Transmeta exports Midori Linux to China

The little kernel that could

Transmeta is shipping its Linux expertise to the PRC.

The company best known for its Crusoe processor has signed a deal with Chinese 2000 Holdings to use Transmeta's Midori version of the Linux operating system in mobile and embedded devices. The two companies plan to target markets in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan with co-created Linux-based kit.

Some well placed industry insiders have long told The Register to keep an eye on Transmeta's Linux work. Linus Torvalds has his office at Transmeta HQ and a couple of technology trends are making Linux on low-powered computing devices a popular option.

Transmeta is not taking over the world as once predicted, but it seems to have placed a pair of solid bets.

First up, the use of Linux in embedded and mobile computing devices continues to gain steam. Whether its on watches, set-top boxes or handsets, Linux has secured a prominent place in a market that demands efficient, stable operating systems.

Transmeta's Midori Linux clearly plays to this crowd.

Despite its failure as a Pentium killer, the Crusoe chip is also helping Transmeta out in a couple of areas.

The chip has managed to knock off Intel for numerous Tablet PC and small form factor computer designs. It turns out that consumers do care about their gadgets' battery life, no matter how hard the Wintel mob has tried to deny it.

Transmeta's focus on low power processors has garnered the attention of server makers as well. Companies such as Sun Microsystems and IBM are looking into using low power chips to power blade servers and shrink the size of customers' data centers.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Labs have been using Transmeta processor-powered servers to create a supercomputer that can fit in a closet. Linux has played a key role in these efforts with the Los Alamos group focusing in on Beowulf clusters.

Transmeta appears serious about taking these skills to China. In addition to the product development and marketing deal, Transmeta has taken an equity stake in Chinese 2000 Holdings and formed a profit sharing agreement. ®

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