Toyota Joins Linux Foundation to Rev Up Car Infotainment

Toyota announces its membership in the Linux Foundation, as Linux has become a key technology in automobile infotainment systems.

Toyota is the newest member of the Linux Foundation, the organization aimed at accelerating the growth of Linux.

Toyota is joining The Linux Foundation as a Gold member to maximize its own investment in Linux while fostering open innovation throughout the automotive ecosystem.

A major shift is underway in the automotive industry, Linux Foundation officials said. Carmakers are using new technologies to deliver on consumer expectations for the same connectivity in their cars as they've come to expect in their homes and offices. From dashboard computing to in-vehicle infotainment, automobiles are becoming the latest wireless devices-on wheels, the foundation said.

"Linux gives us the flexibility and technology maturity we require to evolve our in-vehicle-infotainment and communications systems to address the expectations of our customers," Kenichi Murata, project general manager in the Electronics Development Division 1 at Toyota, said in a statement. "The Linux Foundation provides us with a neutral forum in which we can collaborate with the world's leading technology companies on open innovation that accelerates that evolution."

The Linux operating system is providing a common platform that helps connect the world's network of devices, including cars, Linux Foundation officials said. As an open-source operating system, it provides automakers and their partners flexibility to bring to market the latest technology features quickly, the foundation said.

"We are very pleased to welcome Toyota to The Linux Foundation," Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said in a statement. "The company's leadership and proven innovation will bring important contributions to the advancement of Linux. Toyota's investment in Linux is a testament to the ubiquity of the operating system and its ability to support the latest market requirements."

The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and advances Linux, including supporting the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds. The Linux Foundation's mission is to promote, protect and standardize the Linux platform to fuel its growth around the world. The organization, which launched in 2007, has more than 90 members.

Linux burst on the scene in 1991 and celebrates its 20th birthday this year. LinuxCon North America 2011 will host the formal celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Linux, in which Linux creator Linus Torvalds will take part. Torvalds is confirmed to attend LinuxCon and will participate in an interview-style keynote in which he will discuss technical advancements and challenges related to the Linux kernel with kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman. LinuxCon will take place in Vancouver, B.C., from Aug. 17-19, 2011.