netbooks to run cool!

The agreement between Canonical and ARM to support Linux on ARM is one of the most exciting in the tech industry.  Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, the Linux distro providing the best out-of-the-box desktop experience, and clearly has expertise in that classic geek blind spot: providing for the resolutely dumb consumer.  And ARM has the processor with the single most important advantage today: power consumption an order of magnitude better than Intel and other rivals.

Supported Ubuntu on ARM is, I understand, aimed at ARM’s existing market in ultra-portable devices.  But in principle it could also pave the way for a laptop and even a desktop that’ll run cool.  And in the laptop’s case, the choice of much-improved battery life or a significant weight-saving.  Amongst existing netbook devices, the ARM-driven Nokia N810, at less than half the weight of an Intel-powered Eee PC or its imitators, could be a forerunner of a whole family of better things.

For myself, I’ve long looked for lower power consumption in all my computing.  A big thank you to ARM and Canonical for bringing the prospect closer!

p.s. Yes, I know linux is already supported on ARM, but I understand it’s something quite limited.  And it hasn’t caught the market the way the Eee-family has, and that the Canonical deal may lead to.

Posted on November 17, 2008, in linux, technology. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. > but I understand it’s something quite limited.

    Me I’d go chat with Neil W before making pronouncements like this, unless you want to incur the wrath of Wookey 😉

    Neil (who is in Plymouth) has been busy working on Emdebian, shrinking Debian for the smaller ARM devices, losing those annoyingly large dependencies in the Debian core (like Perl), trimming the fat, and making it all cross compile like it is suppose to. Then doing evil things to cut GNOME down to size (i.e. getting the GNOME palmtop environment – GPE – to work on various devices).

    But I think the issue with ARM support is that generally the hardware is more variable than the typical PC, with a smaller user base. There are a selection of ARM network devices supported by Debian of which the NSLU is best known, but those are either devices that made the mass market before Debian was hacked in, or ones where the vendor wanted Debian enough to pay (or persuade) someone to get it supported. I think the Palmtops lack good support from generic distros, for reasons of size. There aren’t many ARM devices around on which it would make sense to try and run a full blown Ubuntu desktop. Running Apache on the other hand is no problem 😉

    Oh and the Nokia 810 already runs Linux, so I’m guessing you meant GNU on ARMv7 not Linux?! 😉

    But yes, commercial support of these ventures is important. I wonder who they’ll be hiring…

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