The Linux Foundation announced a new project, the Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI), created by the Consumer Electronics Workgroup (CE WG) at Linuxcon Europe 2011 in Prague. LTSI aims at reducing duplication of effort in maintaining separate private industry kernel trees. The LTSI project intends to deliver an annual release of a Linux kernel suitable for supporting the lifespan of consumer electronics products and regular updates of those releases for two to three years.
The project is backed by several companies in the consumer electronics industry including Hitachi, LG Electronics, NEC, Panasonic, Qualcomm Atheros, Renesas Electronics Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sony and Toshiba.
LTSI will allow device makers to spend less time doing significant back-porting, bug testing and driver development on their own, which carries substantial cost in terms of time-to-market, as well as development and engineering effort to maintain those custom kernels. In some ways, this is similar to Linaro, expect LTSI focuses on consumer electronics and is not limited to ARM cores.
The LTSI tree is expected to be the usable base for the majority of embedded systems, as well as the base for ecosystem players (e.g., semiconductor vendors, set-vendors, software component vendors, distributors, and system/application framework providers). The LTSI project will combine the innovative features in newer kernels needed by CE vendors with a stable kernel, while helping those vendors get their code upstream to benefit the entire Linux community. The goal is to reduce the number of private trees currently in use in the CE industry and encourage more collaboration and sharing of development resources.