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Support grows for Intel's mobile Linux despite slip

Confidence is high

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Delays to the latest version of Intel's project putting an open-source stack on its Atom processors have not deterred IT companies from early backing for the platform.

Start-up Good OS has announced a relationship with MiTAC International to deliver its gOS Gadgets Linux operating system on a netbook based on Intel's Moblin 2.0.

David Liu, founder and chief executive of gOS, told The Reg the machine planned with MiTAC would be among the first to be released on the as-yet unfinished Moblin 2.0.

In a sign of the growing lure of the fast-growing netbook market, it'll also be the first such device from Taiwan's MiTAC, better known for Global Satellite Positioning (GPS) systems from its Mio Technology subsidiary. Wired.com detailed the planned machine's specs here.

Intel told the O'Reilly Open-Source Conference (OSCON) in July Moblin 2.0 would be ready in three weeks. That's not happened, and Intel told The Reg Friday it's still working with the community and expects completion in 2009.

Ram Peddibhotla, Intel software and services group open-source business director, said Moblin 2.0 would be available in the first-half of next year to run on Intel's current-generation of Atom processors and the next-generation of processors due in the second-half of 2009.

Ahead of completion, vendors have been working with Moblin 1.0 and so-called "Moblin optimizations". These are portions of the Moblin spec that have been picked up and incorporated into either hardware or software design. Xandros and Asus have, for example, added changes to their systems from Moblin that provide a 25 per cent improvement in battery life.

Liu said Moblin was "getting more and more ready for mainstream use" with features such as an extra-fast boot time of five seconds.

Liu warned earlier this year Linux risked getting squeezed out of the fast-growing netbook market by Microsoft, as OEMs adopted Windows instead. This could be avoided, he said, by Linux companies such as gOS working closely with OEMs building netbooks.

gOS's executive said Moblin had suffered bugs in the past but these are getting ironed out, adding Moblin is adding "really key optimizations that are getting our OEM partners super excited and that are encouraging". He noted Moblin is a sign the Linux community is getting its act together against Windows in the netbooks market.®

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