integrate LAVAv2 and KernelCI into a Debian-based virtual machine allowing Kernel hackers and maintainers to test any Linux Kernel on a board directly connected to a laptop. For CIP developers, the focus is the CIP Kernel, based on Linux 4.4 LTS and the reference boards designated by the CIP TSC (Technical Steering Committee). This May 31st 2017 the CIP testing team released the first fully working version of this virtual machine, labelled as B@D v0.9.1. Read about what comes with it and how to use it in the Release Announcement.B@D v0.9.1

In this first release the CIP testing team has tried to satisfy the requirements of as many developers as possible who could use B@D.  In order to reduce the complexity of setting up the environment to use the tools, Vagrant was the selected technology. VirtualBox has been chosen as the initial virtualisation technology in order to also support the needs of those who use Windows to create Linux systems. We are looking forward to incorporating KVM into the equation as soon as possible, thus improving the experience of those using Linux to produce Linux based systems.


Detailed step by step documentation to deploy and configure B@D, connect to the Beaglebone Black, and test the CIP Kernel is also provided. The CIP testing team has put significant effort into making the toolset easy to deploy and configure so that users can focus on testing rather than worrying too much about the tooling.


I would like to publicly thank all developers that have made this release possible, particularly my colleagues at Codethink Don Brown, Robert Marshall, Christos Karamitsos, Ben Hutchings and Lachlan Mackenzie.


CIP at Open Source Summit Japan 2017


If you are attending Open Source Summit Japan pass by the CIP booth to see how easy it is to use B@D to test a Kernel in a BeagleBone Black. Renesas is currently working towards making sure B@D also supports Renesas RZ/G1M. There will be additional demos at the CIP booth from Hitachi, Siemens, Toshiba and Plat’Home.


CIP is also organising an open Workshop session. You can propose topics for it or simply join us. It will take place at the OSSJ venue the day before the OSSJ starts, that is May 30th. Please check this wiki page if you are interested in attending, proposing topics or contacting. There will also be a talk on Friday 2nd June about the latest CIP news.


Forthcoming actions on the testing front


Now that we have the tool, our next step is to start setting up the CIP testing project following an architecture design that does not rely on a centralised testing service.


If we can guarantee that several developers are using the same testing tool to test a specific Kernel feature on a CIP kernel, using the same test in a cloned environment, the resulting output should be identical, which can be confirmed by sharing the results, among other measures. Several assumptions will need to be made like the creation of a similar chain of trust and transparency that any Open Source project has when it comes to code development. Other measures will need to be considered towards reproducibility and traceability of any test result.


In summary, we would like to translate the idea of treating testing like coding in an open environment such as CIP. You can read more about it in the CIP testing project landing page.


The described approach has a low risk, in my opinion. If we face scalability issues, a centralised service can be created so the investment can be rapidly adapted. But the bigger benefit of this approach will be cost since the required initial investment is limited. The project will grow organically, compared to a centralised testing service, limiting the financial risk too.


The current plan is to present some results at ELCE, which will take place in Prague in October 2017.

Civil Infrastructure Project – Year One Update + Whitepaper Release

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We’ve launched the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project just over a year ago, and since then, we have made a lot of progress in making Linux usable in industrial grade environments such as power plants, railway systems, and so on. The followings outlines the achievements since the inception of the project.

  • Organized a scheme to maintain the Linux Kernel for 10+ years, including appointing of CIP super long term support (SLTS) kernel, Ben Hutchings.
  • Established v4.4 as the first CIP SLTS Kernel.
  • Identified the reference hardware platform we will target to maintain; Beaglebone Black and Renesas RZ/G1M.
  • Building up a concept of “Base Layer”, which consists of the Linux kernel and very basic components that would be used in the industrial grade system environment.
  • Started a test framework project, Board @ Desk, that will enable anyone to test the CIP Kernel in their environment and share the test result, that will result in a reduction to the testing effort among those who use CIP Kernel for their system.

CIP has been delivering a measurable amount of output over the last year or so.

Today, we are very pleased to inform all of you that CIP recently added even more value to our industry; investing in the Real Time Linux Project, the first formal release of Board @ Desk, and our Whitepaper publication.

  1. Investment in Real-Time Project

Again, our work is to develop a software “Base Layer” to support mission critical systems like power plants and train systems, etc. Those systems require hard, real-real time capability, so it is very critical for us that the Real Time patches be integrated into the mainline kernel sometime in the near future.  To make that happen, CIP decided to take action.

Today, we would like to announce that CIP has become a Gold Member of the Real Time Linux Project hosted at the Linux Foundation.  To be very clear, by becoming a member of Real Time Linux Project, we are not paying money only and are letting someone else do the work, but we will be making a real commitment to the mainlining of the Real Time patch set, ensuring it will happen.

CIP members will not only be contributing to the upstream Kernel, but will also make sure to maintain it so the industry can rely on the use the kernel for their real business.  To do so, CIP member, Daniel Wagner, Siemens, has become the maintainer of -rt series of CIP Kernel.

