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Intel trades ownership for popularity on mobile Linux project

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Intel is handing over its mobile Linux effort to the Linux Foundation to stimulate broader interest.

The Linux Foundation will run Moblin's developer events starting next week in San Francisco, and it will host Moblin's infrastructure and forums, executive director Jim Zemlin told The Reg.

Zemlin noted Intel developers would remain on Moblin adding the Foundation is not: "Going to get in the way of the core developers who work on it [Moblin]. From a governance perspective, that won't change".

Zemlin said Intel had turned to his organization because it has a "solid track record of being a place where neutral development can take place". The Forum draws members from hardware, software and end users who can help drive development and adoption.

Moblin could certainly use some help.

The goal is to get Moblin, which is based on Intel's Atom processor, on netbooks, consumer devices like phones, and on in-car systems.

Genivi, a consortium of BMW, Delphi, GM, SA Peugeot Citroen, Visteron, and Wind River, which is putting Linux into cars, has declared for Moblin.

Moblin, though, has suffered from what has looked like a lack of resource prioritization and publicity from a corporation whose primary concern is chips and hardware.

Moblin's been running for three years, but one year into the project it made the fundamental decision to switch kernels - from Ubuntu to Fedora - and adopt new tools, graphical user interface and middleware.

Intel's director of Linux and open-source strategy Dirk Hohndel told us that the first incarnation of Moblin on Ubuntu had been unsuccessful in creating a community push.

The move to the Linux Foundation looks like Intel's latest attempt in an on-going mission to gain broader community backing. It comes in the wake of its release of Moblin 2 in January.

"What Intel is doing here is, they realized that they aren't going to think of every huge idea," Zemlin said. "This is a way it can attract the entire community of OEMS, OSVs and ISVs."

"As the Moblin project unfolds and grows... the coolest thing for me on this one is we will see a lot of new, interesting devices that blend industrial design and cool hardware experiences with super-interesting software experiences," Zemlin said. "If we can achieve that, we are on to a winner with this."

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