Re-jigged Intel mobile Linux stack dumps Ubuntu

Nothing personal, just no developers


OSCON Intel's project to put a Linux and open source stack on mobile devices is getting overhauled to attract developer support, having failed to generate much interest.

A year after launching Moblin, Intel plans a second version of its open source stack in the next three weeks, sporting a new operating system, middleware, tools and graphical user interface (GUI).

Under the changes, the existing Ubuntu-based kernel is out and Fedora is in, along with a set of Gnome-compatible mobile components that updates Moblin's previous Gnome implementation.

Dirk Hohndel, Intel's director of Linux and open-source strategy, told The Reg there was no falling out with Ubuntu, but the move to Fedora was a technical decision based on the desire to adopt RPM for package management.

Ubuntu uses the Debian DEB extension instead of RPM, a popular and powerful means of installing and managing packages that's widely used thanks to the fact it features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Enterprise Linux, openSuSE, CentOS and Mandriva Linux. Interestingly, Hohndel was SuSE Linux's chief technology officer prior to the company's $210m acquisition by Novell in 2004.

Hohndel told us: "We said we wanted to take this [Moblin] to the next level. But do to this we had to take a step back and talk about the architecture."

He added: "The other thing we thought about was Moblin one wasn't successful in creating this community push - having a vibrant community push is the winning factor."

Earlier, Hohndel had told the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) there'd been more interest in the first version of Moblin from vendors with products to sell rather than developers. Hohndel wants input on directions Moblin should take in addition to adoption by developers.

"I wanted to see the community take the project and run with it," Hohndel said.

Moblin was conceived by Intel as a way to put Linux on mobile and in embedded systems powered by its Atom processor. Launched in July 2008 and consisting of a kernel, GTK-based UI, power management, network profiler, image capture and sharing, and chat software, Moblin-based devices were slated for the summer of 2008.

A year on, and it seems there have been reference implementations and demonstrations but precious few products.

In his drive for adoption, Hohndel's seems keen to get Moblin on non-Intel platforms even though that might go against his employer's aims.

"We have our corporate goals, but anybody is welcome to take this and port this to any platform," he told OSCON. "There will be DRM in some implementations - things you don't agree with, but the thing is you can build an open stack," he said.®


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