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METAGENCE DEBUTS LINUX FOR META MULTI-THREADED PROCESSOR.

Metagence, a division of Imagination Technologies has introduced Linux for the META multi-threaded RISC/DSP processor family, the world's first Linux port to a multi-threaded processor architecture.

Linux and META are highly complementary, offering product designers a highly integrated, cost-effective, real-time, multi-threaded hardware solution and the flexibility, familiarity and functionality of the Linux software environment. Together they enable the creation of even the most demanding real-time embedded applications.

Said Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination Technologies: "This is a significant step for Metagence in making META the most logical choice for embedded system designers. The META core is a far more elegant, system-efficient and design-effective solution than the traditional multi-core, 'processor-plus-DSP,' solutions."

META is a unique multi-threaded programmable general-purpose processor/DSP IP (Intellectual Property) core that allows real-time response while supporting efficient multi-function operation. It is available for licensing from Metagence.

Using true hardware multi-threading, the META family of processors delivers, in a unified architecture, general purpose processing, complex DSP and multimedia capabilities, real-time operation and low power consumption. These advanced capabilities make the META processor cores ideal for the next generation of entertainment and communications products. The META processor is already powering consumer products in a number of application areas, including digital radio and digital TV.

Said Ian Oliver, VP Development Systems / Tools, Metagence: "Porting Linux to META was an excellent way to ensure the effectiveness of both the processor architecture and the CodeScape tool chain. Only a handful of processors in history have proved themselves capable of running Linux. To make things really interesting we skipped Clinux, which is a cut down Linux for micro-controllers, and went straight for kernel 2.4.18 with full virtual memory so we could demonstrate the effectiveness of the cache and MMU on the META core. This port now enables META partners to benefit from the wealth of drivers and applications available to run under Linux."

Solving the Linux / DSP Problem Most of the embedded applications where Linux has proven so effective at providing application and networking capability also require significant DSP processing power. However, to date there have been significant problems implementing Linux on DSPs. Firstly, most DSPs lack either the general purpose computing capability required and/or a good cache and MMU (Memory Management Unit). Secondly, the kind of applications which demand the power of a DSP need continuous real-time processing, which also rules out running Linux. This has previously meant that systems developers had to use multi-core solutions that are both difficult to program and inflexible.

However META solves both of these problems. META can run Linux on one hardware thread while running real-time DSP tasks on the other threads. META can also re-allocate MIPS on the fly so that each thread can be delivered the guaranteed share of processing resource and response time that it needs, while never clocking the processor faster than is required. And, because everything is on one core, synchronization and communication between the tasks is supported within the processor architecture in the instruction set, which makes it efficient and easy to implement.

Through Imagination's Ensigma division, Metagence has access to extensive libraries of proprietary DSP code covering areas such as audio codecs and effects, video codecs, DAB digital radio, digital TV, speech processing and additional radio baseband processing. Metagence will make this version of the Linux OS available to product designers so that they can not only develop their own applications but also easily use this DSP capability to quickly realize multi-function products with the flexibility of Linux and the real-time DSP performance of META. Developers should email metalinux@metagence.com for more information.

About Linux

Linux is a Unix clone written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims towards POSIX compliance. It has all the features you would expect in a modern fully-fledged Unix, including true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, shared copy-on-write executables, proper memory management and TCP/IP networking. It is distributed under the GNU General Public License. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

About Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies Group plc is an international IP licensing company that develops, licenses and supplies market-leading graphics/video cores, real-time DSP-enabled multithreaded processors, communication and broadcast technologies for the consumer entertainment and PC markets. It supplies both licensable IP (Intellectual Property) and related advanced development tools to leading semiconductor and consumer electronics companies worldwide. Imagination Technologies Group plc has its corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom and is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (FTSE:IMG).

For more information, visit http://www.imgtec.com.

About Metagence

Metagence, a division of Imagination Technologies, produces unique multi-threaded programmable processor/DSP IP cores that allow real-time response while supporting efficient multi-function operation. Using true hardware multi-threading, the META family of processors delivers, in a unified architecture, general purpose processing, complex DSP and multimedia capabilities, real-time operation and low power consumption. These advanced capabilities make the META processor cores ideal for the next generation of entertainment and communications products.

For more information, visit http://www.metagence.com.
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Publication:UNIX Update
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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