ARM and Freescale lead processor firms to open-source world

A group of semiconductor companies are co-ordinating their approachs to the growing use of Linux-based open-source software in mobile communications devices.

ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments have set-up a not-for-profit open source software engineering company to be called Linaro.

A focus of the venture will be the support for the development of open-source software applications for “always-on” mobile terminals such as smartphones and netbooks.

All six members of the group develop and supply semiconductor and system-on-chip (SoC) devices for mobile designs.

One of the aims of the venture, it seems, is to make it easier for open-source software and operating systems to be run on a wider range of processor architectures.

The move by these processors companies is also expected to tap into the growing number of products that use Linux-based operating systems such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and webOS running on embedded processors.

“We will increase investment on key open source projects and providing industry alignment with the community,” said Tom Lantzsch, executive officer, Linaro.

Linaro will work with and not compete with existing Linux-based operating systems.

It also intends to work in partnership with the Linux Foundation to align on core operating principles.

The company’s first release is planned for November 2010 and will provide performance optimizations for SoCs based on the ARM Cortex-A processor family.

In addition to ARM and IBM, four of the world’s leading application processor companies, Freescale, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments, will align open source engineering efforts within Linaro.

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