Intel readying Linux drivers for Centrino

Intel on Tuesday confirmed it is working on Linux drivers for its new mobile Centrino technology, but devotees of this open source operating system shouldn't expect to see notebooks featuring the Centrino-Linux combination on store shelves anytime soon.

The chip maker is running Linux drivers in its labs, but whether or not those drivers make it out of the labs depends on customer demand, said Scott McLaughlin, an Intel spokesman.

The Linux operating system is used in many servers that run Intel processors, but a mass market for Linux on desktop and notebook computers has yet to arrive. Once that market does arrive, Intel will work with system vendors and distributors to validate Centrino for Linux, and make drivers available to users, McLaughlin said.

On the desktop side, drivers for Pentium 4 processors are included with the Linux distribution chosen by the user, said George Alfs, another Intel spokesman. The software vendor, such as Red Hat or Suse Linux AG, works with Intel to make sure those drivers are included in the operating system, he said.

Centrino is a combination of the new Pentium M processor, a mobile chipset, and an 802.11b wireless Internet access chip. Intel released the product earlier this month in notebooks from just about every major manufacturer, and the company is banking on Centrino to carry its flag in the notebook world for the near future.

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Tom Krazit

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