"Hard Hat Net" for Linux Goes Open-Source
January 04, 2000

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (company press release) -- MontaVista Software Inc., developer of Hard Hat Linux for embedded computers, today is releasing to the open software community its "Hard Hat Net" CompactPCI backplane networking package. Software companies operating under the open-source business model mutually benefit by making their code freely available. This release firmly ensconces MontaVista within the Linux open-source community and provides embedded Linux applications developers with new, powerful networking options for the CompactPCI designs prevalent in the telecommunications and internetworking markets.

"Giving 'Hard Hat Net' back to the worldwide Linux community demonstrates MontaVista's commitment to open-source computing," affirms Jim Ready, MontaVista CEO and embedded computing pioneer. "Telecommunications and internetworking applications using Hard Hat Linux, and indeed all versions of Linux on CompactPCI, will benefit from the flexibility of intra-chassis back-plane networking and clustering." To support CompactPCI hardware, MontaVista software has formed strategic partnerships with the leading board vendors, including Force, Motorola, and Ziatech.

Chris Williams, vice president of marketing for Force Computers, commented "The release of Hard Hat Net is yet another milestone in fusing the openness, cost-effectiveness and flexibility of Linux with the robust performance of CompactPCI. Force has many customers in the telecommunications and data communications markets that will greatly benefit from our partner MontaVista Software's pioneering efforts. Hard Hat Net will have a rousing effect on CompactPCI application designers and will help accelerate the penetration of Linux in real-time embedded computing."

Hard Hat Net enables both CompactPCI system controllers and peripheral devices to communicate using standard networking protocols across the CompactPCI back-plane at high data rates. Hard Hat Net emulates standard Ethernet, leveraging the high bandwidth CompactPCI bus for intra-chassis networking. Hard Hat Net supports a variety of protocols, including IP (Internet protocol), IPX, Appletalk, and others available for Linux. As a result, Linux developers can take advantage of the high-speed Hard Hat Net interface to implement a variety of loosely-coupled and distributed PC board architectures, including Linux clustering, MPI, PVM, and CORBA.

Individual CompactPCI cards using Hard Hat Net can communicate with other cards in their local PCI bus or route through network interfaces to other nodes across traditional networking media. Not only does Hard Hat Net support transparent use with a variety of protocols, it does so across heterogeneous CPU families from Motorola PowerPC to Intel Pentium, among others. Kevin Morgan, MontaVista vice president of engineering, explains "Hard Hat Net anticipates the emerging PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) specification for back-plane networking, giving embedded Linux developers a tool for today and a path to the future PICMG standard."

MontaVista debuted its Hard Hat Linux distribution last year, for CompactPCI platforms, a popular choice for use in telecommunications and Internet access applications. Hard Hat Net is available now for Force, Motorola Computer Group, and Ziatech CPCI boards, direct from MontaVista. For more information about Hard Hat Net and on MontaVista Software Inc., please call 408-328-9213 or visit the MontaVista Web site: www.mvista.com.