Facebook, others back Linaro's Linux-on-ARM project

Facebook, Red Hat and other vendors are backing an effort to develop Linux software for ARM servers

Facebook, Red Hat, Hewlett-Packard and other big vendors have joined a project to develop Linux OS software for the upcoming generation of ARM-based servers, the companies announced Thursday.

Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro, Calxeda, Canonical, Cavium and Marvell are among the other companies to join the Linaro Enterprise Group within Linaro, a not-for-profit, multivendor engineering group. They join existing members ARM, HiSilicon, Samsung and ST-Ericsson.

Building an ecosystem of software and hardware is seen as essential for ARM-based servers to succeed, and Linux is a big part of that. ARM servers are expected to be adopted initially by big online service providers, many of whom rely on Linux in their operations.

In an announcement Thursday, the Linaro Enterprise Group said it will initially work on low-level Linux boot architecture and kernel software for use by system-on-chip vendors, commercial Linux providers and server manufacturers.

They said they expect to deliver some software before the end of 2012, with follow-up releases after that. Indeed, Linaro and ARM have already been working together to release early Linux code for the Armv8 architecture.

ARM CEO Warren East was expected to discuss the news further on Thursday morning at ARM TechCon, joined by George Grey, CEO of Linaro.

"Linaro is building a high-quality software engineering team that is working with our members on the development of key enabling software for the new generation of low-power, high-performance, hyperscale servers," Grey said in a statement.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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