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Open source software competition heats up

Posted: 30 Jun 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MeeGo  Android  Computex  Linaro  software 

As the IT industry makes inroads into the plug-in and play consumer arena, it is poised to upset domination by some entrenched players. A number of symbolic events during the recent Computex in Taipei, from Intel's all-out praises for MeeGo to ARM's announcement to join six other companies and direct the Linux-based open source software camp, show that competition in this space is about to get white hot.

ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments chose to announce the establishment of Linaro during Computex. This is an organisation of chip industry players, aiming mainly to promote the development of Linux-based products, and its first planned activity is to launch the first version of software and tools in November 2010. Expect them to apply specific optimisations for SoCs based on the ARM Cortex-A series cores.

At the other side of exhibition hall, Intel held an Atom software summit to discuss Intel AppUp Centre and MeeGo. Besides Acer being invited to endorse the MeeGo plan and announce several portable netbooks running MeeGo coming out this year, Asus, Quanta and Inventec also announced product development plans for several MeeGo-based products, including tablet PCs that are being viewed as the next rising star in the industry.

Software leads change
Linux has never attracted so much attention ever before. "I have come to Computex many times. In the past few years, no one in this exhibition seemed to be discussing software," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. "So it is very exciting for Linux to get on the stage with the population of mobile computing."

MeeGo UI

Figure 1: The MeeGo user interface allows users to browse web content, photos, movies and latest "personal status."

Zemlin attended the press conference announcing the founding of Linaro as representative of the Linux Foundation. The organisation supports both MeeGo and the activities of ARM camp.

"In the future, camera, digital photo frame, TV set, computer, and any portable and CE products, all will be connected and carry a certain version of OS, while all the cores, C software libraries and elements will be integrated by a certain method so that they run in the huge numbers of future connected devices," said Zemlin. "All this will favour greater business opportunities for Linux-based software, so we welcome any Linux-promoting power to join in," he added.

Undoubtedly, the battle for the leading position in the next generation of portable networked devices has been transformed from hardware to software. Everyone, from the major chip vendors and mobile manufacturers to software suppliers, is trying to get a slice of the next-generation plug-in products market.

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