AMD (AMD) is stepping up investment in open source Linux development for embedded devices through a new partnership with Mentor Graphics. The collaboration is aimed at encouraging open source development for AMD's latest heterogenous and multicore processors.

The partnership provides users of Mentor Graphics products with a series of tools and resources for embedded Linux and other open source development on AMD chips. Those using Mentor Embedded Linux Lite will be able to evaluate and prototype software for AMD's forthcoming embedded G-Series system-on-a-chip (SoC) (codenamed "Steppe Eagle"), and R-Series APU/CPU (codenamed: "Bald Eagle"), both of which are x86 64-bit chips. They will also receive access to all open source components of the platform, as well as binary images of the root file system and kernel.

Developers using the commercial Mentor Embedded Linux platform will have all of the above, in addition to use of the Sourcery CodeBench development environment and commercial-level support for bug fixes and product updates.

AMD is hoping the partnership will drive its embedded business. "Partnering with the largest independent embedded Linux and tools vendor in the market today is an exciting step forward as we continue to invest in the embedded market," said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions. "We are providing the embedded development community an opportunity for choice, and this agreement with Mentor Graphics brings the embedded community an open source platform to help tailor and expand their development."

AMD's interest in securing its slice of the embedded-device market makes sense. The Linux Foundation identified embedded applications—within hardware such as TVs, thermostats and cars—as one of the leading growth areas of Linux at the end of last year. A year earlier, Red Hat (RHT) shored up its embedded investments through a partnership with Avnet.

By focusing on open source development for x86 chips, however, AMD could be breathing life into a different niche of embedded computing than the one that other channel players have been focusing on, since x86 chips are not generally the type used in the embedded devices that Linux developers have targeted previously—which is to say that embedded Linux remains an area to watch, and not only in the places we currently most to see it.