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MontaVista Software
IndustryInternet, Software
FoundedMenlo Park, California (September 7, 1998)[1]
FounderJim Ready
ProductsMontaVista Linux

MontaVista DevRocket


OwnerPrivate equity investors
Number of employees
Over 250[2] (March 9, 2021)

MontaVista Software is a company that develops embedded Linux system software, development tools, and related software. Its products are made for other corporations developing embedded systems such as automotive electronics, communications equipment, mobile phones, and other electronic devices and infrastructure.

MontaVista is based in Santa Clara, California and was founded in 1999 by James "Jim" Ready (formerly at Mentor Graphics and creator of Versatile Real-Time Executive (VRTX)) and others. On November 10, 2009 Cavium Networks announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to purchase MontaVista for $50 million. After Cavium got acquired by Marvell, Montavista operated as an independent entity.[3]



May 12, 2009, MontaVista announced MontaVista Linux 6 (MVL6) comprising Market Specific Distributions, MontaVista Integration Platform, Software Development Kit, MontaVista Zone Content Server, and support and services. There are several differences between MVL6 and prior MontaVista Linux products. The main ones are:

MontaVista Linux (formerly named Hard Hat Linux) is a Linux distribution that has been enhanced to become a full real-time operating system. The work on real-time performance has since continued to a point where MontaVista claims to support hard real-time tasks on embedded Linux as of MontaVista Linux 4.0, with response times as fast as other real-time operating systems.[4]

MontaVista sells subscriptions, which consist of software, documentation, and technical support. The software includes a Linux kernel and toolchain aimed at a specific hardware configuration, collectively called a Linux Support Package (LSP), and other integrated tools including the Eclipse-based DevRocket integrated development environment (IDE).[5] The distribution is available in three editions, each aimed at different market segments: Professional Edition, Carrier Grade Edition, and Mobilinux.[6] The MontaVista Linux toolkit includes specific code libraries to easily migrate from Wind River Systems' VxWorks and the pSOS operating systems.


Project OpenCGX is an open and free to use embedded Linux distribution from MontaVista Software LLC. OpenCGX is based on MontaVista’s eleventh generation Carrier Grade Linux. Engineers can quickly jumpstart their ARM and x86 development with a full embedded Linux distribution that is easily customizable. OpenCGX in its introduction is based on Yocto 2.4 with Linux Kernel 4.14 (or latest LTS kernel) and GNU 7.2 toolchain.

Carrier Grade Express (CGX)

MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade eXpress (CGX) is MontaVista's main operating system product that delivers Carrier Grade reliability, security, and serviceability in a highly configurable, flexible package with consistent high quality. CGX features address a large embedded device segment including networking and communications, instrumentation and control, aerospace and defense, SOHO devices, medical electronics and the "Internet of Things (IoT)" market besides general embedded devices. CGX is a Carrier Grade distribution, validated for CGL spec version 5.0.


MVShield is MontaVista's professional maintenance and support program available for Carrier-Grade Linux products and other distributions such as CentOS or Yocto. One of MontaVista’s most popular support program has been MVShield for CentOS, that is best suited for customers who utilize CentOS in markets like network and wireless infrastructure, medical, and military-aerospace. MVShield for Yocto is MontaVista’s professional services offering to support customer’s open-source Yocto baselines to allow access to industry-leading support and maintenance services without any migration effort to commercial Linux baselines.[7]

Carrier Grade Edition

MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) is a commercial-grade Linux development platform for developers working with reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) managed hardware (Hardware Platform Interface (HPI), Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI)) or custom hardware, who need long-term support and high availability.[8] Carrier Grade Linux is governed by the Linux Foundation CGL working group.


MontaVista DevRocket is a set of Eclipse plug-ins for facilitating application and system development with MontaVista Linux. DevRocket integrated development environment (IDE) runs on Linux, Solaris and Windows. It uses the Eclipse C++ Development Toolkit (CDT). Starting with DevRocket 5.0, users can add MontaVista's plug-ins into an existing Eclipse installation, or install Eclipse with the plugins already loaded.[5]

DevRocket is available in two varieties: a Platform Developer Kit (PDK) and Application Developer Kit (ADK). The Platform Developer Kit includes the ability to communicate with a target (RSE, SSH), create and manage file systems, debugging (kgdb), and performance tuning (memory leak, memory use, system profiling). The application developer kit includes a virtual target for developing applications earlier in the development cycle, one-click edit/compile/debug, and performance tuning.[9]


Custom Hardware Enablement

MontaVista supports the x86, ARM, MIPS, and PowerPC architectures with Board Support Packages (BSPs) and associated kernel, driver, and user land adaptions on SoC or third party reference hardware boards. However, most companies develop and then ship their products based on custom hardware created for their specific requirements. MontaVista can adapt MontaVista Linux products to fit customers' software and hardware environment.

RTOS/Legacy Migration

MontaVista's RTOS/Legacy Migration services helps developing teams move from legacy products using a home grown or commercial real-time operating system (RTOS) to Embedded Linux.

