On ARM Servers and Portable PCs, Linux Is Growing as a Pre-Loaded Option

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 02, 2012

When many of us think of Linux, we think of our own roll-your-own deployments of it on our own devices, but there is a fast-growing trend toward powerful companies with commercial interests driving desktop and server systems that run Linux.

Linaro, the not-for-profit engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM architecture, has announced the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and the addition of AMD, Applied Micro Circuits Corporation, Calxeda, Canonical, Cavium, Facebook, HP, Marvell and Red Hat as Linaro members. The powerful companies will work together on ARM servers that run Linux. Meanwhile, many new desktop systems are arriving with Linux pre-loaded.

Facebook, Red Hat, Hewlett-Packard and the other companies backing Linaro's initiative are going to develop Linux OS software for the next generation of ARM-based servers, which should result in low cost but powerful servers with all the flexibility that comes with Linux. Linux, of course, is already a phenomenon on servers, as we noted here

“Linux is driving innovation in every area of computing from mobile and embedded to the cloud. Linaro’s enterprise efforts will bring together software engineers to help accelerate Linux development for ARM servers, and we’re confident that this new server-focused group will advance Linux in these areas and offer additional choices to Linux users around the world.” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.

According to Linaro's announcement:

"ARM servers are expected to be initially adopted in hyperscale computing environments, especially in large web farms and clusters, where flexible scaling, energy efficiency and an optimal footprint are key design requirements. The Linaro Enterprise Group will initially work on low-level Linux boot architecture and kernel software for use by SoC vendors, commercial Linux providers and OEMs in delivering the next generation of low-power ARM-based 32- and 64-bit servers. Linaro expects initial software delivery before the end of 2012 with ongoing releases thereafter."

Meanwhile, Linux as a pre-loaded option on portable computers is also a growing phenomenon. As we've covered, Dell has steadily delivered laptops running Linux. And, Asus and other vendors are joining the effort. Even the much talked about $249 Chromebook from Google tips its hat to pre-loaded Linux, since Chrome OS is based on Linux.  On both portables and servers, Linux has a bright future as a pre-loaded OS.