Many viewed the advent of netbooks as a golden opportunity for Linux to capture the popular imagination. But netbook vendors and users never really warmed up to Linux. It might have failed to grab one massive opportunity, but it has a chance at redemption in the booming market for mobile internet-enabled devices.
British chip designer ARM and five system-on-chip (SoC) vendors – IBM, Freescale Semiconductor, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments - have formed a not-for-profit company called Linaro to provide “new resources and industry alignment for open source software developers using Linux on the world’s most sophisticated semiconductor System-on-Chips (SoCs).”
Linaro will be rolling out new releases of optimized tools, kernel and middleware software every six months, making Linux-based distributions such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and webOS compatible with semiconductor offerings from different vendors. This should, in turn, help reduce time-to-market for ARM- and Linux-based devices, including smart phones, tablets, digital televisions, automotive entertainment and enterprise equipment.
"ARM and our partners have a long history of working with, and supporting, open source software development for complex SoCs based on the ARM architecture," said Warren East, ARM CEO. "As a founding member of Linaro, we are working together with the broader open source community to accelerate innovation for the next generation of computing, focusing on delivering a rich connected experience across the diversity of devices in our daily lives."