  1. Formal Release of Board @ Desk

One of the pain-points for the industry has been testing.  We all do testing. In many cases, we all do very similar (if not exactly the same) testing at each company separately, yet testing has been the area which there has not been much collaboration among the open source community up until some years ago.

Recently, we’ve seen this situation changing. Testing has become one of the hot areas of open source collaboration. LTSI launched a testing project 3-4 years ago, called JTA, and the project has now become the origin of an independent project called Fuego, maintained by Tim Bird.  It has also become a source of a testing framework used by Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), called CIAT. Linaro has developed LAVA and is supporting the Linux Kernel community through the project.

For CIP developers, we would like to take this opportunity to announce the release of “Board @ Desk”, an instance of LAVA and KernelCI integrated by Codethink for CIP that should allow a customised and easy to deploy instance of the and LAVA projects that should allow developers to test Linux kernels on boards connected to their own development machines using the tooling used by one of the most successful Open Source and distributed testing projects,

With this effort, the CIP project is trying to create a first step towards “trusted testing” within CIP for every member and the CIP kernel maintainer.

  1. New Publication

Finally, we have an announcement regarding our new publication.

CIP is a very engineering-centric project in nature. Our main focus is not a sexy and innovative technology, but rather more conservative maintenance work to establish a foundation for the systems that have to run our society for many, many years.


Thus, as already mentioned, it has been just over a year since CIP has been started and delivered a measurable amount of output, yet we have not reached out much to the developers to whom CIP can be valuable.  This whitepaper provides the information developers need to understand who we are and what we are doing, and what value our activities can have for them.

We will be distributing the hard copy of the white paper at our booth at Open Source Summit Japan, May 31st through June 2nd. If you are participating in the event, please make sure to come to our booth to pick up the white paper (both English and Japanese versions are available)

You can also download the whitepaper from here.
(Japanese version is also available here)

We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Open Source Summit Japan!

[Member Blog] Why Codethink is a founding member of the Civil Infrastructure Platform, a Linux Foundation initiative

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by Agustin Benito Bethencourt, Codethink

On April 4th 2016 a new Linux Foundation initiative called the Civil Infrastructure Platform was announced. CIP aims to share efforts around building a Linux-based commodity platform for industrial grade products that need to be maintained for anything between 25 and 50 years – in some cases even longer. Codethink is one of the founding members.

Industrial grade use cases

In order to describe why this initiative is relevant let me go over the use cases that motivate companies like Siemens, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Renesas to share efforts.

During the Open Source Leadership Summit, Noriaki Fukuyasu (Linux Foundation) and myself, based on the experience of Siemens, Hitachi and Toshiba, described the development life cycle in industrial grade use cases. For example, a railway management system is as follows:

  • Analysis + design + development: 3 – 6 years
  • Customizations and extensions: 2 – 4 years
  • The certification process and other authorizations take a year.
  • Each new release or update has to go through further certifications and authorizations that take between 3 and 6 months.
  • The system is expected to work for between 25 and 50 years.

So on average, an industrial grade product might take 5 to 7 years from conception to deployment. This is coherent with our experience in other industries like automotive, where life cycles are also quite long despite the expected lifetime being shorter.

A key part of the life cycle is maintenance. Due to its length, the associated risks are high. The certification processes to introduce significant changes in any already deployed systems are painful and expensive. In addition, the capacity to simulate a production environment is, in general, limited. This is true in other cases like energy production plans, for instance.

Open Source principles in the Civil Infrastructure industry

It’s obvious that Open Source could have a dramatic impact in this industry. By sharing efforts, corporations can commoditise a significant portion of the base system focusing on differentiation factors, increasing control through transparency and the quality of that starting point over time. Collaboration with upstream will bring even higher impact benefits.

Two immediate challenges come to mind when thinking about Open Source in this industry:

  • Development of processes and practices to produce software for safety critical environments.
  • Bridging the gap between the Open Source approach for software maintenance and the approach currently taken when building large-scale platform projects. For instance, how can approaches oriented to update any specific Open Source software component to the latest upstream stable version be compatible with any typical industry SDLC?



Civil Infrastructure Platform Announces First Super Long Term Support Kernel at Embedded Linux Conference Europe

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Today in Berlin, the members of Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) made available the details of the first release of the open source project’s super long term support (SLTS) kernel.

Development will begin shortly on SLTS kernel version 4.4. Until the announcement of the next version of the SLTS kernel, which the CIP community anticipates will happen in two to three years, feature backports from the upstream Linux kernel may be merged with the CIP kernel. The CIP community plans to maintain 4.4 for security and bug fixes for more than 10 years.

CIP launched in the spring of 2016 to address the needs of organizations in industries such as power generation and distribution, water, oil and gas, transportation, building automation and more for reliable and secure Linux-based embedded systems that can be sustained over a period of 10 to as many as 60 years. The project’s goal is to provide an open source base layer of industrial-grade software that permits the use and implementation of software building blocks that meet these requirements.

CIP will collaborate with other open source projects, including the Linaro Stable Kernel (LSK), Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI), Eclipse LTS and others.

For additional details about CIP kernel development, please visit