Industry throws weight behind mobile Linux

Today saw the public unveiling of a new cooperative effort among suppliers to further develop the open source operating system Linux for use on consumer mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet PCs.

The non-profit joint venture, entitled Linaro, includes IT giant IBM, chip designer ARM Holdings and device manufacturer Samsung. It employs around 100 engineers who are working to optimise device components for use with existing Linux-based mobile operating systems, such as Meego, Google’s Android and WebOS, recently acquired by Hewlett-Packard as part of device maker Palm.

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“The dramatic growth of open source software development can now be seen in Internet-based, always-connected mobile and consumer products,” said Linaro CEO Lantzsc in a press statement. Linaro “will help accelerate this trend further by increasing investment on key open source projects and providing industry alignment with the community to deliver the best Linux-based products for the benefit of the consumer.”

The significance of mobile operating systems in general, and of Linux-based examples in particular, was highlighted by HP CEO Mark Hurd yesterday. Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in New York, Hurd confirmed that HP’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm was primarily motivated by the company’s ownership of WebOS.

“We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business”, he said, according to a ZDNet report. “We bought it for the [intellectual property].”