At CeBIT in March, Intel told us that they were the biggest Linux company in the world. We can’t confirm that but we can confirm that a lot of Intel bods are working on Moblin. 150 people apparently. Moblin is being developed as a core Linux build with optimised drivers, development tools and a set of requirements that ensures it squeezes the best performance and efficiency from the Atom platforms and delivers a rich and efficient users interface. Intel already have two companies that distribute Moblin with their own UI and application set on top. One is Asianux, a group of three Linux distro companies in Asia – Red Flag of China, HAANSOFT of Korea, and Miracle Linux of Japan. The other is Canonical, the company that produces the popular Ubuntu who will be launching their Ubuntu Mobile Moblin-based product soon.
Now a third distributor, Xandros has announced their support which means that Moblin is coming to millions of Atom-based Eee PC’s very soon. Here’s part of the press release that’s just gone out.
Xandros, Inc., the leading provider of custom OEM Linux solutions and next-generation Linux desktop and server products, and advanced cross-platform Windows-Linux management tools, today announced that it will deliver Moblin-based products designed to increase the battery life and energy efficiency of a new breed of simple, affordable Internet devices called ‘netbooks’ using Intel® Atom(TM) Processors. Xandros software will include technologies from Moblin.org, the open source community for developing media and Internet solutions for Internet-centric portable and embedded devices based on Intel Atom processors. With the success of the ASUS Eee PC and demand for netbooks burgeoning, Xandros decided to use Moblin.org technologies to take advantage of increased power savings, fast boot performance, and expanded Internet and media capabilities. Custom OEM netbooks using Moblin-based Xandros technology will go to market in the second half of 2008, delivering the rich user experience that customers are expecting on these platforms, plus a 25 percent boost in battery life.
I believe it. Based on the work I’ve seen, it’s more than possible that Moblin will increase battery life.
This is a huge deal for Intel. They not only get another distributor and more credibility for Moblin but they could reach millions of installed users, possibly overnight. The Eee community is passionate and I know a lot of that passion could feed back into Moblin apps that could find their way back onto millions of other devices. It also a big win for anyone already in the Moblin/MID development community. Existing partners like Adobe, Skype and MySpace will benefit along with anyone else developing for the platform. If their apps are Moblin-ready, Xandros can choose to include them in their distribution and they could suddenly appear on a million netbooks overnight. That’s not a bad channel to be in! A couple more wins like this and Moblin will be able to boast of significant opportunities for developers. This is a cracking announcement for Intel.