Linux use promoted by Linaro group

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A coalition of major technology firms has come together to create Linaro, a not-for-profit group aimed at promoting the creation of Linux-based portable devices and Linux software for the ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) architecture.

The group comprises ARM itself, along with Freescale, Texas Instruments, IBM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, and says its efforts will help close the gap between a wide range of high-performance, low-power ARM-based SoCs and the large number of Linux distributions around.

"The dramatic growth of open source software development can now be seen in internet-based, always-connected mobile and consumer products" said Linaro's chief executive Tom Lantzsch in a statement. "Linaro will help accelerate this trend further by increasing investment in key open source projects and providing industry alignment with the community to deliver the best Linux-based products for the benefit of the consumer."

ARM's chief executive Warren East was similarly enthusiastic: "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," he said.

Although the group says its efforts will be aimed at a wide range of markets, including everything from smartphones to automotive entertainment systems, its appearance is no doubt also timed to exploit the rapid development of the tablet market in the wake of the Apple iPad's success.

Initial projects include efforts to improve battery life and performance through improved code efficiency rather than relying on hardware improvements. It will be primarily focused on devices running ARM's Cortex processors, but not exclusively.

"Linaro will provide a stable and optimised base for distributions and developers by creating new releases of optimised tools, kernel and middleware software validated for a wide range of (chips), every six months," a statement from the group read.

Linaro promised its developments will be aimed at all major Linux-based platforms, including Android, Maemo, MeeGo and webOS.

The group's members have already donated around 30 engineers to the Linaro cause, while volunteers are being sought to "work with us on ideas, design and code". The first tools release is expected in November.