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Intel acquires Linux distro developer

Aug 28, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

[Updated Nov. 26] — “Poky Linux,” Matchbox, and Clutter developer OpenedHand 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.

(Click for larger view of Intel's new Linux distro: Poky Linux 3.0)

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According to 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.

Poky Linux 3.0 (“Blinky”) screens

OpenedHand maintains Matchbox, 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 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 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 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 recently rev'd to version 2.0, 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.

Another lightweight distribution that participates in Moblin is Linpus.

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