Monday, April 06, 2009

Intel shuts me up with Moblin

Most people who have read me for a while know that I typically have a less polite view of Intel, and have questioned their committment to Open-Licensed software. Well, Intel has managed to shut me up... and not with something like shipping a 920 for Mepisguides / Gamenikki. I think the title of this link says most of it:

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2009/04/linux-foundation-takes-over-stewardship-intel%E2%80%99s-moblin-os

Yes. You probably read that link right. Intel's handed over control of their Moblin spin to the Linux Foundation.

One of the main complaints against Linux by current users is that it's not as fast as it used to be. While Linux is generally faster on the same hardware when compared to Microsoft Operating Systems, real boot times and user logins can appear to be the same, even on higher-end hardware. While part of the speed appearance is based on the users Desktop Enviroment, where desktops like XFCE and IceWM appear to be much faster than Gnome or KDE, there is a common perception that Linux has lost it's focus on performance.

The Moblin spin aims to change the perception by targeting mobile devices, such as phones, and the netbook format, which are typically powered by processors like the Via C-Series, Via Nano series, or Intel Atom series. In addition both HP and Dell are looking at bringing the ARM architecture into the retail market, and as far as I'm aware, Microsoft doesn't make any version of Windows for ARM... so little doubt as to which OS-base they would turn to. Remember, Android DOES use the Linux kernel, and it's not a rumor that HP is looking at an Android based notebook... Source is actually WSJ.

Moblin's focus on performance on lower-end hardware has direct benefits to users of more powerful systems as Phoronix has indicated. As the performance changes to Moblin propegate back into the Linux kernel, most desktop users can expect to see the benefits of the faster boot times, and more than likely improved scheduler performance, not to mention better power-saving functions.

The real kicker is that while the Linux-Foundation holds the keys to Moblin, Intel is still the employer of almost all the current Moblin developers. Intel is also pretty cocky about their ability to compete, pretty much setting the challenge for Nvidia to step up with Moblin on Ion, and vendors to step up with Moblin on ARM.

While I honestly don't see Nvidia stepping up to Moblin since that would mean making a committment to Open-Licensed software, I can see Dell or HP funding ARM development to broaden their product portfolio's.

Okay, I can't say I'm happy about Intel's behavior towards AMD over the spin-off of GlobalFoundaries, Intel as a corporation has shown it does understand how to play fairly and initiate proper business challenges.


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