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Ubuntu ARMed for Mobile Expansion

Netbooks and mobile computers will soon be able to run the Ubuntu operating system with additional energy efficiency. The breakthrough comes from porting Ubuntu to the ARMv7 processor architecture, which Canonical last week announced it planned to do.

UK-based Canonical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, a Linux-based, open source free operating system for desktop and laptop PCs. The move to ARMv7 will help bring a full set of open-source software, including the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, to the mobile computing market.

The addition of Ubuntu will allow netbooks and hybrid computers "to deliver a rich, always-connected, mobile computing experience without compromising battery life," according to Canonical's announcement.

The ARM architecture has always had "a power advantage" to x86 processing, wrote Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Project founder, in a Linux blog. He noted that the Nokia N810 Internet tablet powered by ARM can last several weeks on standby with a cell phone-sized battery.

The adoption of ARMv7 to Ubuntu "could set the stage for Intel to lose the software advantage that has enabled x86 to shrug off attacks from other architectures for the last 30 years," Shuttleworth added.

According to Canonical, its support of ARM distribution strengthens the ARM Linux ecosystem and provides the opportunity for open source developers to provide a "wider choice for consumers looking for the best operating system for their digital lifestyles."

The extension of Ubuntu "will pave the way for the development of new features and innovations to all connected platforms," stated Ian Drew, vice president of marketing for ARM, in the announcement. He added that the always-connected Internet market is rapidly expanding.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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