Feeds

Moblin 2.0 Linux goes alpha (again)

Novell jumps aboard the bandwagon

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Novell is swearing its oath of fealty to the Moblin variant of Linux for mobile computing devices, based on Intel's Atom low-powered processors and, soon with the Moblin 2.0 release, netbooks.

Intel launched the Moblin project back in July 2007 and got Moblin 1.0 into the field in April 2008, concurrently with the launch of the Atom processors. These are cut-down variants of the old Pentium-style processors that consume very little electrical power (4 or 8 watts in the current 1.6 GHz single-core and dual-core chips) and yet provide enough computing power to be useful in many kinds of devices.

The original Moblin project was based on the Ubuntu Linux kernel, itself a variant of Debian Linux. Last July, Intel tweaked the project to include a kernel derived from Red Hat's Fedora development Linux and a subset of its Gnome application stack. The pre-alpha Moblin 2.0 release came out in January. (This wasn't pitched as being pre-alpha or even alpha code, but this is apparently the case.)

Despite its Ubuntu and Fedora heritage, Novell seems to be thrilled to be backing Moblin 2.0, which Guy Lunardi, director of client preloads at the commercial Linux distributor, says will be announced as an alpha today and which is expected to begin a normal beta testing schedule in a few weeks.

The exact scheduling of the beta program is a work in progress right now, because the Linux Foundation - the place where Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, gets his paycheque - took over the steerage of the Moblin project from Intel earlier this month.

The chip maker has figured out that it is difficult to get original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) who design, build, and resell all manner of computing devices to back a project when it is vendor controlled. And despite Intel's goal to have Moblin promote its Atom low-powered processor, it seems extremely likely - one might say inevitable - that if Moblin is to survive as a viable project for embedded and mobile computing devices, then it will probably have to support ARM and PowerPC chips, too. And maybe MIPS chips as well. But thus far, neither Novell nor Intel have talked about that prospect. But that is what independence from Intel means.

This may come out in a few weeks when the Moblin project releases its first product roadmaps in the wake of Linux Foundation taking it over. For the moment, Moblin is using an internal build system created by Intel and is doing nightly builds on Moblin 2.0, but according to Lunardi, this software does not have a desktop interface or its application stack finalized as yet.

Novell is now contributing code to the Moblin project, adding in code for windowing, email and media management from its openSUSE development project, and said today that it will create a Moblin-based "product" for netbooks that it will peddle to OEMs and ODMs. This product will not, according to Lunardi, carry an Intel or Novell brand, but will instead allow these OEMs and ODMs to weave their own brands into the code and basically insulate the user from even knowing they are on any particular operating system.

Novell is also setting up something called Open Labs in Taiwan, working in conjunction with Intel and the Taiwanese Institute for Information Industry, which have already set up the Taiwan Moblin Enabling Centre, to validate Atom/Moblin products.

Taiwan is key for two reasons. One, a large percentage of cell phones, handhelds, nettops, netbooks, and laptops are manufactured in the country. This means there is a huge community of OEMs and ODMs that are looking at chips and operating system platforms for computers that don't fit the usual desktop and laptop PC definitions. Moreover, back in early March, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp inked a deal with Intel that allows it to create customized versions of the Atom chip.

With a truly free Moblin operating system and customizable Atom processors, there is a better chance that OEMs and ODMs as well as other providers of embedded computing devices will take a harder look at Moblin.

It is harder to see what Novell gets out of Moblin until you realize that OEMs and ODMs don't want to manage the updating and patching of Moblin or the optimization of the operating system for particular kinds of devices. So Novell is pitching its online Yast Update tools as part of the Moblin product it will put together. But don't expect to see a SUSE Linux Enterprise Mobile distro. Novell seems content to work behind the scenes for now. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.