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Intel, Taiwan tag-team Moblin, WiMAX

Oct 29, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Intel and Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will jointly establish an “enabling center” for Moblin, an open source toolkit and software stack for developers targeting Intel's Atom processors. Additionally, Intel Capital will invest $11.5 million in Taiwanese carrier VMAX Telecom, with the aim of enabling Taiwan's first WiMAX network.

Intel said the center will work on application software for netbooks (low-cost, small form-factor laptops), nettops (low-cost PCs), and MIDs, all product categories invented or at least recently reinvigorated by Intel. The center will also create software for automotive infotainment systems, Intel said. Separately, Intel partner Wind River previously announced a Moblin-based automotive infotainment platform.

Intel said its investment in VMAX Telecom depends on closing conditions. However, if all goes to plan, VMAX could deploy WiMAX prior to mid-year, 2009, Intel said. The year-old carrier is run by Taiwan's National Communications Commission, with investment from Teco Electric & Machinery, Tecom, and Vibo Telecom. It was reportedly formed with the aim of delivering WiMAX service in North Korea.

Intel launched Moblin last summer. The toolset and application stack target A110 and Atom (Diamondville) chips, with support planned for Intel's forthcoming Moorestown chips as well. Moblin installs a sandboxed development environment containing tools optimized for the in-order execution architecture adopted in recent LPIA (low-power Intel architecture) products. It also installs a target filesystem complete with an emulator, UI layer, and a growing collection of available open source software components.

In other Moblin-related news, Intel recently purchased OpenedHand, the U.K.-based Linux service provider known for its Poky Linux distribution, Matchbox window manager, and Clutter 3D library. OpenedHand also contributed to the GNOME Mobile and Embedded project, and helped the Nokia-sponsored Maemo project create the UI layer used in Nokia's ARM-based Linux tablets.

Additionally, Intel announced plans to switch Moblin from Ubuntu to Fedora. And, at the Linux Foundation's recent Kernel Plumber's event, the Moblin stack was demonstrated booting in five seconds, thanks to work done by Intel engineers Arjan van de Ven, author of PowerTop, and Auke Kok, a developer at Intel's Open Source Technology Center.

Recent Moblin adopters include netbook Linux specialist Linpus, along with Good OS (GoS), Mandriva, and Turbolinux.

Meanwhile, Sprint recently rolled out its XOHM WiMAX service in Baltimore, with follow-up rollouts in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The service uses the tagline, “a hotspot as big as a city.” Intel has also partnered with Clearwire in the US, Packet 1 in Malaysia, UQ Communications in Japan, and “others globally,” it says.

Intel originally unveiled WiMAX (IEEE 802.16) in 2004, envisioning it as a last-mile technology for rural markets and metropolitan areas without copper infrastructure. It subsequently evolved into 802.16e, which added roaming capabilities for use with mobile devices.

In announcing Taiwan's Moblin center, Intel CEO Paul Otellini commented, “As the Internet evolves, the industry has an opportunity to deliver what consumers are seeking — a fast, seamless, and personal mobile Internet experience, regardless of device or location.”

Yiin Chi-Ming, minister of the Taiwan MOEA, stated, “Taiwan has become a center for design and manufacturing of devices. Our collaboration with Intel positions Taiwan to further capitalize on opportunities created by the next phase of the Internet.”

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