Motivations driving embedded Linux

LinuxDevices.com ran a poll on corporate embedded Linux use; 812 people responded.  Highlights below.

Top 10 motives to develop embedded FLOSS

9. Which factor(s) will have the greatest influence on your choice of an embedded Linux source?
Cost 11.3 %
Documentation 9.5 %
Technical support 6.8 %
Ease of installation 4.9 %
Completeness of distribution 7.4 %
Development tools 12.1 %
Availability of device drivers 9.9 %
Minimized footprint 5.8 %
Real-time responsiveness 6.1 %
Availability of free, modifiable source code 13.7 %

Source: “2008 Embedded Linux Market Survey”, linuxdevices.com

Questions on cost structure:

12. Would you consider paying per-unit royalties to your embedded Linux OS vendor?
Yes 11.5 %
Undecided 16.5 %
No 66.5 %
Question does not apply 5.4 %
13. Would you consider paying for Linux development/support services?
Yes 60.8 %
Undecided 15.5 %
No 19.8 %
Question does not apply 3.8 %

Source: ibid.

Company size

20. How many people work at your company?
1-25 33.2 %
25-49 13.5 %
50-99 9.9 %
100-499 14.1 %
500-999 4 %
1000+ 19.3 %
Question does not apply 5.6 %

In conclusion, while the ininitial reasons vary greatly, very small and rather large companies comprise the majority of embedded Linux developers.  What’s more, most companies are willing to pay for development (NRE) and support costs, but unwilling to pay per-unit royalties.

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