The project could have an impact on datacentres

An organisation founded in 2010 to define the future of Linux on low power mobile chips from ARM has won support from social networking giant Facebook.

Linaro, a not-for-profit engineering organisation dedicated to developing open source software for the ARM architecture, has announced today the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) following the addition of AMD, Applied Micro Circuits, Calxeda, Canonical, Cavium, Facebook, HP, Marvell and Red Hat as members.

In response to significant interest in energy-efficient ARM-based servers, the LEG has been founded to collaborate on the development of foundational software for ARM Server Linux.

Linaro operates a business model where multiple companies jointly invest in a software engineering team that creates core open source software in a collaborative and transparent environment. T

“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.

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 LEG 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.

As a heavy user of cloud systems and data centres, Facebook’s interest in the project is perhaps unsurprising, but still interesting.

“ARM microprocessor architecture has the potential to bring about a fundamental shift in the datacenter industry, enabling new levels of compute and energy efficiency and spurring greater competition in the server CPU market,” said Frank Frankovsky, VP of hardware design and supply chain for Facebook. “But a lot of work must still be done to turn that vision into a reality, and the Linaro Enterprise Group can play a crucial role by ensuring that we have the software ecosystem necessary to support these new ARM-based server solutions.”


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