The first version of a specification that the Embedded Linux Consortium hopes will aid application interoperability and spur interest in Linux development in the market for built-in systems software was released Wednesday.

The “embedded” systems sector is a diverse one, covering devices as varied as mobile phones, handhelds, automobile computers and industrial equipment. Founded in 2000, the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based consortium began aiming last March to create a specification to guide developers in creating applications that will work on a variety of Linux systems.

The Embedded Linux Consortium Platform Specification tackles the problem by standardizing the API (application programming interface) layer of embedded applications. The document is available for download at

Vendors participating in the consortium include IBM Corp., Agilent Technologies Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (best known for its Panasonic brand), Red Hat Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Electronics Corp. and Sony Electronics Inc.

By promoting application compatibility, the new specification will protect the software investments of consumers, said ELC Chairman Inder Singh. It will also aid developers in creating portable applications more quickly and easily, he said.

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