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Fully Open Source Software Will Help Realize the Full Benefits of the Internet of Everything

By Kathy Giori, Senior Product Manager, Qualcomm Atheros Incorporated

As a member of prpl Foundation, Qualcomm Atheros supports the enhanced functionality and security of OpenWrt to improve industry and community collaboration.

Each day more devices are added to the repertoire of smart technology, continuing to expand the Internet of Everything (IoE), creating a demand for a broad ecosystem in which technology leaders may collaborate.

Non-profit foundations can help encourage fully open source software (FOSS) collaboration across industry and community. A relative newcomer is the prpl Foundation, an open-source non-profit foundation focused on enabling next-generation datacenter-to-device portable software and virtualized architectures. One of prpl’s focus areas is OpenWrt, a Linux distribution for embedded devices. Industry and community collaboration on a common FOSS baseline software stack can help facilitate new IoE products, applications and technologies, and enable easier connectivity and data exchange across a variety of platforms in the market.

Fully open source software creates collaboration across the industry which is designed to allow for quicker go-to-market solutions through a common software stack. As opposed to handling different software stacks from multiple companies, FOSS enables the simplicity of a common framework. In this respect, developers are able to innovate solutions more efficiently.

Consumers and businesses fret over security of open source software, when the reality is, it offers enhanced protection. Across the board, whether the software is proprietary or open, exploits can occur. FOSS can enable any experienced developer to figure out a patch to close the exploit, and then distribute that patch quickly. This availability of the source and tools to recompile and fix bugs enables quick resolution, whereas proprietary software patching is limited to developers or companies who have access to the source and tools. FOSS serves the masses by allowing larger companies to support a variety of customers, from loyal VIP customers to start-up-sized companies who can self-serve their way into the market.

prpl brings industry, individual consultants and developers together, allowing for cross-functional collaboration. No one company demonstrates expertise in all facets of today’s complex products, but when multiple developers from across the globe focus on one reference software stack, multiple industries, such as the Wi-Fi router industry, may experience accelerated growth.

It is with this in mind that prpl established a “prpl engineering group” (PEG) focused on OpenWrt. OpenWrt’s initial target was Wi-Fi routers; however the scope has grown to anything that is a small-footprint device with limited memory footprint and processing power. This facilitates integration of new applications and technologies and benefits from enabling Wi-Fi connectivity across a variety of platforms in the market. OpenWrt provides a framework for providing Wi-Fi connectivity into a broad range of new IoE devices, opening possibilities for IoE industry members to use this small footprint operating system to leverage what has already been successful for Wi-Fi APs.

Qualcomm Atheros currently supports prpl in two PEGs, the OpenWrt PEG and the security & virtualization PEG. Consumers expect efficiency and security in their new IoE products. The universal nature of OpenWrt with enhanced security as a framework for new technology is designed to bring down the development cost to manufacturing brands and strengthen the security of platforms. It’s a win-win for business growth and consumer value. 

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