Civil Infrastructure Platform, Keeping the Lights On with Linux

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Modern civil infrastructure is all around us — in power plants, radar systems, traffic lights, dams, weather systems, and so on. Many of these infrastructure projects exist for decades, if not longer, so security and longevity are paramount.

And, many of these systems are powered by Linux, which offers technology providers more control over these issues. However, if every provider is building their own solution, this can lead to fragmentation and duplication of effort. Thus, the primary goal of Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) is to create an open source base layer for industrial use-cases in these systems, such as embedded controllers and gateway devices.

“We have a very conservative culture in this area because once we create a system, it has to be supported for more than ten years; in some cases for over 60 years. That’s why this project was created, because every player in this industry had the same issue of being able to use  Linux for a long time,” says Yoshitake Kobayashi is Technical Steering Committee Chair of CIP.

CIP’s concept is to create a very fundamental system to use open source software on controllers. This base layer comprises the Linux kernel and a small set of common open source software like libc, busybox, and so on.  Because longevity of software is a primary concern, CIP chose Linux kernel 4.4, which is the LTS release of the kernel maintained by Greg Kroah-Hartman.

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