System Certification

MontaVista Linux is being used in applications within IT and telecom that need to be certified according to Common Criteria, up to EAL4+ level. Evaluation Assurance Level 4+ (EAL4+) is commonly used to secure connectivity in critical environments, such as fire and police departments, or aviation and industry control systems. With the help of EAL4+ these critical environments can, for example, ensure secure and safe phone calls, control communication in-flight and for the assembly line, and achieve secure internet access.


MontaVista customer education provides education and training in developing intelligent device applications using MontaVista Linux. With the skills gained, development teams are able to reduce application development cycles while minimizing development risk.

Legacy products

Several legacy products are available from MontaVista under long-term support agreements.[10]


MontaVista Mobilinux is for wireless handsets and other mobile devices such as Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, portable medical devices, and wireless POS terminals. Mobilinux's key features include dynamic power management, real-time performance, fast booting, and small memory footprint.[11]

Professional Edition

MontaVista Professional Edition (Pro) is for general embedded Linux developers who want all the benefits of an open source development platform (open source, Linux, easily accessible software, etc.) and added MontaVista benefits including higher quality (fewer bugs), integration with open source tools for a given hardware architecture, and support. Pro is for intelligent device markets, including networking and communications, instrumentation and control, aerospace and defense, small office/home office (SOHO) devices, and medical devices.[12] Future development of MontaVista Pro has been folded into MontaVista Linux, effectively ending this as a separate edition starting version 5.0.24.

Open source contributions

MontaVista has a history of being a major contributor to the Linux kernel and the open source community. From the start, Jim Ready said he wanted to make it "100% pure Linux" under the GPL.[13] The core changes to make MontaVista Linux into a real-time operating system were made by Nigel Gamble and later updated by Robert Love.[14] Robert Love submitted the changes to the Linux kernel in 2001. The Linux 2.6 stable kernel series is the first to include similar features, such as priority-based preemption. As of 2008, MontaVista had contributed 1.2% of the Linux kernel, making it the 9th-largest corporate contributor to the Linux kernel, according to a survey by the Linux Foundation.[15]

MontaVista has also spun off independent open source projects based on several of its features, including dynamic power management, high resolution POSIX timers, the pramfs file system,[16] and the openais implementation of the Service Availability Forum's (SA Forum) Application Interface Specification.[17]


Main article: List of devices that run MontaVista Linux

Other versions of MontaVista Linux are used in devices made by a number of partners, including Sony Bravia TVs, NEC routers, and others, especially in Japan.[18] A version of MontaVista Linux OS is used in Dell Latitude E4200 and E4300 notebooks[19][20] to provide the Latitude ON feature.[21]

Cisco NX-OS is based on HardHat Linux.[22]

Mobile phones

Motorola became the first company to use Linux on a mobile phone when it released the Motorola A760 to the Chinese market on February 16, 2003. Motorola chose to use MontaVista Linux in the Motorola A760 and future Linux-based phones, despite the fact that Motorola was a founding member of the competing Symbian OS.[23] Since then, Motorola has increased focus on its Linux platform and publicly stated that the future platform for all its mid- and high-tier mobile phones will be Linux with Java,[24] and other phone manufacturers NEC and Panasonic have developed a common platform based on MontaVista Linux.[25][26]

See also


  1. ^ Watch, Wireless (October 18, 2004). "MontaVista claims realtime support for Linux mobile". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "MontaVista company profile". Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "MontaVista touts native hard real-time Linux". Archived from the original on September 4, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "MontaVista official DevRocket page". Archived from the original on January 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  6. ^ "MontaVista official Products page". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  7. ^ MontaVista. "MVShield". Retrieved March 9, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "MontaVista official Carrier-Grade Edition details page". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "MontaVista's embedded Linux app dev tools go "all-plugin"". Archived from the original on September 6, 2012.
  10. ^ MontaVista, Product Lifecycle (March 10, 2021). "Product Lifecycle".((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "MontaVista official Mobilinux details page". Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  12. ^ "MontaVista official Professional Edition details page". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  13. ^ "An interview with MontaVista Founder Jim Ready". Archived from the original on January 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Updated Linux kernel preemption patches". Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  15. ^ Linux Kernel Development (April 2008) Archived June 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ :: MontaVista Contributes to Open Source for CE Linux
  17. ^ "About OpenAIS". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  18. ^ "MontaVista beefs up Japan presence". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012.
  19. ^ "Newsroom". Dell. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  20. ^ Schwankert, Steven (October 22, 2008). "Instant-on Dell desktop to debut soon | Hardware". InfoWorld. Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  21. ^ "Latitude ON Launched Today |". September 29, 2009. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  22. ^ Brian Feeny - Hacking NX-OS Part 3
  23. ^ "Motorola discloses that its new A760 handset uses MontaVista Linux". Archived from the original on January 28, 2013.
  24. ^ Segan, Sascha (July 26, 2006). "Motorola Outlines Plans for RAZR Successor, The SCPL". PC Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  25. ^ "Linux powers DoCoMo's first 3.5G phone". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012.
  26. ^ "NEC and Panasonic form mobile phone development joint venture". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012.