Linaro Group Forms To Hasten Time To Market For Linux-Based Smartphones

You don't really have to keep a finger on the pulse of the smartphone landscape to know that ARM and Freescale are bitter rivals, and Samsung and Texas Instruments are constantly vying for similar business. So honestly, you probably wouldn't expect four companies who are generally considered enemies to ever really be friends. And you definitely wouldn't expect them to join together for the greater good. But that's exactly what has happened.

ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments have pushed aside their differences long enough to form a new non-profit company called Linaro, which aims to "unite industry leaders to foster innovation in the Linux community through a common foundation of tools and software." While there still seems to be a lot of vagueness in the general long-term goals of these companies, one thing is pretty clear: they're all interested in investing as a group in order to provide unified middleware that will enable Linux-based operating systems (like MeeGo, LiMo, WebOS, Android, etc.) run on a variety of SoCs from various companies.

Each six months, Linaro will publish an approved set of updated tools for the partner vendors to use, which will supposedly cut down on inefficiencies today and speed the time to market for other Android/Meego/etc. devices. Basically, if there's less middleware work to do, you can bring out a new Linux-based phone with less wait time. The first release is expected this November, with initial optimizations for the latest range of ARM Cortex-A family of processors. Will the consumer ever known that Linaro had a part in their next phone? Probably not, but if they get it faster and it works smoother, they may grow to appreciate the efforts that they cannot see.

News highlights

  • ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments have created the not-for-profit company, Linaro, committed to providing 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 invest resources in open source projects that can then be used by Linux-based distributions such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and webOS.
  • Linaro will provide a stable and optimized base for distributions and developers by creating new releases of optimized tools, kernel and middleware software validated for a wide range of SoCs, every six months.
  • Linaro’s base of software and tools will be applicable to a wide range of markets, helping reduce time-to-market for products such as smart phones, tablets, digital televisions, automotive entertainment and enterprise equipment.
  • Linaro’s first software and tools release is due out in November 2010, and will provide optimizations for the latest range of ARM® CortexTM-A family of processors.