Friday, 5 September 2008

Intel acquires Linux distro developer

"Poky Linux" and Matchbox developer (Matchbox is a lightweight window manager for X11 (aka, the "X Window System"), that has seen wide adoption in Linux devices, For example, Nokia uses Matchbox in the Maemo stack it maintains for its Linux-based N810, N800, and 770 web tablets). OpenedHand announced that it has been acquired by Intel Corp. The U.K.-based embedded Linux services team will join the Intel Open Source Technology Center, and will focus on Moblin development for mobile Internet devices and other mobile devices.

As per OpenedHand, Intel will continue to support open source projects led by OpenedHand staff, including Clutter and Matchbox, "and in most cases, will accelerate these projects as they become an integral part of Moblin," says the new Intel unit. OpenedHand contributions will now be made available from the Intel Software Network's open source site.

OpenedHand also maintains the free GNOME-based Poky Linux distribution for mobile devices such as phones. The distribution was rev'd to Poky Linux 3.0 ("Blinky") about a year ago. Much like Moblin, Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded, and the Nokia-sponsored Maemo.org project, the release is based on X11, GTK+, and Matchbox. However, in place of the Hildon GUI layer used by these platforms, Poky includes a new "Sato 0.1" application framework and theme.

Founded by Matthew Allum, a well known X.org and Debian hacker, OpenedHand joined GNOME's advisory board in 2005, and has long worked to improve GNOME for embedded applications.

Intel launched the Moblin project early last summer. The project maintains a multi-tiered chroot-based sandbox aimed at helping to standardize development toolchains used to build software for Intel's Atom processors. At its lowest chroot level, the sandbox can be used to build a Linux-based application environment resembling Poky Linux.

Moblin annoucned recently Ver2.0, switching its standard build environment from Ubuntu to Fedora in the process. Recently, Intel's Dirk Hohndel, director of Linux and open-source strategy, was quoted as saying that version 1.0 had "failed to generate much interest" among developers. However, with the arrival of the first MIDs, and increasing software and web-service support for Moblin and MIDs, the platform seems to have picked up some steam.

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