Today, a consortium of companies including ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericcson, and Texas Instruments announced the public launch of Linaro, a non-profit software company with the goal of promoting Linux development for ARM-based devices. The goal of the new company is to help ensure that system-on-a-chip (SoC) hardware from its member companies works well with an array of Linux operating systems from Meego to Android to WebOS.
The company, which was actually formed four months ago, has around 100 engineers who are working on a set of software and tools that is due in November. The software release is a set of kernel optimizations and middleware that will help all the different SoCs improve performance and compatibility in any Linux OS.
What does this mean for end users? It means more interesting devices coming to market more quickly. So while you won't use any apps or an OS that was directly developed by Linaro, the formation of this new cooperative should help spur innovation that you will see in the world of smart phones, tablets, connected TVs, and other smart devices.
"The challenge we'd like to see improve is time to market," said ARM's Presiden Tudor Brown said. Brown said he believes that Linaro will enable hardware manufacturers to save money and time on R&D and testing.
"We’re reaching a turning point where Linux is getting a strategic foothold," Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, said at this morning' s press conference. Zemlin said that the optimizations provided by the Linaro company would help enable the next generation of killer devices. "What I can predict about the future is that camera will be an interconnected, your TV will be connected, your refrigerator will be connected." he said. "It's going to be Linux that powers some really cool device you're going to love."
Tom Lantzsc, CEO of the newly formed company, seemed to agree. "The dramatic growth of open source software development can now be seen in Internet-based always-connected mobile and consumer products," he said in the company's press release. "Linaro will help accelerate this trend by increasing investment on key open source projects and providing industry alignment with the community to deliver the best Linux-based products for the benefit of the consumer."