Linux vendors line up behind Moblin
At Computex, both Novell and Xandros have announced plans to base future operating systems for netbooks on Moblin 2, the Intel developed Linux for Atom processors, recently moved under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. There are also reports that Canonical will announce a Moblin 2 based Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Moblin 2, which was recently released as a "user experience" beta, has won praise for its user interface, based on work by Opened Hand (an Intel 2008 acquisition) and for its rapid boot times.
Xandros says it is planning a new version of its distribution based on Moblin and targetted at the ASUS Eee PC. Xandros has supplied ASUS with its Linux distribution in the past, with Xandros' own simple launcher for applications. Novell, which teamed up with Intel on Moblin development last month, is demonstrating the SUSE edition of Moblin 2 at Computex on Acer and MSI devices. Novell says it will have a preview of the Moblin 2.0 UI running on openSUSE available on the openSUSE site soon. Currently there are only a number of screenshots and links to the previously announced Moblin 2 beta from Intel. Although a news announcement on openSUSE.org does point to openSUSE Moblin images.
What is currently unclear is how the companies plan to differentiate their editions of Moblin 2 from the Intel released version and what, if any, changes they will make. It may well be that the companies become support providers for the specific netbook manufacturers, while benefiting from the ability to share a cross-netbook user interface and code, reuniting the various disparate approaches to Linux netbook front ends.
The Moblin v2.0 beta itself is available to download as a live image from the Moblin web site.